On Wednesday 22 May 1968, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland passed a deliverance that women should become eligible for ordination to the ministry of word and sacrament on the same terms and conditions as men. This decision, after decades of debate and the faithful endeavours of women who believed they had the right to test their vocation to ministry, brought new opportunities and challenges. It changed the face of the Kirk. After the vote, Mary Levison (Lusk), whose 1963 petition helped break the impasse, commented that ‘the Church no longer regards women as second class citizens. I hope this decision will have a liberating effect right through the Church’. Today, around 30% of ordained ministers are women, serving in diverse contexts and situations.
On Tuesday 22 May 2018, fifty years to the day after that momentous vote, all women who have been ordained to ministry of word and sacrament are invited to mark this Jubilee, by walking together to the Assembly Hall on the Mound (along with those who wish to join them in companionship and affirmation) where the 2018 General Assembly will be in session. All who want to 'walk together' - which will be the Moderator's theme - are invited to gather at the foot of the Mound (between the two galleries) for a public procession up the Mound, through the gate and into the quad. There, the procession will be greeted by pioneers for a short time of word and prayer. The procession will continue, singing, up the steps and into the Assembly Hall (for those who are commissioners or wish to go into the public gallery). At 2 pm there will be an Order of the Day to celebrate the anniversary. 50th anniversary exhibition banners (and possibly refreshments too) will be in the quad for those who wish to stay for a while.
The invitation is particularly to all women who are ordained ministers of the Church of Scotland, to lead the procession. Those who are less mobile or prefer to wait at Mound Place will be most welcome to join in there. Family, friends, women in ministry from other denominations, colleagues, parishioners and all who want to join the commemoration are invited to walk behind the Kirk's ordained women.
This will be a simple, dignified and public expression of the Jubilee, and to offer thanks for God's calling into service of so many women of faith over these past 50 years - and to recall those who went before them.
Pease register your interest, so that we have an idea of numbers. More details and updates, including confirmation of time, will be sent to all who register via eventbrite. Do pass on the invitation far and wide!