Kathleen is on your screen

Last Updated: March 22, 2021 This post was written by Clive Price

There has been a ‘huge shift’ in understanding and appreciation of women in Methodist ministry.

That is the belief of Revd Dr Kathleen Richardson, who points out in a new video interview that women are filling most ministerial roles today.

Kathleen went on to become first female President of the Methodist Conference

Kathleen, an MMHS resident, was sharing her story with the Connexional Team’s Lead Media Officer Michael Ivatt as part of the Methodist Church’s celebration of International Women’s Day.

Michael introduced Kathleen as the first woman to become district chair, who then went on to become the first female President of the Methodist Conference. She also served in the House of Lords for 20 years as Baroness Richardson, until her retirement in 2018.

He asked Kathleen what changes she has seen, since being ordained in 1980. ‘There were far fewer of us in 1980,’ she said. ‘In the last few years, women are in the majority of people accepted as presbyters in the Methodist Church.’

She also went on to talk about the negativity she has experienced over the years. ‘It was difficult to persuade…that certainly somebody married with children would have time to do ministry,’ said Kathleen.

‘There had been Methodist women in presbyteral roles for 20 years’

Michael asked her if her appointments felt like momentous occasions at the time. ‘I think so,’ she said, ‘a great fuss was made about it being a first. But to me it just seemed a logical progression – a continuance of the ministry that I had set myself into and allowed to happen.’

Kathleen agreed it was the right moment to appoint a female President in 1992. ‘By the time I was President, there had been Methodist women in presbyteral roles for 20 years. So everybody felt it was the right time.’

Her story also made the front cover of the first edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots. The full Methodist Church interview can be seen at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpdlez6b0IY