Two female ministers have celebrated the 50th anniversary of women being ordained in the Methodist Church.

Revd Claire Simpson and Revd Karen James, both ministers in the Southampton district, marked the golden anniversary of the Methodist Church allowing female presbyters.

Women were initially permitted to be deacons from 1890 but were first ordained as presbyters on July 2, 1974.

Revd Simpson currently serves as a Methodist presbyter in Basingstoke, and is the Presbyteral Synod Secretary for the Southampton District.

She said: "I am proud to belong to, and play my part in, a denomination that is leading the way in being evangelistic, inclusive and justice-seeking."

Revd James, ordained in 2021 and based in Dorset, added: "I have been privileged to have walked with so many authentically faithful people through the years. I have appreciated the space that Methodism has allowed me to work out ‘who I am’ as a disciple, and more recently as a presbyter."