How things have changed!

A blog by Tom Moffat

At a recent meeting of the Wellington (virtual) Tea Party the conversation touched on stories about the life of the Wellington congregation within the memory of the group.  One such conversation mentioned Communion services, of the time when only men were elders and the service was very formal.  One member of the tea party mentioned that her late husband had indicated that he wouldn’t be able to be an elder as he couldn’t have afforded the cost of the required morning dress.

How things have changed!

The following week I brought along a photograph showing seven women with the Revd Andrew Morton then minister of Culross in Fife.  The photograph was taken after a service in Culross Abbey church where all seven had been ordained as elders.  The date was Sunday June 19th, 1966.  They were the first women ordained to the office of elder in the Church of Scotland.

Their ordination has tended to be overshadowed by the decision, the following year, to allow women to be ordained as Ministers of Word and Sacrament.    But we should not allow it to be so.  These seven women showed commitment and courage in equal measure; and in so doing were trailblazers for all women who responded to this call to service.

Liz, our own locum minister, said

“Without women elders, I’d never have become a minister because I didn’t have much in the way of female minister role models.”

The last of the seven, Babs Hepburn, was honoured by the then Moderator, the Very Revd Alan MacDonald, at a special service in Culross Abbey held in June 2006, some 40 years after her ordination.  The Abbey was filled with praise and acclamation.

How things have changed!


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