A service was held at the Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega on February 17, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Diocese of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands. The service was the second one to mark the historic event – the first being an Evensong at the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Constant Spring on February 6, the actual date of the anniversary.
On February 6 1994, three women – Sybil Morris (now deceased), Patricia Johnson and Judith Daniel – who were previously Deaconesses – created history when they were ordained Deacons, one of the three orders of ordained ministry. Two years later, on December 23 1996, they, along with Vivette Jennings were ordained to the priesthood.
Sunday’s Service, which was a joyful celebration with lively music led by the Cathedral Choir and a Select Group, was presided over by the Rt. Rev. Leon Golding, the Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay. The Sermon was preached by Sister Norma Thompson of the Church Army. In an engaging message, she said that we are all called to serve and to work together to build up the Church. “We are not called to wield power”, she noted, “but to serve.” She emphasised the importance of learning from Jesus how to do ministry by going out to where the people were. (Click here for sermon text)
Apart from Bishop Golding and the Rev. Lt. Col. Denston Smalling, who was the Master of Ceremonies, most of the priests who took part in the Eucharist were women. There are currently 40 women serving in the Ordained Ministry in the Diocese, and a large number of them were present including the two survivors of that historic day 25 years ago – the Rev. Dr. Patricia Johnson and the Rev. Canon Judith Daniel.
(The Service was recorded and will be on YouTube)