The Church and the History of Women
The Church played a key role in women’s and religious history as the site of the “irregular” ordinations as priest of the first group of 11 women in the Episcopal Church on July 24, 1974. Prior to the ceremony the parish approved the following statement: “The goals of the Advocate have always been to move towards one world, one people, and one love concept. We are not afraid to take any step or measure that will make that concept a reality.” Within two years the Episcopal Church officially authorized the ordination of women.
Barbara Harris, a lay member of the Advocate congregation was the crucifer for the ordination. Harris was later ordained Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on February 11, 1989. As the first woman ordained as a bishop and an African American, she received death threats and obscene messages.