By Lindsey Graham and Craig This
Women, lay and clergy, comprise 44% of the
total membership of the general boards and
agencies from the United States jurisdictions.
Clergywomen represent 37% of the total elected
clergy and laywomen represent 52% of the
total elected laity (see Chart 1). These numbers
compare quite interestingly to the overall United
Six of 10 people who were delegates or reserve
delegates to the 2008 General Conference were
also named to the governing boards of United
Methodist churchwide agencies—including
the Connectional Table, which is not an agency
per se, but which has oversight functions
related to all other agencies (see Chart 1).
Women are increasingly represented on churchwide agencies. However,
more than half of churchwide agency members are also General Conference
delegates. Is our leadership table still more insular than truly inclusive?
By Lindsey Graham and Elaine Moy
By Craig This and Elaine May
The jurisdictional pool is the collection
of persons from which the jurisdictional
nominating committees select people to
serve as board members of the various
agencies of The United Methodist Church.
(The General Council on Finance and
Administration, General Commission
on United Methodist Men, and General
Commission on Archives and History select
their board members in a different manner
as prescribed by the Book of Discipline.)
By Craig This and Elaine Moy
The 2008 U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences elected
eight clergypersons (six men and two women)
to replace the seven retiring (and one resigning)
bishops (five men and three women). As a result,
the total number of active U.S. women bishops
dropped by one, from 15 in 2005-08 to 14 currently.
In mid-July, delegates to the five U.S.
Jurisdictions are electing bishops and
assigning representatives to church
agencies. As the church reaches
out to geographical areas with
ministries and new church starts,
are the appropriate demographic
groups and voices represented
in the decision-making process
at jurisdictional conferences?
By Craig This and Elaine May
The increase in delegates from Central
Conference (including areas of Europe,
Africa and the Philippines) has greatly
affected the overall percentage of
men and women serving at General
Conference. The total number of
Central Conference delegates rose
from 188 in 2004 to 222 in 2008.
Women account for 15% of the
111 clergy delegates from Central
Conference and 40% of the 111
lay delegates. Women make up
28% of the Central Conference
delegation and 43% of the U.S.
delegation. Overall, 40% of General
Conference delegates are women.
Of the 1,162 people named chairpersons of commissions,
boards and committees in United Methodist
annual conferences in the United States, approximately
490 (42%) are women. These numbers show phenomenal
expansion of women’s leadership, especially
considering that, just 35 years ago, women comprised
just 20% of all voting members of church agencies.
By Craig This
Women comprise 58% of United Methodist
membership and 57% of the total number
of employees of U.S. annual conferences,
according to the 2006 employment profile
conducted by the General Commission on
Religion and Race and the General Commission
on the Status and Role of Women.
However, while women—lay
and clergy—have the majority
of all conference jobs, men
outnumber women at the
executive level. And across
the gender divide, clergy are
more likely than laity to
hold high-paying conference
jobs, whether or not the jobs
require theological education.
By Craig This
Racial/ethnic women comprise 20% of the
voting membership of the general agencies,
according to the 2005 Council, Board or
Commission Annual Members Profile jointly
conducted by the General Commission
on Religion and Race (GCRR) and the
General Commission on the Status and
Role of Women (GCSRW) (see Table 1).
However, it should be noted that the category
of “racial/ethnic women” includes both racial/
ethnic women in the U.S. church and United
Methodist laywomen and clergywomen of
all races from Europe, Africa and the Philippines.
(The current data-gathering methods
used by the church do not distinguish between
women of color, who are in the minority in the
United States, and women in other nations.)