Caroline Pearce Memorial Lecture


A lecture in honour of the life and legacy of pioneer the Reverend Caroline Pearce was hosted by St John’s Church, Halifax Street, Adelaide on 7 October 2022. Entitled ‘Imagining Otherwise: Persistence Personified’ it was given by her long-time friend and supporter, Dianne Bradley OAM. It is attached below.

The occasion was one of a number specially arranged to mark the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women as priests in the Diocese of Adelaide on 5 December 1992.

St John’s Church played a significant role in the early history of MOW SA, hosting meetings and housing a small library of books on feminist theology. In her later years, Caroline and Bill worshipped at St John’s. Her ashes are interred in the church garden. Thanks are due to St John’s for their warm welcome and generous hosting of the evening.

The lecture is attached with Dianne’s permission. Those present also watched ‘The Fully Ordained Meat Pie’, Gillian Coote’s 1987 documentary about MOW. Those who had not seen it and those who had were in awe of the courage of Patricia Brennan and many others in early MOW and the challenges they faced. The presence of the Reverend Alison Cheek from the US and Sister Angela of Stroud (‘Laugh in the face of tigers, darlings!) were inspiring.

It was a most heart-warming evening. Thank you Dianne, the Reverend Peter Balabanski and Dr Caroline Adams, the people of St John’s and not least, Bill Pearce.

Caroline’s papers are held in the State Library of South Australia (search her name or PRG 1772 in the catalogue to see the holdings). They are open in their entirety to researchers.

Janet Scarfe

Caroline Pearce Memorial Lecture