One of New York City's most prominent Black Church is facing legal actions by one of its former pastors, accusing the church and its search committee of gender discrimination.
Marshall Turman, a professor at Yale Divinity School, was not selected as a finalist for the senior pastor position after the death of the long-time senior pastor Calvin O. Butts III in 2022.
The lawsuit, filed by Eboni Marshall Turman, alleges that inappropriate questions were posed to Marshall Turman and that the search committee chair, Valerie S. Grant, demonstrated gender bias.
The lawsuit, filed on December 29, seeks unspecified monetary damages for lost wages, benefits, and other economic damages, as well as an injunction against any gender discrimination in hiring.
Marshall Turman had been optimistic about being selected as the first woman to lead Abyssinian Baptist Church, where she became the youngest pastor ordained in 2007.
Abyssinian spokesperson LaToya Evans refuted the discrimination accusations, stating that Marshall Turman fell short of key requirements for the role.
Grant, the search committee chair, explained that Marshall Turman was one of 11 candidates who advanced from a field of 47 applicants but did not receive enough votes to move forward in the process.