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My first General Assembly as a commissioner, 1971, had most of the dramatic elements that would occupy my attention for the next thirty years. We made very positive history by electing the first woman moderator of the Presbyterian Church in its 183-year history. We had been ordaining women as elders since 1930, but no woman elder had been elected moderator until Lois Stair, a highly competent and good humored elder from Wisconsin, was handed the gavel. She represented the solid core of women who, throughout history, had been doing much of the work of the church with little recognition. We made a decision that, from then on, opened the highest level of leadership in the Presbyterian community to women who make up over half its members.
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