By Rev. Leigh Goodrich and Alexa Eisenbarth
This is part two of our General Agency Desk Audit. The first portion can be found
In the spring of 2017, a General Agency Desk Audit was requested. General Agency Desk Audits request General
Agencies to report the gender and racial/ethnic makeup of their employees and board members. They also
report the leadership roles among employees and board members. In this second part of our review, we will
be looking at the employment trends in the general agencies, as well as the gender and racial/ethnic composition
of board membership and leadership.
by Craig This*
United Methodist general agencies felt the impact of the 2008-2009 economic downturn in the United States,
according to audits by the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Commission on the
Status and Role of Women.
The agencies dropped from 1,751 employees in 2008 to 1,557 in 2009, a loss of 194 jobs (11% of workforce).
Of the 194 job losses, 190 (98%) were laity and 4 (2%) were clergy (Table 1).
by Elaine May*
Of the 467 United Methodist district
superintendents appointed in the United
States, 346 (74%) are men and 121 (26%) are
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).
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.)
Twenty-seven percent (or 516 of the 1,942)
of individuals employed by the general
agencies of The United Methodist Church
are racial/ethnic women (see Table 1).
While racial/ethnic women do hold some of the
executive, professional, and managerial positions
in some of the general agencies, most of the positions
they hold are in the administrative and clerical
support area. In fact, 59% (or 303) of all the positions
held by racial/ethnic women in the church are
administrative and clerical positions (see Table 1).
By Craig This and Elaine Moy
Of the 1,944 individuals employed by the
general agencies of The United Methodist
Church, 68% (1,323) are women.
The findings for this report come from the 2006
Council, Board, or Commission Annual Members
Profile jointly conducted by the General Commission
on Religion and Race and the General Commission
on the Status and Role of Women.
By Craig this
Women, whether lay or clergy, bump into
a glass ceiling in their attempts to serve
as voting members of the various boards
and commissions of The United Methodist
Church, according to 2006 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).