While the bishops were in election sequestration on Saturday, the House of Deputies celebrated its 230th birthday. House of Deputies president Gay Clark Jennings presented medals to several former house leaders, including Charles Willie, former house vice president.
“Dr. Willie is a groundbreaking African-American educator, the first African-American professor at Syracuse University, a distinguished public servant who worked with President John F. Kennedy and President Jimmy Carter, and a leader of desegregation,” Jennings said. As vice president of the House of Deputies he preached at the 1974 ordination of the “Philadelphia 11,” the first women ordained priests in the Episcopal Church. “When the bishops failed to uphold that ordination and give equal rights to women, he resigned his position in protest. Dr. Willie, we have not forgotten.”