Popular vicar retires from village church

A FEMALE vicar who because the first woman on the Bishop of Bath and Wells' staff is retiring from her post. Reverend Liz Croft, aged 60, is currently the vicar of St Mary's Church in Wedmore, Holy Trinity Church in Blackford and Christ Church in Theale.

A FEMALE vicar who because the first woman on the Bishop of Bath and Wells' staff is retiring from her post. Reverend Liz Croft, aged 60, is currently the vicar of St Mary's Church in Wedmore, Holy Trinity Church in Blackford and Christ Church in Theale. She has served the parish for almost 12 years. The oldest female member of the clergy in Bath and Wells, she will be returning to her home county of Dorset to help look after her mother.Rev Croft said: "I started out as a modern languages teacher in Wiltshire and trained for the ministry while teaching. Then I moved into parish ministry in 1986. "There were no women priests back then so I was a curate, which is a sort of trainee."Then I was approached by a bishop who wanted to encourage women to join the church and I was asked to move to Bath and Wells. I worked in the Glastonbury area promoting women in the church and interviewing women who wanted to join. "In 1992, when the debate about female priests was in full swing, I became the official Dean of the Women's Ministry and became the first woman in the bishop's staff. "I was made a priest in 1994 and a year later I was put in charge of the clergy in Wedmore. "When the bishop asked me to consider Wedmore I decided to make a go of it."It has to be said there was quite a lot of opposition in the parish and people were concerned about a woman vicar, but now I have three very happy churches."Liz will hold her last service on July 15. There will be a period of 10 months after she leaves until a new minister moves into the vicarage. Until then, retired ministers in the area will be asked to help out with services.


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