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.
by Craig This *
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is Part 2 of a two-part series. It is a continuation of the Women By the Numbers article in the
October 2010 issue, which can be found HERE.
Clergy dominate the categories 1-3 positions (executives/directors, professionals, managers/administrators) in all three
jurisdictions with 98% of the positions for South Central Jurisdiction, 86% of the Western Jurisdiction, and 64%
for the Southeastern Jurisdiction. (Because of their education levels, clergy are usually not found in categories 4-6 positions.)
Nevertheless, clergy can be found occupying the leadership positions of most annual conferences in the
South Central, Southeastern, and Western Jurisdictions.
The total number of clergy between 2004 and
2008 has decrease by 1.02%. The percentage
of White clergy has decreased by 1% (from
90% to 89%). Since 2004, the General
Council of Finance and Administration has
added a new category (Multiracial).
ethnic categories percentages have not
changed much since 2004.
According to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau,
65% of the population is White, 15% is
Hispanic, 13% is Black, 4% is Asian, 2% is
Multi-Racial, 1% is Native American and .2%
is Pacific Islanders. If the United Methodist
Church in the United States wants to grow, the
church leadership and membership needs to
change with the changes in the population.
Although women have made progress since
2003, women only comprise 24% of clergy
members. Women are 57% of lay
membership and over 50% of the students at
theological schools. We need to ask where
these women are since they are not going into
ordination. And we need to ask why
women are not going into ordination.
Our society is comprised of 50% women in
the workforce, and many of the secular
businesses have altered policies and
procedures to be female and famil
friendly. We don’t live in a community or time
where the norm is just one person working
outside the home.
By Craig this
Of those clergypersons serving local churches in the United States, 26% are clergywomen and 74% are clergymen (see Table
In other words, 1 in 4 churches is served by a clergywoman. Of the 7,619 clergywomen who serve in the local church, only
814, or 14%, are racial/ethnic women (see Table 2). That means 1 in 10 clergywomen serving a local church is
a racial/ethnic clergywoman. At first glance, that seems like a pretty good ratio. However, looking deeper, statistics
show that only 3 out of every 100 churches are served by a racial/ethnic clergywoman. At the same time, 3 out
of every 4 churches are served by a clergyman, regardless of race.
By Craig this
Previous “By the Numbers”
articles in The Flyer have focused
on the gains made by clergywomen
in serving The United
Methodist Church as local church
pastors, district superintendents,
bishops, and conference officers.
This article examines and
analyzes where and how clergywomen
serve the local church.
Craig This, formerly with the General
Council on Ministries, is a “numbers
guy.” His research for the denomination
has helped many groups see where they
are headed by looking at where they have
been. One of the numbers Craig has been
tracking relates to the ministry of the
General Commission on the Status and
Role of Women, and the “where we’re
headed” is looking better all the time.
According to Craig, the percentage of
clergywomen in The United Methodist
Church increased from 11% in 1992 to
19% in 2002, the most recent year for
which data are available. Thirty-four
conferences had 19% or more clergywomen
in 2002. This is good news as we move
toward a more representative future.