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
A total of 865 delegates were elected to the 2016 General Conference, the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. This group of 505 US Delegates and 360 Central Conference delegates will meet from May 10-20th in Portland, Oregon to revise or adopt church laws and approve plans and budgets for church-wide programs. It is legislated by the 2008 Book of Discipline that half of the delegates be laity and half clergy, and that the number of delegates representing each jurisdiction and each annual conference be proportional to the jurisdiction and annual conference’s membership. For the next three months, Women by the Numbers will be taking a closer look at who will be at this decision-making table in May, especially regarding the representation of women at General Conference. This month we will provide a general overview of the delegates based on US and Central Conference membership, notably, the numbers of lay and clergy delegates and the numbers of male and female clergy and lay delegates.
To close out 2015 we have chosen to let the numbers tell the story. The statistics contain a powerful message.
By: Amanda Mountain
Last month GCSRW reported that 27% of all United Methodist clergy are women and 73% of clergy are men. This month Women by
the Numbers takes a closer look at race and ethnicity of United Methodist clergy and how it compares to that
of United Methodist churches and the U.S. population.
Who are the United Methodist clergy in 2014 and what might this mean for the future of the denomination? GCSRW looked
at the 2014 statistics of United Methodist clergy and compared them to statistics from previous years. We then
compared these numbers to those in the
Lewis Center’s Clergy Age Trends in The United Methodist Church report, and illustrate below what the future
of United Methodist clergy may look like if current trends continue, and what this means for the role of women
among clergy in the denomination. Our findings illustrate that the number of female clergy is increasing but
at a slower rate compared to 1992 and 2002. United Methodist clergy are getting older, with fewer young people
coming up through the process to replace an aging population.
This month, Women by the Numbers examines who is entering the United Methodist ordination system. GCSRW looks at who enters seminary, what their vocational goals are, and where they are during their first two years in ministry in the denomination.