The Quiet Strength of the Episcopal Church: Our Forgotten Women
Tuesday, June 17th – Friday, June 20th, 2014
Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah
In sickness and in health, amid poverty and plenty, at home and abroad, ordained and non-ordained women of The Episcopal Church played major roles in forming and practicing the mission, ministry, liturgy and music of The Church.
Celebrating some of those women’s stories, the National Episcopal Historians and Archivists met for their annual conference June 17-20 hosted by, and held at, the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Salt Lake City, in association with the Episcopal Women’s History Project.
The spirit of Episcopal women’s work was honored in the following presentations:
Wednesday’s banquet at the Aerie Restaurant at Snowbird Ski Resort featured guest speaker Craig B. Wirth, Communications Director for the Diocese of Utah, winner of four Emmy Awards and a 2012 inductee to the Utah Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame.
On Friday the 20th a presentation was made by Ancestry.com on their digitization program. Also on Friday, under the supervision of Sue Rehkopf, a “lightning round” allowed presenters who had sent in pictures of notable women to speak briefly on these remarkable individuals.
NEHA’s annual conference is held in the summer in various locations around North America. The purpose of the conference is to offer practical insights into the recording, preservation, writing and sharing the institutional history of the Episcopal Church. Conferences include a variety of workshops, speakers, and time for prayer, worship and fellowship.
This year’s conference theme was to honor the work and accomplishments of women who have received far less attention than men in The Church. This NEHA Conference aimed to give additional voice to Episcopal lay and clergy women – wives, deaconesses, nuns, missionaries – who quietly dedicated their lives to serving others and to promoting the work of our branch of the Church Catholic.
Conference attendees also enjoyed field trips and site tours around Salt Lake City, including:
*This is the Place Heritage Park
* The University of Utah’s Marriott Library’s archival storage facility.
* The LDS Church’s Church History Library.
* All of the Cathedrals in Salt Lake City: The Cathedral of the Madeleine; Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, and an in-depth presentation on Bishop Daniel S. Tuttle’s flagship cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.
* The Episcopal Church Center of Utah, the home of the Diocese of Utah and its associated Wasatch Retreat Center.
John W. Davis Award
At NEHA’s annual meeting, the Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Agnew received the association’s Canon John W. Davis Award, for outstanding contributions by a NEHA member to the organization and/or Episcopal Church history and archives.
Dr. Agnew, past-president of NEHA and former board member of the Historical Society of The Episcopal Church, is Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Virginia and is Ecumenical Coordinator of Province III.
Laurence D. Fish Award for Best Parish History
NEHA bestowed its first Fish Award this year. It is given annually in memory of Laurence D. Fish, one of the founders of NEHA. He was Archivist for the Diocese of New Jersey for many years. The award is to recognize the best parish-history book. This year’s Fish Award went to St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, for St. Peter’s Church: Faith in Action for 250 Years.
The authors were Cordelia Frances Biddle, Elizabeth S. Browne, Alan J. Heavens, and Charles P. Peitz. It was published by Temple University Press in 2011. The judges for all nine entries were A. Margaret Landis, G. Michael Strock, Peter W. Williams and Phillip Ayers.
The annual NEHA meeting also recognized and thanked retiring board members Rev. Dr. Bindy Snyder, Ms. Paula Allen, and Mr. Matthew Payne.
Financial reports reflected stable finances. A number of new members have recently joined.
Elected to the NEHA board were:
* Matt Carmichael, Archivist and Historiographer for the Diocese of Eastern Oregon;
* Amy Cunningham, archivist for Nashotah House Theological Seminary;
* Dr. Peter Williams, Diocese of Southern Ohio, author of several books, including Popular Religion in America and Houses of God: Region, Religion and Architecture in the United States.
At board meeting immediately following the conference, Susan Stonesifer was elected board president. Phillip Ayers agreed to remain as board vice president and Elizabeth Allison agreed to remain as board secretary. The board regretfully accepted the resignation of Michael Strock and appointed Matthew Payne to fill Mr. Strock’s unexpired term, and elected him as Treasurer.