Women in the Church: The Development of Women’s Roles in Local Religious Communities

With the recent consecration of the first female bishop in the Church of England, the issue of women’s role in the Church has been brought to the forefront of recent debate. Whilst this change was widely well received, it was not without its opposition. During the ceremony, for example, Rev Paul Williamson stepped forward and shouted that it was “not in the bible”. Women have consistently, throughout time, faced direct challenges to their roles in society, in particular prominent positions in the Church. I find this extremely interesting, especially coming from a small village in rural Suffolk where women have always played a large role in our local church.

My intention is to interview Wendy Sadler, the Church Warden for St. Mary’s in Erwarton, to explore her experience of her life as a woman with a key role in the local community. As a woman with a prominent position, both within the Church and as a county councillor, I feel she will have interesting views on the social development of women in the Church and rural society. I intend to discuss her own role, the development of her faith and religion, as well as any possible challenges she faced upon first starting this job. As a woman in her eighties, who has lived in the same village for her entire life, I also think it would be interesting to explore the changes she has seen in rural Suffolk, with regards to both the local community and the Church.

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