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.
By Amanda Mountain
We at the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) often get asked, “Why do you still count? Why count at all?” We are told, “You all make people uncomfortable.”
In January, Women by the Numbers looked at the status of women in the pipeline to senior
management in government and corporate sectors. Last month, Women by the Numbers looked at
women in the pipeline to leadership within our denomination’s local churches and Annual Conferences.
It provided some intentional measures both men and women could take to remove barriers experienced
by women interested in more senior leadership positions. In the conclusion to this “Beyond the StainedGlass
Ceiling” series, Women by the Numbers looks at the status and role of women within the United
Methodist denomination’s agencies and offers concrete examples that agencies are intentionally taking
to ensure that women are equipped to lead and go beyond the stained-glass ceiling.
Last month, Women by the Numbers: Beyond that Stained Glass Ceiling, looked at the status of women in the pipeline to senior leadership in government and corporate sectors, and asked what the status of women in the pipeline is across the United Methodist denomination. This month, we look more in depth at the status of women in the pipeline to senior leadership positions within local church and annual conference leadership. How many women are ordained each year, appointed as senior pastors of large churches, and become District Superintendents and Bishops—all considered leadership positions with powerful influence within our denomination?
With a New Year and a new governor of Illinois, the first executive orders he signed aimed to promote
racial diversity within the state agencies and contractors with which the state works. Governor Rauner
states, “I want to see firsthand in the light of day what is happening in the training programs and
apprentice programs in the organizations that contract with the state,” (abc7Chicago.com). The order,
signed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, aims to measure how many trade groups include both minorities
and veterans within their pipeline of leadership, namely in their training programs, because as Governor
Rauner succinctly states, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” (Chicago Tribune). This executive
order is an intentional way to measure and ensure diversity within state agencies and contractors both
in the present and into the future.
By Erin Kane, GCSRW Director of Research and Monitoring
At the request of a reader, I did more research on the General Conference delegates elected so far this
year in the U.S. and determined that only 4 of those 42 clergy members are deacons (less than 10%). By
comparison, deacons in full connection make up less
than 4% of United Methodist clergy compared to 71%
elders in full connection (the other 25% are part -and
full-time local pastors and associated members.)