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Church of England Ordains Its First Female Priests - March 12, 1994

Church of England
Woman clergy take photographs of the first female bishop in the Church of England Libby Lane following her consecration service at York Minster in York, northern England, January 26, 2015. |

This week marks the anniversary of when the Church of England ordained 32 female priests, the first women to be ordained in the British denomination's history.

Taking place at Bristol Cathedral, the ceremony had the individual ordinations take place in alphabetical order, making Angela Berners-Wilson the first of the 32 to become a priest.

"It was just amazing — very exciting and nerve-racking," recalled Berners-Wilson in a 2012 column, "although there was great sadness, too, as my mother had Alzheimer's and my father was with her, so they were unable to be there. But I shall never forget that service."

Female ordination remains a controversial matter within the global Anglican Communion and also among those seeking more unity between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, the latter believing that it hinders ecumenical efforts. 

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