|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in original order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence and other materials relating to the sponsorship by St. Mary's Episcopal Church of two women deacons of the parish, Carter Heyward and Emily Hewitt (Union Theological Seminary alumnae), for Episcopal ordination in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Diocese of New York, in December 1973. Correspondents include Ellen Marie Barrett; Douglass B. Clark, Deacon, St. Mary's Manhattanville, New York; James L. Duncan, Episcopal Bishop, Diocese of South East Florida; Eugene R. Fairweather, Professor of Divinity, Trinity College, Toronto, Canada; Charlotte Graves Patton, Chair, Congregational Committee on Women's Ordination, St Mary's, Manhattanville, New York; J. E. Griffiss, Professor of Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology, Nashota House, Wisconsin; Emily Hewitt, Deacon, St. Mary's Manhattanville, New York; Carter Heyward, Deacon, St. Mary's Manhattanville, New York; E. Allen Mellen, Vestry Chair/ Treasurer/Warden, St Mary's Manhattanville, New York; Albert T. Mollegen, Professor of New Testament and Christian Ethics, Episcopal Theological Seminary, Virginia; Paul Moore, Jr. Episcopal Bishop, Diocese of New York; Richard A. Norris, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, General Theological Seminary, New York; Thomas F. Pike, President, Standing Committee; Neale A. Secor, Priest in charge St. Mary's, Manhattanville, New York; William Stringfellow.
Burke Library record group:
Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship (AWTS)
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, AWTS: E. Allen Mellen collection on St. Mary's Episcopal Church and the ordination of women, 1973-2012, series #, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
E. Allen Mellen donated the papers of this collection to the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship in 2012.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
When the Burke Library acquired this collection, an attempt was made to maintain the original order. Some alteration in the order of correspondence to clarify the sequential order of events was found to be necessary to facilitate research consultation. Folded materials were flattened. Newspaper clippings were photocopied on acid free paper. Staples and metal clips were removed. All materials were placed in acid-free folders in an archival box. The finding aid was created by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron in 2013, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-05-20 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
E. Allen Mellen held a range of roles in the Vestry St Mary's Church Manhattanville, including that of treasurer and former Warden. Seven months before the famous "Irregular Episcopal ordinations" of eleven women in Philadelphia in 1974, five women deacons were presented for ordination to the priesthood at the regular December service of ordination of priests in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York. On December 15th 1973 along with five men ordained as deacons in the previous June, five women deacons were also presented for ordination to priesthood. These women Deacons were Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward (both deacons at St Mary's, 521 126th Street, New York), Carol Anderson, Barbara Schlachter and Julia Sibley. Marie Moorefield had also planned to join in presenting herself for ordination but was absent through illness. This was the first occasion in the history of the Episcopal Church where women had been presented to the Bishop for ordination to the priesthood and had fully taken part in the service, but were refused ordination by the laying on of hands. Bishop Moore, in declining to ordain them, said: "I feel bound to wait on the Church before laying hands on my sisters whose ordination the Church does not allow. Here are my hands, eager to ordain sisters who are prepared." The women deacons along with their presenters and many supporters left the Cathedral. It is understood that they then held an Agape at nearby Union Theological Seminary. Later in his sermons to the priests and several hundred attendees in the cathedral the Bishop stated "Today we see the agony and brokenness of our church by the presence of five deacons who may not be ordained. All of us who are their friends share their pain with them." Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward and Douglass B. Clark were all three deacons in the parish of St. Mary's Manhattanville in New York in the early 1970s. This parish, known as the "We are not afraid! Parish" in the Episcopal Church has served the West Harlem Community since 1823. Douglass Clark was the only one of the three deacons from St Mary's Manhattanville who was ordained at the December 15th Cathedral ceremony. Emily Hewitt and Carter Heyward were later ordained among the Philadelphia Eleven.