Published: 06:00, 15 November 2020
It took about 900 years but the Rev Cindy Kent has made history in the hamlet of Harty on the Isle Of Sheppey.
She has become the first woman to celebrate Holy Communion at the little church of St Thomas the Apostle. She had previously been the first woman to conduct a wedding service there.
The Grade II listed building dates back to the 11th or 12th century and still has no electricity. Lighting comes from candles and oil lamps.
But there was definitely a spark when the Rev Cindy became the first woman priest to hold mass within its stone walls.
She said: "It was lovely. It is such a wonderful church with an interesting history. There were only about 10 of us but it was such a joyful occasion. And after the service one couple asked me to marry them. I do hope I am invited back."
The church, which was recently vandalised, holds mass one Sunday a month.
For years, previous clergy at Harty and its sister church All Saints at Eastchurch had fought to keep female priests out to "maintain tradition."
But those barriers tumbled down when the Rev Tim Foreman, who has since retired, welcomed women in.
One of the first to take the altar at Eastchurch was the new Bishop of Dover the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a former chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Britain's first black woman bishop.
The Rev Cindy, 75, who moved to Sheppey four years ago after retiring as a vicar in Barnet Whetstone, north London, followed her lead and has since taken services there, sharing the job with Father Gerry Arber.
The former lead singer of 60s pop group The Settlers - they had a hit with The Lightning Tree from the children's TV show Folly Foot - is also a familiar sight at Minster Abbey and Holy Trinity church, Sheerness, standing in for the Rev Paul Kite, West Sheppey's new Priest In Charge.
She said: "I feel so at home on Sheppey. I wish I'd moved here years ago."