Since 1972, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women has been charged with monitoring, research, education and advocacy to eradicate sexism in The United Methodist Church. Such an enormous job requires the work not just of the commission staff and governing board (link to board page), but also the help of volunteers in every annual conference.

All United Methodist Annual Conferences are required by the Book of Discipline to have a Commission on the Status and Role of Women (AC COSROW). You can find a description of the annual conference COSROW's purpose and responsibilities and references to other United  Methodist Discipline and Resolutions policies here. Annual conferences are also required to fund the group's work. You can read more about the mandate -- and Judicial Council decisions affirming it -- here. Some conferences accomplish this through a stand-alone committee while others have tasks forces, representatives or “blended” committees whose goals include those of COSROW; however, in all of these different committee models, the goal remains the same.

The Book of Discipline tasks each AC COSROW with the work of raising awareness about the status of women and working with leaders of our churches, districts and conferences to move towards the full and equal participation of women in the total life of the church (2012 BOD ¶2103). To achieve this goal, AC COSROWs are encouraged to undertake the following four areas of ministry:


Education  Advocacy  Monitoring Cooperation

 A brief introduction to each of these is below, or you can email us your questions! 

 


  • Explain the struggles women face and teach skills for eradicating sexism
  • Offer workshops and meet with leadership to share with them information about women’s issues, leadership and the history of women in the church
  • Learn more about women’s issues with a book, class or by following the General Commission
  • Utilize the free, downloadable curriculum GCSRW develops in your Annual Conference or local church setting
  • Host a workshop or luncheon highlighting women’s issues, including history, leadership, and global concerns
  • Lead one of the free online studies like “Women Called to Ministry” or “God of the Bible
  • Host a workshop at a conference celebrating how women’s leadership is good for everyone else
  • Provide scriptural, historical and cultural support for women’s leadership
  • Distribute resources and tell your bishop, district superintendent, Board of Ordained Ministry, pastors, lay leaders, conference publications about existing great studies, books, pamphlets, websites, etc.
  • Learn more about women’s concerns by following GCSRW on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribing to our newsletters. Encourage other women in your church or annual conference to do the same. 

 

  • Host a listening session to hear women’s stories, experiences and concerns
  • Meet with conference and district leaders to ask how to support women
  • Review and encourage updating of conference and district policies on boundaries, Safe Sanctuary, and sexual ethics.
  • Host listening sessions then report back to your bishop and cabinet. These might be with clergy candidates and their experience at the Board of Ordained Ministry, lay women, particularly women of color, attending Annual Conference
  • Submit a resolution to your Annual Conference advocating for more equality in compensation for all clergy. This sample can be used as a guideline to help develop a resolution that fits the needs and unique circumstances of your Annual Conference
  • Set up a coaching or mentoring program for clergywomen
  • Recommend women leaders to conference
  • Encourage Annual Conference Session planning committee to recommend places to incorporate qualified women
  • Provide names of qualified women for the nominations committee
  • Have women share stories of progress made and celebrate those stories
  • Create new pathways to leadership
  • Recruit women to fill nontraditional roles in the church and annual conference
  • Submit a resolution to your Annual Conference advocating for more equality in compensation for all clergy. This sample can be used as a guideline to help develop a resolution that fits the needs and unique circumstances of your Annual Conference.

 

  • Collaborate, Communicate & Participate 
  • Collaborate with United Methodist Women, denominational leaders, clergy women’s groups and ethnic caucuses to identify and support emerging women leaders
  • View “The Importance of Inclusivity” online
  • Invite leaders, members, and local churches to study women’s issues and ways they can respond by recommending relevant books, curriculum or bible studies
  • Publish articles and blog posts, give presentations and find other ways to connect with encourage women to attend training, networking and support opportunities from the conference, district and general church
  • Participate in the work of the General Commission by reading and sharing GCSRW news (sign up here), attending important events, and subscribing to United Methodist news sources
  • Set up and staff a display table at your Annual Conference meeting or other events to introduce United Methodists to your work, important studies, and the ministry of the General Commission 

 

 

  • Observe and share reports on women’s participation at events
  • Collect and research leadership information to identify where women are underrepresented
  • Share a presentation for training monitors for conference meetings (from General conference 2012)
  • Introductory Instructions and Basic Forms for Annual Conference Meeting Monitoring
  • Monitoring Reports: Increasing Participation Through Gentle, Mutual Accountability
  • Set up and staff a display table at your Annual Conference meeting or other events to introduce United Methodists to your work, important studies, and the ministry of the General Commission
If you would like to connect with COSROW leaders in your Annual Conference; learn more about planning actions; start a COSROW in your conference, church, or district; or seek information about the General Commission, email Rev. Leigh Goodrich, senior director of education and leadership, at lgoodrich@gcsrw.org.

 

If you would like to connect with COSROW leaders in your Annual Conference; learn more about planning actions; start a COSROW in your conference, church, or district; or seek information about the General Commission, email Rev. Leigh Goodrich, senior director of education and leadership, at lgoodrich@gcsrw.org.