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Women in the Church: A Memoir

Uniting Church Historical Society,

Review by Rev Dr Geraldine Wheeler.

IN Women in the Church: A Memoir, Jean Yule recounts her life experience in family and the church.

She had major church involvement with women’s groups, e.g. the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU), the PWA and writing the Women in the Church page in Australian Presbyterian Life. She was also very active in ecumenical
affairs and social justice areas and worked with others to bring about the participation of women into all areas of the church’s life, particularly the decision-making councils and the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

Jean Yule had experience of both the Congregational and Methodist churches. When she married Alec Yule she became part of a Presbyterian family which produced generations of ministers.

She was aware that women had been ordained in the Congregational Church since the 19th century and that the Methodist Church in Australasia found no theological reasons against the ordination of women, only practical ones.

The focus of this memoir is the struggle of women to overcome the gender barrier in the Presbyterian Church.

The Epilogue surveys the place of women in the Uniting Church.

The book is carefully documented, often quoting in detail signifi cant speeches and the minutes recording the decisions of church assemblies.

Journey recently reported on the milestone anniversary of Rev Dr Norma Spear and the induction of Queensland’s first female Moderator, Rev Kaye Ronalds.

The younger generations of women in the Uniting Church perhaps take for granted their opportunities to participate at all levels of the church’s decision-making and ministry.

Jean Yule’s memoir is a very important, carefully written historical account of how she saw these changes occur.