Glasgow conference commemorates Olive Winchester
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Parkhead, Glasgow, Scotland
Nazarene pioneer Olive Winchester's graduation and ordination were celebrated at a conference at the University of Glasgow on May 11. Winchester, already a graduate of Harvard, received her Bachelor of Divinity (then a master's degree) 100 years ago. Soon after, she became the first woman ordained in the United Kingdom for Christian ministry. As an expert in biblical languages, Winchester later taught in three Nazarene colleges.

Speakers at the University of Glasgow conference included Janet Wooton of the Congregational Federation and Lesley Orr of the University of Edinburgh. Harold Raser, professor of the history of Christianity at Nazarene Theological Seminary, spoke on "Sisters in the Spirit: Women Preaching from John Wesley to Olive Winchester." Among the papers presented were "Olive M. Winchester: A Gentlewoman and a Scholar" by Rebecca Laird of Point Loma Nazarene University and "Rev'd Dr. Olive Winchester: Holiness Greek Scholar" by C. Jeanne Orjala Serrão of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Diane Leclerc of Northwest Nazarene University and Robert Doyle Smith of Olivet Nazarene University also read papers.

A commemorative service was held on the evening of May 11 in Sharpe Memorial Church of the Nazarene, where Winchester was ordained. The Parkhead building was scheduled for demolition to make way for a new building, but demolition was held off for the service. 

Samuel Hynd, grandson of George Sharpe, who ordained Olive Winchester, was present from Swaziland. Sharpe's wife, Jane, was the second woman to be ordained in Scotland, and his daughter, Agnes Kanema Hynd, was the third.

NTS professor T. A. Noble, whose family has attended the Parkhead church since 1906, gave a presentation entitled "Setting the Scene." The presentation contained photographs of Parkhead church members between 1909 and 1914, including one photo of the Young family, who later emigrated to Ohio. Their youngest son, Samuel, later became a general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. It was largely through Winchester's influence that the Pentecostal Church of Scotland united with the Church of the Nazarene in 1915.

On Saturday, May 12, the conference continued with presentations by Elaine Storkey, an Anglican and president of Tear Fund, and Deirdre Brower Latz, recently appointed principal of Nazarene Theological College-Manchester. Carla Sunberg, co-superintendent of the East Ohio District and president of Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, preached on Sunday, May 13.

A resolution was passed by the Scottish Parliament taking note of the centenary.
--Manchester Wesley Research Centre 

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