Vote marked a turning point for women priests
It took decades to clear the way for women to become ordained in the Church of England. The legislation was prepared 30 years ago and the vote was narrowly passed 25 years ago. The vote marked a turning point for women who were able to pursue their calling to ministry in the Anglican church.
Today there are many female vicars leading Norfolk churches, including Rev Heather Cracknell who is vicar of St Francis in the Heartsease area of Norwich. When she is out and about wearing her dog collar, Heather notices people doing double-takes: “I don’t think I’m what people expect to see when they see a vicar!”
Heather was ordained in 2011 and she believes the way women are represented is important – on our screens, in the workplace – and also in our pulpits. Fortunately, she has experienced very little pushback in the churches she’s worked in.
Heather acknowledges that there is a lot of everyday sexism in our society and she believes in gently but firmly challenging this when it occurs.
She said, “It’s impossible to say that these things don’t impact on how I feel about ministry. To be in a space that used to be just occupied by men.... that changes things.”
Heather aims to be an active advocate for women. She said: “I have a heart for those suffering from domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse.” Heather would like to see women channelling their energies into something constructive – rather than engaging in negative thinking about themselves or each other, something which the media readily incites. She believes change begins when women start to uphold each other.
Heather feels strongly about teaching girls about their self-worth and their value, describing this as “one of my real passions.”
Pictured above is Rev Heather Cracknell.