The Very Rev. N. DeLiza Spangler is the dean and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo. Mother Liza grew up in Clinton, Missouri and wanted to be an Episcopal priest from the time she was seven (even though, at the time, women could not be priests).
After graduating from Lindenwood College for Women in St. Charles, MO in 1975, she studied at Princeton Theological Seminary for a year, later transferring to the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City, from which she graduated in 1978. Women’s ordination had been passed by the national governing body in 1976 and the Church began ordaining women in 1977, making Mother Liza among the first women priests in the U.S. After graduating from seminary, she served as curate at Grace Church, Jamaica Queens, NY for a year. In 1979, she was called to a parish in Wrangell, Alaska. Deciding to become a bi-vocational priest, she attended Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon from 1982-1985, after which she returned to Wrangell. While serving St. Philip’s Episcopal Church there, she also practiced civil and criminal law, and eventually became city attorney. While in Alaska, she served for a time as Dean of the Southeastern Alaskan Deanery, a member of Diocesan Executive Council, and was asked to make training videos for the diocese on the History of Eucharistic Celebration and Using the Book of Common Prayer for Personal Devotion. She also formed an Alaskan Chapter of the Society of Mary.
In 1995, Mother Liza decided to work full-time in the Church, and became rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in St. Joseph, Michigan. For most of her time in the Diocese of Western Michigan, she served as the Chair of the Diocesan Worship Committee, overseeing all diocesan liturgies, including the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the Diocese and the Consecration of The Rt. Rev. Robert Gerpert as Bishop of Western Michigan. In addition, she led a retreat for the diocesan ECW (Episcopal Church Women) on The Blessed Virgin Mary: Mother, Disciple and Priest and published a small booklet entitled All Shall Be Well: Prayers for the Anglican Rosary. During her last year in the Diocese, she taught a diocesan course entitled Anglican Spirituality. The course was for those discerning a call to ordination. After ten years in the Diocese of Western Michigan, she was called to be dean and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo on January 1, 2006.
She presently serves on the Diocesan Commission on Ministry and Ecclesiastical Court. She is also chair of the Transition Committee for the election of our new bishop.
Mother Liza thoroughly enjoys Buffalo, the people of the cathedral and her home on Mariner Street. She and her partner, Luanne Bauer (a retired university professor), have three dogs: two rescued greyhounds, Ani and Aidan, and a Humane Society rescue, Whitby, a small Heinz 57 variety. Mother Liza enjoys reading, traveling, and driving around in her red Mini Cooper with the Union Jack on the roof. Her license plate, OXFDMVMT, was suggested by parishioner Joseph Nardiello. It recognizes both the fact that Mini Coopers are made in Oxford and Mother Liza's affection for the 19th century Anglican "High Church" movement in England known as the Oxford Movement.