Through persistence, leadership and wisdom, Betty Bone Schiess led the successful effort to have women ordained priests in the Episcopal Church in America, elevating the position of women in the Church, and in society.
Schiess, an ordained deacon in the Church in 1972, was one of the 11 women ordained priests in 1974. Her efforts and those of her colleagues have made it possible for girls and women to serve at all levels in the Church -impossible before “the Philadelphia Eleven” made their stand for equality. Trained at the University of Cincinnati, Syracuse University and the Rochester Center for Theological Studies, Schiess was a chaplain at Syracuse University (1976-78) and Cornell University (1978-79) as well as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Mexico, New York from 1984-89. She has been advisor to Women in Mission and Ministry of the Episcopal Church in the United States since 1987. She has received the Governor’s Award for Women of Merit in Religion (1984), the Ralph Kharas Award of the ACLU and other awards. She is past president of the International Association of Women Ministers.