By Julie Kathleen Schubring
While there are few surprises in a recently released study on the status and career paths of U.S. United
Methodist clergy, the findings still offer a blueprint for how the denomination can better address institutional
sexism and racism in our clergy recruitment, compensation and deployment systems.
Of the 1,017 delegates elected to the 2012 General Conference, 63% are male and 37% are female, according
to the data supplied by the General Council on Finance and Administration1 (see Table 1). In comparison
to the delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference, 60% were male and 40% were female. Women’s
representation to General Conference is down by 3%.
There are 988 delegates who have voice and vote; 29 additional delegates—mainly from affiliated Methodist
bodies—have voice. These additional delegates may speak and influence legislative committees as well as
plenary sessions. This article and the statistics used herein include all 1,017 delegates because they all have the
ability to speak at General Conference. (The next issue of The Flyer will examine the 988 voting.)
By Craig This
Fifty-seven persons (57) were elected chairs of U.S. annual conference delegations to the 2012 General
Conference of The United Methodist Church, according to delegate data supplied by General Conference.
Leading a delegation is considered an honor, which some conferences reserve for one person (often alternating
between a clergyperson and layperson every four years). Others, name a layperson and a clergyperson as coheads.
The U.S. jurisdictions will have fewer delegates
to the General Conference of The United
Methodist Church than they did in 2008. This
has affected the representation of women and
U.S. people of color as delegates. That’s because
the denomination’s membership is growing
in Africa, the Philippines and Europe, while
membership continues to decline in much of the
A total of 602 U.S. delegates were elected to the 2012 General
Conference of The United Methodist Church. As legislated by
2008 The Book of Discipline, half of the delegates are laity
and half are clergy. Furthermore, the number of delegates
representing each jurisdiction and each annual conference
is proportional to the jurisdiction and annual conference’s
membership (See Table 1 and Table 2). The Southeastern
Jurisdiction has the most delegates with 220 and the Western
Jurisdiction the least with 32.
By Elaine Moy
According to Working Mother magazine (October
2011) all of their Working Mother 100 Best
by Kristin Knudson
U.S. clergywomen in The United Methodist Church on average earn 13% less than their male counterparts, and
clergypersons of color—Black, Hispanic/Latina, Native American, Asian- and Pacific Island-Americans—earn
9% to 15% less than white clergy.
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.