Betty Mosley, 89, a faithful Episcopalian, an advocate for women’s rights, an activist for the ordination of women and wife of the late Bishop J. Brooke Mosley of Delaware, died on Monday, May 2.
Here is her obituary:
In 1972, Mrs. Mosley accompanied her husband, Bishop J. Brooke Mosley, to the annual meeting of the House of Bishops in Hendersonville, N.C. At the conference, she and two other bishops’ wives invited four women who were seeking ordination to address all of the bishops’ wives. “This created such a stir as you wouldn’t believe! Some of the bishops were livid,” said Carter Heyward, one of the four women.
Heyward said the event was “one of the pivotal moments in the movement for the ordination of women.”
The next year, when five male deacons were ordained priests at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in New York, five female deacons who had sought ordination, including Heyward, walked out of the church in the middle of the service, along with half the congregation.
At the time, Mrs. Mosley and her husband were living in an apartment at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he was president.
The female deacons and dozens of other people walked from St. John’s to the Mosleys’ apartment and spent the rest of the day talking and being fed wonderful goodies by Mrs. Mosely, who joined in strategy sessions, said Heyward, professor emerita at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.
In July 1974, despite her husband’s reservations about the event, Mrs. Moseley was Heyward’s lay presenter at an “irregular” ordination service in Philadelphia for 11 women. In 1976, Episcopal church law was changed to allow women to be ordained, and the 11 women were recognized as priests.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.