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:
Marie Moorefield was one of the Philadelphia 11 and also Canon to the Ordinary and Deployment for the Diocese of North Carolina, while I was there. However, I had no clue as to who she was because Marie didn’t use her maiden name. When she came to North Carolina she was Marie Fleischer.
I was the only clergy at St. Patrick’s during our rector Brian’s sabbatical. It was the summer of 2002 and the time of our parish retreat at Kanuga. Marie agreed to be substitute clergy for the members of the congregation not attending the retreat.
She and I met to discuss particulars prior to my departure, and she mentioned how grateful she was to be in the pulpit that Sunday, (July 28th) because it was the day before the 28th anniversary of her ordination. It didn’t take me long to do the math. I looked at her and asked if she was one of the Philadelphia eleven. She quietly responded, “Yes.” I was floored!!!!!! It was a humbling moment.
We talked about the challenges the women faced as a result of their willingness to be trailblazers. She shared that the journey hadn’t been easy. I shared how grateful I was to her for making it possible for me and so many others to be ordained in a Church that I loved — most of the time. She never wore her history on her sleeve, as she quietly performed her work as Canon to the Ordinary and Deployment. I was blessed to share ministry with her.