Support the Café

Search our Site

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

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

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.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
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.

Philip B. Spivey

Church, heal thyself.

Bruce G. Kozak

Equal work=Equal pay.

David Carver

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

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)

Elizabeth Kaeton

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.

Marshall Scott

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.

Jay Croft

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

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café