Jeanette Stokes

40th Anniversary of Ordination of Episcopal Women

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When Carter Heyward was ordained in the summer of 1974, it was a radical thing to do. There had been ordained protestant women in the US for over 100 years by then, but not many and not in the Episcopal Church. The Philadelphia Eleven, of which Carter was one, made the front page of newspapers around the country as they (and three renegade bishops who ordained them) blew through the glass ceiling that had so long kept women from being Episcopal priests.

The 40th anniversary of the ordination of Episcopal women was celebrated this summer in many places. One was held at he Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia where the 1974 “irregular” ordination took place. Another was held in Chapel Hill at another Church of the Advocate. I attended the one in NC on August 24 where Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward and Rev. Allison Cheek were present. What fun it was to be with these saints and to hear Carter’s message of Jesus’ radical love and kindness.

(Pictured: Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward, Bishop Michael Curry, unidentified woman, and Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple in Chapel Hill, NC. Photo by Jeanette Stokes.)

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