Unmarried mother appointed as priest

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The Independent Online
A bishop last night defended the appointment of a priest who is an unmarried mother, saying her experience as a single parent would give her "a great sensitivity in dealing with all kinds of pastoral situations".

The Rev Diana Jones, 48, mother of a son born as a result of a relationship in the 1970s, has been appointed parish priest to the civilian population at the garrison town of Tidworth, Wiltshire.

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Dr David Stancliffe, supported her position and said her background as an unmarried mother gave her a valuable insight to the problems many of her parishioners faced today.

Ms Jones worked in local government for 23 years and became a deacon in 1991, working in the parish of Harnham, Salisbury, before becoming a priest in 1994 and moving to Tidworth two weeks ago.

While some of her new parishioners were disgruntled by the appointment, Ms Jones was unwilling to enter the controversy. "I am just an ordinary, frumpy, middle-aged woman. My past is not an issue, I am just trying to get on with my job," she said.

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