Ordained with the first wave of female ministers in the Anglican Church in 1985, Rois is no stranger to remarks about her gender.

Anglican minister named one of Canada’s most powerful women

“It was my father that set me on this path. He would tell us, ‘you can do anything you set your mind to.’”

TORONTO, ON—The Women's Executive Network has named an Anglican minister as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.

Judy Rois is the CEO and executive director of the Anglican Foundation of Canada, an organization that raises money from Anglican parishes across the country and invests it in a diverse portfolio. The funds are then returned to churches and parishes for projects like music, the arts, theological education, construction and renovation, and children’s hospices.

Ordained with the first wave of female ministers in the Anglican Church in 1985, Rois is no stranger to remarks about her gender. “I did get hurt at first because some of the things people said or did [to me] was very unkind and even unchristian.”

She says she still gets comments about being a woman in ministry. However over the years, Rois has developed a lot of patience and fortitude to deal with those obstacles.

“It was my father who set me on this path,” recalls Rois. “He would tell us, ‘you can do anything you set your mind to’. [He] didn’t push his daughters into typical female professions at the time. Figure out what you love and don’t let anything stand in your way.”

Raised in the Lutheran Church, Christianity was always a part of Rois’ life. After graduation and inspired by her father, she pursued theological studies. Then after promptings from two bishops, Rois made the decision to be ordained. She served in Toronto parishes for the next 28 years.

Along the way Rois earned her doctorate degree and now, in addition to her work with the Anglican Foundation of Canada, she teaches homiletics (preaching) at the University of Toronto.

Rois says being named to the Top 100 was quite unexpected but not unwelcome. “The acknowledgement is wonderful. I am not one to sort of grab at the spotlight or look for lots of acknowledgement from outside. I just think my work speaks loud enough but once the acknowledgement was given I was delighted. Thoroughly delighted.”

For women who are considering ministry, or other male-dominated professions, Rois has some advice.

“The road is easier now for women in ministry but some challenges still remain. I would say that [instead of] raising your fist to demand recognition and acceptance, give your energy to do your job to the best of your ability. Keep learning and advancing your skill set, surround yourself in supportive colleagues, and be the best you can be.”

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About the author

ChristianWeek Western Correspondent