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Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Professor Mandy Robbins: A generation of...

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Catrin Finch Centre

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Mold

Wrexham

LL11 2AW

United Kingdom

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A generation of change: Thirty years of women in the Church of England

Inaugural Lecture by Professor Mandy Robbins

Professor Mandy Robbins is Associate Head of the School of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.

In 1987 the first cohort of women were ordained as Deacon’s in the Church of England. Their ordination represented a radical and historic change in the nature and experience of ministry for the English Church. However, the women who constituted this first cohort of Deacons were also admitted to a ministry that was intended to be bounded, not for them the progression from Deacon to Priest that their male counterparts would follow, rather they would remain within a ‘permanent diaconate’ in effect, ‘priests in waiting’. By 1994 the pressure for change had become irresistible and the Church enacted legislation that admitted women to the priesthood.

Mandy’s initial engagement with this remarkable group of women was through a survey that explored their experiences of a long and often challenging journey to fulfil their calling. The level of response to the survey spoke volumes, but it wasn’t all about numbers – the survey sought to understand the women as a group and as individuals and rather tellingly, the personal letters she received revealed these women’s hopes and fears for their ministries, and their positions as pioneers in a Church and within communities.

In 2007 a second survey was conducted that enabled a comparison of the experiences of the pioneering priests and those who followed them into ministry. Whilst again the numbers revealed much, the research also showed that the Church, their communities, and the women Deacons themselves had changed. To explore the changes these women had undergone, and their experiences Mandy turned from studying them as members of a community to studying them as individuals, with their own, personal stories.

Professor Mandy Robbins is Associate Head of the School of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.

Mandy gained her first degree at the University of Wales, Lampeter in 1992 in Theology and Archaeology, her MPhil in Theology at Trinity College, Carmarthen in 1996, and her PhD in the Psychology of Religion at the University of Wales, Bangor in 2002.

In 2005 she completed a post-graduate diploma with the Open University in Psychology.In 2011 she obtained Chartered status with the BPS. Mandy is also qualified as an MBTI practitioner. She worked as a junior research fellow at Trinity College, Carmarthen 1995-1999.

From there she moved to the University of Wales, Bangor as teaching and research Fellow 1999-2007. In 2007 she moved to the University of Warwick as senior research fellow before moving in 2011 to Glyndŵr University as senior lecturer.

Her research areas include the beliefs and values of teenagers, Clergywomen in the Church of England and Work-related psychological health.

This is a free event. There will be a welcome drinks reception from 5.30pm and there will be an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of the lecture.


Wrexham Glyndŵr University prides itself on its applied research – that is research which makes a difference to industry and communities regionally and nationally. Our Inaugural and Professorial Lectures aim to showcase and celebrate the academic excellence of the University’s professorial staff, and bring leading research and thinking to the wider community.

Our Inaugural and Professorial Lectures are open to all and free to attend. Each lecture is preceded by a welcome drinks reception, and there is an opportunity for questions and answers with the speaker at the end.

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Catrin Finch Centre

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Mold

Wrexham

LL11 2AW

United Kingdom

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