On 17 September 2017, the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation in the UK marked the centenary of the ordination of Constance Coltman as a Congregational minister.
She was the first woman to be ordained in a mainstream British denomination – and she continued her pioneering role by remaining active in ministry as a married woman and mother.
Her courage showed from the start in the sacrificial ministry she shared with her husband in London Docklands. A committed pacifist and suffragist, she was also an early supporter of birth control. With clear views on women’s history and role in the Church, Constance Coltman did much to promote women’s ordination across the churches, at home and abroad.
On 30 September 2017 we shall be continuing the tradition by Ordaining and Inducting Angela Rigby as our minister here at St Johns Hill, in a joint pastorate with Christ Church URC at Tonbridge.
So, who is she? Angela, like Alice, is married (to Mark), and a mother, with daughters Ruthanne (14) and Elizabeth (12). Born in the USA, she and the family have been living in the St Helens area working as an Elder in several URC churches, before going on to Northern College, Manchester for her training, specialising in Contextual Theology and studying for her MA.
She came to London originally to work in a placement, with Time for God, in a day care centre for the homeless and has undertaken very different subsequent placements with Tear Fund in the red-light area of Mumbai and locally with the Support for Wigan Arrivals project, seeing a wide range of human situations.
She has self-published two books – The Generation Who Wrestles with God (2014) – a reader response to the story of Jacob that highlights the work of the local charity Youth Aflame, and, in the second – Justice, Kindness, Righteousness: Why Kibera Matters (2014) – co-written with Anglican vicar Rev Wachira Maina, they examined Jeremiah 9:24 through the words and actions of Jesus and related that to Wachira’s work in Kibera, Kenya.
A good listener, with a wide interest in music (who wouldn’t, have coming from Tennessee!), outside of church life she has had considerable experience working in the Telecommunications industry. The exact dates when she will be leading worship from early October are still being arranged but will be publicised on our website.