49th Anniversary of the 1974 Ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven

On July 29, 2024, The Episcopal Church will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1974 ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first women ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church — an event that shattered stained-glass ceilings everywhere and irrevocably changed the Church.

As the 49th Anniversary of this historic event fast approaches, July 29, 2023, offers us all an opportunity to not only mark the occasion, but also begin to gather local information related to the impact of women’s ordination to the priesthood and episcopate in our own parishes and dioceses.

In preparation for the 49th anniversary and looking ahead to the 50th, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, along with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music and others, is offering resources for liturgical commemorations of that historic moment in our church and in celebration of those who helped the Church take that step closer to becoming Beloved Community.

It would be wonderful if congregations in each diocese could join others around the church in marking this 49th anniversary with local commemorations in preparation for the 50th anniversary in 2024 and a movement to officially add the Philadelphia Eleven to the Episcopal Church’s Liturgical Calendar.

A description of the commemoration along with suggested prayers and lessons is available here and will be archived on the Liturgy & Music Commission’s Resources page on the Diocese of Los Angeles website. For more information, contact the Rev. Cynthia Black at cblack@redeemermorristown.org or Canon Susan Russell at srussell@ladiocese.org. If your church or diocese offers a commemoration this year, please let one of them know. 

The Philadelphia 11 – women deacons who had been barred from becoming priests – kneel to be ordained in an irregular service on July 29, 1974. File photo / Episcopal Church Archives
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