Litany of Penance

Most holy and merciful God:  We confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.  We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
My bishop told me I would be more approachable as a woman priest if I looked more “feminine.”
A parishioner told me I would be more approachable as a woman priest if I looked less “feminine.”
The rector I worked for called me into his office, and when I opened the door, he was standing there with his pants down. When I shared this with a male colleague, he said, “Oh, that’s just the way he is.”

We have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us.  We have not been true to the mind of Christ.  We have grieved your Holy Spirit.  
Having a deployment officer tell me, about more than one church, “This parish (almost always a larger one) is not ready for a female rector.” He then proceeded to show me several part-time positions in smaller churches who would be glad to get “anyone breathing.”
I was the only female clergy in the town where I served. At our regular clergy gatherings, the male convener called me, “Little lady,” or “Little gal.” He referred to all the other clergy by their title – Father, Pastor, etc.
My congregation hosted a luncheon for clergy, and a clergy colleague held out his glass to me, saying, “My wife usually gets my tea for me.” I told him my husband usually gets mine for me, but today we could both figure it out on our own.

This piece was co-written with The Rev. Megan L. Castellan as part of a series for the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies as part of a Lenten series of reflections, essays, and meditations on sexual harassment and exploitation in the church.  To read the entire post, click here.


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