Minutes before Gayle Pershouse Vaughan was ordained to the transitional diaconate in November — half a century after she first sought ordination — the current Bishop of Massachusetts, Alan M. Gates, removed his cope and miter and said:
“To you and to the people of God here gathered I confess the sin and abuse of power which you endured three decades ago at the hand of your bishop. On behalf of the episcopal office which I now occupy, and the wider institution which failed to prevent this abuse, I do repent, acknowledging this injustice and decrying our failure to safeguard the sanctity of the church for you and others who have looked to it with hope and trust. Of your goodness, I ask you to receive this confession, extended with genuine sorrow and a penitent heart.”
At Episcopal News Service, Tracy Sukraw tells the story of a woman who overcame five decades of rejection and humiliation to answer a call to priesthood.