Gail Rodger is the first woman to become rector at the St. Peter & St. Paul parish in Esquimalt since it was consecrated in 1866. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

First woman appointed rector at Esquimalt Anglican church since 1866 consecration

Gail Rodger is the 32nd rector at St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican parish

Sitting under the soft light of 150-year-old stained glass windows at the parish of St. Peter and St. Paul, the only indication that Gail Rodger is now a member of the ministry is a small wooden cross around her neck and a clerical collar, poking out from above a moss green argyle sweater.

She wears jeans and brown boots and her eyes sparkle with an amicable kindness behind purple frames.

READ ALSO: Anglican Church to review governance structure after same-sex marriage change fails

Rodger is the first woman appointed rector to the St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican Church since 1866, but she said being a woman isn’t what gave her pause when she journeyed into her new role.

“My practicality was the thing I saw as the big difference,” she said. “There’s an image of a parish priest that’s still held in our society. If you actually go to churches, particularly Anglican churches, I think that image is incorrect.

“I think that we are called to journey with one another. That’s what our calling is, to support and love and journey with each other – not tell each other how to live, not judge each other’s actions, but come alongside.”

Rodger explained her call to the church came later in life – in fact less than 10 years ago, she was working as an accountant. But then she felt a “nudge of dissatisfaction.”

“That started me on the journey to explore more deeply a call to ministry,” she said. “I grew up a Christian and so that was not new for me, but it was a slow process. I tried some things and talked to some people … It’s been a long journey for me.”

READ ALSO: Woman to be archbishop in the Anglican Church of Canada for first time

Rodger went to the Vancouver School of Theology and graduated with a master’s in divinity in the spring. She’s excited to be welcomed as a deacon at the Esquimalt church in what she hopes to be a journey to priesthood.

The St. Peter and St. Paul parish is a member of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, which has churches on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Kingcome Inlet on the Sunshine Coast, all under Bishop Logan McMennamie.

As a newly-appointed rector, Rodger has her work cut out for her. She said she’ll be focusing on reconciliation and community engagement.

“We are called to reconciliation with First Nations people, we are on their land,” she said. “There have been terrible hurts. It’s going to take some time and we need to be working at that.”

Women have long been joining the ministry of Anglican churches, and Rodgers said she was surprised to learn that she would be the first female rector at the Esquimalt parish.

“I didn’t even know I was the first woman when I took the position, I found out after,” she said. “I guess I didn’t give it too much thought – about being the first woman. I don’t live in that kind of world. I live in a world where we love one another, however, that looks.”

Still, she pointed to plaques filled with names in the entranceway of the historic church. All of the 31 names belong to men, but there’s a space where, once she’s finished her term as rector, the first female name will be engraved.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

ICBC, province urge residents to plan ahead for winter weather

Greater Victoria should gear up and have a plan in place

Sooke mom launches GoFundMe campaign to get medical treatment for son

Single mother has two children facing medical challenges

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Victoria residents face long holds for non-emergency police calls

Victoria police face challenges ‘on many fronts’ since switching to E-Comm call centre

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Cowichan Milk Company: from grass to glass, bottled milk right to your door

Farm stand open 6 days a week, and home delivery is available everywhere from Mill Bay to Chemainus.

Most Read