Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A woman's place

The woman pictured to the left is The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, who in 2006 was elected as the first female Presiding Bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church in the United States and also the first female primate in the Anglican Communion. This morning our sisters and brothers in England have voted to finally allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops there as well.
It was forty years ago this month that eleven women were ordained irregularly in Philadelphia.  A celebration of that historic event and the wonderful ministry of women in the Episcopal Church was just commemorated in a joyous ceremony on Saturday at Grace Cathedral here.  How excellent that there is now one more thing to celebrate.  The Church of England has opened the door wider, although it still might be some time before a woman is actually consecrated as a bishop there.
The battle over whether or not women should be ordained as clergy has been a long one and it is certainly not over.  There are still denominations that bar females.  The Roman Catholic Church is known for its "male-only" rule concerning priests and referred to the ordination of women as a "grave delict."  When the Episcopal Church elected Barbara Harris as its first female bishop back in 1988 there were some who thought the Church was doomed, but only good has come because now the Church truly is inclusive.
There is a old sexist saying that a woman's place is in the house.  Years ago after Bishop Harris was elected, there were signs that read "A woman's place is in the house .   .   . of Bishops."  I have to say that the news just now from England is fantastic and I hope the world someday realizes the true finish for that sentence - A woman's place is wherever she wants to be!

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