Saturday, April 28, 2007
After 1,400 years: It's Girl!
First woman archdeacon for Canterbury
History was made at Canterbury Cathedral as it installed its first woman archdeacon in its 1,400-year history.
More than 500 people watched as Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams led the Service of Installation for the Ven Sheila Watson.
Ms Watson, 53, who was previously Archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford, is the first woman to join Dr Williams's senior staff team as a senior appointment holder.
Ms Watson, who replaces the retired Patrick Evans, will be able to act on behalf of Dr Williams at the enthronement of new diocesan bishops in 27 of England's 43 dioceses.
Cathedral spokesman Christopher Robinson said today: "It was very good to see another woman installed in a senior position within the church."
The move comes as the Church of England takes the first steps towards the creation of women bishops. The first women priests in the Church of England were ordained in 1994.
Before the service, Ms Watson said: "I feel enormously privileged to be invited to join the team at Canterbury in both diocese and cathedral.
"I have always loved the cathedral with all its historic associations and I am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people and churches of Kent."
Having graduated in Classics at St Andrews University, where she went on to take a research degree, she undertook a preparatory year of theology at Oxford.
After 27 years of ministry she goes to Canterbury via the North East, London, Salisbury and Buckinghamshire. She is married to Derek, who was Dean of Salisbury until his retirement in 2002 and is now Preacher of Lincoln's Inn, one of the Inns of Court in London.
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