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The Philadelphia Eleven is a story of those who overcame an injustice and succeeded in gaining access where access was once denied. It is a story of justice, inclusion, and triumph. This story is told in a compelling new documentary The Philadelphia Eleven. Women in many parts of the Christian church continue a struggle for full inclusion in the leadership of the church. The Philadelphia Eleven offers hope and inspiration where injustices persist.
In violation of the Episcopal Church’s constitution and canons – which stated that only men were eligible for ordination – a group of eleven women were ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1974 at a church in Philadelphia. This moment moved the Episcopal Church to change and gave hope to women everywhere.
The feature documentary film will screen here in Lynchburg on Sunday, March 3 at the Academy Center of the Arts! All are invited to a reception at 4:30 p.m. where we will honor the Rev. Deborah Hunley, whose ordination in 1977 marked the first ordination of a woman in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. The screening of the 90-minute documentary will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Historic Academy Theatre.
This film tells a story that resonates even today as women seeking ordination continue to face resistance, disrespect, and exclusion from roles that were reserved for men. The documentary explores the lives of these remarkable women who succeeded in transforming an age-old institution despite threats to their personal safety and the risk of rejection by the church they loved. These women became and remain an inspiration for generations of women in the ministry and a clarion call for the entire Christian Church.
This screening is hosted by the Convocation of Lynchburg area Episcopal Churches, whose congregations have been blessed by women in ministry and in leadership roles. We celebrate fifty years of Women in Ministry, even as we continue to pursue equity and justice for women in all spheres of life.
A portion of the ticket sales from this screening will go to support the YWCA Central Virginia, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.
Lynchburg Convocation of Episcopal Churches
Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia
Grace Episcopal Church, Massies Mill
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Amherst
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Forest
Trinity Episcopal Church, Arrington
YWCA Central Virginia
All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket for this event unless otherwise stated. All ages are welcome.
Videography and audio recording during the performances are prohibited. Photography of the set on stage is allowed pre-show, post-show, and during intermission. But we do ask that you show our designers and visiting performers some love by crediting them (and by tagging us) in your social media posts.
The Academy Center of the Arts offers a diverse selection of entertainment. Not all productions may appeal to or be appropriate for every guest or for all ages. Ticket buyers should take responsibility for making informed decisions regarding their purchases. We recommend visiting the official show website of each show you are coming to see at the Academy. If you ever have questions about the content or appropriateness of a show, please contact us at [email protected].
Our lobby doors open 60 minutes prior to show time. House doors open 30 minutes prior to show time for seating.
Parking is available on-site and throughout downtown Lynchburg. Our parking map (linked below) shows all of the free public and paid parking available. In addition, street parking is also available on most streets.
Ticketing purchases are non-refundable. By purchasing a ticket to an event at The Academy Center of the Arts, you are agreeing to our ticketing policy. View our full ticketing policy.
Want to volunteer and see this show for free? Contact Mele Thompson, [email protected], for more information.