Today I will be gathering at Honey Creek with ordained women from around the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. We have been invited by the Episcopal Church Women to celebrate the fact that in 1976, the Episcopal Church said yes. Yes, we could be ordained. Today's celebration is more than ya-ya sisterhood. It is an opportunity to share our ideas and find ways to spread God's grace further in the world.
I will be thinking in particular about The Very Rev. David Collins, who brought down the gavel on the vote in 1976. The Episcopal Church U.S.A. had assembled its representatives for its convention, which takes place every three years. David Collins was Chair of the House of Deputies that year. For some time there had been bitter debate over whether women could be ordained. The crowd was divided, and it was easy to tell who was on which side. They were wearing buttons to show where they stood.
In his book, There Is A Lad Here, David says that his committee had asked for five minutes of silence to be built into the schedule. They had been refused that request, so they cut short their own presentation. This left the five minutes of silent prayer in the right spot -- just before the vote. According to David, even the media reported that a holy hush fell on the place. When the silence was ended, the votes were cast and it was determined that women could be ordained. We often hear that "prayer changes things." In this example we learn that prayer changes people.
I once had an opportunity to meet David Collins and thank him in person. What he did that day was grace-filled. I pray that my ordination will bring grace to a world that craves God's touch.
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek