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Taber-Hamilton Accuses Ayala Harris of Bullying

On the eve of the House of Deputies choosing its president, the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton has accused incumbent Julia Ayala Harris of bullying and of using her as a shield in conflicts with others.

“I am sharing with you today that, from the fall of 2022 onwards, I’ve been asked to rescue situations and people from the impact of our current President of the House of Deputies,” Taber-Hamilton wrote in a blog post. “I was initially also expected by the President to protect her from those she perceived as threats to her.”

Taber-Hamilton noted that she had been excluded from the planning process for the 81st General Convention, and that her concerns about equity issues in hiring the church center’s interim chief operating officer and in proposing rules changes for the House of Deputies attracted Ayala Harris’ ire.

“We do not have a President who is able to accept responsibility for her actions and role in organizational dysfunction through an ongoing pattern of obfuscation and misdirection, blaming and shaming others who have nothing to do with the accountability of her office. Over the past two years, the President has journeyed to this General Convention on a veritable corduroy road of people that she has thrown under the bus,” Taber-Hamilton said.

Ayala Harris responded via email after Episcopal News Service sought her comment on the accusations, calling Taber-Hamilton’s charges as “a misrepresentation of my presidency” and “in direct conflict with my values and approach as a leader.”

“Throughout my presidency I have strove to include a diverse set of leaders in my appointments that reflect the broad diversity of our church,” Ayala Harris wrote. “I believe in our house’s ability to discern their choice for president, focused on skills, experience and vision, not on personal accusations. I continue to pray for our house and all candidates running for elections throughout our convention.”

Zena Link of Massachusetts also seeks the position. Deputies of Color endorsed Link on June 23, after a second presidential forum on June 21.

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