As a journalist I am more than sensitive about the rank ignorance that so many of my colleagues demonstrate in their coverage of religion, in general, and Christianity, in particular. This story contains some real gems -- linguistic, journalistic and theological -- not all of them the fault of the poor reporter. Spot them all.
Church ordains city's first female Episcopal priest
Carol Petty was ordained as a priest Monday night at Trinity Episcopal Church in Longview, becoming the city's first female ordained priest in the Episcopal church.
"It's a great honor to be ordained as a priest in the church," Petty said. "I've been in ministry of various kinds for about 15 years."
Petty attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at its Houston campus, earning two degrees. However, she soon became interested in the Episcopal church, being "drawn to the beauty of the liturgy and the grace," she said.
Kevin Wittmayer, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, called the ordainment "monumental for us," adding, "We couldn't have a better woman to be our first female clergyperson. It's a real good thing for us."
Petty attended a year of Anglican study at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin after entering the discernment process for holy orders at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Beaumont. She came to the Longview church in July.
According to Rayford High, the assistant bishop of Texas, females were allowed to be ordained priests and bishops in 1976 at a general convention meeting in Minneapolis. Before that, women could be ordained only as deacons.
High confirmed Petty's ordainment as the first of a female in the Episcopal church in Longview and said female ordinations are commonplace throughout the country.
"There are only three out of 100 diocese that don't ordain females," High said – in Fort Worth; San Joaquin, Calif.; and Quincy, Ill.
By Gabriel T. Brooks at the Longview News-Journal