by Rev. Leigh Goodrich
In spring, 2017, a General Desk Audit was requested by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
The results showed some promising advances for women as compared with a similar audit performed in 2007.
Before we review the trends, there are some notable caveats in our comparison to the 2007 numbers.
This year’s audit does not include responses from Wespath. Also, the Office of Christian Unity
and Interreligious Relationships no longer exists. However, United Methodist Women and the Connectional
Table were new participants in 2017. These changes predictably skew some of the comparisons, however
we still find that general agencies lead the denomination in the promotion of women in their workforce.
Let’s look at the results.
In their most recent study, The State of Pastors, the Barna Group noted that the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the first woman to receive her party’s nomination for president of the United States was symbolic of the immense social shift made in the status of women in the U.S. over the past 50 years. A similar shift has been seen in women in ministerial roles in the United States, who have also slowly but steadily increased in their status and numbers in the Church, particularly the mainline church.
Principal Investigator: Rev. Gail Murphy-Geiss, Ph.D.
by Amanda Mountain and Leigh Goodrich
by Kelley Fenelon
by Kelley Fenelon
We must also attend to the race and ethnicity of district superintendents if we hope to gain an understanding of representation among their ranks and ensure that we do not perpetuate discriminatory attitudes in their appointment. These data show that our church leadership remains largely white: 79% white, in fact.
Bishops serve in our church’s highest leadership role, providing spiritual and institutional guidance both within their Annual Conference and across the connection. Given bishops’ importance to the well-being and direction of the church, it seems important that a diversity of perspectives and experiences be represented among them.
by Amanda Mountain & Rev. Leigh Goodrich