On Saturday (21 June), the Methodist Church in Great Britain will celebrate forty years of women's ordination.
Although women were permitted to become deacons in the Methodist Church from 1890, they were not ordained as presbyters until 2 July, 1974, at the Methodist Conference in Bristol.
Three of the original seventeen ordinands – the Rev Marjorie Hopp, the Rev Elizabeth Hodgkiss and the Rev Jennifer Lunn – will participate in the celebration, which will take place at Wesley's Chapel in London on Saturday 21 June.
"It was an honour to be one of the first," said the Rev Lunn, "and I am grateful to the Barnsley Circuit who were delighted when there were only seventeen and they got one!"
"Women have often been, and often are among the voiceless and the unnamed," added the Rev Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference, who will be preaching at the service. "I am proud that there is no role that women cannot play in the Methodist Church in Britain. As one of their successors, I want to thank those women who paved the way. As a female follower of Christ, I want to stand alongside others who do not have a voice, who are unnamed and unseen, even in the Methodist Church. We will celebrate, we will give thanks and we will commit ourselves to the continuing journey towards the time when we can truly affirm that all are one in Christ. This is a celebration for the whole church."
A new hymn has been also been written for the occasion by the Rev Nicola Morrison and the Rev Michaela Youngson and will be led by a choir brought together for the occasion.