1944: The first female Anglican priest

Christina Rees, a member of the Church of England general synod and the archbishops’ council, writing in The Guardian:

Florence Nightingale longed to minister in the Church of England, but was spurned because of her sex; however, Florence Li Tim-Oi was to become the first female Anglican priest.

On January 25 1944, in the midst of war-torn China, the then bishop of Hong Kong, an Englishman named RO Hall, ordained Tim-Oi “a priest in the Church of God”. He was censured for his action by fellow bishops, and, to defuse controversy, Li Tim-Oi surrendered her priest’s licence – but not her holy orders. She later resumed the practice of her priesthood in China and then in Canada.

After Li Tim-Oi died in 1992, her sister established a foundation in her honour that gives grants for training Anglican women in the developing world.

The Li Tim-Oi Foundation has just been relaunched as It Takes One Woman (Ittakesonewoman.org)….

Perhaps this centenary year of Li Tim-Oi’s birth is a good time for the Anglican communion to speak out with one voice against traditions and practices that harm and discriminate against women and to affirm the ministry of women to all orders: deacon, priest and bishop.

Read it all.

See also this profile of Li Tim-Oi’s ministry at Episcopal Life Online.


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