Colombo, Sri Lanka
The first female priests in the (Anglican) Church of Ceylon were ordained Sept. 14 by Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo at the cathedral in the capital. Rev. Chandrika Mayurawathie, Rev. Malini Devananda and Rev. Glory Jeyaraj were ordained.
“I have no words to describe my joy,” said Ms. Mayurawathie. “I have waited and prayed for this ordination for years.”
The ordination was the culmination of a three-decade process that began with the debate on women’s ordination in the Anglican clergy synod in 1974. The three women had been ordained as deacons in 2003 – a decade after the diocesan council affirmed the decisions of the Lambeth Conference on women’s ordination in 1988. The Church of Ceylon falls under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
While eagerly waiting a decade for her ordination as a priest, Ms. Mayurawathie, who is 45, said she decided not to marry “to serve the people of God better, and with full commitment.”
Ms. Jeyaraj, who is now in charge of the Christ Church pastorate at Ragale in the mountainous southern Nuera Eliya region, said, “Now, I have full freedom as a pastor.”