May 14, 2023 – Mother’s Day/General Commission on the Status and Role of Women


A Moment for Mission

“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” — 1 Peter 3:15b-16a, NRSVUE

Each year, bishops and district superintendents reach out to the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women for guidance on how to navigate different situations regarding women, equality and power. 

We know that local churches still struggle accepting clergywomen. We know that sexual misconduct occurs in our congregations and that inequality and a lack of representation continue within the church structure. According to the 2016 Book of Discipline (Par. 2102), GCSRW is called to “challenge The United Methodist Church, including its general agencies, institutions, and connectional structures, to a continuing commitment to the full and equal responsibility and participation of women in the total life and mission of the Church, sharing fully in the power and in the policy-making at all levels of the Church’s life.” It is also the agency’s mandate to hold the church accountable when it fails to live out its purpose. In order to fulfill its calling, the commission focuses on four key pillars of service: monitoring, sexual ethics, leadership and education.  

While the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women provides educational resources, tools for analyzing conduct and inclusivity at gatherings, leadership development trainings and guidance in preventing and responding to sexual misconduct, the agency acknowledges the many individuals who work to hold our church accountable.  

As a church, we pray for a humble heart to recognize our wrongdoings and an openness to accountability, while striving to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. Congregations are urged to:

  • conduct a salary study and challenge charge conferences to ensure equal pay;
  • encourage women, especially young laywomen, into leadership; and
  • monitor other leadership meetings besides annual conference to advocate for inclusion.

As GCSRW celebrates its progress, it looks forward to the next 50 years of full and equal participation of women across The United Methodist Church. A fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to the denomination’s mission of making “disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Children’s Story
Girls can’t.

Have you ever heard that? Maybe you’ve heard “girls can’t play baseball” or “girls can’t love science” or “girls can’t run as fast as boys.” Or, perhaps, “girls can’t be good at math” or “girls can’t be doctors.” How about “girls can’t be pastors”?

Maybe the idea of a woman as a pastor is nothing new to you. Maybe your pastor is a woman. Even though there are many more women leading as pastors than there were years ago, it’s still hard for women to be accepted as pastors. Sometimes men are chosen over women to lead in churches just because they are women.

We have done a lot better over the years! In November 2022, 13 new bishops were elected to The United Methodist Church. More than half—seven—are women! That is exciting news! However, there is still work to do to make sure women are treated equally in the church and to encourage young women and girls to follow their callings to be leaders in the church.

In a book called “The Leading Women,” Bishop Charlene Kammerer said that like many people, she went to college and did not know what she wanted to do. She remembered, “I never had a pastor or youth minister who said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about being in ministry in some way?’”

If any of you want to be a pastor, we will encourage you to be the best pastor you can be!

Girls can’t? Yes, they can!

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, guide the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women as it strives for the full inclusion and participation of women at levels of the church’s life and mission. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Sixth Sunday of Easter  Holy God and author of our existence; our story is part of a greater story, and your hand is visible on every page and every scene. So too our stories cannot be disconnected from those in the past who have shaped the steps we take – saints and sinners, rebels and followers. They are part of our story as we are part of theirs. As we offer gifts this day, we pray they might be used to strengthen the story of faith that will be told by those who will come after we are gone. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen. (1 Peter 3:13-22)

Newsletter Nugget
Mother’s Day seems the perfect time to celebrate the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. The agency challenges The United Methodist Church in the full inclusion and participation of women at all levels of the church’s life and mission and holds the church accountable when it fails to live out its purpose.

Here are few examples of how GCSRW works:

  • Gathers data during annual conference sessions to provide an equity or inclusivity report.
  • Guides individuals and churches in navigating the complaint process for sexual misconduct. GCSRW’s website has multiple resources that assist different parties in the complaint process. The interactive “Do No More Harm” module makes all information easily accessible.  
  • Encourages congregations to welcome senior pastors who are women. An upcoming resource, “Welcoming a Woman Pastor,” will be an online, interactive module designed to assist the local church in embracing a woman pastor.  

Annual conference Commissions on the Status and Role of Women also do amazing work. GCSRW recognizes their talents, time and efforts in creating an inclusive and equitable community of faith. The agency encourages their prophetic witness to stand up for injustices and take tangible steps in preventing them from occurring in the future.

Adapted from “The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Is Vital to The United Methodist Church,” Aileen Jiminez, Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, Aug. 1, 2022

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