Rosemary (left) during her ordination as a deacon

Assistant curate Rosemary Bungard will make history this week-end when she becomes the very first woman to be ordained as a priest on Skye.

The historic occasion will take place at St Columbus Church in Portree where Rosemary has been assistant curate for the last twelve months.

A former music teacher at Portree High School she also conducted the Skye & Lochalsh Young Music Makers Orchestra and the Skye & Lochalsh Orchestra. In addition to her duties at Portree she currently plays a similar role at St Mary’s in Sleat and St Michael and All Angels over on Raasay where she lives.

Rosemary’s ordination to the priesthood is actually thought to be only the second  to have ever taken place on Skye. The first is believed to be Mark Watham in the 1980’s.

Rosemary, initially trained for the ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Institute, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s theological college.

This training took place over several years and included  a mix of distance learning, residential periods and placements in various churches. The Institute trains clergy and lay readers for ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Ordination as a deacon is the first stage of ordained ministry in the Episcopal and other Anglican churches and in many cases the individuals remain in this role with a ministry focused upon service, both in church services and in the community. 

However others, such as in this case Rosemary, are ordained priests, usually about a year after becoming a deacon. A priest can administer sacraments and fully engage in leadership of worship and other aspects of church community life.

The Scottish Episcopal Church see themselves as an open, discussing and engaging church in Scotland and is a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion. A diverse church, which is widely respected for the quality of its ministry and worship and for the thoughtful dialogue which is characteristic of its life. It can trace its heritage back to the days of the reformation in Scotland, and has charges throughout the country.