(RNS3-APR05) The Rev. Julie Blake Fisher, an Episcopal priest in Kent, Ohio, created 'Episcopal Priest Barbie High Church Edition' for a friend, the Rev. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, when she got her first pulpit assignment in Manlius, N.Y. For use with RNS-BARBIE-PRIEST, transmitted April 5, 2010. RNS photo courtesy the Rev. Julie Blake Fisher.Honestly, this is — quite simply — strange. Girls can now have their very own Reverend Barbies. That’s right … everyone’s favorite doll has been ordained as an Episcopal priest. Here’s the story from the Religion News Service (WebCite cached article):

With her careers as veterinarian, astronaut and U.S. president behind her, Barbie has at last found her true calling: as a second-career Episcopal priest.

The 11.5-inch-tall fictional graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., has donned a cassock and surplice and is rector at St. Barbara’s-by-the-Sea in (where else?) Malibu, Calif. …

The doll, her wardrobe and portable sacristy were a gift from Cleaver-Bartholomew’s friend, the Rev. Julie Blake Fisher, a priest in Kent, Ohio. …

Fisher had made Episcopal Priest Barbie and a few vestments two years ago for the children in her parish to dress.

“I thought the children would like to practice playing with the vestments and learning what they are,” said Fisher. The Rev. Barbie was a hit with both the children and a local group of women clergy, including Cleaver-Bartholomew.

One would think getting ordained would be a major accomplishment for Barbie, all by itself … but as it turns out, she’s not done. Fisher has even greater clerical ambitions for her:

Fisher has found a calling of her own: She responded that her next project will be Episcopal Priest Barbie: Cathedral Edition. She promises an African-American Bishop Barbie, a Hispanic Ken doll who will be cathedral dean (rector) and his African-American friend, Stephen, will be a deacon. Barbie’s little sister, Kelly, will be an acolyte.

I don’t get the point of this … but then, I’m just a cold-hearted, cynical, skeptical, godless heathen agnostic, so I can hardly be expected to understand it, could I? I mean, I know the Episcopal Church — to its immense credit! — ordains women. It even has elevated some of them to bishop. As far as I’m concerned, that’s fabulous. What I don’t get, is why Barbie had to be ordained?

Photo credit: Rev Julie Blake Fisher / Religion News Service.

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