July 21 Farewell for The Rev. Alison Cheek

St. Peter's Episcopal Church
11 White Street Rockland ME
Mary Alice Bird
Jul 21, 2013
10:00 AM
Photo by: St. Peter's The Rev. Alison Cheek, featured on Time Magazine's 1976 cover of Women of the year, at a recent function at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Rockland

July 21 Farewell to The Rev. Alison Cheek.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Rockland, invites the community to join them in a “farewell” celebration of the ministry of Alison Cheek on Sunday, July 21.  In 1976, she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the Women of the Year. Alison, one of the first eleven women ordained as Episcopal priests in 1974, has been living in the Midcoast and participating in the life of St. Peter’s since 1996.


Alison will be the featured preacher at the 10:00 a.m. worship service; a special coffee reception will follow the service.   St. Peter’s hopes many of Alison’s friends throughout the area will join in this “farewell celebration.”  St. Peter’s is located at 11 White Street, Rockland, between the Public Library and the Rec Center.


As one of the “Philadelphia Eleven”– female deacons who challenged the interpretations of church canons that prohibited women from ordination – Alison was a pioneer in opening the way for the Episcopal Church’s reinterpretation and change in the canons in 1976 to allow for the ordination of women. This was an historic moment in the Church. In 1974 at St. Stephen’s Church, Washington, she was the first ordained Episcopal woman to celebrate the Eucharist.

Alison was born in Australia, but she and her family migrated to the United States in 1957 when her husband Bruce accepted a position with the World Bank.  In 1963, she was one of the first two women admitted to Virginia Seminary, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree.  Following graduation she became a lay minister in charge of pastoral ministries at Christ Church, Alexandria, and the “first Episcopal woman deacon in the South.” Her work led her to study at the Washington Institute of Pastoral Psychotherapy and begin her own counseling practice.  After the unexpected death of her husband, she became interested in working with women seeking to find their spiritual identity and moved to Philadelphia to administer a Venture in Mission project for the Episcopal Church.


In 1982, she was awarded a Proctor Fellowship at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she earned a Doctorate and then served on the faculty and was Director of Feminist Liberation Theology studies.   Alison moved to Maine in 1996 to become part of the staff of the Greenfire Reatreat Center, then active in Tenants’ Harbor.  She also became affiliated with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland,and in recent years has served as spiritual counselor, pastoral minister, and supply priest for St. Peter’s.  This much beloved and respect woman and priest will be greatly missed by her many friends and companions in the Midcoast.