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13 November 2014

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You are in: Gloucestershire > Faith > Faith features > Punk rocker joins the priesthood

Punk rocker joins the priesthood

She loves the Sex Pistols and sports a nose stud. But she also wears a dog collar – because the Reverend Skye Denno is one of the new priests ordained at Gloucester Cathedral.

The ordination of Priests with Bishop Michael at Gloucester Cathedral

Bishop Michael with the newly ordained priests

In the line-up of new priests ordained at Gloucester Cathedral, one woman is certainly different from the traditional image of a vicar in the shires.

"It's important for me to keep it real and not be another stuffy, middle class vicar."

Skye Denno

Things have moved on since simply being a female priest in the Church of England was unusual: the fact that 12 women and seven men are the latest recruits to the Gloucester Diocese is testament to that.

But Skye Denno certainly turned heads when she first arrived as curate at St James The Great Church in Dursley last year.

Her lifestyle - she dresses unconventionally, likes clubbing, pubs and punk music - might have traditionalists tut-tutting, but mother-of-two Skye says she knows she was born to serve God. And she reckons her family and friends knew she'd become a priest before she did.

Interviewed when she became curate Skye said she didn't deliberately set out to shock when she went out in hot pants and biker boots with her dog collar.

Skye Denno with the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revered Michael Perham

Skye with Bishop Michael

Keep it real

She told the Citizen newspaper "I don't do it to be difficult, it's just me. I think God has chosen me because I'm me, not because I am a woman.

"It's important for me to keep it real and not be another stuffy, middle class vicar."

But speaking to BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Richard Atkins the day after her ordination, Skye Denno admitted she has toned down her image a bit - including her once-vivid choice of hair colours.

"It's black at the moment. In my line of work you have to be sensitive, you don't want to put people off too much," she said.

"The call to priesthood is a call to holiness, so in that calling and that journey over the last few years there has been a sense of having to rethink lifestyle and behavioural choices, in the same sense that all of us going forward for Christ's ministry need to look at our lives.

Holy Spirit

"Yes, I think things have needed to change but at the heart of me it's still the same."

Of her feelings at her ordination Skye said: "I really had a very distinct sense of the Holy Spirit.

"The whole service was very emotional and all of us felt the Spirit leading us, and when Bishop Michael put his hands on us there was a change, yes, there was a difference. 

"It's something I felt called to do a long, long time ago and now I'm finally here."

How do Skye's friends and family - husband Joel and children Sophia and Phoenix feel about her becoming a fully-fledged priest? 


She says: "This is not a surprise, they knew this is what God's called me to do, probably before I did.

"My children love it here and it's very natural for them to be here and see their Mum doing something she loves.

"They've settled very well into Dursley, it's been a very welcoming community and has been amazing to all of us."

And just how HAVE locals reacted to Skye's 'alternative' look and outlook?

"They haven't batted an eyelid really. Janet (the Rev Janet Bromley, rector of St James) is a bit out of the ordinary in her personality so they're used to slightly quirky clergy."


The 17 new priests are the largest number ordained at Gloucester Cathedral since Michael Perham became Bishop.

He says the high number reflects the organisation of the Church in the 21st century, with fewer full-time stipendiary clergy and more who worked part-time or in an unpaid capacity, fitting their religious responsibilities round other commitments.

Bishop Michael said: "Ordaining new priests to support their congregations in sharing the Christian faith and serving God's world is one of the great occasions for me, especially so when there is a record number of candidates and each them with wonderful gifts to offer."

The full list of new priests ordained into the Gloucester Diocese on June 7 2009 were:

  • Christine Birkett (Berkeley with Wick, Breadstone and Newport)
  • Yvonne Brae (Cheltenham, St Michael; Cheltenham, St Luke and St John)
  • Jean Brown (Lechlade)
  • Arthur Champion (Badgeworth, Shurdington and Witcombe with Bentham)
  • Sue Cox (Bourton on the Water with Clapton and The Rissingtons)
  • Tim Curtis (Cheltenham St Mary with St Matthew)
  • Skye Denno (Dursley)
  • Janet Faull (Cheltenham, Christ Church)
  • Debbie Forman (Churchdown, St John the Evangelist and Innsworth)
  • David Gardiner (North Cheltenham Team)
  • Leonora Hill (Charlton Kings, St Mary)
  • Gillian Hubbard (Gloucester St Paul)
  • Denise Hyde (Fairford and Kempsford with Whelford)
  • Rachel Rosborough (Charlton Kings, Holy Apostles)
  • Steve Taylor (Highnam, Lassington, Rudford, Tibberton and Taynton)
  • Marion Williams (Gloucester, St Catharine)
  • Tony Williams (Bream)

last updated: 22/06/2009 at 10:57
created: 22/06/2009

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

John Doherty
1 Cor 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”. What an inadequate computation of men. Is that not Ten women and seven men? Has the house of God also become like our discredited government and turned into a media magnet seeking house of women. Eve done for the human race what this PC group will do the Anglican Church. I have already walked. Church needs a few more frank speaking Jeremiah’s in the assembly

Zanz; "Paul was writing to the Corinthians about a specific set of issues at that time"Paul is very clear; 'as in ALL the churches of the saints'. A male-only priesthood has been almost uniformly accepted by millions of people for two thousand years and I dispair at those who now feel themselves qualified to stand up in public and say this has all been a misinterpretation.

Guy Williams
Whatever next? Political correctness has gone mad. My Father fought in 2 World Wars to keep the Great in Britain. Now they let women become Priests (Priestesses) but now Punk Rockers who will no doubt lower the tone with tattoos and face jewellery. Treason I call it. I will stop going to confession if I'm asked to confide in Johnny Rotten every time I have a rude thought.

It's comments like that Alun that reeeeally give people a horribly wrong idea about church. Yes there are split views about women 'preaching'/'teaching', but to stand up in public and offer a verse from Corinthians that is SO open to misinterpretation is not helpful at all. Paul was writing to the Corinthians about a specific set of issues at that time. Women have a hugely valuable role to play in the church today and as you, or I, or anyone else is not the judge, you should love and pray for each one of them - whatever their role. Whether we agree with that or not, please lets get excited about the day you'll get the answers from God himself...and in the meantime, lets support the church, encourage one another and "love our neighbours".

Barfing Billy
I think it's marvellous Skye has brought punk rock into the Clergy. Sunday mornings will be less sombre now. I'm not into God and all that stuff but I may get down the local church on Sunday morning to pogo my hangover into oblivion.

I can't get my head around why women would want to join the priesthood. How on Earth can they maintain biblical authority in society when their own vocationis so clealy goes against what the Bible says; "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church." 1 Corinthians 14:34

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