New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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Rev. Dr Phyllis Guthardt MA, PhD
President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand 1985-86

                         Order Book    

       Notes on Contributors
       Introduction: A Kind of Opening - Lynne Frith
      Church and Women's Agency: Contributors to the Early Ordination of Women to the Ministry within the Methodist Church of New Zealand - Val Bailey
      Phyllis Guthardt: Ecumenical Leader - Janet Crawford
    From Cambridge to Christchurch: Reflections on Women's Ordination - Lynne J. Wall
      A Trail Blazer's Legacy - SyM'a 'Akau'ola Tongotongo
      'Staying silent is grossly over-rated' - Susan Thompson
      'We claim the heritage of Christ' - Colin Gibson
       In Memoriam: Methodist Women Presbyters

In the brief outline of the Ordination Service held in the Taranaki St Methodist Church in Wellington on 8 November 1959, at the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, there is a rubric:

"SECTY: Introduces Ordinands. As each is named he' rise [sic] & remainsstanding ..."2

Phyllis Guthardt was among the ordinands - a lone woman, and, at least in the written record, almost invisible. The Conference minutes make no mention of the fact that her ordination was an historic event. Phyllis was the first woman to be ordained, not only in the Methodist Church of New Zealand, but also in the mainline Christian denominations in the country, and in the Methodist churches of Australia and the Pacific.

Dame Phyllis was the first woman I heard preach - at the International Women's Year Service at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, in 1975. Bishop Eric Gowing addressed the mostly female congregation exclusively as "brothers" or "brethren" or some similar term. Phyllis made some comment about this during her sermon, and, to his credit, the Bishop used more inclusive language as he concluded the service.

Lynne Frith