Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis

Women’s Ordination History Project: Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis

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:

Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis

After my ordination rite to the Transitional Diaconate, my family shared a laugh in my direction. During my vows I had become tongue-tied over the language about submission to authority.

I was the third woman in my family to receive a seminary degree and the first to be ordained. My graduating class of 2007 at the Seminary of the Southwest had more women than men, a first for the institution. This makes me the beneficiary of the toil of those women — ordained and lay — who went before.

A priest is not one who is ordained, but the one who is expressed and developed in her post-ordination years of ministry. As I live and move and have my being outside of parish life, I am blown away by an awkward reality. It is a backlash against women’s increased freedom and power the world over combined with a growing ease with which women share new levels of leadership in so many arenas of life and society.

If all tension can be creative tension, then I hope I can live into this particular one in the spirit of genderless kinship, soulful force and Godlike grace.

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