Sunday, 11 February, 2024 – 5 pm
The All Saints Choir will offer Choral Evensong commemorating the consecration of Barbara C. Harris. The service features music by Moses Hogan, Stephan Griffin, Kerensa Briggs, and Zanaida Stewart Robles. A light reception will follow.
We’re delighted to welcome Byron Rushing as our guest preacher.
Barbara Clementine Harris was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 12, 1930. She was active in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and continued as a powerful advocate for the civil enfranchisement of all people in the United States. Ordained as a priest in 1980, her ministry was in both the parish and the public square. She continued to address issues of civil injustice while also offering a prophetic critique of the Episcopal Church for its homophobia, racism, and sexism.
Although General Convention included the provision for electing and consecrating women to be bishops in 1976, no woman became a bishop until Barbara Harris was elected as bishop suffragan for the Diocese of Massachusetts on September 24, 1988. Her election and subsequent consecration were not without controversy, including threats on her life by those opposed to the inclusion of women in the House of Bishops. Despite these threats, she was consecrated bishop on February 11, 1989.
She said of her work as a bishop, “I certainly don’t want to be one of the boys. I want to offer my peculiar gifts as a black woman . . . a sensitivity and an awareness that comes out of more than a passing acquaintance with oppression.”
Bishop Harris served the people of the Diocese of Massachusetts as suffragan bishop for thirteen years, until her retirement in 2002. After her retirement, she served from 2003 to 2007 as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Washington, D.C. and she continued to be in demand worldwide as a preacher until the end of her life. The first woman ordained as a bishop in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, Barbara Harris has been joined by more than fifty women in the episcopate. She died on March 13, 2020.
– from Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2022