Barbara Harris Ordained as Anglican Bishop
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Time Period
In 1988, the once-a-decade meeting of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, known as the Lambeth Conference, decided it was up to each autonomous province whether to ordain women as bishops. In September of that same year, the U.S. Episcopal Church elected a 58-year-old civil rights advocate and African-American priest, Barbara Harris, as Anglican’s first female bishop.

Bishop Harris was consecrated suffragan bishop of Massachusetts in February 1989 in a highly controversial election. Some conservative priests left the church in protest. However, by the 1998 Lambeth Conference, there were 11 Anglican female bishops in attendance.

Bishop Harris officially retired in 2002.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Women and Religion
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Women and Religion in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Anglicanism Family
Anglicanism Family: Other ARDA Links


Bishop Barbara Harris preaching- Flickr- photo by GC Media Hub 09 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Barbara Harris speaking- Flickr- photo by GC Media Hub 09 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
The Archives of the Episcopal Church
The Los Angeles Times, "Harris Consecrated in Episcopal Rites: Cheers, Protests Greet 1st Woman Bishop" (Feb. 12, 1989)
UPI archives, "The Rev. Barbara Harris, the first elected woman bishop" (Jan. 3, 1989)
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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