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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Celebrating Herstory

I am on my way to the Very Big Celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Women's Commission in the Diocese of Newark.

Oh, we had been heavily involved in activism long before that. We just 'officially' organized as a diocese 30 years ago.

Bishop Barbara Clementine Harris is our featured speaker. I always love to hear her gravely voice speaking the truth to power - or whosoever will listen to her.

That's a picture of her above, on the day of her consecration, 20 years ago.

A few of us compiled a list of names which we made into 'name tags' which everyone will wear (we're expecting 80-100 people to attend) with the names of the saints who have brought us this far by faith - and grit and sweat and smarts.

The idea is that people will introduce themselves as that person and learn a little bit of our herstory in the process.

At the end of Bishop Barbara's presentation, we're going to have people read off the names as a 'Litany of Saints'.

If you aren't able to join us in person, please join us in prayer.

The struggle continues!

The Philadelphia Eleven

Merrill Bittner,
Alla Bozarth-Campbell
Alison Cheek
Emily Hewitt
Carter Heyward
Suzanne Hiatt
Marie Moorefield Fleisher
Jeannette Piccard
Betty Bone Schiess
Katrina Martha Swanson
Nancy Hatch Wittig.

The Washington Four

Eleanor Lee McGee
Alison Palmer
Betty Powell
Diane Tickell.

Ordaining Bishops of the Philadelphia Eleven

Daniel Corrigan
Robert L DeWitt
Edward R Welles
Assisting: Antonio Ramos

Ordaining Bishops of the Washington Five

Daniel Corrigan
Robert DeWitt
Edward Welles
George Barrett

First Ordained in the Diocese of Newark

Abby Painter Hamilton
Paige Bigelow
Martha Blacklock
Phyllis Edward

First Woman ordained in Anglican Communion

Li Tim Oi

First ‘Negro’ woman ordained to priesthood

Rev. Pauli Murray

First Woman President of House of Deputies

Pamela Chinnis

First Woman Ordained to the Episcopacy

Barbara Clementine Harris

First Woman Presiding Bishop

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Diocese of Newark Activist for the Ordination of Women

Marge Christie
Fran Trott – first editor of The Voice
Peggy Gilman
Elizabeth Wiggins Maxwell
Marie Oberman
Ann Hughes – did all the calligraphy for the first issue of Ruach
Bill Coats

The National Advisory Committee for Women’s Ordination Now (WON)

Rev. Sandord (Sandy) Cutler
Ann Exley
Sally Bucklee
Carlyle Gill
Flora Keshegian
Ann Smith
Rev. William Wendt
Rev. Paul Washington
Bill Stringfellow
Bishop R.B. Appleyard

Early Activists for the Ordination of Women

Beryl Turner – Diocese of Pittsburgh 1977
Sharon Pandorff
Ann Schribner
Mary Sudman Donovan, author, “A Different Call”
Pamela Darling
Ellen Wondra – Developed Bibliography of Resources for Women
Ann Knight
Blanche Powell
Betty Mosley
Columba Gillis
Alice Mann
Arlene Swinder – Editor “WORD” “A woman in a man’s church”

Feminist Theologians and Activists

Mary Daley
Phillis Tribble
Karen Armstrong
Beverley Wildung Harrison
Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza Nelle Morton – author, theologian, professor at Drew Theological School
Carol Christ, author, “Diving Deep and Surfacing”
Judith Plaskow
Georgia Harkness “Women in Church and Society” 1972
Rosemary Radford Ruther
Elaine Pagels
Ntozake Shange “I found god in myself”
Adrienne Rich – “Dream of a Common Language”
Marie Fortune – Women’s Ethics
Audre Lorde
Marianne Micks “The Future Present”
Lucritia Mott – Quaker Movement – Abolitions
Olympia Brown – feminist theologian Unitarian Church
Frederica Harris Thompsett
Mary Calloway, “Sing, O Barren One”

Among the first wave of ordained women

Sr. Mary Michael Simpson, OSH
Carol Anderson
Helen Havens
Peggy Bosmeyer
Pat Merchant
Brooke Alexander
Betty Rosenberg
Helen Havens
Barbara Schlacter
Chilton Knudsen
Jane Holmes Dixon
Ellen Barrett
Rachel Hosmer, OSH


KJ said...

And to think there are some who would have wished to have stalled it all with a study or two (or 100) and "wait" until the rest of the church catholic were okay with it.

History not only teaches, it gives hope.

Enjoy the day! As the word verification says, "Artwadi!"

June Butler said...

Prayers for all of you that the Spirit of the living God moves amongst you and within you, renewing, restoring, and strengthening you for the work ahead. I am with you in spirit.

Brian R said...

While I give thanks for all these women, one is left out and from my research should be acknowledged.
1989: The fear of the first female Anglican bishop materialized when the Anglican Church of New Zealand consecrated Penny Jamieson as the seventh Bishop of Dunedin. Later that year, the Episcopal Church, USA consecrated Barbara Harris, an African-American woman, as bishop.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

While I regret leaving out Penny Jamieson, Bishop Barbara was the first - in 1988. Bishop Penny does have the distinction of being the first diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Revmao said...

Thanks be to God for all those wonderful women in whose footsteps we walk.

I was disappointed not to see among the lists of "Firsts" the first out lesbian to be ordained. Did she not want to be singled out, or was this an, ah-hem, "oversight"?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hey, Mary Anne - that would have been Ellen Barrett who is FAAARRRR from quite about her sexual orientation. I didn't label her as a 'first' because she wasn't any more 'open' at her ordination than were Carter Heyward or Emily Hewitt or any of the other of the Philadelphia 11. It was the heyday of the 'don't ask, don't tell' mindset. It was enough that they were women. To trumpet that were lesbians would have been to have fed into the hysteria about ordaining women in the first place. Ellen, as you may remember, was 'outed' on the front page of the NY Times on the day of her ordination.

Caminante said...

When I was ordained to the priesthood, I very much wanted to emphasise women's apostolic succession and so was most fortunate to have Nancy Wittig put the stole around my neck along with the third woman ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of New Jersey, Louise Kingston.

Muthah+ said...

You forgot, The Rev. Judith E. Upham, priested 1/6/77

Mark Choi said...

On your page, you list Beryl Turner as one of the early pioneers in women's ordination. Please note that her proper name at the time, as well as currently, was Beryl Turner Choi.
This is somewhat important, at least to me, as she is my mother.

Mark Choi said...

On your page, you list Beryl Turner as one of the early pioneers in women's ordination. Please note that her proper name at the time, as well as currently, was Beryl Turner Choi.
This is somewhat important, at least to me, as she is my mother.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

My apologies, Mark. I didn't know your mother or her preferences. I believe I just copied it from a "herstory" book.

You must be very proud of her. You'll have to write a story for us about her so we can publish it in RUACH or in our electronic newsletter The Monthly Caucus. Thanks again, Mark.

Alice C. Linsley said...

These women are "priests" in name only. I'm sad for them, not celebrating.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You may not like the fact that they are priests, but that doesn't change the fact that they are priests, Alice.

I'm sad for you.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Oaky. We'll be sad for each other and let the Lord sort it out.

However, as the priesthood is based on an unchanging celestial pattern which presents God as male priest from time immemorial, there is certainly reason to investigate the nature of their "priesthood."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Investigate all you want, my dear, but a fact is a fact. You can be sad about that fact. You'll excuse me, however, and millions of others, as we rejoice and give thanks and praise to God who never limits the power of the Holy Spirit to call those who are equipped for the ministry of ordained service in the Church beyond barriers of gender, race, age, and sexual orientation.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Alice - I'm assuming you are from Lexington, KY (checked my sitemeter). Bishops Sauls, right? Very supportive. You must either not be Episcopalian, or you are in one of the schismatic Anglican-wanna-be churches from the Global South or you are Roman Catholic.

So, what's a nice "orthodox" girl like you doing in a place like this? I mean, what do you expect?

If you need to feel "sad", then I suppose you could come here and 'tut tut' but why waste your time? Why not invest it in being the best orthodox woman you can be - and be happy?

God's peace and joy to you on the eve of the Second Sunday in the most joyous season of Easter.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I was ordained to the priesthood by Allan Bartlett in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and personally knew Geralyn Wolf, Barbara Harris, Mary Glasspool and many others. I knew these women to be caring and sincere people. This isn't about their (or your) character. It is about historical, anthropological, linguistic, and archaeological evidence.

Bishop Sauls was my bishop. He was far from supportive. He doesn't support those who disagree with him, and you know that.

Do you ever get lonely out on that limb? You think that there are so many who hold your view, but it is a very small club. I never realized how small until I left TEC and began to explore the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

May the rising of the Son of God shine on your heart and illumine you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

So, Alice, have you renounced your priesthood, too? If you have, I'm so sorry. If you haven't, why haven't you? I'm really curious to know.

Do you really doubt that God called you to ordained service because of "historical, anthropological, linguistic, and archaeological evidence"? Do you really doubt that the Holy Spirit can't work through all those human-made and human-defined barriers?

God called Ester and Ruth and Judith to leadership in community. They weren't ordained because of ancient, cultural misogyny.

Why else would Jesus choose Mary Magdalene to be the first to reveal himself after the resurrection, and make her the first evangelist?

No, I'm not lonely. At. All. I was, when I was RC and knowing that "the boys" had it all wrong. What looks to you like a limb is really a very strong branch of the tree of apostolic faith.

And, no, I don't know "that" about Stacy Stauls. I find him to be eloquent and articulate and strong defender of the faith.

See also: not lonely.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

BTW, I'm running out to do errands so if I don't answer right away, you'll understand.

One thing we can agree on: The Lord is Risen. Alleluia!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Alice - never mind. I just googled you and now know who you are. Gave up your orders when +V Gene Robinson was ordained.

You have the courage of your convictions and took the high road. Good for you.

If you are comfortable with your decision, why come over to blogs like mine? Why read an essay about ordained women? Why did you feel it necessary to comment - and take a pot shot about "being lonely"?

Sounds like things are not completely settled in your soul. I will pray for your continued strength and discernment, my sister.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Elizabeth, I've responded to your questions here:

See the links under "related reading."

You might want to respond to this at your blog. I'll link my post back to your response. That would make a fair hearing for your readers and mine.

Best wishes,

P.S. I value the photo. There are so few of dear Lyman Ogilby (far right) who was the bishop who approved me to enter seminary. We both lived in the Philippines and used to chat about our experiences there.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Alice.

I've already read lots of your stuff. Well, enough to know your position, which is nothing new. It's the same-old-same-old tired stuff I heard when I was growing up in the RC Church and among Greek Orthodox in my neighborhood.

They (and now, people like you who hold to this position about WO) will argue something like the 'fact' that TEC is not keeping the "proper tension" between Scripture and Tradition.

And, I will argue that you are not keeping the 'proper tension' between Scripture and Tradition and the on-going revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, I would argue that your argument is a testimony to spiritual cowardice, hiding behind a wall of scripture and tradition because you are so afraid of what the Holy Spirit still has to reveal.

So, we'd volley back and forth like that, to what end? This conversation is over, having been decided by the church for going on two generations in the church. Even the folks at SFiF will not allow a discussion of WO. Why on earth should I give you a forum for you position, outdated and irrelevant to the life of this branch of the church as it is?

I wish you well, Alice. I can only believe that this request for conversation on my blog comes from the heart of one who is in a place of desperate spiritual loneliness and in deep need of affirmation for what must have been - and continues to be, obviously, from your request - a difficult and painful decision based on a 'reaction' (vs a 'response') to the consecration of +VGR.

I pray for your eventual healing, your acceptance of the consequences of your decision, and the joy of your new relationship with God in Christ.

Lazarus said...

Dear Elizabeth Keaton, you mentioned Mary Madeline evangelizing for the Lord. Is that the same as Priesthood? Don't all Christians evangelize in some way? No Christian should deny that God loves women and using them to minister the world. Mary, the Mother of God, provided the human genetics and possessed the grace to bear the Word of God, and by her body God was made flesh. In fact, St. Paul says women should 'adorn themselves with good works'. But, St. Peter said that 'not many of us will be Priests', and that priesthood demands greater condemnation. Throughout Israel and the first 1800 years of the Christian Church, men have been assigned the condemnation. May I ask, to you ascribe fully to the Holy Scriptures contained in our Holy Bible? Or do you take particular exception to certain writings? Please know that I come from a place of love and hope for us all.

Lazarus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Lazarus - here's the thing about Priesthood: the institutional church is the agent of authorization for ordination, along with the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist and the other sacramental rites like ordination and marriage and confirmation, etc. So, yes, I subscribe to St Paul's idea of the "priesthood of all believers" of which we are all members through our baptism in Christ. That, however, is different from institutional priesthood.

Really, Lazarus, this is a pretty basic conversation. I'm surprised you seem to be just now entering into it.

So, it looks like you and some of your friends have been reading and making comments all over my blog. I'm flattered by all the attention. Thank you.