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THE STORY OF THE PHILADELPHIA ELEVEN Free Public Screening with special guest, The Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward St. Matthew’s, Wilton

April 28 @ 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Fifty years ago this July, a brave group of women shattered the stained-glass ceiling by challenging the very core of patriarchal culture to seek ordination as Priests in the Episcopal Church. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, Connecticut is proud to host a public screening of The Philadelphia Eleven, a compelling new documentary film about these women on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 2:00pm. Despite resistance, disrespect, and exclusion, these women defied the norms and transformed an age-old institution. The film sheds light on their lives, exploring the personal risks they undertook for the sake of their beliefs and their love for the church. It is a powerful story of faith and conviction. It is a story for all of us, regardless of faith tradition, that doesn’t just recount history but reflects the continuing struggles faced by women today.

“We’re in a space where women’s rights are starting to get rolled back, and to understand the stories of the women who come before us and the shoulders we stand on is the only way we move forward,” said Margo Guernsey, the film’s director and producer. An independent, Massachusetts-based filmmaker, Guernsey said she never heard about the Philadelphia 11 until she had a phone conversation with one of its leaders, the Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward, and came away wanting to know more.

Following the film, Heyward will speak and answer questions about her experience. In the early 1970s she and Suzanne Hiatt, another “member of the 11,” were studying at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. “It was not until the [General] Convention in Louisville in 1973 rejected women’s ordination … that we realized something needed to be done to sort of crack this thing open,” Heyward, now 79, told Religion News Service.

Guernsey, who is not an Episcopalian, emphasizes that this is a story for everyone. “It is about how to break down barriers with grace and be true to oneself in the process. This story reveals ways in which voices that are inconvenient are often buried. It also provides a vision for what a just and inclusive community looks like in practice.”

The screening on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 2:00pm is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Dr. Heyward will also preach at the 10:00am Holy Eucharist that day and all are also welcome to attend worship. St. Matthew’s is an open, welcome, and affirming community located at 36 New Canaan Road in Wilton, CT.


April 28
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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The Rev. Marissa Rohrbach
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Southwest Region
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Marissa Rohrbach
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St. Matthew’s, Wilton
36 New Canaan Rd
Wilton, CT 06897 United States
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