Barbara Harris Becomes First Black Female to be Bishop of U.S. Episcopal Church

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Barbara C. Harris becomes the first female bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church or anywhere in the Anglican Communion. Harris had previously been the first female priest in the Episcopal Church.

Both because she is a female and because she is black, Barbara C. Harris receives a number of death threats and obscene messages from Christians who consider her occupation of the office of bishop to be un-Christian. She, in turn, says that she doesn't "take this in a personal way." She's urged to wear a bullet-proof vest during the ordination ceremony at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts but she refuses. There is, however, a large contingent of Boston police there to protect her.

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