Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Grace in Motion: The Intersection of Women's Ordination and Virginia Theological Seminary

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Grace in Motion: The Intersection of Women's Ordination and Virginia Theological Seminary

Article excerpt

Grace in Motion: The Intersection of Women's Ordination and Virginia Theological Seminary. By Judith Maxwell McDaniel. (Brainard: RiverPlace Communication Arts, 2011, Pp. 224.)

Judith Maxwell McDaniel's Grace in Motion is about the intersection of one of the Episcopal Church's seminaries and the idea of women priests and how it became reality. Her narrative tells how, beginning in the 1940s, Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) reluctantly faced the issue of women as students and faculty. Very gradually, and often grudgingly, women were accepted in these roles. By the time women's ordination was openly debated in the 1970s, faculty members were generally sympathetic, though not particularly active in achieving change. After women's ordination became a reality, the book focuses on women who came to VTS as students seeking the M. Div. degree and ordination. As the number of women students increased, the author follows the calling and careers of a selected group. McDaniel is the Howard Chandler Robbins Professor of Homiletics at VTS. Each of the chapters of this book presents itself as a sermon. Grace is her text, the women and events involving them are her explication. Grace in Motion can be read as both theology and history.

For those interested in the history of the ordination of women this book will be a useful addition to works on the subject. Since it concentrates on a single seminary, it treats the individuals involved more fully than a study of the whole church easily could. McDaniel has consulted the published works on the subject, seminary archives, and other relevant papers. Most interesting and valuable of her sources are interviews with some VTS faculty and women students. These give a first-hand picture of the women's call, their seminary experiences, and their lives as priests. …

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