With Dignity and Grace
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With Dignity and Grace
Authors: Julia Turner & Daphne Wormell
Published: Dec 2013
Pages: 220   (hardback)
Weight: 550g
Price: €25.00
ISBN: 978-1-909442-01-6
The hope that 'bishops may yet be bringing their husbands to Lambeth' was how Daphne Wormell (1916-2001) ended an article on 'Women and the Church' in 1970. It was the start of a decades long movement for the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Church of Ireland. Daphne was one of the first lay readers in the Church. As a founder and then Chair of the Women's Ministry Group she ensured that the potential of women remained a perennial topic of debate until agreement was reached 20 years later in 1990. The story of how this was achieved is one strand in her story told here.

A second strand is her concern for the importance of play for children. She helped to create the Irish Pre-School Playgroup Association despite opposition from the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid - he opposed playgroups because he thought parents might start gossiping while the children were attending them! Although no longer in the slightest measure controversial, the idea of playgroups had to be presented, argued and pressed time and time again. She was one of a small number of women who started an association which in 2013 had over 50,000 children attending groups.

This is also the story of a woman filling the traditional role of household manager for her husband and her four children. While working on access to the priesthood in church and on play for children in national politics, meals were cooked, fruit was picked and made into jam, and school was taught. Her childhood in Canada, studies at Trinity College Dublin, and marriage after a courtship of a few weeks illuminate her later life in Dublin.
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