Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

The Philadelphia Eleven

In 1974 eleven women were ordained Episcopal priests against church rules. They sparked a movement.  

Tentatively titled, "The Philadelphia Eleven," a documentary film tells how the women hit a chord in a deeply divided world  about who speaks the word of God. They set an example for how we can follow our calls in the midst of adversity. The film is on Kickstarter until June 20th. Here is a link with more information.

Episcopal Diocese of Rochester connection:
According to the Archives of the Episcopal Church, The Rev. Merrill Bittner of Rochester, N.Y. was one of the eleven women in the disputed ordination service in Philadelphia. On July 29, 1974, Rev. Bittner announced that she will "no longer affiliate myself with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." She said that she did not intend to "abandon the faith that has informed my life" or to renounce "my priestly orders or my vows to the Church of God." She said she had no plan to affiliate with another church, and added, "In effect, I have not left the Church; the Church has left me. " She planned to continue working until December in the ministry to women in prison with which she had been involved for the past three years. Bishop Robert R. Spears of Rochester and the Standing Committee of the diocese accepted her 1974 ordination as "valid but irregular," although she was not been permitted to exercise priestly functions.