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DELMAR: New curate ordained at St.Stephen's

"That was the late 1970s," she said. "I was formally accepted into the Episcopal Church in 1984, and came to St. Stephen's in 1990."

Ogden said she first felt the call to priesthood in 1993.

"The church had not yet ordained a woman, but I could see all the pieces falling into place," she said.

But the call had to be put on hold for a while.

"I was teaching and raising a family," Ogden, who with her husband, Ken, has two daughters in their 20s, Andrea and Alicia.

From 1996 to 2001, four close relatives died.

"We also moved, and I had two job changes," Ogden said. "Seminary wasn't going on top of that. It wouldn't have been successful."

When she was 55 and retired from her job as a math teacher at Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School, Ogden did go full-time to seminary.

"Mother Susan Bowman came to speak during a St. Stephen's Thursday in Lent program," Ogden said. "What she said really resonated with me. I remember standing at my bathroom sink, brushing my teeth and looking out at the cornfields. I burst into tears, and knew that this time, the answer was yes."

Ogden's ordination comes at a time of some difficulty for the American Episcopal Church. When the Rev. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003, it provoked controversy about the role of homosexuals in the church, since Robinson is in a committed gay relationship. Conservative factions are considering a move away from the American church.

"It's important for a church to stand on doctrine," Ogden said. "But I don't think it's right to say, 'this is a gay church, this isn't a gay church,'" Ogden said. "What I like about the Episcopal Church is that we agree to disagree. I can be in fellowship and communion with people I don't agree with. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and not cookie cutter molds. We're all different people, and God made us all."

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