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Bermuda will ordain women: CEN 10.03.08 p 5. October 3, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Bermuda, Church of England Newspaper, Women Priests.

Ordaining women will fill the church’s empty pews, the Bishop-elect of Bermuda said following his election last week.

Canon Patrick White, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Paget was elected by a special meeting of the diocesan synod on Sept 20 to succeed the island’s first black and first Bermudan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ewen Ratteray. The new bishop’s election will now go to the Archbishop of Canterbury for approval.

A white Bermudan, Canon White, (65), will likely seek a change in the church’s canon law, permitting women clergy. “It’s important to extend the ministry to women to have them ordained,” he said, adding that it’s a “priority for me and I hope for other people in the church as well. It is a decision that we will work on together.”

Ordaining women would bring young people back into the church as “young people want to go where the action is,” he said.

It would address pragmatic concerns over the shortage of Bermudan clergy. Successive governments have imposed restrictions on the immigration of clergy onto the island. The church sought to work with the government and was “always interested in providing jobs for Bermudians, qualified Bermudians,” he told the Royal Gazette.

Deacons “can do weddings and parish visits, but don’t require the same level of theological education that a priest does,” he said, adding that the church was “moving away from the idea that you have to be a priest to do some things.”

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