The Tapestry: One Woman's Journey to Priesthood

The Tapestry: One Woman's Journey to Priesthood

by Libby Gilchrist


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Prolonged conflict is exhausting. So is facing sustained prejudice. In the Australian Anglican Church, in the Diocese of Wangaratta, there were many clergy who saw women priests as totally unacceptable, even contaminating. And so Libby’s 20 year struggle to follow a call that she couldn’t deny, was therefore grindingly hard. Not because of anything she had done, but simply because of what she was, what she is – a woman.

Her story is built around church, faith, and the struggle for women’s ordination, but it is also about much more than this. It is a personal exploration of how she reacted to the difficulties of her journey, revealing and describing her innermost thoughts and feelings over a long and extremely testing period.

Half way through this journey she made a tapestry, a visual representation of grief, with images that reflected her experiences – the stone wall of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the broken cross of the church in difficulty, as well as the butterfly of beauty and change. The tapestry is referred to throughout the book and gives life to the different aspects of her journey. It is a story of pain but also one of great joy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780648263951
Publisher: Initiate Media Pty Ltd
Publication date: 05/29/2018
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Libby Gilchrist is a Priest in the Anglican Church of Australia. Originally a teacher, the majority of her working life in the Church was in Wangaratta Diocese, in parishes and in hospital chaplaincy, as both deacon and then as priest. However, due to the complex legal restrictions in Wangaratta Diocese her actual ordination to the priesthood in 2005 had to be outside the diocese, at St Paul's Cathedral, in Melbourne. She and her husband Stuart, and dog Zack, now live on the Mornington Peninsula, where Libby assists in the local parish and works as a Spiritual Director. She has three children and six grandchildren.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1: I Leap Off The Cliff 1

Chapter 2: Calling 11

Chapter 3: I Am Hooked 21

Chapter 4: Dark Clouds 37

Chapter 5: The Stone Wall 51

Chapter 6: The Stole 59

Chapter 7: Sharp Stones In The Wall 67

Chapter 8: Anger And Despair 73

Chapter 9: The Rat In The Mud 85

Chapter 10: Rays Of Golden Light 95

Chapter 11: The Tapestry Revisited 107

Chapter 12: The Cracked Chalice 117

Chapter 13: Peace Between The Walls 123

Chapter 14: Walls Of Anger 131

Chapter 15: The Bleeding Chalice 137

Chapter 16: Red Hot Anger 145

Chapter 17: The Light In The Dark 153

Chapter 18: Grinding On 165

Chapter 19: Walking In The Mud 175

Chapter 20: A Step Forward 187

Chapter 21: The Clouds Part 195

Chapter 22: The Darkness And The Dawn 201

Chapter 23: On Top Of The Wall 211

Chapter 24: Beyond The Wall 217

Chapter 25: The Brown Boot 223

Chapter 26: The Perfume Of Crushed Roses. 239

Chapter 27: The Roses Bloom 249

Chapter 28: The Collected Tears 257

Chapter 29: The Gentle Strokes Of Love 265

Post Script: 269

Appendix: 271

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