Male Bishop reacts after he was slammed for ripping the collar off a female cleric after she forgot words to the Eucharistic prayer

Thursday, April 25, 2024 – A vigil service turned into momentary chaos when a prominent Episcopal bishop tore the collar off a female reverend who drew a momentary blank during the eucharistic prayer.

Bishop Alan M. Gates is under fire for his action which was caught on camera.

The video shows the moment he yanked the clerical collar from Rev. Tamara Tucker’s neck during the Great Vigil of Easter at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on March 30.

Tucker is the priest and lead organizer of The Crossing, an emerging church worship community committed to radical welcome and a safe space for all, including the LGBTQ community.

The female reverend was in the middle of instructing the congregation about the proper procedure of offering communion when she lost her train of thought.

Tucker’s mistake was blamed on a recent absence of hers.

“Very simply, we’re going to allow somebody to take their own piece of bread, the small piece of bread, and you will say to the person taking the bread,” Tucker says before pausing.

“Wait what is it, I’ve been gone for a while.”

“The Body of Christ,” Tucker then exclaims.

The momentary pause drew laughter from everyone around the reverend including Gates.

“It’s very simple, the Body of Christ, that’s it, that’s all you got to do,” Tucker explains.

“And then when they take the cup, you’ll pass it to them the Love of Christ, or the Blood of Christ, whichever is more comfortable to you.”

“Can we do that? If I can do that after three months, I think we can.”

Without saying a word, Gates walks up to Tucker and yanks the white, plastic insert out of the reverend’s collar, to her dismay.

After a brief moment of thought, Gates returned the collar to Tucker telling her “Just kidding,” and placing his hand on her shoulder.

People inside the cathedral didn’t see Gates’ actions on the altar as funny and even called out the bishop’s actions for revealing the misogyny that had plagued the church in the past.

“It was just really sad that an occasion that is supposed to be joyous had to be marked by the spectre of long-term misogyny that is pretty essential to Christianity, even in a church that feels like it has advanced past that,” Rev. Rita Powell, the chaplain for the Harvard Episcopal Community, who attended the service told the Boston Globe.

”I know Bishop Gates didn’t think of it that way in his intention,” Powell said calling him a “good man.”

The representative for the diocese of which the cathedral is a member said the bishop’s actions came during a “light-hearted context of a non-traditional service, but it was ill considered.”

“His sincere desire is to make apology and repair, and that is what he’s now working to do,” Tracy J. Sukraw, a spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. told the newspaper.

Gates addressed the incident and apologized for his “misguided mischief,” two weeks after the vigil.

“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,” the Bishop said in a statement shared by the Diocese.

“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.” Gates apologized to both Tucker and her worship community for disrespecting their pastor.

“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.”

Tucker hadn’t responded to the incident, saying she wasn’t ready to address it.

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