Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)

Dear friends,

This week at GCF we once again have the opportunity to hear and interact with a story.

Like many of our guests and story-tellers so far, this is a life story that doesn’t really follow any “traditional” trajectory.

But then, Joanna Manning is not your “traditional” Anglican priest (to be)!

And yet, in looking back and reflecting on her life, it is immediately apparent that God has been working through her and shaping her, leading Joanna “full circle” to this point in her life when, in her mid-sixties, she is preparing to be ordained as a Deacon (and then as a priest) in the Anglican Church.

Without giving too much away, here is just a sampling of the many roles and identities Joanna has experienced in her life:

Mother (and grandmother!)
Social Activist

I could elaborate on all of these, telling you about how Joanna left the religious orders after falling in love with a Jesuit priest, or about how conversations with women in Africa left her critical of the Roman Catholic stance on women and contraception, or about how her persistent calls for structural reform of the Roman Catholic Church caused her to lose her teaching job at York University, or about how she rose to national and international prominence as a writer and activist, calling on the Church to address the issues arising from the sexual abuse scandals that came to light in the 1980s in Canada…

Trust me, there’s more. In fact, I just erased a whole page of “teasers” and stories that I’d written about Joanna’s life, because it will be much more engaging to hear about it directly from her!

Eighteen years ago, Joanna felt she could no longer remain a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and she started attending an Anglican Church, becoming friends with street people through one of its programs. She was called to the ordained priesthood by her community there, this call coming “like a bolt out of the blue” to her! Now, as her friends begin retirement, Joanna begins the process of ordination in the Anglican Church on May 1st.

On top of all of this, Joanna is a warm, passionate, brilliant woman, with a breathtaking variety of experiences and wisdom to share.

Please join on Thursday night as Joanna Manning shares some stories and opens up a conversation with us about God’s call, the Church, singleness, ecumenism, feminist theology, Oscar Romero, and so much more…

We are excited for you to join us.

Take care,
Sara DeMoor

For more about Joanna, see her biography at There you will also find summaries and excerpts from each of her three books: Is the Pope Catholic? A Woman Confronts Her Church (1989); Take Back the Truth: Confronting Papal Power and the Religious Right (2002); and the Magdalene Moment: A New Vision for Christianity (2006).

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