Our diocese’s first woman priest celebrates with colleagues

Our diocese’s first woman priest celebrates with colleagues

From: Archdeacon May Croft

Late last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the ordination of Anglican women to the Priesthood in Aotearoa New Zealand. St Matthew’s Parish in Masterton played an important part in the journey towards the ordination of women.

Rev Pam Mildenhall, who was one of the first two women to be ordained Priest in our diocese, was supported for ordination by this parish, which was not a small thing in those days.

Pam was ordained Deacon in 1975 and priested in 1978. She served as Deacon and then Priest at St Matthew’s until being called to serve as Vicar of the Parish of Manaia. Pam eventually found her way back to the Wairarapa and served as Vicar of Greytown. On retirement, Pam’s home was right next door to St Matthew’s Church at Abbyfield.

Pam was and is well loved here. She is now a resident of Carter Court in Carterton

Pam was to take part in the diocesan celebration of the ordination of women to the Priesthood at St James in Lower Hutt but was not well enough to attend. We decided that if Pam couldn’t come to us then we would go to her. Just before Christmas, woman priests in the archdeaconry, along with the Vicar General (Archdeacon Julie Rokotakala) celebrated Pam’s 40 years of ordination as a priest with her at Carter Court. A special communion service was written for the occasion by Rev Lizzie Snowsill and this was followed by a shared lunch.

Photo: Pam Mildenhall celebrating 40 years of priestly ministry with the Co-Vicar General and women clergy from the Wairarapa Archdeaconry.