First woman ordained to priesthood in the Middle East


The Rev. Catherine Dawkins will be ordained to the priesthood St. Christopher’s Cathedral, Manama, Bahrain. Although not the first woman to serve in the Middle East, Dawkins will be the first woman ordained in the Middle East.

Gulf Weekly writes:

The first ordination of a woman as priest in the Middle East will take place at St Christopher’s Cathedral on Sunday.

The subject of women priests continues to cause great controversy amongst Christian church-goers and the first women priests were only ordained in the Church of England in 1994.

Catherine Dawkins, 32, has been serving as an assistant chaplain in Aden with her husband The Rev Nigel Dawkins and helped run a medical clinic in Yemen.

She said: “I was very excited to learn that The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf had secured permission to ordain women to the priesthood, and feel hugely privileged that it is now possible for me to be ordained as a priest.”

The Very Reverend Chris Butt, dean of St Christopher’s Cathedral, welcomed the move, saying: “It clearly remains a controversial issue and I recognise that there are both some Anglicans and clearly other Christian churches who do not accept the ordination of women.

“Within the Anglican Church in our diocese the principle has been accepted without a dissenting voice being expressed at the recent Synod in Cyprus.

“I think this is because, although the Bishop hasn’t yet ordained a woman as priest, there are already several women serving in different parts of the Gulf and indeed, even in Bahrain, we were delighted to welcome the Rev Maria Shepherdson, wife of our Cathedral Warden, Philip Shepherdson, to preach and to celebrate Holy Communion last year.

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