Cathedral Church of St. Luke, the center of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, was the site of the first ordination of a woman to the Episcopal priesthood in Maine when Elizabeth Ann Habecker was ordained in 1977, the year after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women. The action was so controversial that the priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at the bottom of Munjoy Hill caused his church’s flag to be flown upside down at half staff. The following year, Brooke Alexander Leddy was the first Maine resident to be ordained at St. Luke’s. She spoke of her call to the service of God: “I have recognized God in myself, and I have loved her.” Women have served as deacons at St. Luke’s since 1978 and in the 1990s comprised a majority on the church’s Vestry (board of directors). A longstanding women’s service group is St. Martha’s Guild.
Chilton R. Knudsen was elected the first female Episcopal Bishop in Maine in 1997 and served until 2008.
Before crossing State Street to the next site, note the Portland Fire Museum on the left at 157 Spring Street, originally built in 1837 to house the West Female Grammar School and a fire station.