Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

40 yrs of women's priesthood

Here are the covering notes and the full text of a commemorative liturgy to celebrate 40 years of women's ordination to the priesthood in the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Archdeacon Carole Hughes/CAWS advisory group  |  06 Nov 2017

Celebrating 40 Years of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood    

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

 Forty years ago on the 3rd and 4th of December 1977, the first ordinations of women to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia took place. It is so important that we honour this day together and in a format that embraces all three Tikanga. So, we encourage local ministry units and parishes on Sunday 3 December to remember and give thanks for all the women who have been ordained over the last 40 years. The following liturgy may serve as inspiration to spark creativity in celebrating in your contexts. However, to offer some unity across the Church, we encourage you to at least use the Hymn and Collect in your celebrations, written specially for this occasion.


On this day, we shall join to celebrate the educational, influential, and nurturing attributes of women and their contributions and commitments to the life of the Anglican Church in the past, present and future. We hope that this day will offer opportunities for stories to be shared, as well as creative and prayerful contributions made. As we share our stories and our ministries together, may we be inspired and refreshed to learn from the past, live fully in the present, and be open to new visions and opportunities for the future.


A celebration is not an end. Our story, both as an inclusive and loving Church and as the people of God, is not over and is never-ending. So, as we celebrate this important and momentous occasion, may we keep our eyes and hearts on the future and the never-ending mission to love all, which is to love God - to share our stories of pain and suffering, to stand up for justice and care for the lost and lonely, to share with people their sorrows and joys, to encourage the faithful, to pray for and help the sick; to be God in the world and to be united in love, as God’s people.

The Venerable Carole Hughes

Convenor, Council for Anglican Women’s Studies, 2017

Archdeacon of Auckland


Celebrating 40 Years of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood    
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia


Processional Himene


Te Whakatikatika/Call to Worship

Liturgist:            E te whānau a te Karaiti, we gather on this day across Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to celebrate 40 years of Priesthood for women in these lands.

People:            Let us give thanks for this day

Liturgist:            As the stories are told, and our ministries shared, may we all be inspired and refreshed to learn from the past, live fully in the present, and be open to new visions and opportunities for the future.

People:            Holy Spirit of God lead us and guide us

Liturgist:            In worship we enter expectantly into the presence of God, seeking new insights and revelations about our ministries and our world.

People:            Christ Jesus, awaken in us your call to justice and our hope for peace

Liturgist:            Holy, healing, enabling God, you call us into a church and a world where pain and suffering are part of our story.  You call us to stand up for justice, and care for the lost and lonely; to share people’s sorrows and joys, encourage the faithful, pray for healing and help the sick, proclaim God’s word and participate in Christ’s prophetic work.

Glory to God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life, who is, who was, and is to come.

Kia tau ki a koutou, te atawhai me tē                                        Grace and peace to you from God.

rangimārie o te Atua.

Me vakasinaiti kemuni na Kalou ena                                     God fill you with truth and joy.

dina kei na reki.           



E te whānau a te Karaiti, i te mea kua hara tātou                       We come seeking forgiveness

whakatata mai ki te hohou i te rongo                                         for all we have failed to be and do

                                                                                                  as members of Christ’s body

Nohopuku                                                                                Silence


He aroha tō tātou Atua.                                                              In God there is forgiveness.

E te Atua aroha e mōhio nei ki ngā mea katoa,                       Loving and all-seeing God,

whakaarahia mātou i roto i ō mātou ngoikoretanga.              Forgive us where we have failed to support  

Aroha mai i ō matou takanga ki te hē;                                     one another and to be what we claim to

i ō mātou whakaaro, i ā mātou mahi,                                       be.    

tohungia mātou.                                                                        Forgive us where we have failed to 

                                                                                                    serve you;

                                                                                                    and where our thoughts and actions

                                                                                                    have been contrary to yours    

                                                                                                    we ask your pardon.


Ena vuku ni kauveilatai I Karisito                                                   Through the cross of Christ

me sa lomani kemuni Vosoti kemuni                                              God have mercy on you,

ka sereki kemuni                                                                          pardon you

na Kalou.                                                                                     and set you free.

Moni vakacegu ni koni sa Vosoti.                                                    Know that you are forgiven

                                                                                                   and be at peace.


God strengthen you in all goodness                                             Me vakaukauwataki kemuni,

and keep you in life eternal.                                                        na Kalou ena veika vinaka taucoko,

                                                                                                Ka maroroi kemuni ena bula tawa yalani.

Amen.                                                                                        Emeni.



It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us by putting God’s seal on us and giving us God’s Spirit in our hearts.                                    2 Corinthians 1: 21-22



God, who has created us in your image,

as we remember 40 years of the ordained ministry of women in these lands

may the gift of memory become our treasure,

may our present time celebrate prophetic voices

that we may offer vision and hope for the future;

through Christ Jesus,

who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.




A reading from Acts 16: 12-15, 40 (Lydia)


Whakarongo ki te kupu a te Wairua ki te Hāhi.                        Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Whakapaingia te Atua.                                                            Thanks be to God.



Gradual Himene (suggestion only)

Come, Celebrate the Women’


Come, celebrate the women

who brought the church to birth

the gentle revolution

that shall transform the earth:

whose faith was salt and leaven,

whose hearts and minds were free,

and this war was their direction-

to peace and unity.


The teacher, saints and mothers

who lived and died unsung

kept safe the gospel story

and taught it to the young;

the Christ child Mary cradled,

the living word to be

was crucified for pleading

this peace and unity.


Daughters of the disciples,

you weave the story still,

the fabric of the future

with warmth and love and skill,

you make the bread of wholeness,

the wine of harmony-

and all shall share your feasting

in peace and unity.            

Tune: Ellacombe

Shirley Erena Murray

Words © 1992 Hope Publishing Company


The Holy Gospel

Luke 23: 54 – end 24: 1- 10


This is the Gospel of Christ.                                                            Te Rongopai tēnei a te Karaiti.

Praise to Christ the Word.                                                            Whakamoemititia Ia, te Kupu Mana.


Te Kauwhau/The Sermon/Reflection/Story telling


He Tikanga Whakapono

Ko koe, e te Atua tapu, te tino Atua,
Nōu te mana, te ihi, te wehi.
Nōu te ao, te mauri, te ora.
Nāu te katoa, i te rangi, i te whenua.
Ko koe tonu te Atua.

Ko koe te māramatanga o te ao,
I tīaho rā a koe i roto i te pōuri,
Kia puta ake tāu Tama ko Ihu Karaiti
Hei pou tokomanawa mō te ao.
Ko koe tonu te Atua.

Ko koe te Wairua Tapu,
Ko koe taku rākau,
Ko koe taku tokotoko,
Ko koe taku oranga ngākau ē,

Ko koe tonu rā te Atua. Korōria ki a koe.

Intercession and Thanksgiving/Na Veimasulaki/Nga Inoi Takawaenga Me Nga Whakawhetai:


Let us pray for the Church and the world, giving thanks for God’s goodness.

Holy God, we give you thanks for all women and men who minister in your church and in your world. We remember those who have gone before us. Today we honour all women who have offered their ministry through Priesthood; who have loved you, their communities and our church across Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. Thank you for their willingness to offer radical love sometimes in the midst of immense pain, and their commitment to growing faith in Christ and offering peace and hope to our World. We spend a moment in silence giving thanks for their lives and their ministries amongst us…….

May they continue to inspire us all in our faith and in our ministries.

We are thankful for the beauty and bounty of the many islands in this Church. We pray that we will generously share resources and live wisely, and that the effects of climate change will be addressed appropriately by leaders of our nations.  We pray for those whose coastal homes are in danger, and those who live in fear of disaster.  We especially remember all who at this time are struggling to survive in the midst of war and tragedy.   May our responsibility to care for your creation and your people always be a priority.

We give thanks for all in our communities who work to keep us safe. We thank you God for the selfless giving of church members in volunteer work in church and community. We pray for all who are employed in social service and advocacy ministries across our Tikanga. We pray for homes, families and friends; that we may respect our commitments to one another; live peacefully together; that children may be surrounded with security and love; and that young people may find encouragement and inspiration. Help us to honour and cherish the older people in our nations. Remind us that you have woven us together so that no strand by itself reveals your design but together we are your whanau.

Today we bring to you those in need, the sick, the lonely, those without resources for basic living needs, and the dying. Guide us to pray with hope and to be generously part of the solution.  In silent prayer we pray for all those whom we know to be in need of prayer….

We pray for ourselves.  Strengthen us all who minister in your name.  Give us courage to proclaim your Gospel, to seek peace, to promote justice, and to live in love.

E te Atua o te tūmanako, mā tau manaaki                                   God our hope,

e ū ai ā mātou whakamoemiti                                                     may your blessing empower

inoi hoki, ka whakapono mātou ko koe                                         our thanksgiving and our prayer;

te Atua ora,                                                                               for we put our trust in you the living God,

koi wawata, koi tutuki, koi mahi, koi taea, ka ū tonu.                    risking disappointment, risking failure

Korōria ki a koe.                                                                      working and waiting expectantly.


The Peace


The peace of God be with you all.                                 Kia whakapaingia a te Karaiti, te Ariki o te rongomau

In God’s justice is our peace.                                    E turaki nei i ngā tau-ārai o te wehe.

E te whānau / Brothers and sisters,                               Kia tau te rāngimarie o te Atua ki a koutou.

Christ calls us to live in unity.                                       Kia whakapaingia te Karaiti e tuitui nei i a tā74tou

We seek to live in the Spirit of Christ.                       i roto i te rongomau.


Offertory Himene


THE GREAT THANKSGIVING (Use language and form appropriate to context)


Kua ara a te Karaiti!                                                                         Christ is Risen!

He pono tonu, kua ara a Ia.                                                            He is risen indeed.


Whakareia ō koutou ngākau ki te rangi                                                Lift your hearts to heaven

kei reira nei te Karaiti kei tōna ahurewa tapu.                                where Christ in glory reigns


Kia whakapaingia te Atua.                                                                   Let us give thanks to God

He mea tika kia tāpaea te whakapai, te whakamoemiti.                 It is right to offer thanks and praise.


Ko te hari mō tō mātou whakaoranga,                                                  It is the joy of our salvation,

e te Atua o Tua-whakarere,                                                                 God of the universe,

ki te tuku whakawhetai ki a koe                                                           to give you thanks

i roto i a Ihu Karaiti.                                                                            through Jesus Christ.


You said, ‘Let there be light’;

there was light.

Your light shines on in our darkness.

For you the earth has brought forth life

in all its forms.


You have created us

to hear your Word,

to do your will

and to be fulfilled in your love.

It is right to thank you.


You sent your Son to be for us

the way we need to follow

and the truth we need to know.


You sent your Son to give his life

to release us from our sin.

His cross has taken our guilt away.


You send your Holy Spirit

to strengthen and to guide,

to warn and to revive your Church.

Therefore, with all your witnesses

who surround us on every side,

countless as heaven’s stars,

we praise you for our creation

and our calling,

with loving and with joyful hearts:


Holy God, holy and merciful, holy and just,

glory and goodness come from you.

Glory to you most high and gracious God.


Blessed are you, most holy, in your Son,

who washed his disciples’ feet.

‘I am among you,’ he said, ‘as one who serves.’


On that night before he died

he took bread and gave you thanks.

He broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take, eat, this is my body

which is given for you;

do this to remember me.


After supper, he took the cup,

and gave you thanks.

He gave it to them and said:

Drink this. It is my blood of the new covenant,

shed for you, shed for all,

to forgive sin;

do this to remember me.


Therefore, with this bread and wine

we recall your goodness to us.


God of the past and present,

we your people remember your Son.

We thank you for his cross and rising again,

we take courage from his ascension;

we look for his coming in glory

and in him we give ourselves to you.


Send your Holy Spirit,

that we who receive Christ’s body

may indeed be the body of Christ,

and we who share his cup

draw strength from the one true vine.


Called to follow Christ,

help us to reconcile and unite.

Called to suffer,

give us hope in our calling.


For you, the heavenly one, make all things new;

you are the beginning and the end, the last and the first.


Praise, glory and love be yours,

this and every day,

from us and all people,

here and everywhere. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer/Te Inoi a te Ariki

(Said in the language(s) of your choice)

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever.  Amen.



E tō mātou Matua i te rangi

Kia tapu tōu Ingoa.

Kia tae mai tōu rangatiratanga.

Kia meatia tāu e pai ai ki runga ki te whenua,

kia rite anō ki tō te rangi.

Hōmai ki a mātou āianei he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.

Murua ō mātou hara,

Me mātou hoki a muru nei

i ō te hunga e hara ana ki a mātou.

Aua hoki mātou a kawea kia whakawaia;

Engari whakaorangia mātou i te kino:

Nōu hoki to rangatiratanga,

to kaha, me to korōria, Āke ake ake. Āmine.



Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and for ever.  Amen.



Christ’s body was broken for us on the cross.

Christ is the bread of life.


His blood was shed for our forgiveness.

Christ is risen from the dead.


The Invitation


Come God’s people,                                                    Haere mai e te kāhui a te Atua,

come to receive Christ’s heavenly food.                        tangohia ēnei kai rangatira a te Karaiti.

Faalatalata mai ia tatou talia le tino ma le toto o lo tatou Faaola


Communion Himene


Post Communion Sentence


If we love one another God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:12

Blessing of Priests

All female Priests are invited to move forward for a prayer and blessing from the Bishop (or Bishop’s representative)



The Blessing


The blessing of the God of Sarah and of Abraham,

the blessing of the Son, born of Mary,

the blessing of the Spirit,

who broods over us, as a mother over her children,

be with you now and forever.  Amen



Recessional Himene (suggested)

We Shall Go Out with Hope and Resurrection’


We shall go out with hope of resurrection;

we shall go out, from strength to strength go on;

we shall go out and tell our stories boldly;

tales of a love that will not let us go.

Well sing our songs of wrong that can be righted;

we’ll dream our dream of hurts that can be healed;

we’ll weave a cloth of all the world united

within the vision of new life who sets us free.


We’ll give a voice to those who have not spoken;

we’ll find the words for those whose lips are sealed;

we’ll make the tunes for those who sing no longer,

expressive love alive in every heart.

We’ll share our joy with those who are still weeping,

raise hymns of strength for hearts that break in grief,

we’ll leap and dance the resurrection story

including all in circles of our love.

Tune: Londonderry Air

June Tilman

Words © 1993 Hope Publishing Company


Te Haerenga Atu/Dismissal of the Community


Haere i runga i te aroha. Haere i runga i te rangimārie.

Āmine. Ka haere mātou i runga i te ingoa o te Karaiti. Korōria ki te Atua.

Tikanga Pakeha hymn

Praise God for faithful women 

Tune: Thaxted (I vow to thee my country)

Praise God for faithful women 

who, from the Gospel’s birth, 

have lived their lives for Jesus 

in every land on earth 

by leadership and teaching, 

with work of loving care, 

as visionaries and mystics 

in solitude and prayer.  

They stand throughout our history 

as signs of hope and grace, 

revealing Jesus’ presence 

within their time and place.


Give thanks for their persistence

in claiming Jesus’ call

to be what he has made them,

whose church includes us all:

to serve as priests and leaders,

stand at their brothers’ side,

enriching Jesus’ people 

with gifts too long denied.

Old barriers have fallen;

the Gospel sets us free

to follow where God leads us

in true equality.


So we, who walk together 

into the coming day, 

give thanks for faithful women, 

who join us as we pray 

to share with those we care for 

the truth we have believed, 

and bear into the future

the light we have received.  

With called and chosen women

who lead us in God’s ways, 

we bring our dedication, 

our offering of praise.    

 by Marnie Barrell, 2017

Tikanga Pasifika hymn

Here I am Oh God Send me

Over suns and moon 

Since I heard the voice 

Who shall go for us and 

Whom shall we send 

As for those who believed 

-was a call to receive

Here I am Oh God

Send me. 



40th Anniversary 

Women Priesthood Ministry 

Three Tikanga


Resource produced by Archdeacon Carole Hughes, Council for Anglican Women’s Studies, 2017

using A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, The Church of the Province of New Zealand, William Collins Publications Ltd, Auckland, 1989.

Collect – inspired by prayers by The Reverends Wendy Cranston and Jean Brookes

For copies of the liturgy in Word document format or for the tune of the Tikanga Pasifika hymn please contact:

General Synod Office Events & Projects Administrator, Vanda Breslin :