Religion: Hour Of Decision for Women Priests

The Church of England considers the ordination of females

Hardworking and attentive, Anthea Williams, 37, rises early every weekday morning to tend to the spiritual needs of the parishioners of Christ Church in Maidstone, a small town in southeast England. She baptizes babies, conducts funerals, comforts the sick in their homes and in hospital beds, and leads her congregation in prayer in the small, modern brick church. But as a woman, she is forbidden to celebrate the rite of Holy Communion for her flock of 40 parishioners. That central act of worship can be performed only by male clerics in the Church of England, who occasionally neglect even to show...

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