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New Adviser for Women’s Ministry

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Meet the Revd Annie Blyth, the Bishop of Norwich’s new adviser for women’s ministry. Annie, assistant priest at St George Colegate, St George Tombland and St Giles-on-the-Hill in Norwich, said:

“I’m thrilled to be entrusted with this role and will do my utmost to serve my sisters to the best of my ability. I’m thankful that women have come a long way in the church in the last 30 years and we must continue to do all we can to enable us to flourish as leaders in God’s church.”

She was ordained after a career as a research fellow at the University of East Anglia, helping run research projects in medicine and pharmacy.

She said her call to ordination came as a surprise, despite a close friend, and one of the first women to become a priest, suggesting it 30 years ago.

“I was serving God as a Christian woman in the world; I was happy with my work and my life and considered myself very blessed,” said Annie, who is married to Raymond, a verger at the cathedral. They have four grown-up sons and six grandchildren.

Now she loves her work as a parish priest.

“It really is an honour and a joy, I appreciate taking services and sharing prayers and sacraments with my brothers and sisters. I also value the many interactions with people which the role allows – the community events and conversations on the street – weeping with those who weep and laughing with those who laugh.

I am chaplain at the Matthew Project and it’s a real privilege to be able to support that work, even in a small way.”

St George’s Colegate opens its doors as a hot spot in winter and cool spot in summer and Annie said:

I believe it has been quite transformational for the church and many of the people who come. We recently started a series of music workshops for new fathers, which evolved from the hot spot – it’s wonderful seeing things evolve organically.”

She admitted to being ‘utterly surprised’ when Bishop Graham encouraged her to take on the advisory role and said:

“I hope to be able to encourage and support my sisters in being the ministers that God has called them to be. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like at the moment but imagine that it will involve exploring issues women clergy face and offering pastoral support.”

Photo caption: The Revd Annie Blyth, Bishop’s adviser for women’s ministry. Photograph: Megija Campine, Norwich University of Arts