A091 Amend Canon III.9 and III.7 - Equity in Clergy Hiring and Appointment Practices

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon III.9 is hereby amended to add the following to read as follows:

Section 3: The Appointment of Priests:

(a) No priest shall be discriminated against in the call or appointment process of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, nation of origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons.

and be it further

Resolved, That the existing sections be numbered appropriately; and be it further

Resolved, That Canon III.7.1 is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 1. Deacons serve directly under the authority of and are accountable to the Bishop, or in the absence of the Bishop, the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. No deacon shall be discriminated against in the appointment process of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, nation of origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons.

Explanation

Only twenty-two (22) percent of senior clergy leadership roles across The Episcopal Church are filled by women. (See: Svoboda-Barber, Helen. "Women Embodying Executive Leadership: A Cohort Model for Episcopal Discernment" DMin diss., Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX, 2017.) Forty (40) percent of priests are women, twenty (20) percent Head-of-Staff clergy are women, less than ten (<10) percent of bishops are women. In the south, Head-of-Staff male clergy are paid an average of $25,000 per year more than Head-of-Staff female clergy. Forty-three (43) percent of female clergy have applied for rector/vicar positions but never been chosen whereas only eighteen (18) percent of male clergy have applied for rector/vicar positions but never been chosen.

The first two (2) facts are from the annual Clergy Compensation Report put out by the Church Pension Fund [CPG]. The third truth is from Called to Serve: A Study of Clergy Careers, Clergy Wellness, and Clergy Women, pages 14-15, by Paula Nesbitt.

For years the Church Pension Fund [CPG] has documented the stark and widespread differences in how male and female clergy are hired and compensated. The latest report from 2015 is available on the Church Pension Fund’s website. This report offers clear statistical evidence that a significant gender pay gap continues to pervade The Episcopal Church. Given the fact that equality for women has long been a priority across the Anglican Communion, this issue needs to be addressed. The Communion Women section of The Anglican Communion website states: “In the Anglican Communion we are committed to ensuring that our churches become a living witness to our belief that women and men are equally made in the image of God.” A change in the Canons illustrates the importance of this issue and provides institutional support to women clergy, diocesan staff, and bishops who are advocating for equality in a search process.

Notably, it is highly likely that similar gaps exist for other historically excluded groups, but the Church Pension Fund does not gather data on the race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical/mental handicaps of working clergy. Such categories are included in the resolution in the hopes of combating exclusion of any kinds and creating a church that more accurately reflects our society at large and is able to reap the benefits of our gifted and diverse pool of ordained leadership. It is strongly recommended that dioceses provide human resources training, especially with respect to hiring practices, for both clergy and lay leadership.


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