Ill health forces archdeacon out

PUBLISHED: 13:03 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

ONE of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England has taken early retirement following a breakdown. The Archdeacon of St Albans, The Venerable Helen Cunliffe, took up the post in 2002 but retired at the end of December on g

ONE of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England has taken early retirement following a breakdown.

The Archdeacon of St Albans, The Venerable Helen Cunliffe, took up the post in 2002 but retired at the end of December on grounds of ill-health.

The Bishop of St Albans, The Rt Rev Christopher Herbert, paid tribute to Helen and her work.

He said: "Helen was a loved and respected Archdeacon. You only had to be with her in any of the parishes of the St Albans Archdeaconry to see that. She brought to her task, wisdom, sensitivity, a most generous and loving pastoral heart and a gentle but tough concern for the development of the mission of the Church. We shall miss Helen enormously and assure her and her family of our prayers for her well-being."

Archdeacon Helen's career spanned parish and cathedral ministry, as well as university chaplaincy, and she served as a deacon and deaconess before becoming one of the first woman to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994. The diocese will be advertising for her successor shortly.

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