Diocesan press releases

Launch of ground breaking book on Women, Identity and Religion at St Asaph Cathedral

A new book offering significant and original insights into women, Welsh identity and religion will be launched at St Asaph Cathedral.

Women, Identity and Religion in Wales by Manon Ceridwen James, a Canon at the Cathedral, is the first comprehensive study of its kind from a present-day perspective. At the heart of the book are conversations with thirteen women whose lives and experiences reveal how women facing misogyny, repression and stigmatisation are able to respond with resilience and humour.  These are woven together with stories and poems of Welsh women writers, including Menna Elfyn, Jasmine Donahaye and Mererid Hopwood, to offer an in-depth understanding of the dynamic interplay between Welsh female identity and religion.

The book launch, which will feature a reading from the book by the author, and a question and answer session, will now take place in the new tearooms of St Asaph Cathedral on Friday 23 March at 7pm – 8.30pm.  (This was originally scheduled for 2 March but due to snow it was postponed.)

Canon Dr Manon Ceridwen James, who is the Director of Ministry for the Diocese of St Asaph, said: “I’m delighted to be launching this book, which brings a fresh perspective on the lives of Welsh women. So many people contributed to the book and it’s important that their voices are heard, and their stories read.

“It began as an exploration of why women, in my experience, lacked self-confidence and whether faith played any part in this.

“Though stories, poems and interviews, I concluded that Welsh women are resilient, able to reject attempts to control or subdue them. Welsh women have an empowering stereotype, the Strong Woman, and are constructing new identities for themselves beyond the pressures to be respectable and submissive.

“There is therefore a real challenge for the churches and Christian institutions in Wales that if they want to engage with Welsh women effectively, they have to do so with humility and to change practices, cultures and theologies which shame, stigmatise and infantilise them.”

Women, Identity and Religion in Wales is published by University of Wales Press. You can also purchase the book online through the usual booksellers including their website:

http://www.uwp.co.uk/book/women-identity-and-religion-in-wales-paperback/ or it can be ordered through your local bookstore.

All are welcome at the launch where signed copies will be available to buy at a special price. For catering purposes it would be helpful to let Manon know if you will be coming, as there will be light refreshments.

Note to Editors

Manon was brought up in Nefyn, on the Llŷn Peninsula.  She was among the first women to be ordained priest in the Church in Wales in January 1997 and has worked in both the Diocese of St Asaph and the Diocese of Bangor.  She lives in Abergele with her husband Dylan and has two daughters, Miriam and Catrin and a step-son Harri.

As Director of Ministry, it’s Manon’s job to determine if people are suitable for ministry roles within the church.  She is also responsible for in-service training in the diocese for clergy and lay ministers.

Manon is a first language Welsh speaker and is able to conduct interviews through the medium of Welsh and English.