Seal of the Historical Society of the Episcopal ChurchHistorical Society
of the Episcopal Church

Special Reprint Honors Women’s Ordination

24 Oct 2023 12:33 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

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The ordination of eleven Episcopal women to the priesthood on July 29, 1974, at Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, has transformed the face of Episcopal clergy. We are reminded that all of God’s children are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve in every capacity. To honor the celebration of the 50th Anniversary, the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church (HSEC) and the Episcopal Women’s History Project (EWHP) have collaborated on the publication: “In Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in the Episcopal Church.” Articles were originally published in the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church and its successor, Anglican and Episcopal History (AEH).

EWHP LogoThe ordination of The Philadelphia Eleven was followed by the ordination of the Washington Four which is also addressed in this collection. Other articles address women inclined to holiness, the religious role of women in the 18th century, Anglican clergy wives, the Woman’s Auxiliary, 19th century Episcopal Sunday School, and education of Black women plus more.  These articles give the background and context for why the logical next step was the ordination of women beyond the diaconate.  These articles preserve the story that reminds us that the proper place of women is in all orders and roles of the Church.

HSEC ShieldTime passes and memories fade, but this anniversary calls us to acknowledge the courage of women called and ordained to holy orders of the priesthood.  They paved the way for the church’s many women priests and bishops, something that is not unusual today.

These fifteen articles found in this 178-page volume help us keep this history alive and reflect on the actions of the past. Article authors, listed in order, include Sheryl-Kujawa-Holbrook, Barbara C. Harris, John F. Woolverton, Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Joan R. Gundersen, Anne Llewellyn Barstow, Joanna B. Gillespie, Mary Sudman Donovan, Arthur Ben Chitty, by Heather Huyck, Qiana Johnson, Susan D. Buell, and Catherine M. Prelinger. The volume was curated by Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, Editor-in-Chief of AEH, the cover was designed by Robin Sumners of EWHP, and the production was managed by Matthew Payne of HSEC.

Copies of this soft cover volume may be ordered online at for $10.00 plus shipping. Bulk orders and discount inquiries may be made to the Historical Society Director of Operation, Matthew P. Payne at

The hope of the authors and publisher is this collection will inspire and educate the people of Church — women and girls, men and boys — about the work of the Holy Spirit through her people.

Historical Society of the Episcopal Church

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