Barbara Harris, First Woman Ordained an Episcopal Bishop, Dies at 89

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Barbara Clementine Harris was born on June 12, 1930, in Philadelphia, the center of three children. Her father, Walter Harris, was a steelworker, and her mom, Beatrice (Selling price) Harris, was an organist at the family’s parish, St. Barnabas Church. (It later merged with a different parish, St. Luke’s.) Ms. Harris examined the piano, discovering to engage in dozens of hymns by coronary heart.

She is survived by her brother, Thomas. Her sister, Josephine White, died.

Right after graduating from Philadelphia Significant College for Ladies in 1948, Ms. Harris attended Charles Morris Value University of Promoting and Journalism and entered general public relations, finally starting to be a supervisor in 1968 for Sun Oil Co.

Active in civil legal rights, she traveled to Mississippi to register voters in 1964 and the next yr marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

All the although she ready herself for ordination, studying at Villanova College and the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, England. When 3 retired Episcopal bishops at her parish, the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, ordained 11 gals in 1974 — two many years ahead of the church had approved these types of an motion — Ms. Harris was the cross bearer in the procession.

Ms. Harris was ordained a priest in 1980, served at St. Augustine of Hippo Church, a little parish in Norristown, Pa., and was a jail chaplain. She attained a broader audience via her speaking and creating on behalf of racial justice and in opposition to apartheid in South Africa.

Writing in 1984 in The Witness, an Episcopal journal of which she was publisher, she stated the church was wasting its power debating the ordination of girls.

“How common of this church and the modern society it demonstrates to get its adrenaline flowing more than nonissues like irregularity versus validity,” she wrote, “while actual troubles go unaddressed — justice, ability, authority, shared mission and ministry and wholeness in the entire body of Christ.’’

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