Frazier

Elizabeth Frazier graduated from Yale Divinity School with an M.Div. in 1940. Her hus­band, Donald H. Frazier, was a YDS graduate in the class of 1938. In part because of her ac­tive participation in women’s issues of the times, it was 32 years before she was ordained. She could have been ordained as her husband’s assistant in his church, but that was not what this feisty nonagenarian wanted. She wanted to do serious thinking on women’s issues. She served on prestigious panels and denominational advisory committees, all around tables of men. But without the title “reverend” her effectiveness was limited. Finally, Frazier was ordained in the First Con­gregational Church in Old Greenwich (CT). Now 93, her mind is as sharp as ever. Frazier is the unofficial “chaplain” of her local AAUW chapter, where she gives the invocations because, as she puts it, she is the only one who “keeps it short and uses inclusive language.” Frazier still performs the occasional marriage or memorial service. Why give to YDS? Says Frazier, “YDS isn’t the school I entered in 1936, but it’s definitely leading the world, and I want to support the future of the church and the future of a thinking faith... YDS pro­motes ideas and growth in faith.” She and her husband estab­lished the Elizabeth and Donald Frazier Scholarship at YDS, supported by three charitable gift annuities, because they were more interested in “keeping thinking alive” than in get­ting their name on a building because “once ideas are birthed people are stuck with them—not like a building which can be torn down and forgotten about.”