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Married with children: the experience of women ministers of word and sacrament in the United Reformed Church

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The experience of women being admitted to full ministry has a much longer history within the Free Churches than in the Anglican Church, although from the way in which the Church of England debate on women priests and bishops has been reported this is often not acknowledged. The United Reformed Church (URC) has given equal access for men and women to ministry from the date of the union in 1972 between the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church. Both denominations have a long history of women in ministry. This paper examines the experience of 50 URC clergywomen who combine marriage, children and ministry to explore their experience of ministry, marriage and motherhood. The findings demonstrate that, overall, the women's experience is mixed, although the general expectation among congregations and moderators is that women are the primary care-givers within the family. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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Keywords: URC; clergywomen; ministry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, UK 2: United Reformed Church, Bristol, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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