Monday, January 13, 2014

100 years young: Elizabeth Alfred presides at her centenary Eucharist

From Australia-

There have been many ‘firsts’ for Anglican women clergy in recent years, but surely the Eucharist celebrated by the Revd Elizabeth Alfred on 10 January this year must outshine them all. Ms Alfred must be the first woman priest, if not the first priest, to preside at Holy Communion on her 100th birthday!

On 13 December 1992, Ms Alfred was the first woman ordained priest in Melbourne, when Archbishop Keith Rayner ordained 12 women in a long-awaited historic ceremony. She was 78, well beyond retirement age, but Archbishop Rayner had promised this significant pioneer that age would not prevent her ordination when it finally became possible.

Her first Eucharistic celebration was at St James’, Dandenong, the parish where she had ministered as a deaconess – she became a deaconess in 1944 – and then as a deacon after she was ordained at the first diaconal ordination of women in Australia in 1986.

Her centenary birthday Eucharist was, most appropriately, back at St James’, and the church was packed. The preacher, former St James’ vicar the Revd Alan Baker, pondered whether this was another "first": has any other woman ministered in the same place as deaconess, deacon, and priest?

More here-

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