Two women complete their long, hard journey to fulfil a calling to God

ANNE McKenna and Robyn Shackell began their journey to the priesthood six years ago when they were ordained at the same time as deacons.

It was not a journey without obstacles. Being the first in the diocese added challenges to what is already a challenging vocation. 

However, Anne – now reverend – McKenna said nothing was going to stop her from fulfilling a calling from God.

“It (the calling) was unexpected. It takes you by surprise,” Reverend McKenna explained.

“It is something you cannot ignore, though. It has been hard as a journey but you have to respond God’s call.”

That call saw the two deacons continue to push to be accepted into the second order of the Anglican Church, the priesthood, despite opposition from some quarters.

The landmark moment was in October when the Ballarat Synod voted to ordain women priests for the first time.

“One of the major moments was to get our own diocese to accept it, but after that it was full steam ahead,” Reverend McKenna said.

“It has happened quickly.

“There is not a sense of personal achievement for me. But there is a real sense of release so I can embark on the ministry to which I was called.”

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