Evening Prayer 7.29.17, Ordination of the 1st Women Priests in The Episcopal Church, 1974

A spoken version of this service from Daily Office Radio is available here.

Jesus said, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”

Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia, July 29, 1974: 2000 in attendance, including some protesters, police and lots of media. Then, despite objections, three male bishops – Daniel Corrigan, Robert L. DeWitt and Edward R. Welles – laid their hands on Deacons Merrill Bittner, Alla Renée Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield Fleischer, “first woman in space” Dr. Jeanette Piccard, Betty B. Schiess, fourth-generation clergy daughter Katrina Swanson, and Nancy C. Wittig, each one of them made in the image of God. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Seek the One who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name. Amos 5:8

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, be not far from us.
Come quickly to help us, O God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn: Light of the World
Phos hilaron

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 138

1 I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart; *
before the gods I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and praise your Name, *
because of your love and faithfulness.
3 For you have glorified your Name *
and your word above all things.
4 When I called, you answered me; *
you increased my strength within me.
5 All the rulers of the earth will praise you, O LORD, *
when they have heard the words of your mouth.
6 They will sing of the ways of the LORD, *
that great is the glory of the LORD.
7 The LORD is high, yet the LORD cares for the lowly *
and perceives the haughty from afar.
8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe; *
you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;
your right hand shall save me.
9 O LORD, you will make good your purpose for me; *
O LORD, your love endures for ever;
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 139:1-17

1 LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
2 You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.
3 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.
4 You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.
5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
6 Where can I go then from your Spirit? *
where can I flee from your presence?
7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there; *
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
8 If I take the wings of the morning *
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
9 Even there your hand will lead me *
and your right hand hold me fast.
10 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, *
and the light around me turn to night,”
11 Darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day; *
darkness and light to you are both alike.
12 For you yourself created my inmost parts; *
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made; *
your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
14 My body was not hidden from you, *
while I was being made in secret
and woven in the depths of the earth.
15 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
all of them were written in your book; *
they were fashioned day by day,
when as yet there was none of them.
16 How deep I find your thoughts, O God! *
how great is the sum of them!
17 If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand; *
to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Six of the Philadelphia 11 and two of the Washington Five (ordained in 1975), gathered at Episcopal Divinity School for the 30th anniversary in 2004. 1st row: Alison Palmer, Lee McGee. 2nd row: Nancy Wittig, Alison Cheek, Merrill Bittner. 3rd row: Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Marie Moorefield Fleischer. (Episcopal Divinity School)

THE LESSON
Mark 6:1-13 (NRSV)

Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit
in the communion of all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.

The moment that grace was imparted to one of the female deacons, making her a priest in an act of ecclesiastical disobedience. The Anglican Consultative Council had approved the idea in local cases in 1971, but the following General Convention (Synod) turned aside a resolution to permit women’s ordination on a technicality two years later – and the time came to act. With a lot of male grumbling and some defections, General Convention approved the motion and regularized these early ordinations at its next meeting in 1976. (The Witness)

Collect of the Day: First Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in The Episcopal Church

O God, you poured your spirit from on high to bless and summon these women, who heard the strength of your call: Equip, guide, and inspire us with wisdom, boldness, and faith to trust you in all circumstances, hear you preach new life to your Church, and stretch out our hands to serve you, as you created us and redeemed us in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God everlasting. Amen.

A Collect for Saturdays

O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday Evening Prayer List: For the Church

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Dioceses of Phulbani and Patna, North India

For Our Mission Partners
Cuttington University School of Nursing, Liberia
The American Friends of Cuttington, New York
Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, New York; Canon Jamie Callaway
Haiti Nursing Foundation
Diocese of Brasilia Afterschool Program, Brazil
Rosebud Episcopal Mission, South Dakota
St. André’s School, Mithon, Haiti

For All Christian Churches
Lutheran Denominations
Mennonites, Amish and all who seek a simple life
Metropolitan Community Churches
World Council of Churches of Christ
The Orthodox Churches

The crucifer that day in Philadelphia (senior warden; Church of the Advocate was her church) went on to rattle a few cages herself a few years later: Barbara Clementine Harris, first woman bishop in Angican history. (Tracy Sukraw)

For Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfil now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Romans 15:13++

VIDEO: A Video Message from Our New Bishop – +Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Diocese of Indianapolis, Wednesday
1st African-American Woman Diocesan; 1st Woman Diocesan to Succeed a Woman Diocesan, 2017

5 thoughts on “Evening Prayer 7.29.17, Ordination of the 1st Women Priests in The Episcopal Church, 1974

  1. 50th Anniversary. Hard to fathom how long ago and how far we have come and not yet come. I was there on July 29th, 1967, and the memories are vivid. It was especially difficult for me, given that the then rector was leader of the anti-everything movement. So I cringed when he spoke his barbed, poisonous words and I rejoiced in my heart as the 11 were ordained. The same rector did not grow, ever, but 8 years later he reluctantly sponsored me for seminary. Later on he would not attend the ordination of my class of candidates. I benefitted greatly from the Power of the Laity who showed me love and support from the time of the calling and thereafter. I was able to meet some of the 11 in the years following at diocesan and national meetings and did not hold back from telling them: “I am so grateful.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Robert, I was there in 1974 as a recently ordained Deacon. It was July 29th, 1974, not 1967. This is the 43rd anniversary. Nonetheless, it was a day to remember that has forever changed the Episcopal Church. You could feel it that day in the Church of the Advocate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1967 was a pivotal year, with the Tet offensive and riots in the streets. But I was a sophomore in high school then and my first Big Year was a little later:


    (69 million views)

    1974 was my next one!

    Like

    • Ah, I suspect you therefore understand why I typed 1967 by accident in my comment about the Ordinations (of 1974}. I was already “in the process” with the bishop et al. of Pennsylvania and had to keep my affirmation pretty much to myself lest the reactionary rector of my sponsoring parish chop me down and out. The dark side of what otherwise were good times.

      Liked by 1 person

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