Women's Ordination Worldwide

WOW Origins and Organisation

Women’s Ordination Worldwide was founded at the 1st European Women’s Synod in Gmunden, Austria, in July 1996. It formed part of many resolutions that were passed at the end of the conference, which was attended by over one thousand women from all Christian denominations and other faiths. The vision of WOW was all encompassing to include all Christian denominations in every part of the globe. It is only slowly being realised and it will take time to develop a vision of the vastness of this perspective. The ecumenical and worldwide aims were clear from the beginning: to pray, reflect, educate and help women develop relevant forms of Christian ministry according to the traditions, personal calling and the prevalent culture of their times. It was WOW’s aim to listen to women as they explore new ways of ministry, including but not exclusively ordination to the diaconate and to the priesthood.

In the initial stages of this organisation most of the groups have been Roman Catholic but all these groups have always included women and men of other Christian denominations. As WOW develops and becomes better known it is beginning to attract more members from other Christian denominations, to make WOW truly worldwide, inclusive and true to its origins.

Structures: It was agreed initially that the contact group for this new venture should rotate from country to country every two years. Women’s Ordination Conference - WOC, USA - agreed to take it on initially for two years. Catholic Women’s Ordination (CWO - Great Britain) agreed to take on the co-ordination after WOC in 1998 and continued beyond the two year mandate until the 1st International WOW Conference in Dublin at the end of June 2001. Brothers And Sister In Christ (BASIC - Ireland) were appointed for a six month period to the end of 2001 and from 1 January 2002 We Are Church (Austria) have been nominated as co-ordinator of WOW.

Each country was to have two representatives on the WOW steering group. Administration costs for WOW were to be covered by an annual subscription. . The agreement was that each group would give $20.00 per annum and individual members were invited to give what they could afford. A WOW administration fund has now been set up in Britain. A Rapid Response Group was set up to respond to the Press. A subcommittee was set up after the WOW steering group meeting held in Dublin on 1 July 2001 to develop a constitution for WOW.

WOW Co-ordinators:

1996 - 1998 Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) USA
1998 - 2001 Catholic Women’s Ordination (CWO) Britain
2001 ( 6 months) Brothers And Sisters In Christ (BASIC) Ireland
2002 - 2004 We Are Church (WAC) Austria

Last updated 17-Oct-2001