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Celebrate Women's History Month with The Philadelphia Eleven

Support the groundbreaking documentary film about the women who dared to get ordained as Episcopal priests in 1974.


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On July 29th, 1974, eleven courageous women defied church rules and became Episcopal priests. Their action transformed the church. 

For the past eight years, award-winning independent filmmakers of Time Travel Productions have been working on a feature length documentary film to tell this story. It runs 86 minutes, and weaves a trove of archival footage with a narrative told by the women ordained that day, and some of their allies. 

We plan to release this inspiring film this year in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary! But before we can do that we need your help.


The DeBoccles Foundation has made a commitment to match donations up to $100,000!

Help us reach our goal to take full advantage of this generous offer.


This film is a compelling educational tool that will preserve and share history, and empower viewers to engage in brave conversations about the injustices we face today.

Viewers will want to learn more about this history, and reflect on more general questions such as:

  • How can we build inclusive communities within institutions that have historically marginalized many people?
  • How do we hold each other up as we celebrate our differences?
  • How can we have difficult conversations about stepping up and stepping back from our privilege so that everyone has a chance to live their full lives as they are called to do?

We are often asked how we address race in the film, considering that the ordinands are all white women. The film addresses the whiteness among the leaders of the movement, and honors the Black church leaders who supported them. It is a tool to discuss how white supremacy has shown up in the church historically.


Here is a look back at the progress we have made!

In 2015 we met with two of the women ordained in Philadelphia and proposed a feature length documentary film to tell the story. We began to research, and filmed with the women whenever possible.

In 2019 we ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund production. That was when you all found out about the film! And many of you enthusiastically contributed.

With those funds we hired an archive researcher, and finished interviewing the key figures. We also filmed other events with the ordinands.

In 2020 we hired an accomplished editor and started piecing the film together. The archive researcher continued to search for material.

During this time, we continued to apply for grants and pitched the film to industry for co-producing opportunities.

In 2020 we were invited to pitch the film at Only In New York, a prestigious program of DOC NYC.

In 2022 we were invited as one of only five documentaries included in Film Independent’s Fast Track program.

Also in 2022 you, our supporters, dug into your pockets again, and many new family foundations donated.

With these funds we paid the editor, archive researcher, an animator, a composer and a sound mixer.


Documentary film production is more expensive than most people realize. 

Here is what still needs to be paid for:

  • licensing the archival footage
  • legal and insurance fees
  • a colorist, sound mix and remaining graphics
  • editing fees to bring all these assets together
  • a post house to create the final screening copy
  • a designer to create a poster
  • a designer to create a website
  • producing fees to make this all happen

Documentary Educational Resources (DER) is the fiscal sponsor for this film. All donations go through DER which is a 501(c)3. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.


The 50th Anniversary is next year. 

You can support the film, and start to plan to host a screening!

Donations of $500 or more will be granted a license to host a screening. A community screening license comes with a copy of the film, a film poster, suggestions for panelists and discussions questions, and other swag as it becomes available.

If you are able, please consider a larger contribution of $3,000 - $10,000 for your community screening license.

Documentary Educational Resources (DER) is the fiscal sponsor for this film. All donations go through DER which is a 501(c)3. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.


Limited-edition buttons are still available!

We created these buttons to mimic the ones used to support women’s ordination as priests in the 1970s. This updated button adds the tagline “Tell the Story.” This was a limited run of 500 pins. We will continue to send them until we run out. Donate early to get yours!



Yes, you can send a paper check. Please make the check out to our fiscal sponsor, Documentary Educational Resources. On the memo line write: Philadelphia Eleven film.

​Mail to: 

Documentary Educational Resources
108 Water Street 5A
Watertown, MA 02472


We are regular people, some of us clergy and some of us laypeople, who believe this film is crucial now. We have been meeting monthly for over a year, and we are committed to complete the film in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary in 2024.

Help us discover --and celebrate-- this story of faith, struggle, fear and joy as women answered God’s calls to transform the church by recognizing their ministry, as we follow in their footsteps always striving for an inclusive ministry and a "whole priesthood."

Forward together,

Ms. Katie Courtice Basquin, Mitchellville, MD

The Rev. Cynthia Black, Newark, NJ

Dr. Heather Huyck, Mitchellville, MD

Ms. Jean Jackson, Cedar Rapids, IA

The Rev. Nan Peete, Washington D.C.

The Rev. Margaret Rose, New York, NY

The Rev. Susan Russell, Pasadena, CA

Ms. Ames Sheldon, Minneapolis, MN

​Ms. Katie Sherrod, Fort Worth, TX

Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Falmouth, MA


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Documentary Educational Resources, Inc.