Historic Church Figure & Social Activist to Preach — 5/15
The Right Reverend Barbara Harris, African American clergywoman and social activist who was the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, will preach at St. Paul’s on the Green on Sunday, May 15, (Pentecost Sunday) at both the 9 and 11 am services. Bishop Harris was bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts until her retirement in 2002, later serving as assisting bishop in the diocese of Washington, D.C.
Raised in the Episcopal Church, she joined the activist Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, taking part in the civil rights movement, registering African American voters in Mississippi and participating in Martin Luther King’s Selma march. Harris supported the women’s rights movement and campaigned for the full involvement of women in the Anglican clergy. She approved of the controversial ordination of 11 women priests in 1974, and soon afterward she decided to study for the priesthood herself.
On February 11, 1989, despite great opposition from some, she was consecrated suffragan (assistant) bishop for the diocese of Massachusetts. As bishop, she continued her advocacy for women and ethnic minorities, spoke against those at the Lambeth Conference in 1999 who questioned the value of women priests, and welcomed the appointment of other women as bishops. She has also been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community and for their full inclusion in the church, including their election as bishops.
This will be an historic visit for St. Paul’s Church and one you will want to be part of. And spread the word! Invite someone who might want to meet a part of the church’s exciting history.