16 May 2019, The Tablet

Women in Christianity – free to share their wounds

Women in Christianity – free to share their wounds

Sarah Mullally arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral in May 2018 to be installed as the first woman Bishop of London
PA, Yui Mok


In Rome, the ordination of women as deacons seems to be on hold. A new research project brought together women from very different Christian traditions to talk openly and honestly about their experiences

What happens when you bring together women from Churches and other Christian communities as diverse as Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Assemblies of God, Orthodox, Anglican, and Independent Pentecostal and invite them to share their experiences of the wounds and gifts in their respective traditions? Something intriguing, and sometimes surprising.

Bringing such women together is precisely what I have been doing over the past year, as part of an ecumenical research project, and the results have changed my own understanding of the contribution that women can make and are making to the life of the Churches and to the search for unity between Christians.

A number of the women taking part in the project commented that it was “freeing” to be given permission to be honest about aspects of their communities and traditions that, as far as they were concerned, “prevent women from flourishing fully”. During the course of the research, women identified shared wounds that arose across their traditions, such as sexism, sexual harassment, and the abuse and misuse of power by those in positions of authority.

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