by: Julie Kathleen Schubring
By now many may have heard of the Vital Congregations Project. Just what is it and why are numbers so
important to gauging the vitality and health of United Methodist congregations?
The vision of Vital Congregations is “to fulfill the mission of The United Methodist Church by equipping and
empowering congregations to become vital and healthy congregations in their communities and in our world.”1
The Call to Action report lists four key areas that drive the vitality of a congregation, and these are consistent
across all sizes of congregations. They are: small groups and programs, worship service, pastor and lay
Some of our readers might have seen the August 2
Huffington Post article - “Women Show Deep Drop
in Church Attendance.” Both surveys mentioned in
the article were conducted by the Barna Group – the
first in 1991 and the second in 2011. The article tells
us that the percentage of women attending church
has decreased by 11 percentage points to 44 percent.
The percentage of women teaching Sunday school
and volunteering has also decreased, while there has
been a 17 percentage point increase in the number
of women who have become
By Julie Kathleen Schubring
A recent poll among the readers of the Ladies’ Home Journal produced a report in the July 2011 issue titled: “What Does it
Take for a Woman to Feel Happy & Fulfilled?” I found a few of the responses surprising, and it prompted me to
conduct my own quick informal survey among fellow active women faith leaders via Survey Monkey and Facebook.
By Heather Peck Stahl
Earlier this year, policies governing United Methodist general agencies were
expanded to allow women up to 18 days of paid time off after the birth of a child.
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women had pushed for this
change for 11 years.
By Elaine Moy*
"[General church agencies] will provide leave for newborn or adoption childcare leave in the amount
of 18 days." (Adopted Feb 2011, Personnel Policies and Procedures of the
General Agancies or the United Methodist Chruch.)
The Wall Street Journal had a special section - The Journal Report,
Women in the Economy, on April 11, 2011. The section gave highlights from its inaugural meeting
of the Wall Street Journal Task Force for Women in the Economy.
The meeting included almost 200 top leaders in government, business and academia to discuss reasons
for the slippage of women in top leadership positions and the task force established
an action plan for how companies, government and people can address it.
A recent White House report is being billed as the government's
"most comprehensive report on the state of women in 50 years."
by Elaine Moy*
The chart below lists the U.S. United Methodist annual conferences in which 10% or more of their employees are racial-ethnic
clergywomen and laywomen. There are 63 annual conferences in the United States. Below are also the U.S. annual
conferences with the lowest percentage of racial-ethnic clergywomen or laywomen employees.
Our 2011 Women's history month resources examine United Methodist women's shared history that unites families, churches, communities, and nations.
Although women's history in church and society is iterwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religious,
economic and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history.
by Craig This
The chart below* lists the top 10 U.S. annual conferences that have the highest percentage of leadership positions
held by women (lay and clergy). This chart looks at only leadership positions because this is where decisions, authority
and power are held. Generally when assessing the overall statistics of an organization, there is a high percentage of
women primarily because women are employed as support staff rather than managerial/leadership staff.