St. Alban’s Church to host screening of ‘The Philadelphia Eleven’ April 6

Five of the “irregularly ordained” women pose for a photo on Sept. 30, 2023 after the premiere of “The Philadelphia Eleven.” They include seated left to right, the Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Emily Hewitt and the Rev. Merrill Bittner. Standing are the Rev. Nancy Wittig and Rev. Betty Powell. Powell was one of the Washington Four who were ordained in September 1975. (Photo by Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service)

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Edmonds will host a screening of The Philadelphia Eleven at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6. The film explores the lives of a group of remarkable women who succeeded in transforming an age-old institution despite the threats to their personal safety and the risk of rejection by the church they loved.    

Exclusion of women from ordination and other church leadership roles made headlines last year when the Southern Baptist Convention banned women from the most senior leadership roles, the church said in a news release announcing the event. Women in many parts of the Christian church continue a struggle for full inclusion in the sacraments and leadership of the church, a struggle that women started 50 years ago.  

In 1974, there was a dramatic breakthrough of the so-called “stained glass ceiling” that gave hope to Christian women everywhere. At a church in Philadelphia, a group of 11 women were ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in violation of the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church – which at the time stated that only men were eligible for ordination. This story is told in the documentary The Philadelphia Eleven.

St. Albans has been home to several women priests and a deacon over the past years and has always been receptive to their valuable contributions to its ministries, the church said. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. The church is planning to have clergy members from local churches at the event to share their thoughts about serving as women in today’s church.  

St. Alban’s is located at located at 21405 82nd Pl. W. near the Edmonds Five Corners intersection. Parking is available both north and south of the church. 

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