Women's Ministry

Women's Ministry

The Church requires a vast diversity of ministers in order to represent the fullness of God; lay and ordained, women and men, people from all ethnicities and all abilities. The Church of England in Birmingham is committed to ensuring this diversity grows to match the diverse communities in which we serve.

Women have been ordained priests in the Church of England since 1994 and it was only in 2014 when we saw our first woman bishop. We are delighted in Birmingham to receive the ministry of Bishop Anne of Aston. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women are more evenly represented in all areas of ministry within the Church.

The Bishop's Adviser for Women's Ministry

The Bishop’s Adviser for Women’s Ministry in The Church of England Birmingham is Becky Stephens. She represents the concerns and needs of ordained women in Birmingham as well as ensuring women are a part of the fullness of ministry within the Diocese.

Becky’s role looks to promote the full inclusion of ordained women by:

  • Supporting the well-being of ordained women in their ministry
  • Monitoring statistics, especially in places or roles where women are underrepresented
  • Promoting good practice to ensure women are encouraged and enabled
  • Ensuring the Five Guiding Principles (see below) are at the core of the ministry in the Diocese

Becky is also the Rector of the Parish of The Whitacres, Lea Marston and Shustoke which is a rural parish in the Coleshill Deanery.

Development of Ordained Women

In Birmingham we are passionate about the development of all our clergy; women and men therefore have equal access to training and development. However, we recognise that there are some areas of training which are particular to the needs of ordained women and therefore we aim to offer an annual training day.

Support for Ordained Women

The Bishops Adviser for the Pastoral Care of Clergy and their families is Heather McCartney who is available to all clergy for confidential support and advice.

Please also contact Becky if you feel she could support you in your ministry. 

What are the Five Guiding Principles?

  1. Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
  2. Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
  3. Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;
  4. Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures;
  5. Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.

Additional links

Transformations Group (Church of England Steering Group for women's ordained ministry): www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/ministry/deployment/transformations.aspx

WATCH (Women and the Church): https://womenandthechurch.org

Research from CPAS: https://www.cpas.org.uk/advice-and-support/women-i...

The Sophia Network (Encouraging women in ministerial leadership): http://blog.sophianetwork.org.uk/

AWESOME (Evangelical Women's Network): https://awesome.org.uk

Becky Stephens

Becky Stephens
Bishop’s Adviser for Women’s Ministry
01675 481252
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