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Woman ordained in UAE Anglican Church

Woman ordained in UAE Anglican Church

ABU DHABI [United Arab Emirates] // The first Anglican priest [deacon] to be ordained in the country made history on two fronts yesterday – she was also among the first women to be ordained in the Arabian Gulf.


Jo Henderson, 49, was welcomed at St Andrew’s Church by dozens of Christians from around the UAE.

The Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf only began to ordain and appoint female priests last year after it received permission from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

After the hour-long ceremony yesterday Mrs Henderson, from Surrey, England told of a journey she embarked on at the age of 16.

She has lived abroad for nearly 20 years with her husband, a civil engineer. They first relocated to Greece, where Mrs Henderson was very active in the church.

After moving to Qatar and then to the UAE in 2005, she felt that it was time to become a priest.

“This was something that was growing in me for years but at that time, no women could be ordained in this area of the world,” she said.

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Bill Dilworth

I really enjoyed reading about this priest, and the extra effort she had to make in her priestly formation (constant trips back to the UK, for example). I'd love to read a follow up in a few year's time when she's had time to reflect on her ministry in that part if the world.

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