RIP: Texas lay leader Linda L.S. ‘Muffie’ Moroney

Posted Apr 23, 2021

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Episcopal Diocese of Texas lay leader Linda L.S. “Muffie” Moroney died April 19, 2021.  She was a friend and follower of lay leader Vernia Dozier, and like Dozier, a strong advocate for the power of the laity. Moroney was a lifelong Episcopalian who believed The Episcopal Church should be inclusive of all. She was active in political circles tackling the toughest issues of the day: civil rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ full inclusion, and voting rights, to name a few.

In recent years, her work in The Episcopal Church focused on LGBTQ full inclusion, specifically the repeal of the Diocese of Texas’ discriminatory Canon 43, which prevented partnered LGBTQ people from serving in ordained ministry, a canon that was not repealed until 2016.  “Every year at Diocesan Council, Muffie would speak in favor of repealing Canon 43.  Yes, she upset some members of the diocese, but until the Diocese of Texas was fully inclusive, Muffie would not rest. She was courageous and tough, a true advocate. But she also treated everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of the side of the issue they were on,” said Laurie Eiserloh, Texas diocesan deputy and longtime friend of Moroney’s.

Moroney also worked on securing the church’s blessing for same-sex relationships. The Rev. Susan Russell, former president of Integrity and Claiming the Blessing had this remembrance of Moroney, “In the early days [the early 2000s] she provided our ‘base camp’ for work and witness in Texas, networking, fundraising and organizing. I’ll never forget the meeting she brokered for us with the then bishop– the meeting we could only have if we promised not to publicize it and if we came up in the freight elevator so no one saw us enter or leave the building.  No, we didn’t get his vote on blessings, but the meeting itself was a victory for Muffie! ‘La Lucha continua’ – and as we move forward we stand on the shoulders of those like Muffie who helped break through the hard ground of resistance to change and inclusion, sowing the seeds of love, justice and compassion.”

Moroney was born in Washington D.C. during World War II. She grew up in Houston and in Fort Bend County, Texas. She was a 1961 graduate of St. John’s School in Houston and a 1965 graduate of Randolph-Macon Women’s College. After graduating, she worked for the National Security Agency. She returned to Houston to study law and graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1982. After law school, she clerked for the Houston 14th Court of Appeals and worked for Vinson & Elkins, LLP before opening a solo litigation practice.

Moroney counted among her dear friends many well-known leaders including Texas gubernatorial candidate Sissy Farenthold, journalist Molly Ivins and attorney Sarah Weddington, who was the lead attorney in the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade. Also among her dear friends were many Episcopalians who changed the course of church history including Rev. Carter Heyward, one of the Philadelphia Eleven who paved the way for women’s ordination and the Rev. Helen Havens, former rector of St. Stephen’s in Houston and the first woman priest to serve in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

Moroney served on a number of boards including Church Publishing, Planned Parenthood, St. John’s School, and Randolph-Macon Women’s College. She was an active member of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston.

Moroney is survived by two grown sons and several grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.