Telling Stories: Past, Present, Future, From Far and Wide

Telling Stories: Past, Present and Future Part II






Our Mission Statement

The Episcopal Women’s History Project honors women’s ministries in the Episcopal Church by listening, recording, and continuing to tell their stories.  

This is part two of a series of emails to update those interested in what EWHP is doing.  There are several  of amazing women as their lives emerge in a world where “Sheltering in Place” is the experience.

The times we are living in give us remarkable ways to reach out and touch each other.  For all the bemoaning about technology getting in the way of creative and artistic talent, the weeks we are experiencing have brought us to our kneels in gratefulness.  Most of us are practicing “Social Distancing,” “Quarantines,” and “Self-Isolation.”  As the county is “opening,” most of the churches we share are being careful with people and their lives.  We are still waiting and praying that the world will come to a place where all are safe, and smiles can be seen because masks are no longer needed.  Yet, we are grateful for the many ways we can still reach out and to each other. Many of us have found technology and bandwidths, with websites, iTunes, Photoshop, Excel, Word, with face to face coming with Facetime, Facebook, Zoom and Go To Meeting taking on a different form, but allowing some interaction with the people we most like to see on Sundays.  Pentecost will come with rejoicing and celebrating, as it always does, but the way it is expressed will be different than the past.  This Pandemic around us has given us a new awareness of experience with Technology and perhaps a new gratefulness for the world in which we live.  Telling our stories are still the most important way of communicating.  EWHP has new stories to tell.


The year was 1988—The Rev. Nan Peete was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, to be a consultant for the Lambeth Conference, a conference of Bishops representing Dioceses around the world. She was the first ordained woman to address this body, which meets every ten years in Canterbury, England.
″It was a transforming experience for the congregation, ″ Ms. Peete said. The speech was well received, and resulted in an international policy change and the ordination of many women priests and the subsequent ordination of women as Bishops of the Episcopal Church.  The ordination of women priests and bishops is the most difficult issue facing the 525 bishops from 164 countries at the Lambeth Conference, which is held every 10 years.  About half the audience, which included the wives of 380 bishops, gave Ms. Peete a standing ovation. 
The bishop of London, Graham Leonard, a leader of the group opposing women priests, told the conference he did not believe the ordination of women was ″a legitimate development.″ 
″It is, I believe, a fundamental change for which a much greater doctrinal consensus is required and from the greater part of the Christian church,″ he said. Answering questions later at a news conference, Leonard said: ″I’m not prepared to say the Rev. Nan Peete is a priest, but I’m not prepared to say she isn’t.″ 
The Rev. Nan Peete has served The Episcopal Church from her childhood, and through her ministry.  She graduated from General Theological Seminary in 1984 and became Rector of All Saint’s Church in Indianapolis in 1985.  Before her retirement, she served at the National Cathedral and as Canon for Deployment and Ordination for the Diocese in Washington.
A great friendship developed between Nan Peete and Barbara Harris when Harris was the editor of The Witness, a magazine published by the Episcopal Church.  Both women were committed to the Civil Rights of all races and spent time on both shores of America working against racism and for human rights.  Two African-American women daring to go where women had rarely gone. Barbara Harris was the first woman to become a Bishop in the Anglican Communion.
Barbara Harris, a life time Episcopalian, carried the cross for the Philadelphia Eleven when they were ordained by three brave Bishops.  She was inspired by the event and knew she was called to the Priesthood.  In 1980, Barbara Harris was ordained a priest.
The Rev. Nan Arrington Peete serves as Vice-President of Episcopal Women’s History Project.  The death of The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris in March is a loss to the Episcopal Church, but in it is a loss of a dear friend to Nan Peete.   Barbara called Nan at a usual time each week, and when the phone rings, Nan still expects to hear Barbara’s voice.
Here is how Nan describes this remarkable woman. “Barbara was my (our) rainbow in the clouds.  She was a pioneer, a trailblazer, an activist, an advocate, and a truth teller.  But she was also a friend, a sister, a mentor, and a  traveling  partner.  She was just as at ease with the powerful and privileged as with the outcast and the homeless. She was also just as at peace on a summer day drinking a cup of tea and looking at the lake.  My 46 year friendship with Barbara included listening to her stories, laughing at her jokes, doing the electric slide where  she taught the brothers of the monastery. She was preaching and praying and fighting for justice for she loved all of God’s creatures.  She was a huge voice in a tiny body.  She was a dynamic priest and bishop who had no intention to remain still, quiet, obedient and blind.  She led with passion, humor and resolve.  She held all of us accountable, including herself and especially the church. She was phenomenal in living out her faith.  She loved God and she loved us and she loved fighting for the least and the lost. She was our voice and our conscience.  She was my (our) rainbow in the clouds.  I loved her so much and I miss her so much.”


Judy was set for a vacation in Florida—time to rest, and relax, and renew—that trip didn’t happen, but other things did.
—Spent more time in the yard today, after confirming my nail salon, beauty salon and soon my bird seed store are closed or will closed. This afternoon, I rolled out the hammock on the back deck, full sun, no wind, crawled in with a pillow and blanket and fell asleep listening to the birds, chain saws and landscapers. It might not be FL but it was heaven.
—Why I love the USA. So, today I had a vacation day so that I could play in the garden in unusually warm weather in DE. My neighbor approached me to ask if he could borrow my wheel barrow. He was going to install a new flag pole in the back yard not far from the property line and along side the pool. No problem I said. He laughed and said he might be flying a Trump flag. No worries said I. We disagree on a lot, but in the end I would plant yard signs for the opposite party. But, it really didn’t matter. We always cancel each others vote. On the bright side, the pole will have a ball on the top that will glow in the dark, after being charged by the sun. I love that. In the end, all is well.
So she shares something wonderful with you—just breathe as the ads go by, it is worth every moment of frustration to have the real experience:  (skip the ads!)


We want you to be part of us. Episcopal Women’s History Project is renewing its purpose.  We are rediscovering our goals.  Please help us with this discovery.  Share the stories of women you have known who have done something amazing for their Episcopal Church.  We will be glad to help you with your research.  EWHP is a loving ministry in which everyone can participate.  Beome a member of EWHP!  There is a lot to learn and a lot to do!  Join us!  A Membership form is found at this link.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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