A short film on the experiences of clergywomen: “#HerTruth: Women in Ministry Break Their Silence”

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The Rev. Stephanie York Arnold, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, led a project to create a video documenting the harassment and inequality women clergy face. The 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women requested that she make the video after Arnold gave a speech about the issue. Women received full clergy rights over sixty years ago, but in the North Alabama Conference, for example, clergywomen earn on average 28% less than their male counterparts. “I was offered a significant raise by my church when I became the senior pastor. But the bishop at the time had the church reduce my salary by $5,000. The bishop told me it could be bad for my husband’s self-esteem if I made so much money since my husband was clergy as well, that it might be hard on our marriage,”  says one anonymous clergywoman on the video. Arnold received many more stories for the film than she could include, she said. The goal of the video is to raise awareness of and educate about the ongoing discrimination against women in the United Methodist Church. However, it cannot be pretended that this is a problem which the Episcopal Church doesn’t also face. Perhaps “#HerTruth” can spark some conversations in TEC as well.

“#HerTruth: Women in Ministry Breaking the Silence” can be viewed here.

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Eric Bonetti
Member
Eric Bonetti

We have made some progress on this issue in DioVA, but not enough

Last year, a measure was introduced at convention to address the matter. Initially, it met with with the predictable suggestion of more study, but now seems to have more traction.

My hope is that the diocese will be a force for good and mandate equal pay for equal work. Doing so would be a perfect example of the value our hierarchical structure can bring to the larger church.

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Philip B. Spivey
Guest
Philip B. Spivey

Church, heal thyself.

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Bruce G. Kozak
Guest
Bruce G. Kozak

Equal work=Equal pay.

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David Carver
Guest
David Carver

I'm led to wonder if the bishop bothered to ask the pastor's husband how he felt about it.

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Joshua Dollins
Guest
Joshua Dollins

I feel the bishop may have had a point some men would have an issue with this but many would not and I wonder if he was asked or not either. When working in the same position women should be paid equally (unless its a matter of poor negotiation on their part)

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Elizabeth Kaeton
Guest

Because I don't think 815 would take this on - even though there is recent documented testimony of the sexism which has been rampant there - I think this would be an important project for something like The Episcopal Women's Caucus or Episcopal Church Women to take on. I'm thinking we have excellent resources like Katie Sherrod and Cynthia Black who could do it well. I have mixed emotions about men reading the words of women's experiences. Even so, the important thing is to get the word out. We've got statistics on compensation. We need witness and testimony regarding harassment and sexual misconduct.

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Member

Elizabeth, I had concerns about seeing all those men. When the bulk of it was led by a woman I felt things more congruent.

Sometimes I feel we as men - I as a man, anyway - need to read the words ourselves to really claim the problem, and our part in it. For love of my wife I read Mary Daly's Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. It had been a formative book for her, and I wanted to understand, or at least to know more. (NB: it's a hard read, period - emotional, soulfully hard.) Having read, I couldn't "un-see," and I couldn't claim ignorance.

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Men SHOULD read, and hear about, women's experiences.

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Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

I wanted to much so serve that I did not ask for equal pay but just took what was offered. It was only after a male leader pointed out to everyone what they were doing - that I got courage to seek equality. As to harassment and sexual misconduct - the Episcopal Church has good training but I don't know any women clergy who have not experienced this from bishops to laymen.

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