given during members’ hour, Toronto Diocesan Synod, November 2001
Alice Medcof, Transfiguration, North Toronto
In keeping with the theme of Synod I, too, will talk about change.
On St Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1976, six women were ordained in Canada. This month the 25th Anniversary of the ordination of women in the Anglican Church of Canada is being celebrated. It is a time for looking back, assessing the present and dreaming the future.
In looking back we remember that on January 25, 1944, the first woman priest was ordained in the Diocese of Hong Kong and Macau. Her name: Florence Li Tim-Oi.
She answered God’s call to ordained ministry though it put her life in danger. She served with energy and humility for a short while. Then with dignity remained faithful to Jesus throughout the cultural revolution in China.
Concurrently, on the other side of the planet, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops had the agenda of women priests thrust upon them. The Church would never be the same again: we would never be able to go back to pre-1944 times.
In assessing the present, we are thankful for a church that accepts, equally, the ministry of women and men, lay and ordained.
Which leads me to dreaming the future. There are many dreams. One is to include women in the Canadian Church Calendar.
The Church Calendar honours, and reminds us of, the lives of people who have shaped the life of the Church in significant ways.
Li Tim-Oi is one such person.
I suggest that we embark on the process of including the Rev Dr Florence Li Tim-Oi in the Canadian Church calendar.
Such a process requires grassroots support. If you and your congregation would like to support this initiative, please pick up a pamphlet from me, or from the ACW table in the Crush Court.