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What were women doing in the church in ????

What were women doing in the church in ????

Episcopal Women’s History Project has published snapshots of women in the Episcopal Church in various eras from 1655 to 2005:

From 1965:

The national council turns the Women’s Auxiliary into the General Division of Women’s Work, and local and diocesan Auxiliary units have become the Episcopal Church Women. ECW has merged its segregated structures.

Women can now earn the B.D. degree at some of the seminaries of the Church, and the separate training programs at Windham House and St. Margaret’s are planning to close.

Carman St. John Hunter is serving as the Chief Executive for Education in the Church

Women continue their parish ministries and guilds, leading in parish life and Christian education, serving at diocesan conventions and provincial synods, publishing religious materials, teaching in church schools and Sunday Schools, serving as organists and choir directors or members, serving as domestic and foreign missionaries, joining and founding religious orders, running hospitals and other social service institutions, and funding the United Thank Offering and other ministries.

Women are serving on vestries and may be licensed as lay readers, but only in “isolated areas.”

Deaconesses may marry without leaving their ministry and are recognized as being “in orders.”


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Readers may be interested to know that a traveling exhibit version of this exhibit “What Can a Woman Do?” is also available from EWHP. It comes on 15 x 20 inch foam board panels and is available for display at churches, schools, special events, women’s group meetings, etc. The only cost is shipping, and that is usually less than $10 each way by FedEx ground. you can find out more about ordering it on the “Projects” page of the EWHP web site.

Bill Moorhead

Bill: Yes, and yes.

Bill Dilworth

What, no mention of “altar guild ladies”?

At this point, was it required to be a lay reader in order to read the Lessons at the Daily Office and the Epistle at the Eucharist? Did the ban on women being licensed (except when they could be kept out of sight in isolated areas) mean that the Liturgy was normally all male, except for the people’s responses?

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