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A Kind of Opening - a tribute to Dame Phyllis Guthardt - Wesley Historical Society

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

                         Order Book    


5 Acknowledgements

6 Notes on Contributors

9 Introduction: A Kind of Opening - Lynne Frith

13 Church and Women's Agency: Contributors to the Early Ordination of Women to the Ministry within the Methodist Church of New Zealand - Val Bailey

40 Phyllis Guthardt: Ecumenical Leader - Janet Crawford

45 From Cambridge to Christchurch: Reflections on Women's Ordination - Lynne J. Wall

49 A Trail Blazer's Legacy - SyM'a 'Akau'ola Tongotongo

51 'Staying silent is grossly over-rated' - Susan Thompson

56 'We claim the heritage of Christ' - Colin Gibson

58 In Memoriam: Methodist Women Presbyters

59 Index

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