I've spent a big chunk of today getting vicarious pleasure from pictures and posts from friends and colleagues attending the 40th Anniversary celebration of the ordination of the first women as priests in the Episcopal Church at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia.
Preaching on it tomorrow. Working on a blog for the actual anniversary date ... Tuesday (July 29th) ... but for the moment I wanted to share these three quotes from some men making the case that the ordination of women is a gift to the whole church ... not just to the women ordained or the women in the pews.
Rock on, dudes
“We are all ... acutely and painfully aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit has compelled us to act at a time which is considered by some to be untimely ... What is one to do when the democratic process, the political dynamics, and the legal guidelines are out of step with the Divine Imperative which says 'Now is the time'? What is a mother to do when the doctor says, 'Your baby will be born on August 10th,' when on July 29 she has reached the last stages of labor pains and her water breaks?" -- Paul Washington ... in his welcome to the Church of the Advocate on July 29, 1974
"In honor of the celebration of the 11 women ordained to the Priesthood 40 years ago today, I have copied a paragraph from their grace-filled letter of 7/20/74 to those of us who supported their decision. "We do not take this step hastily or thoughtlessly. We are fully cognizant of the risks to ourselves and others. Yet we must be true to our vocations-God's irresistible will for us now. We can no longer in conscience answer our calling by saying "Eventually-when the Church comes around to accepting us." Eventually is long time. All I can say from my experience is that our Church and my priestly life have been greatly blessed by so many priests who happened to be women. I am grateful for their witness 40 years ago." -- George Werner ... former President of the House of Deputies
"May none of us take for granted the personal sacrifices made by those first eleven women priests and their allies who stood in brave solidarity with them that day in Philadelphia. They received the most vicious bile we human beings can fling and yet they pressed on knowing they had to obey a Greater Authority than the institutional church.
I was a Baptist University Chaplain 40 years ago who with my wife were prepared to join the Episcopal Church but waited to see if these 11 priests would be accepted. We threw our lot in with them. I brought Suzanne Hiatt to my Baptist campus to preach and challenged our nearby Episcopal Church to have her speak. It did. When General Convention voted for women's ordination Hope and I cut our Baptist moorings and became confirmed Episcopalians." -- Ed Bacon ... rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena