Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin to ordain a woman to priesthood
June 23, 2009
• A first for the diocese
• Diocese currently has four woman priests
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, which stretches from Bakersfield north to Lodi, is about to have its first-ever ordination of a woman to the priesthood.
The Rev. Suzanne Ward is to be ordained June 27 by the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb at the Church of the Saviour in Hanford.
San Joaquin has had many female deacons over the years and now has four female priests, all of whom were ordained in other dioceses. Women were first ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church in 1975. After June 27 there will be only two dioceses left that have not ordained a woman, Quincy (in Illinois) and Fort Worth.
The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera, suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Olympia and, in a missionary partnership, is also provisional bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, is scheduled to preach at Su8nday’s services. The first Hispanic woman to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church, she is the daughter of the late Victor Rivera, third bishop of San Joaquin.
Ms. Ward has assisted with the leadership of the continuing St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Visalia since its establishment in early 2008.
She and her husband, Jon Ward, who have been married for 30 years, are both teachers in the city of Tulare.