RIP: The Rev’d Virginia Brown
February 27, 1948 – August 12, 2020
The Reverend Virginia Page Dabney Brown, a resident of Houston since 2013, died on August 12, 2020. Cremation has taken place and a private memorial service will be held at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 13131 Fry Rd Cypress TX 77433, at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 22. The service will be streamed on St. Aidan’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The Rev'd Brown attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity in 1974. After, she returned to Albuquerque and founded St. Chad's Episcopal Church as a deacon.
She was the first woman ordained as priest in the Diocese of Rio Grande in January 1977. This was reportedly the first ordination of a woman to the priesthood where no objection was raised. She continued at St. Chad's as priest, and then she and her husband, the Rev'd Bruce Brown, who preceded her in death, created the Preacher Lewis School for Ministry, through which both lay education and preparation for ordained ministry was offered across the Diocese.
She also served at St. Mark’s on the Mesa in Albuquerque.
The Rev'd Brown later served as rector at Thomas à Becket in Roswell, and in 1992 accepted a call to become the Associate Rector at Grace-St Luke's in Memphis. She served there until 2000 when she began work as Associate at Christ Church, Springfield, Missouri.
While in Memphis she founded the Rivendell Community, a recognized Christian Community in the Episcopal Church. When she moved to Springfield, the community expanded to include the Diocese of West Missouri. There are now members in several other dioceses.