Sunday, May 1, 2016

Women's Ordinations - March-April 2016

March 5, 2016 - Sarasota, FL

On March 5th, Janet Blakeley was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest in Sarasota, FL. The ceremony took place at St. Andrew United Church of Christ and the presider was ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. Rev. Blakeley has a Master's degree in Clinical/Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. In addition, she has graduate courses in Scripture and Theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Lay Ministry Training Institute, Boston, Andover-Newton Seminary, Boston College and Boston University. She has spent a lifetime in various ministries – church musician, parochial school administrator, parish adult education leader, volunteer in Haiti and spiritual director. Blakeley and her partner, Rev. Sally Brochu, have co-presided regularly at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community (MMOJ) in Sarasota where they now live. Rev. Brochu was ordained to the priesthood in May of last year.

April 10, 2016 - Sartell, MN

On April 10th, Ruth Lindstedt was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest by RCWP Bishop Nancy Meyer. The ordination ceremony took place at the First United Methodist Church in Sartell, MN. Rev. Lindstedt has been a member of Mary Magdalene, First Apostle community in St. Cloud. She received her Master's in Divinity from St. John's University in 2015 and shortly thereafter was ordained an RCWP deacon. Prior to joining the RCWP movement, Lindstedt worked for 40 years as a professional nurse and administrator in home care and hospice settings. She told the St. Cloud Times that she views the Church's opposition to women's ordination as a contradiction to its teaching on justice. "When the church talks about welcoming the marginalized, and this whole thing on justice, I'm sorry I just can't take it seriously, folks," she said.


April 16, 2016 - Albany, NY

On April 16th, Jim Marsh and Kim Panaro were ordained as priests within the ARCWP movement by ARCWP Presiding Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. The ordination took place at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Albany. A graduate of Siena College, Rev. Marsh trained with the Franciscan friars. After leaving seminary formation, he served his local church communities as lector, Eucharistic minister, religious educator, parish counselor, and working with youth and seniors. A gay man, Rev. Marsh established a DIGNITY Chapter in the Capital District region of New York and created an interfaith Eucharist table where all were welcome, including GLBTS. His work in establishing support services for AIDS victims and families was recognized by then Governor Mario Cuomo.

Rev. Panaro has an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from the College of St. Rose and a Master's in Social Work from SUNY Albany. She has served as a school social worker for many years. She has worked for the Bethlehem Central School District and for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany's Episcopal Counseling Service. Of her vocation, Rev. Panaro says, "I always knew I had a calling in the church...We don’t need to wait for permission to do what God calls us to be. As a woman priest, I feel my ordination is to be a witness for Catholics who don’t feel comfortable in the church anymore." Both new ARCWP priests are members of The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community (click on each event in "Calendar" for time and place of services) where they will continue to serve.

April 16, 2016 - Windsor, Ontario

On April 16th, Sydney Condray was ordained a Roman Catholic woman deacon by ARCWP Bishop Michele Birch-Conery at Cardinal Place Chapel in Windsor, ON, Canada. Ms. Condray holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo. She has been a professed lay Carmelite for 50 years and, as such, she would meet monthly with a group to explore the spirituality and traditions of the Order of Carmelites. She has worked as a General Activities Therapist at Northwest Ohio Developmental Center. She is the author of O Gracious One: 150 Psalm-Inspired Prayers (Twenty-Third Publications, 2005) and Assembled in Christ: 44 Liturgies with Lay Presiders (Twenty-Third Publications, 1993). In 1987, she received an "Outstanding University Woman" award from the University of Toledo's University Women's Commission.

April 17, 2016 - Somerset West, South Africa

On April 17th, Ann Ralston became the third Roman Catholic woman priest from South Africa. RCWP Bishop Patricia Fresen, who performed the ordination, was the first, although Bishop Fresen now lives in Germany. The second is Rev. Mary Ryan, who was ordained in 2014. Since her ordination, Rev. Ryan has been part of forming two Eucharistic communities in the Cape, and Rev. Ralston, a former nun, retired general practitioner, and spiritual counselor, credits her work with awakening her dream of the priesthood. Last year while still a deacon, she told RCWP that "womenpriests are truly the prophets of our time. I have a sense that we are digging new channels for the Spirit to flow into stagnating waters and to renew their freshness." In addition to her medical degree from Stellenbosch, Rev. Ralston also has degrees in Theology from Regina Mundi College for Women in Rome, as well as degrees in Church Music, Spiritual Counseling, and Pastoral Theology from various institutions.


April 23, 2016 - Morristown, NJ

On April 23rd, Sharon Dickinson, Jacqueline M. Clarys and Claire Gareau were ordained as Roman Catholic women priests by RCWP Bishop Andrea Johnson. Jackie Clarys is a member of the Living Water Inclusive Catholic Community in Maryland and holds master's degrees in Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and in Theology from the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, MD. After a music career with the U.S. Army, Rev. Clarys now serves as a Chaplain Intern through the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Claire Gareau is a member of the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community in New Jersey, and Sharon Dickinson is a member of the Spirit of Life Community in Weston, MA.

April 23, 2016 - Manchester, NH

On April 23rd, Kim Turcotte was ordained an ARCWP woman deacon by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester. Ms. Turcotte lives in Epping and is studying theology-pastoral ministry. She has devoted her life to mothering an adopted son with many medical issues. "Now with my son almost grown, I will advocate for the church that Jesus intended and serve the people of God," says Turcotte. "Being the mother of a child with disabilities, I am called to serve those at the margins."

April 30, 2016 - Fresno, CA

On April 30th, Donnieau Snyder became the third African American woman to be ordained as a Roman Catholic woman priest. The first was the late Rev. Alta Jacko of Chicago, IL, and, in January 2016, Renée (Ronnie) Dubignon was ordained in Altamonte Springs, FL, by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan. Snyder and fellow RCWP priest Donna Marie Shaw were ordained by RCWP Bishop Merlene Olivia Doko in a ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fresno. Rev. Snyder is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents, and Donna Shaw is a nurse from Illinois, currently living in California, who also has a Bachelor of Religious Studies from Global Ministries University.


Speaking to the Fresno Bee about the upcoming ordination, Rev. Snyder said that she neither feared nor accepted the almost certain excommunication from the institutional Roman Catholic Church. "As a woman in the Roman Catholic Church, not having been truly welcomed in all ways, shapes and forms, in worship and community, it's hard to accept the concept of 'you're no longer included.' How can I be excluded if I was truly never included? Have I ever truly accepted excommunication? No,I feel I am more a part of the Catholic Church than I ever have growing up, because I get to really practice the primacy of my conscience."