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Montana Episcopal Church Ordaining First Female Bishop

The Most Rev. Michael Curry (left) and Rev. Dr. Martha Stebbins (right) take questions from press in Helena the day before Stebbins ordination as bishop of the Episcopal Church of Montana, Dec. 6, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney
/
Montana Public Radio
The Most Rev. Michael Curry (left) and Rev. Dr. Martha Stebbins (right) take questions from press in Helena the day before Stebbins ordination as bishop of the Episcopal Church of Montana, Dec. 6, 2019.

The Episcopal Church of Montana is ordaining its first female Bishop to lead the state-wide diosciese. Bishop-elect Martha Stebbins assumes the role Saturday in a ceremony in Helena.

Reverend Martha Stebbins prayed with clergy in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena during the first of three days of events celebrating and ordaning her as bishop.

Stebbins' ordination Saturday marks the first time a woman will hold the position in the more than 150 year history of the Episcopal Church in Montana.

"I think it's, in some respects, almost happenstance in that Montana, I don’t think, had a cultural or political barrier to a woman becoming a bishop in a denomination that accepts women as leaders," Stebbins said.

Stebbins pointed to Montana’s history of electing the first woman to Congress.

According to the Montana diocese, more than half of the Episcopal clergy in the state are women.

Bishop-elect Stebbins previously served in a Episcopal Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Before receiving her divinity degree in 2005 she earned a doctorate in veterinary bacteriology.

Stebbins will become the 10th bishop in the history of Montana’s Episcaopal Church. She succeeds C. Franklin Bookhart, Jr., who retired earlier this year.

Stebbins was elected by the diocese during a July special convention in Bozeman