Forty years ago three events took place that paved the way for women to be ordained priests—and which rocked the Episcopal Church.
On July 29, 1974, eleven women were “irregularly” ordained in Philadelphia. On November 10, 1974, the Rev. Alison Cheek—one of the eleven—celebrated the eucharist at St. Stephen’s Church, the first public celebration of the eucharist by a woman priest in an Episcopal church. And on September 7, 1975, four more women were “irregularly” ordained priest, at St. Stephen’s. On Sunday, November 9, St. Stephen’s will begin a yearlong celebration of the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women. Festivities on November 9 include Sunday Forum at 9:15am with the Rev. Loren Mead, who will provide the context for what was going on in the church and the trauma that many experienced as the church grappled with the sin of sexism and the consequence of change. The festivities continue at the 10:30am service that day with the Eucharist celebrated by the Reverend Carole Crumley, the first women ordained in the Washington Diocese. A parish pot luck coffee hour will follow the 10:30 service with an open mike for individuals who were here 40 years ago to share their stories. The year’s focus will culminate with a celebration next September of the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the “Washington Four.” Read more about these events on our history pages.
The Un-gala Gala is Loaves and Fishes largest fund-raiser, featuring food, family trick-or-treating, and a silent auction, as well as education about our program and its mission. Bring your family, enjoy a meal, and support us in our mission to feed DC’s hungry. It takes place Friday, October 31 from 6-9pm. Tickets are $25/individual, $40/couple, $55/family. Purchase tickets here. Loaves and Fishes is St. Stephen's hot meal program; it has served over 150 meals every Saturday and Sunday for over 40 years. Read more about the program here.
We Make the Road by Walking is the new book by Brian McLaren; its 52 chapters taken us through the year and help us better understand what it means to follow Jesus. Every Monday evening at 7pm, parishioners gather at the church to discuss the chapter for that week. You are invited to attend any Monday evening you wish.
Faith Matters is our Thursday evening opportunity for faith growth and starts with light fare and ends just after 9pm with the short prayer service Compline, which will be sung with the 10:30 service choir. Anyone is welcome to come to as few or as many Thursday night Faith Matters gatherings as they wish. Topics for each week’s gathering will be announced on our "This Week" page.
St. Stephen's Church has a long and rich history, and we are presenting it on our historical website. You can add your own photos and memories and view materials from the church's archives.