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.