GCSRW Names Smartt Sears as Director of Leadership Development and Accountability

General Commission on the Status and Role of Women
The United Methodist Church

For immediate release
May 8, 2023

Chicago, Ill. – The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) is pleased to announce that effective July 1, the Rev. Dr. Denise Smartt Sears will join its team as the Director of Leadership Development and Accountability.

“Denise brings 30 years of experience to this role. She is innovative, insightful and inclusive when strategizing and envisioning a path for program and leadership development,” notes Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. "We are thrilled to have Denise joining our team and are confident that Denise will guide the AC COSROWs with support, tools and data that are needed to be effective in their ministries and in fulfilling GCSRW’s mission to fully engage and empower The United Methodist Church.”

Smartt Sears, an ordained elder in the New York Annual Conference and lifelong United Methodist, will help set the vision and direction for the commission’s ministries. She will also carry out the overall assigned and emerging functions and tasks of the agency while being in community with Annual Conference COSROWs across the connection.

“I’ve been called to be a servant leader that uses my gift of relationship building to assist those across the connection,” says Smartt Sears. She added, “I believe that through listening to existing COSROW leaders, and reaching those who have been untapped, we can lead the conversation that will prayerfully result in expanded opportunities for transformation.”

Denise Smartt Sears currently serves as a chaplain for the New Rochelle Police Department and is a delegate to General Conference. She previously served as a local pastor, district superintendent and director of connectional ministries for the New York Annual Conference.

Smartt Sears had previously partnered with GCSRW in the creation of Welcoming a Woman Pastor. This resource provides onboarding guidance for and helps set local churches up for success when a female pastor is first received into an appointment.

“Serving as the Director of Leadership Development and Accountability for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is a gift… I know that together we can make a difference in gender inequities and the eradication of sexism,” added Smartt Sears.


About the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women:

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." Learn more at GCSRW.org.

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