Shoreham vicar takes on new role to support women priests

Reverend Ann Waizeneker. Picture by Jim Holden
Reverend Ann Waizeneker. Picture by Jim Holden

A Shoreham vicar has been confirmed as the dean of Women’s Ministry in the Diocese of Chichester, which covers East and West Sussex.

Ann Waizeneker, vicar of St Mary de Haura in Church Street and the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach, said it was ‘a privilege’ to take on the position.

“The purpose of the role is to support women in ministry,” said the 60-year-old.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, not everybody agrees with women priests.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues to ensure women’s ordained ministry is supported and facilitated to its full potential.”

The role involves supporting women who are considering becoming a minister.

Ann, who was ordained in 2008, said she has had ‘a very good experience’ as a vicar and is keen to ensure other women do too.

She said: “In the scheme of things, women have been priests for little over 20 years, while Christianity is 2000 years old.”

She will discuss ‘what we can do to respect each other and work together’ in meetings with senior staff.

Ann is no stranger to being a role model for other women.

When she became assistant governor in the Prison Service in 1980, she was the first woman to work at governor grade in the prisons of Winchester and Wandsworth.

After seven years in the role, she decided to focus on the voluntary sector.

Her last secular post was as community fundraising and volunteering director at Cancer Research UK.

Now, the busy vicar said she will be able to juggle her new role with her other church responsibilities thanks to ‘the good people in our churches in Shoreham, who take on a lot of work of the church’.

Ann succeeds Canon Julia Peaty, rural dean of East Grinstead, who stepped down earlier this year having served in the post since 2012.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said Ann would bring her ‘rich experience’ to the role.

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