Carolyn Woodall, an attorney with the Tuolumne County Public Defender’s Office, was conferred the title in a ceremony at the Episcopal Church of St. Anne in Stockton, [California] joined by dozens of church leaders, family members and friendsShe will serve at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, comprised mainly of local Episcopalians who stayed with the faith following a 2007 rift in the San Joaquin Diocese, which saw more-conservative members leave and join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America .
Woodall called the ceremony “wonderful” and said she was “very relieved.”
“I’ve finally gotten past it,” she said.
The Rev. George Cano of St. Anne’s, who led Saturday’s sermon, said, “We know what it is being Christians in a prejudiced world,” adding that it took the division of the church to make the Episcopalian faith “truly inclusive.”
A long applause followed Saturday’s ceremony, and those in attendance rushed to hug and congratulate her and another newly ordained deacon, Eldon Wayne Anderson.
Woodall’s daughter, Shawna Woodall, traveled from Louisville, Ky., to see the ordination.
“I’ve been crying a lot,” she said. “She’s been working for this for a very long time. I’m really proud of her.”
“This is a glorious day,” added Jan Potter, of Sonora, who left St. James’ Episcopalian Church in Sonora when its leadership split and joined the Anglican Church.
“Carolyn is a backbone of our church,” said Potter, now a member of St. Mary’s.
Woodall moved to Tuolumne County in 2001 and joined the county Public Defender’s office as Clifford Lawson Woodall, a man.
Woodall, diagnosed with a gender-identity disorder, began appearing in court and openly dressing as a woman in 2004, and had surgery to complete the transition from man to woman in 2005.