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On July 29, 2014, the Episcopal Church will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ordinations of the first women as priests. To observe that anniversary, we reached out to women who have served at ASC over the last forty years — as well as those who have been sponsored for ordination and gone on to serve elsewhere — to share their stories. Here is one of them:

Sally Howard

The ink is barely dry on my ordination certificate, having just been ordained in January 2014, and as I write this, I am aware of some of the gutsy, amazing women in my life that infused my horizon with possibility and lit enthusiasm in my belly for the role of women in the church and in the world.  These women priests and lay leaders, including Wilma Jakobsen, Zelda Kennedy, Susan Russell, Margaret Sendenquist, Anne Peterson — and my own mother and grandmothers, one of whom at age 65 became the first woman ever in the history of Kosciusko County Indiana to be elected county supervisor and another who gathered large and diverse groups of people together for good food around the table–these women opened doors not only in the world, but also in my mind and heart for what women of faith could do.

And like several others of us, it was that willing-to-get-into trouble George Regas who played a significant role in my path to ordination.  It was George who first suggested that the stirrings I felt in 2005 might be God calling me to the priesthood.  “A psychologist and psychoanalyst who loves Jesus!” he said, “I don’t know how you will put those together, (neither did I!) And I know that you will.”  Those words began a process of reflection and exploration that culminated in becoming a priest this year, with a special focus in my ministry on health and healing that integrates spirituality and contemporary psychoanalysis and human development.  It’s not what I had expected or had thought of, and yet what I now feel I have been prepared to do my whole life.  I am grateful!