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40 years as priests – where are they now?

40 years as priests – where are they now?

Where are they now? Forty years ago the first women were ordained as priests in The Episcopal Church. Religion News Service reports:


On July 29, 1974, in Philadelphia, 11 women broke rank and were ordained as the first female priests in the Episcopal Church. They became known as the “Philadelphia Eleven.”

While there was no church law explicitly prohibiting the ordination of women, there also was no law allowing it. After the Philadelphia protest at the Church of the Advocate, the 11 women were deemed “irregularly” ordained, and Episcopal bishops warned the church not to recognize the women as priests.

In the 40 years since, the “Philadelphia Eleven” have gone on varied paths working in churches, at therapeutic horseback riding centers, retirement and more. Click here to read about each one.

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Photo courtesy Episcopal Divinity School

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Michael Hartney

40 years ago I got up very early and drove from Hanover, New Hampshire, to Philadelphia to be present for the ordination of The Episcopal Church's first women priests. I had been ordained a Deacon less than 2 months. Time Magazine ran a picture that week of my back (Deacon's stole very prominent) kneeling at the communion rail receiving communion with other attendees. My mother called, "Is that you in the picture?" "Yes, Mom, that's me." I had to be there that day, as our church changed that day, continuing to bend the arc of justice. The 11 women and 3 bishops were (and are) courageous examples of the saints of God.

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