NEW female priests have been ordained by a serving Sussex bishop for the first time ever.
The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Richard Jackson, is the first bishop in the Diocese of Chichester to support women priests since the law was changed more than 10 years ago.
Dr Alison Green and Karen Young, of Chichester and Sarah Flashman of Dorset were ordained by Bishop Jackson at a ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Chichester, on Sunday.
Bishop Jackson – who was only consecrated in May – said he was keen to redress the balance of female clergy in Sussex – which has one of the lowest proportions of female priests in the country.
Bishop Jackson – who is known as the biking bishop after buying a Harley Davidson during a “midlife crisis” – added that he was looking forward to welcoming women bishops too in the near future.
He said: “In the past, Sussex had to have a retired bishop or someone to come in from outside.
“I am fully aware of the range of views within the Church of England and the diocese but fully support women as priests and bishops.
“This is a fantastic celebration for all the women in the diocese, not just those being ordained.
“It was exciting on Sunday as it was all women being ordai-ned so a special occasion – also for those who had a difficult journey getting to where they are.
“There hadn’t been any bishops in Sussex who would ordain women priests until now.”
Support Bishop Jackson said until the law changed in 1993 it was not possible, but he said here has not been a bishop who would ordain women priests in Sussex.
He added: “As a diocese we have a very low proportion of women priests and we were the last diocese in the country not to ordain women by our own bishops.
“I am very much looking forward to welcoming women as bishops.
“From a theological point of view if you support women priests then there’s no reason not to support women bishops too.”
On Monday Jill Simpson of Ferring was also ordained alongside four new male priests at All Saints, in Hove And tomorrow, Pauline Lucas of Seaford will be ordained along with three male colleagues at St Anne’s in Lewes.