The President of the House of Deputies has appointed a Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation. This was announced this past week (February 28th). The Committee will work in several sub-committees to draft legislation on sexual harassment and exploitation for consideration by the General Convention meeting this summer.
The committee is quite large - 47 members. It is quite a remarkable list and will serve the church well. It will, I hope, provide important proposals to General Convention.
The committee will work in several sub-committees: on Theology and Language, Structural Equity, Title IV and Training, Truth and Reconciliation, and Social Justice for Women.
There is no question in my mind that each of these areas of concern needs immediate and deep attention, and each will invite us all into a greater common effort "so that
the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the
knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the
fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)
As far as I can tell from an initial read, all 47 of the members of this special committee are women. There is a good mix of ordained and lay, and I presume a wide range of inclusion(s) - persons of color, indigenous peoples, sexual orientation, etc. But there seem to be no men.
Fair enough. The committee needs to be clear that its members are driven by "their determination to change our church for the better." That drive is without question a product of personal experience, and because the matter at hand has to do with sexual harassment and exploitation, women need to be at the center of this work. But is that sufficient reason to not include men in any of the committees? Perhaps it is, but if so it is a sad testament to the level of disunity, fracture and lack of maturity, that keeps us from the "full measure of the fullness of Christ."
The rules of order for the House of Deputies says very little about who may serve on Special Committees. There has been a laudable effort to include on all regular committees and commissions of the General Convention a broadly inclusive membership. This Special Committee has been appointed with the apparent, and if so, notable exclusion of men.
Perhaps a rationale can be provided.