A message from Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves

Dear Friends,

At the General Convention of The Episcopal Church last summer, held in Austin, TX, resolution D034 was passed, suspending the statute of limitations on reporting acts of sexual misconduct by all clergy of The Episcopal Church against adult victims, under TEC Canon IV.19.4. The suspension of the statute of limitations began January 1, 2019, and will continue until December 31, 2021, for all proceedings initiated during that period. Until December 31, 2021, those who wish to bring a case against a member of the clergy involving an adult may do so regardless of when the alleged misconduct occurred. There previously existed, and it continues, Canon IV.19.4(b) that exempts from the statute of limitations acts that include “physical violence, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, if the acts occurred when the alleged Injured Person was under the age of 21 years.”

A December 2018 letter published to the whole church from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings, may be found here(Español). Links to the legislation and pertinent reporting information are included in their letter.  If you wish to be heard and to engage a formal disciplinary process, the Intake Officer for the Diocese of El Camino Real is the Reverend Eliza Linley. She may be reached at ammaeliza@igc.org. You may also reach out to me directly at bishopmary@realepiscopal.org.  Additional information about the clergy disciplinary process of the Episcopal Church can be found at www.titleiv.org.

Sadly, the church has a long history of acts of commission and omission regarding sexual misconduct within the body of Christ. Whether overt allowances of individual behaviors, ‘unsafe-church’ practices or covert silences kept, inappropriate, abusive and violent uses of power are part of our history. 

I am thankful that at this same General Convention the House of Bishops hosted and participated in a Listening Session to hear the stories of victims, as a way of breaking open the truth of our own #MeToo experience (read about it here). I am thankful that at this same convention, 25 other resolutions (and one memorial) were passed to empower our Constitution and Canons for making church a safer space. I am thankful that the changes in our behavior instruct the body of Christ and the world around us regarding what it looks like “to respect the dignity of every human being,” and to be accountable for one’s emotional and spiritual health. I am thankful that as we continue to change our church culture into one where all are welcome, respected and safe, the holy work of keeping boundaries will result in healthier communities that more deeply reflect the loving, liberating and life-giving energy of God we know in Jesus Christ.

As this is being published in Along the King’s Highway, I have asked clergy and congregational leadership to respectfully share this information utilizing their usual and customary modes of communication, taking into consideration the challenge it may present for some. May God open to us yet deeper healing as the sinful and painful truth of sexual misconduct in our church continues to be brought to light.

“Gracious God, we pray for the holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.” BCP, p 816.

With blessings of grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Mary Gray-Reeves