Honorary Degree Citation for The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings

Presented by the Rev. Winnie Varghese

At the Episcopal Divinity School Commencement Ceremony

May 22, 2014


Gay, you have been rightfully described as a force of nature. You are gregarious, fearless, and gut-splittingly funny. Your ministry is characterized by bold vision for our beloved church and your unflinching willingness to tell the truth in love to build up the people of God.

You believe that people can grow and change. Your wide networks enabled you to recruit hundreds of CREDO faculty who led more than 6,000 clergy to transform their physical, financial, vocational and spiritual health.

You believe our church can grow, change and keep all sorts and conditions of people in community. You served on the “Committee on Dialogue” with leaders in the four dioceses that refused to ordain women. As a representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, you foster the relationships that are the essence of the Anglican Communion. As a founding member of the Chicago Consultation, you have have engaged in holy conversation at home and with our Anglican sisters and brothers abroad to advance the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

You believe the Holy Spirit works through our Church’s polity of shared governance and distributed authority. A deputy to General Convention from Ohio since 1991, your election as the first ordained woman to serve as the president of the House of Deputies confirmed the legislative and collaborative leadership that three prior presidents have relied upon and trusted with the most difficult and sensitive matters to come before General Convention in our time. You have truly fulfilled your ordination vow to “take your share in the councils of the Church.”

Dean Ragsdale, in recognition of her indomitable leadership in the Episcopal Church, it is my honor to present to you the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, as recommended by the Faculty and Trustees, to receive the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.