CHICAGO— The Board of Directors of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) met virtually on September 9-11th, 2021. The board and staff worked in tandem to discuss and assess the progress of the GCSRW's mission of faithfully answering its call to advocate for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church.
With the theme for the meeting being set as “The Journey Continues,” the staff noted many of GCSRW’s global pandemic-related adjustments and adaptations that have proven valuable and necessary, as navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has proved a challenging task. After the pandemic forced the General Conference to be postponed to 2022, GCSRW was allowed to shift work to provide valuable resources to The United Methodist connection.
A new resource, Do No More Harm, came about as the result of a collaboration between Senior Director of Sexual Ethics and Advocacy, Becky Posey Williams, and ordained deacon, Rev. Meg Lassiat of Church Systems Consulting. Among the benefits of this new resource is a concise flowchart that allows participants to walk through each role involved in the complaint process, which The Book of Discipline outlines in multiple steps. Also included in the resource are detailed videos showing how individuals can navigate crucial components of the complaint process. Do No More Harm will be launched to the full connection on October 12th, but the board was able to preview it beforehand to comprehend the experience.
Senior Director of Leadership Development and Accountability, Rev. Pamela Pirtle, pointed out how the conference's postponement allowed a chance to launch monthly Women's Leadership Summit Lunch and Learns as a way to continue and further the I AM Her Women's Leadership Summit from 2020. Women serving as leaders for The United Methodist Church get to engage in vital conversations via these lunchtime webinars, which cover a wide array of topics, such as Top Ten Success Principles for Career Women, Welcoming a Woman Pastor, and GCSRW’s 2020 Salary Study. Rev. Pirtle told the board that the 2020 Salary Study is being published in three parts this fall. According to the first article, now published, clergywomen only make eighty-nine cents for every clergymen’s dollar in salary.
“The theme of our opening worship was ‘Bread for the Journey’ and we have witnessed the gifts of ‘bread’ of faithful United Methodists across the connection being multiplied by the vision of our Board of Directors, the creativity of our staff, and the inspiration of our partners in collaborative projects increasing our capacity to develop critically needed resources for all of God’s children across the church,” General Secretary Dawn Wiggins Hare said. “Resources that did not exist, and have the potential to serve everyone---both women and men. Pretty amazing what God can do!”
United Methodist Communications (UMCOM) gave the board updates regarding the migration process of the UM Sexual Ethics website to ResourceUMC. GCSRW and UMCOM are collaborating to relaunch the UM Sexual Ethics website to be housed on the ResourceUMC this fall. For those currently unfamiliar with the UM Sexual Ethics website, those in the denomination will benefit from the partnership, which expands the GCSRW’s capacity and reach to those individuals.
The board not only approved the 2022 budget but also discussed the development of continuity plans and celebrated how the GCSRW staff developed new programming and resources by adapting to the extended quadrennium.
“We had a very productive meeting,” board president Bishop Tracy S. Malone reported. “We have fully engaged board members who provide diverse perspectives and experiences that help to advance the mission and work of GCSRW. The Board affirmed its support and appreciation of the staff for their steadfast work in sustaining the mission of GCSRW and developing new resources and learning opportunities to expand the mission, especially during this extended quadrennium.”
In March 2022, the Board of Directors will have their next virtual meeting.
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women advocates for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. GCSRW helps the church recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children – as full and equal parts of God’s human family. They believe that a fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to The United Methodist Church’s mission "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”