WATCH at Greenbelt 2019

As in previous years, WATCH is delighted that we’ll have a presence at Greenbelt this year in the form of a stand in the newly named ‘Greenbelt Takeaway’ (previously G-Source). Working with and alongside Inclusive Church, our theme will be tied in with the overall Greenbelt theme of ‘Wit and Wisdom’.

We’re appealing for help from WATCH members and supporters who are attending Greenbelt to ask if you’re willing to give up some of your time to help at the stand. Have you got an hour or two that you’re able to give? We have some wonderful conversations with people and it’s a great opportunity to engage with festival-goers.

If you’re able to help or know someone that is, please email us at: [email protected]

If you’re not able to help but will be at Greenbelt, pop by and say ‘hello’. We’d love to see you.

Mothers’ Union- 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Following on from the success of last year’s participation, the Mothers’ Union is again taking part in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in 2014. The 16 Days began on 25th November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and will run to 10th December, International Human Rights Day. This link highlights how violence against women and girls is not a private matter but an abuse of human rights.

For further information and how to get involved please click here.


Lay Women- How is it for you?

WATCH is hosting a study day for lay women only on Saturday 21st March 2015 at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham. It is day for laywomen to tell their stories of their experience of church, explore what is missing and resource themselves for change.

For further information please click on the flyer below and we hope to see you in March!


WATCH: Just getting started – 22nd November 2014

We had a great celebration at our 2014 AGM, marking the achievement of one of our ten aims as WATCH – the appointment of women as bishops. It was a little premature, of course, as we await the first (of many) appointments, but we were encouraged by comments to the media from Archbishop Justin that he expected the House of Bishops to consist of half male and half female bishops in ten years’ time.

We also received a message from Archbishop Justin specifically for our AGM:

“I regret that I shall not be able to join the lunch at Waterloo. However, I fully expect that weekend – following General Synod – to be ‘with’ you in the spirit of celebration. Let me also express my gratitude for the way in which at WATCH you have expressed your intention to continue to work for the place of women in the Church, not least in particular for the vital place of lay women’s ministry for the mission of the Church.”

Throughout the morning there was much applause and many cheers as those who had contributed to the campaign were thanked for their long-standing commitment and perseverance.

Christina Rees led us in a heartfelt toast to ‘women bishops’ and Hilary Cotton in a toast to ‘the future’. A most splendid cake was shared amongst us and old friendships were renewed and new ones made over lunch.

The eucharist was one of celebration and thanksgiving, using material from Nicola Slee’s ‘Praying like a woman’, which we concluded with June Boyce-Tillman’s familiar song of the campaign, ‘We shall go out with hope of resurrection’. I first sang that in Coventry Cathedral in October 1992, before the knife-edge vote on women’s priestly ordination, and it had given new hope to a generation of women and men since then.

And so that campaign is concluded. Thanks be to God.

But there is so much more to do to change the gender culture of the church and achieve liberation of men and women, not just equality, within and through the love of God.

We heard from Women’s Ordination Worldwide that however progressive Pope Francis may be in some ways, his statements on women have been conservative and discouraging. We also heard from Christopher Hall of the Li Tim Oi Foundation that their work is needed more than ever, and indeed we raised nearly £1000 in our eucharistic collection for that work.

In the afternoon we committed ourselves to future work on monitoring, campaigning, transforming, affirming and reviving the place and roles of laywomen, and providing an online set of rich resources of feminist worship and theology, arguments and papers, poetry and activities.

If you would like to join us in any of our work please get in touch. We can guarantee passion, creativity, fun and action, not just words. To see more do look at our renewed website.

WATCH is just getting started – so that Christ’s offer of liberation for all, including all women, is made real.







Living Spirituality Launch of In Tune with Heaven, or Not


Living Spirituality are extending a welcome to the launch of In Tune with Heaven, or Not: Women in Christian Liturgical Music by Revd. Professor June Boyce-Tillman at St James’s Church Piccadilly W1J 9LL onSunday 23 November at 1.45 pm.
June “will talk about the themes of this exciting new book, which aims to understand where women are situated within or outside the traditions of liturgical music, drawing on material from many interviews with women who have been conducting their own liturgies, and making women’s often hidden contributions more visible. June will also illustrate her themes through song”.
Don’t forget the WATCH AGM on 22nd November! #JustGettingStarted

The 2014 Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture Wednesday 29th October

The 2014 Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture is on Wednesday 29th October at 8pm at St Peter’s Belsize Park London, NW3. Jeffrey John is giving the lecture – “Being Really, Truly Biblical”.

£5 on entry to include refreshments.

Faithfully Feminist- An Interfaith Dialogue Thursday 30th October

The Southwark Feminist Theology Group invite you to Faithfully Feminist: An Interfaith Dialogue between Professor Tina Beattie and Rabbi Deborah Young-Somers who will talk about the highs and lows of being a feminist woman within their faith tradition. It will be held on Thursday 30th October, 6.30pm in the Garry Weston Library, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge.

Tina Beattie is Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing at the University of Roehampton.
Debbie Young-Somers is Community Educator at the Movement for Reform Judaism, and previously served as one of the Rabbis at the West London Synagogue of British Jews.

For further information please visit or email [email protected]

All welcome, men and women

Diocese of Southwark celebrates 20 years of women’s ordination 20th September 2014

Southwark Diocese will be holding its celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of women’s ordination on Saturday 20th September. There will be a service in Southwark Cathedral  and the preacher will be the Venerable Christine Hardman, former Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich.

The service will be followed by a reception at St John’s Waterloo from 2pm. All are welcome.

WATCH Reflection: ‘Crossing the Threshold!’ By Rosemary Griffiths (2nd Year Ordinand, Llandaff Diocese)

On 4th September, I had attended the ‘Crossing the Threshold!’ conference held at St Michael’s Theological College, Llandaff where I am also studying as a 2nd year ordinand.

I am nearly 34 years old. I first felt a sense of calling at around 16 just as women were being first accepted into the priesthood. I did nothing about it at that point as I felt that nobody would ever take me seriously. Yet, here I was 20 years later, stood in the midst of women who are Priests and Leaders in the Church, including two who are Bishops! When I was 16, I did not think I would ever become a priest let alone meet a female bishop. This to me was a highlight of the conference; the normality of seeing a bishop who happens to be a woman. That is not to denigrate the experience as it was huge, but what struck me was that it did not feel different, it felt right. As a teenager, when I saw a woman wearing clericals for the first time it seemed strange, almost alien. I am a cradle Anglican, brought up in a middle of the road tradition and my experience of women’s ministry was limited to flower arrangers, cleaners, Sunday school teachers and my gran who washed the Eucharistic linens. To see a female priest for the first time was strange, not because there was something wrong with it but because it was outside my sphere of experience.

Something which I found disturbing, and a feeling that was shared by other delegates was, that when there is female representation on the Bench of Bishops, it may be seen as tokenistic and she would only ever be consulted on ‘women’s’ or ‘family’ issues. For some, a very real fear is that although on paper, women can be allowed to be part of the episcopate, in practice it will be a long time before it actually happens and that in the meantime nothing much will change and that is our current challenge, to ensure change will happen paving the way for a smooth transition into women’s episcopacy.

Baroness Morgan on her own rise to leadership stated “Judge me on anything, but if it’s on being a woman and young, you’ve no place in the room!” It is in Baroness Morgan’s words that I see positive change that times have changed and will continue to change. It is a positive indication of the future that I have not experienced the discrimination and sometimes abuse that my predecessors and colleagues have experienced. I remarked to Bishop Gerry on the day, that when I was on my first placement I had met a retired priest who had been part of the first round of ordinations in the 1980’s in England. She had faced a great struggle to have her vocation recognised and it was a powerful moment when I sat in her room as an ordinand and we discussed how times had changed.

The church has to engage in the changing attitudes in society. If it doesn’t then society will be poorer for it. The church is a living, breathing body. It has to discern and grow and be led by the Spirit. In all discernment there is a certain amount of conflict whether internal or external. There will always be opposition to anything new. However, this is a coming of age for women’s ministry.

The fears expressed during group discussions on the day point to a need for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation on both sides. What I experienced in Llandaff Cathedral that evening was, for me, a sense of a fresh start. As the offertory hymn started I felt an overwhelming rush of emotion. In a rather un-Anglican way I and a fellow ordinand had sat in the front row. I stood with a full view of the altar and as I sang the words:

“For companions past and present hear our gratitude today;

Could they guess what we have witnessed,

Could our forbears glimpse this day

When we gather in thanksgiving for your new steadfast way.” (Rosalind Brown)

I looked at the altar and those stood around it. I was struck by the tremendous sense of my own calling. That these strong women, and those who had come before them, had laid the path for me to be able to serve God in ministry as a Priest.   What happens on the 12th September and what happened at the conference is important not just in the sense that they have laid a path for women like me but that through their fight against oppression they send out an example to all women who face injustice and oppression of what can be achieved with prayer and perseverance.

The Gospel reading that evening was from St. Matthew. In it we are told that “not one shall be lost”. As we danced, yes I said danced, down the nave with my fellow ordinand nobody was lost. We were there: male, female, lay and clergy from all walks of life and from different parts of the country and indeed the world. However, as the weeks and months pass it will become clear that there will be some who do feel lost. We must all work together, find the common ground and act as one body respecting the diversity, which although has the ability to divide, also has the ability to enable growth and mission, which reflects the needs of the two most important factors in all our ministries; the will of God and the needs of our people.