Statement of apology from Bishop Gates

The following statement of apology was sent to diocesan clergy, the Standing Committee and Diocesan Council, and posted on the diocesan website on April 12, 2024.

April 12, 2024

Dear colleagues and siblings in Christ,

I write to share my remorse and deep apology for an action by which I have caused deep pain and hurt.

The Great Vigil of Easter has for many years been organized and hosted at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul by The Crossing, our emerging church worship community committed to radical welcome and a safe space for all, including especially the LGBTQ community and others who have been historically hurt by the church. The Crossing’s Vigil is an exuberant celebration of Christ’s resurrection, characterized by creativity, improvisation, and spontaneous joy. It has been a blessing to many, including myself.

At this year’s Vigil, I was honored to share the officiating role with The Crossing’s priest and lead organizer, the Rev. Tamra Tucker. Near the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer, at the altar, Rev. Tamra had a moment – familiar to every worship leader – in which she blanked on the next line. In an instant of altogether misguided mischief, I reached out and removed Rev. Tamra’s clerical collar. It was a devastating and demeaning act, which I regret with all my heart.

The Rev. Tamra Tucker is a valued colleague and fine priest whose leadership it has been my honor to affirm. It was not and would never be my intent to humiliate Rev. Tamra; however, that was precisely the impact of my action. Furthermore, that hurt has extended to The Crossing community, whose pastor I disrespected, as well as others who were present or have subsequently learned of this incident and its impact. By my action I misused my authority, failed to extend episcopal grace, and transgressed personal space and boundaries. I am deeply sorry.

I extend my remorse and apology to the Rev. Tamra Tucker; to the Crossing community; to the Cathedral community; to other communities present; to ecumenical companions who had joined us at the Vigil; and to those in the wider church and community whom I have hurt.  

In our baptismal covenant we pledge to “respect the dignity of every human being.” I seek forgiveness for my failure to keep this pledge, and God’s grace to renew that commitment.

In the Risen Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates