Rev. Elizabeth Downing Heller, first woman pastor at Westminster, dies

The 92-year-old was an art lover who amassed an outsized collection of religious works that now fill the walls of her church.

Inside Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she was the first woman ordained as clergy, the Rev. Elizabeth Downing Heller was known informally as the mother of God.

A child, looking at her silver hair and regal presence, blurted out “Are you the mother of God?” explained the Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen, the church’s senior pastor. The nickname stuck, he said, and she would tolerate it with a smile.

Heller, an art lover who amassed an outsized collection of religious works that now fill the walls of her church, died on July 27. She was 92. Read More.

Heller’s memorial service will be held Saturday, August 24 from 2-3 pm at Westminster.