Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

For twenty-eight years, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) has attempted to pass an amendment to The United Methodist Constitution protecting the rights of women to membership in the local church. Our legislation, which was modified by the General Conference, passed by the necessary two-thirds majority at General Conference 2016 and was forwarded to each individual annual conference across the connection for a vote. A two-thirds aggregate vote was needed for ratification of the decision of General Conference.

On Monday, May 7, 2018, the Council of Bishops released the results of the church- wide votes on the five Constitutional Amendments that passed General Conference. The two Amendments that sought to claim language that both women and men are created in the image of God, that committed our church to work for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, and that sought to assure an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the local church for women did not receive the two- thirds necessary vote.

For the last several days, we have taken time to grieve. Today, we give thanks.

We give thanks for the tireless efforts of our board members, colleagues, and allies across the church, including Annual Conference Commissions on the Status and Role of Women, United Methodist Women, the Division on Young Peoples’ Ministry, and DisAbility Ministries, who not only worked for the passage of this legislation, but who work every day in ministry to teach young girls that they are of sacred worth, who nominate and elect women into positions of leadership within and beyond the local church, who encourage women to use their gifts, and who welcome women pastors.

We give thanks for the Council of Bishops and its statement making an unequivocal commitment to the equality of women and their full inclusion in our Church.

We give thanks for the women bishops of the church who issued a pastoral statement (and for the men bishops who unanimously affirmed their statement) committing themselves “to researching why these amendments failed and what actions we can take to create a world where all people are able to live in safety, justice, and love.”

We give thanks for the transparency that the Council of Bishops shared in releasing the breakdown of the annual conference votes on the amendments.

We ask that you not point fingers, but reflect and examine what the data of the votes shows for each annual conference by making the following inquiries:

  1. What is my annual conference doing to encourage the full inclusion of women

    in leadership?

  2. What is my local church doing to teach girls and boys, women and men, that they are all created in the image of God and are of sacred worth and have a right to an equal place in the full life of the local church?

As mandated by The United Methodist Book of Discipline, we, The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women challenge The United Methodist Church to do more that “talk the talk.” We challenge the church to “walk the walk.”

We, at The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, commit ourselves to continue to advocate for women individually and collectively within The United Methodist Church, to work to be a catalyst to redress inequities of the past and to prevent future inequities against women in The United Methodist Church, and to monitor to ensure inclusiveness in the programmatic and administrative functioning of the church by providing resources and support.

As mandated by Christ, let us live fully into the gospel promise that “there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Therefore, we call on the people of The United Methodist Church to develop and fund programs, resources, and ministries within each annual conference to help us be who Christ has called us to be.

Take time to grieve. Take time to give thanks. Take time to act!


Bishop Tracy Malone

President of the Board

General Commission on the Status
and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church

Dawn Wiggins Hare

General Secretary

General Commission on the Status
and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church


Challenging the UMC for the full and equal participation of women in the total life and mission of the Church

The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women advocates for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. We’re helping the church recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children - as full and equal parts of God’s human family. We believe that a fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to The United Methodist Church’s mission "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

Our role is to provide resources for how to respond to and prevent sexual misconduct in The United Methodist Church. We do this by educating church leaders and seminarians on sexual ethics and policies and by supporting victims/survivors of sexual harassment or abuse.
We monitor annual conferences, jurisdictional conferences, and the General Conference for inclusiveness. We continue to look at United Methodist Church statistics and data for women’s representation across the denomination. Monitoring reports and our research findings, found in our Women by the Numbers segment, are posted on our blog and website.
We provide education through different trainings and free curriculum. We developed guidelines for inclusive and expansive language in our God of the Bible curriculum. We helped cultivate and support women’s calls into ministry in our Women Called to Ministry curriculum translated into French, Portuguese, and Spanish. We also educate by raising the Church’s awareness to women’s issues and opportunities in both the Church and the world.
We train and support women from our local Annual Conference COSROW chairs to women in the Central Conferences. We strive to nurture clergy and lay leaders in the church, both women and men, to recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children -- as full and equal parts of God’s human family. Upcoming leadership training events and webinars can be found on the events page..

Go to the UM Sexual Ethics website

GCSRW is one of 13 general agencies of The United Methodist Church and is financed through the World Service Fund (apportioned giving from local congregations). The commission is accountable to the General Conference, the church's chief law-making body, and is a member of the Connectional Table, which coordinates the program and administrative life of churchwide agencies.
The commission is governed by a 19-member board of directors representing annual conferences across the United States and in the Philippines, Norway, Liberia and Mozambique. Commission bylaws stipulate that the board president must be a woman, and clergy and lay persons must be equally represented in agency leadership. The 2016-20 officers are Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, president and Rev. Cathy Mitchell, vice-president.
General Secretary Dawn Wiggins Hare and commission staff work from offices in the historic Chicago Temple, the skyscraper home of First United Methodist Church of Chicago, the oldest church in the city.
Key moments in GCSRW history
1944 - “Women in the Church” study by Grace Bragg, president of Women’s Division, finds widespread discrimination and lack of opportunity for women throughout The United Methodist Church

1956 - Full clergy rights for women granted

1972 - General Conference approves establishing GCSRW

1980 - Marjorie Swank Mathews becomes first woman elected bishop in The United Methodist Church

1984 - Leontine T.C. Kelly becomes the first woman of color elected bishop in The United Methodist Church

2012 - GCSRW celebrates its 40th anniversary

For more about our history, visit our History page here.
Dawn Wiggins Hare

General Secretary

Elaine Moy

Asst. General Secretary 

Becky Posey Williams

Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy

LeeAnn Goldman

Administrative Coordinator

Leigh Goodrich

Senior Director of Education and Leadership

Jenn Meadows 

Director of Communications