by Shelby Ruch-Teegarden
In 1996, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church created the order of the ordained deacon. Before this, deacons were ordained as a step in the ordination process to elder, instead of as a stand-alone order. Since 1996, the number of ordained deacons in The United Methodist Church has continued to increase. But despite the increase, deacons still only comprise a small percentage of United Methodist clergy: in 2018, 5% of our total clergy (including licensed local pastors) were deacons in full connection or provisional deacons. Of our ordained deacons, a significant majority are women. 76.5% of our deacons in full connection and our provisional deacons in The United Methodist Church in the United States are women. This should give us joy for the progress that has been made and hope for the future of the church. Another statistic that should give the church hope is that 271 out of 1581 provisional clergy are provisional deacons. This means that 17.4% of provisional clergy are provisional deacons, which suggests that those seeking ordination as deacons in full connection are rapidly increasing in numbers.
By Magaela C. Bethune, MS, MPA
This report - the last of a three-part series by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) – continues a conversation on the gender breakdown of the 2019 Special Called Session of General Conference delegates.
By Magaela C. Bethune, MS, MPA
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) published part one of a report on the gender distribution of 2019 Special Called Session of General Conference delegates. In this second report, GCSRW continues the conversation on delegates’ gender distribution and representation. Below is a comparison between 2008 and 2019 data, a reflection on the progress made, and persistent challenges regarding gender representation among General Conference delegates.
by Magaela Bethune, MS, MPA
By Rev. Leigh Goodrich
In April, 2018, an annual conference desk audit regarding leadership was performed by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW).
During the month of April, we canvassed Annual Conference (AC) websites in the United States to determine who fills leadership positions on the staffs of our United States Annual Conferences.
The Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders (AACLL) met from February 25 to the 28, 2018, on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia to worship, learn, and share. During that time, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women had the opportunity to ask lay leaders from all over the United States how women were faring in their specific annual conference. While some of the results were expected, others were surprising.
By Rev. Leigh Goodrich and Alexa Eisenbarth
This is part two of our General Agency Desk Audit. The first portion can be found
In the spring of 2017, a General Agency Desk Audit was requested. General Agency Desk Audits request General
Agencies to report the gender and racial/ethnic makeup of their employees and board members. They also
report the leadership roles among employees and board members. In this second part of our review, we will
be looking at the employment trends in the general agencies, as well as the gender and racial/ethnic composition
of board membership and leadership.
Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary
Becky Posey Williams, Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy
Leigh Goodrich, Senior Director of Education and Leadership
Gail Murphy-Geiss, Principal Researcher
Magaela C. Bethune, MS, MPA
While The United Methodist Church (UMC) membership is comprised 58% of women (Goodrich, 2017), women made up 28.4%
of UMC clergy positions in 2015. This is only a slight increase from 2003 and 2008 figures, which estimated clergywomen’s
representation to be 24% (Moy, 2010). While women remain underrepresented in clergy roles overall, there is variation
in how clergy are distributed by gender across the country. Further, there is regional variation in how clergywomen
are compensated, in comparison to clergymen. Led by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW),
a recent study used 2015 nationwide data provided by Wespath Benefits and Investments
 to determine geographic trends in clergywomen’s compensation. Researcher Magaela C. Bethune
 used quantitative analytical methods to examine the influence of gender and geography on the composition
and compensation of UMC clergy.