Thursday, November 02, 2006
A Word from the Caucus
October 31, 2006
Episcopal Women’s Caucus
Elizabeth Kaeton 973-464-8018
Carol Cole Flanagan 202-288-9694
The Episcopal Women’s Caucus (EWC) is among the several organizations meeting in Washington, DC this week in advance of the Investiture of the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop. The Caucus celebrated its 35th anniversary this week, and the Board will be meeting with a consultant to set goals for the next triennium, and to celebrate the new ministry of the first female primate in the Anglican Communion. Caucus members will be around with their trademark pink “It’s a girl!” buttons with the name and date of the election of Bishop Jefferts Schori.
The Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan, who served as president from 1983-1988, said “It is an amazing occasion for those of us who have labored for so many years on behalf of women. When I took office in 1983 most members of the Caucus identified themselves as refugees from the various dioceses that would not ordain them, and there were no ordained women on the Presiding Bishop’s staff and few in positions of leadership of any kind. We were still struggling for the election and appointment of lay women as well.” Since that time the EWC has celebrated the election of Pamela Chinnis as Vice President and then President of the House of Deputies, the election and consecration of the Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts and the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion, and the first female diocesan bishop in the U.S. the Rt. Rev. Mary Adelia McLeod, Bishop of Vermont, now retired.
"Another glass ceiling has now given away," said Caucus President, the Rev'd Canon Elizabeth Kaetoon. "This year deputy Bonnie Anderson of Michigan was elected President of the House of Deputies. And now," she added,"with the election as Presiding Bishop of Katharine Jefferts Schori you can hear the tinkling of shattered glass, and feel Ruach, the fresh wind of creation, blowing through the church."
Established on October 30, 1971 at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Episcopal Women’s Caucus grew out of a meeting of Episcopal women engaged in professional ministry. The House of Bishops had just voted to refer the question of the ordination of women to yet another study committee after years of studies commissioned, received and shelved as recently as four years earlier.
The gathering sent a letter to Presiding Bishop John Hines signed by all 60 women informing him that none of them would serve on such a committee if asked and that they would urge other women not to serve, as the time for study was long past. In signing the letter, the group constituted itself as the Episcopal Women's Caucus, pledged itself to organize women in various regions of the country and elected a representative steering committee. The Rev. Barbara Schlacter served as the first president of the Caucus. Today its membership includes people in all orders of ministry, and approximately a third of the members are men.
Members of the Board are Elizabeth Kaeton, President; Carol Cole Flanagan, Vice President; Ann Vandervoort, Secretary; Byron Rushing, Treasurer; and Elizabeth Morris Downie, Carol J. Gallagher, Nan Peete, and Beth Stifel.