Episcopal Bishop Barbara C. Harris, the first woman consecrated a bishop in the Anglican Communion, has passed away at the age of 89.
Harris, an African-American, devoted decades to supporting social justice causes. According to the Episcopal Archives, she was with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of the 1965 marches on the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma, Alabama, and she served as crucifer at the unauthorized ordination of 11 women in Philadelphia in 1974.
The latter episode inspired Harris to pursue a career in ministry. She was ordained a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1980, after completing an Anglican track in the theology department at Villanova University, a Roman Catholic institution outside Philadelphia. She subsequently served as a priest-in-charge, a prison chaplain, and as executive director of Episcopal Church Publishing Company (ECPC) from 1984-88.