Bleeding Women in Sacred Spaces: Negotiating Theological Belonging in the 'Pathway' to Priesthood

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This article focuses on the theological journeying of women ordinands in the Church of England, who have had to negotiate their belonging in the ‘pathway’ to Priesthood in ordination training. Attention is given to the extent to which the personhood of women is enabled to truly flourish in a theological education system that is dominated by men and predominantly patriarchal and Western theologising. It suggests that a gendered politics of belonging has been used and maintained through the socio-religious construct of ‘shame’ in order to maintain the boundaries of belonging within the formation process, and therefore calls for an en-gendered ‘pathway to the priesthood’. This is exemplified in a re-reading of the bleeding woman who dares to challenge the hegemonies of patriarchy and purity by touching the cloak of Christ in Luke 8:40-48. This research is part of an ongoing project with Common Awards at Durham University that explores barriers to belonging in theological education for those in training for ordination. It has therefore received ethical approval for interviews and participant observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages13
JournalFeminist Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021


  • feminist theology
  • Clergy
  • Christianity
  • purity


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