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:
I remember very well the night I watched the news with my father, and the newscaster said that the Episcopal Church had voted to ordain women as priests. At the time, I was a young teenager in a Roman Catholic family, a girl who always wondered why I couldn’t be an altar server and why women couldn’t become priests. I turned to my father and said, “Women can be priests!” He looked at the excitement on my face and wagged his head in a “maybe yes, maybe no” manner.
It took me 37 years to find my church home and vocation in the Episcopal Church. I was ordained to the priesthood in New York in January of 2013, and as my daughter slipped the chasuble over my head, I felt the heaviness of all of those years of waiting slip off my shoulders.
Serving God’s people as a priest is a tremendous joy and privilege to me, a vocation I hold lightly and yet seriously. To me, my vocation has never been about being a woman priest, but about being a priest. Nevertheless, when I walk around places like Fordham University in a collar and see young people’s eyes grow wide with hope and excitement, I remember my teenaged excitement at the possibility of women serving, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity I have been given.
I also am very grateful for the courage and vision of the first women ordinands and church members who made women’s ordination possible.
The Reverend Janine Schenone is the Senior Associate of Congregational Development and Welcome at All Saints Church in Pasadena. She previously worked as theologian in residence at Christ Church Bronxville, NY; chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital; chapel minister at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Before that, she taught English for ten years at American River College in Sacramento, CA, and before that, she worked in high tech. Janine earned a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and the Berkeley Divinity School, an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis, and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Northwestern University.