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Five years on
Friday 21 May is the fifth anniversary of the first ordinations of women to the priesthood in the Diocese of Southwark. 78 women were ordained on that day, in three separate services and many of them are still serving in the Diocese. There are now 119 women priests in Southwark Diocese, 64 in full time stipendiary ministry.
On Saturday 15 May some of them gathered to mark the anniversary with a Eucharist preceded by a meeting with Bishop Tom. In a lively exchange they discussed issues like representation and the Act of Synod, seeking the best ways to deal with these issues today.
In his sermon at the Eucharist Bishop Tom recalled that the first time that he had experienced a woman priest presiding at the Eucharist was in Hong Kong. His initial reaction was not to like it but he quickly realised that it really didn't matter to him that the priest was a woman. Many people feel like that once they have experienced women's ministry he commented and "the Church of England is a richer place because of this". After the Eucharist the women joined Bishop Tom for a celebratory lunch at the Cathedral.
WelCare gives thanks
The aisles of Southwark Cathedral are a good bit short of 26 miles, but two marathon runners entered by that route on Tuesday 11 May, to the amusement of the congregation at the WelCare Biennial Service of Thanksgiving.
Nigel Stone, Kingston AMT and Nick Lawrence, son of WelCare Chair Jean Lawrence, both ran in the recent London Marathon for WelCare. At the service they ran up the aisle to meet Bishop Tom, who recalled his own marathon some years ago and interviewed them about their experience.
Representatives of WelCare centres carried their banners in at the beginning of the service. Canon Helen Cunliffe, WelCare's Chaplain, welcomed a vocal congregation of babies, toddlers and their mums, as well as staff and supporters. Jean Lawrence made a presentation to Elizabeth Burgess, the former Vice-Chair of the Central Management Committee.
The Bishop commissioned four new WelCare workers and talked about three sorts of marathon runners - the fun runners, the small number of real athletes who go all out for better times, and those like Nigel and Nick who raise money for a good cause. The Church has rather similar categories, he said, but "Running for others is what WelCare's all about".
His Holiness the Dalai Lama dedicated the
peace garden near the Imperial War Museum on Thursday 13 May. Bishop Tom and Bishop Colin
were among those attending the dedication, which began in St George's Roman Catholic
Cathedral and moved across the road to the peace garden.