The ‘women in waiting’ Ogilvy includes are largely British Anglicans. She features many of those tipped to be in the running to become the UK’s first female bishop, including Rev Lucy Winkett, rector of St James’s Piccadilly; Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, speaker’s chaplain to the House of Commons; and the Venerable Sheila Watson, archdeacon of Canterbury.
The author also features the stories of two standout US Episcopal Church leaders: presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Chilton Knudsen, assistant bishop of New York.
The majority of the book is written in the first person, inviting the reader to share in the honest and sometimes deeply moving accounts of the journeys taken by each woman to her current position of church leadership. You can’t fail to be touched – and shocked – by the judgement and hardship faced by many of them. Winkett was once spat on by a clergyman when she was appointed as the first female priest at St Paul’s Cathedral, for example.
Ogilvy could be critiqued for only including one interview with a female leader from outside the Anglican Church: Catholic Baroness Helena Kennedy, who was the first female moderator of the Church of Scotland.
This book is essential reading for women – and men – who want to better understand the history and church context in which our first female bishops will find themselves. The women are no longer in waiting.