Enabling women in ministry to flourish

Dean's of Women's Ministry across the Church of England gathered together to continue the work of justice, enabling, data collecting and informing to ensure the flourishing of all ordained women.

Our new Dean of Women’s Ministry, Revd Canon Debbie Flach, recently attended her first National Association of Diocesan Advisors in Women’s Ministry (NADAWN) conference. Here she reflects on the experience:

“What a great introduction! Arriving as a newbie both to the job and the network, I found a great group of women all committed to enabling women in ministry to flourish.

“I was blown away and encouraged by the plethora of speakers, which included Bishop Rachel Treweek, Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, Revd Canon Emma Percy, Bishop Rose Hudson Wilkin, Bishop Lynne Cullens and Susie Perks Baker (SDLP). They all spoke with passion and challenge on women’s personal and leadership development.

“The Conference Observer, Revd Dr Julie Gittoes, gave reflections and summaries after each session, carefully crafting a theological response to help us stay on track at a conference so full of information and discussions.


Revd Ben Cahill-Nichols was also there representing the Clergy Support Trust. He gave delegates an update of their work, for which demand has increased enormously in the past few years. You can find out more at their website. There’s even advice for those who have trouble sleeping – something which affects many clergy.”

Debbie concluded “The journey towards gender equality in the Church of England is a long one and will remain the focus of NADAWM as long as discrimination is enshrined in Canon Law

"There have been many years of hard work to open the threefold ministry of deacon, priest and bishop to women. But the work is not yet over, and as Diocesan Advisors we have the task of equipping one another and the women for whom we advocate.

"We need to look at and evaluate trends, good practice, emerging issues and the outworking of the five Guiding Principles. There is the opportunity to engage with other organisations within the Church of England working for gender equality, to recognise intersectionality, knowing that many women in the church face multiple barriers to full flourishing because of their gender, race, sexuality, disability or class.

“Flourishing” is a vision and purpose to which we are all committed."

The Revd Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley led a Bible study.

The Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley led a Bible study.