Who was the first British woman to become a deaconess in the Church of Scotland?

GRISELL BAILLIE 1822 – 1891

It wasn’t until 1969 that the Church of Scotland accepted the ordination of women. After a campaign lead by Mary Levison in the 1960s, the first woman priest, Catherine McConnachie, was ordained in 1969.

However both women had been allowed to be deaconesses and to preach in church.

The first woman to be licensed as a deaconess was Grisell Baillie.

After a lifetime devoted to philanthropy and good works Grisell became a deaconess of the Church of Scotland in 1888. Unfortunately she became ill and died of influenza a couple of years later.

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