Video Highlights Abuse, Discrimination Against Women Pastors. 10/3/2017

Published by ALABAMA.COM

The Rev. Stephanie York Arnold, a pastor on the staff at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, narrates a video that discusses discrimination against women clergy. (North Alabama COSROW Team)

A new video released by the United Methodist Church highlights incidents of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination against women pastors.

The North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church solicited written statements from women clergy voicing their personal experiences of discrimination. The statements were read in the video by 12 male clergy. Some of the comments from women clergy included:

"If I was given a dollar for every time I was told I'm too pretty to be a pastor, I could pay off the church building debt."

"I was offered a significant raise by my church when I became the senior pastor. But the bishop at the time had the church reduce my salary by $5,000. The bishop told me it could be bad for my husband's self-esteem if I made so much money since my husband was clergy as well, that it might be hard on our marriage."

 The Rev. Stephanie Arnold, a pastor on the staff at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham and a producer of the video, narrates most of the commentary.

"It's frightening to experience abuse, harassment, discrimination, and I can tell you from personal experience it can leave you vulnerable, isolated and ashamed," Arnold said in the video. "You can even begin to question your own identity."

The video titled "#Her Truth: Women in Ministry Break Their Silence," was produced for the North Alabama Conference's Commission on the Status and Role of Women, but has been promoted nationally by the denomination.

In the North Alabama Conference, on average, female clergy earn about 28 percent less than men. Only about 2.2 percent of senior pastors at large-member churches are women.