Targeting Harassment, Exploitation

Austin Convention Center • Ed Schipul • Flickr •

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, has appointed a special committee that will draft General Convention resolutions on sexual harassment and exploitation.

“In January, Presiding Bishop Curry and I called the church to examine its history and end the systemic sexism, misogyny, and misuse of power that plague the church just as they corrupt our culture, institutions and governments,” Jennings said. “We asked Episcopalians to consider what roles each of us is called to play in the church’s collective repentance.”

Since then, she says, scores of women from across the church have contacted her. “On Facebook, via email, by phone and in person, women have been in touch to share their stories and let me know that they want to be part of changing the church’s culture on these issues. I am delighted to harness their energy by appointing this committee.”

The group is divided into five subcommittees that arose from ideas that women contributed to a Facebook discussion in late January.

Jennings says she is particularly pleased that so many younger women and women of color agreed to serve on the committees. Forty percent of the committee’s members and four of its five subcommittee conveners are younger than 50, and more than 30 percent are women of color.

“Women of my generation were the first women to be ordained in the Episcopal Church, and both we and the laywomen in our congregations have experienced sexual exploitation and harassment for decades,” said Jennings, who was ordained a priest in 1979.

“Our younger sisters, both lay and ordained, have no shortage of #metoo stories, but they have come of age in a world and a church that are much more aware of the intersections of sexism and racism and much better educated about gender identity and expression. It’s energizing to hear their ideas and perspectives, and their determination to change our church for the better is contagious.”

Some of the committee members, along with other volunteers, are writing reflections on the #metoo movement that the House of Deputies website is publishing during Lent.

Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation


  • Jennings, The Rev. Gay Clark, chair (Ohio, V)
  • The Rev. Ruth Meyers, vice chair (California, VIII)

Subcommittee on Theology and Language

  • The Rev. Ruth Meyers, convener (California, VIII)
  • The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas (New York, II)
  • The Rev. Pamela Cooper-White (New York, II)
  • The Rev. Wil Gafney (Fort Worth, VII)
  • Ms. AnnaMarie Hoos (California, VIII)
  • Ms. Kathleen Moore (Vermont, I)
  • The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed (Ohio, V)
  • The Rev. Winnie S. Varghese (New York, II)
  • Ms. Nikky Wood (California, VIII)

Subcommittee on Structural Equity

  • The Rev. Marisa Tabizon Thompson, convener (Nebraska, VI)
  • Ms. Diane P. Butler (Rio Grande, VII)
  • Canon Jill Fassett Mathis (Pennsylvania, III)
  • The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen (Pennsylvania, III)
  • Ms. Crystal B. Plummer (Chicago, V)
  • The Rev. Elizabeth A. Scriven (Missouri, V)
  • The Rev. Nora K. Smith (New York, II)
  • The Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber (North Carolina, IV)
  • The Ven. L. Sue Von Rautenkranz (Washington, III)
  • The Rev. Diana L. Wilcox (Newark, II)

Subcommittee on Title IV and Training

  • The Rev. Megan L. Castellan, convener (West Missouri, VII)
  • The Ven. Betsy Blake Bennett (Nebraska, VI)
  • The Rev. Alice H. Courtright (New Hampshire, I)
  • Pauline H.G. Getz, Esq. (San Diego, VIII)
  • The Rev. Molly Field James (Connecticut, I)
  • Sally A. Johnson, Esq. (Minnesota, VI)
  • The Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin (Northern California, VIII)
  • The Rev. Karen B. Montagno (Massachusetts, I)
  • The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner (Fort Worth, VII)

Subcommittee on Truth and Reconciliation

  • The Rev. Laurie M. Brock, convener (Lexington, IV)
  • Canon Bonnie Anderson (Michigan, V)
  • The Rev. Karen Coleman (Massachusetts, I)
  • The Rev. Canon Cornelia K. Eaton (Navajoland, VIII)
  • The Rev. Nancy Frausto (Los Angeles, VIII)
  • The Rev. Gwenneth J. Fry (Arkansas, VII)
  • Ms. Julia Ayala Harris (Oklahoma, VII)
  • Ms. Alexizendria T. Link (Western Massachusetts, I)
  • The Rev. Jennifer H. Reddall (New York, II)
  • The Rev. Valerie M. Webster (Montana, VI)

Subcommittee on Social Justice for Women

  • Laura A. Russell, Esq. convener (Newark, II)
  • Ms. Jennifer Allen (Kansas, VII)
  • The Rev. Devon E. Anderson (Minnesota, VI)
  • Ms. Lindsey Ardrey (Louisiana, IV)
  • The Rev. Paula M. Jackson (Southern Ohio, V)
  • Ms. Sarah E. Lawton (California, VIII)
  • Dora R. Mbuwayesango (North Carolina, IV)
  • The Rev. Eva N. Suarez (New York, II)
  • The Rev. Saundra L. Turner (Georgia, IV)


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