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Anglican church welcomes first female parish priest

Anglican church welcomes first female parish priest

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History was created yesterday, when the Anglican Church in the Diocese of the Windward Islands welcomed its first female parish priest.{{more}}

Barbadian born Eleanor Glasgow arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines Monday, and will be taking up the post of parish priest in the Anglican parish of St James, which consists of two churches, in Layou and Buccament.

Glasgow, who was ordained priest on September 9, 2013, is among a small group of women who have began to enter the Anglican clergy in the Windward Islands.

The new parish priest told SEARCHLIGHT that her journey to priesthood was inspired by her Sunday school teacher.

“I think the motivation started from early childhood. My Sunday school teacher, who was also the wife of a priest, was someone that I had great respect for and kind of idolized her,” Glasgow said.

“I always wanted to be like my Sunday school teacher. I didn’t know that it would turn out this way, but yes the grounding started there and I must say that I come from a very strong religious background.”

Although she was not always a member of the Anglican faith, Glasgow explained how she “fell in love” with it, after attending Ash Wednesday and Ascension masses while attending secondary school.

In the late 80s, Glasgow attended the Codrington College in Barbados, where she received her first degree in Theology, History and Sociology. Later, from 2005 to 2007, she acquired her Masters degree in Theology, as she prepared to enter the ordained ministry.

Glasgow, who also has training in counselling and social work, stated that she hopes to use these skills in her new parish.

The priest also highlighted the general goals that she would like to achieve at her first appointment as a parish priest.

“My forte, I believe, I have a tendency to zero in on the youth, so I enjoy youth ministry, working with the young people. I bring to ministry a background of social psychotherapy. In the secular life, I would have worked as a counsellor and social worker, so I would have been involved in family counselling both in the church and civil society.

“Naturally, that would be a perspective that I would want to follow through on. I’m really about helping humanity, helping people to realize their full potential, and so I don’t see myself changing,” she said.

Furthermore, as one of the few females in the Anglican clergy in the Windward Islands, Glasgow hopes that her gender will not distract persons from the main objective.

“I suppose that the significance about my being here is that this is the first time for the Anglican church in the Diocese of the Windward Islands…they are having women ordained and more so as a priest,” Glasgow stated. “So that in itself, I suppose, would attract a lot of attention. I hope it would not be distracting, but I think for me, the significance of that is that now, women can see that there is a place for them in God’s ministry, God’s mission and I hope they would be encouraged by my presence here to try to discern where God is calling them. It may or may not be in this particular path but that the door is open”.

While elaborating on her point, the new parish priest told SEARCHLIGHT that she has not encountered much negativity about her being a priest.

She recalled that in her old parish, an old lady, who was always nice to her often said to her, “That’s not for a woman”. However, she noted that after her farewell service in Grenada on Sunday, the woman was one of the first persons to hug and wish her well.

“This is a new thing happening in the Anglican Church and we’re playing with people’s faith so we have to be sensitive to that,” Glasgow said.

“You have to give people time to assimilate and embrace this new thing that God is doing in his Church and I pray that God would continue to use me and I would open myself to be used by him to not so much to focus on the gender thing but that he has called me to ministry and I have responded and I hope that by serving him, I can help to advance his mission here on earth”.

Glasgow will celebrate her first mass in the St James Parish in Layou on Sunday, at 7 a.m. Members of the St Mary’s Anglican Church in Buccament will also join in the service with its sister church.

Reverend Eleanor Glasgow is married to Vincentian priest Christian Glasgow, who is Archdeacon of Anglican Church in Grenada.

The three countries that comprise the Diocese of the Windward Islands are St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and St Lucia.(BK)

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