Paragraph 4, Article 4 Vote Breakdown

By Rev. Leigh Goodrich

For 28 years, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) has attempted to pass an amendment to The United Methodist Constitution protecting the rights of women to membership in the local church.

Our most recent attempt was an amendment to ¶4, Article 4 which guaranteed membership in the Church regardless of whether a person is male or female, married or single, young or old, or a person with a disability. The amendment was presented at General Conference 2016 and passed with a two-thirds majority. Then, it was brought to the Annual Conferences for ratification during the following 12-month period. The amendment failed to be ratified. Since the Council of Bishops’ announcement that the amendment did not pass, GCSRW has received requests for more information. This “Women by the Numbers” looks at the ratification process, the votes by Annual Conference, Jurisdictions and in Central Conferences.


According to “The United Methodist Constitution” found in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, “amendments to the Constitution shall be made upon a two-thirds majority of the General Conference present and voting and a two-thirds affirmative vote of the aggregate number of members of the several annual conferences present and voting…”(¶59). This makes the process democratic and emphasizes the importance of every member’s vote.


Below is the breakdown of the votes by annual conference as reported by the Council of Bishops. We have taken the liberty of highlighting those annual conferences in which the amendment to The United Methodist Constitution to ensure that women, like men, are ensured membership in The United Methodist Church, passed. Importantly, the ratification process by the Annual Conference requires counting each and every vote cast by the members of the Annual Conference passed by the requisite 66 2/3% in the particular annual conference. The aggregate vote received 61% instead of the needed 66 2/3%.


CENTRAL CONFERENCES Yes No %
AFRICA      
Burundi (no vote) --- ---  
Central Congo 0 926 0%
Central Nigeria 0 205 0%
Côte d’Ivoire --- ---  
East Africa 50 160 24%
East Congo 791 3 100%
East Zimbabwe 0 450 0%
Eastern Angola 220 29 88%
Kasai 1 203 0%
Kenya-Ethiopia 0 94 0%
Kivu 94 7 93%
Liberia 1 955 0%
Lukoshi 10 240 4%
Malawi Provisional – did not meet --- ---  
Mozambique North 84 0 100%
Mozambique South 353 0 100%
North Katanga 0 602 0%
North-West Katanga 6 246 2%
Northeast Nigeria 0 201 0%
Northern Nigeria 0 248 0%
Oriental and Equator | Capoe/Kisangani 588 6 99%
Rwanda Provisional – report w/East Africa --- ---  
Sierra Leone 0 150 0%
South Africa 72 0 100%
South Congo 18 315 5%
South-West Katanga 45 280 14%
Southern Nigeria 0 368 0%
Tanganyika 0 83 0%
Tanzania 0 152 0%
Uganda-South Sudan – report w/East Africa --- ---  
West Angola 308 39 89%
West Congo 12 226 5%
Zambia 2 115 2%
Zimbabwe West 0 416 0%
AFRICA Total 2655 6719 28%
       
EUROPE      
Austria Provisional 11 4 73%
Bulgaria-Romania Provisional 25 3 89%
Central Russia 8 35 19%
Czech and Slovak Republics 17 18 49%
Denmark 27 0 100%
Eastern Russia and Central Asia Provisional 11 8 58%
Estonia 8 44 15%
Finland-Finnish Provisional 20 3 87%
Finland-Swedish Provisonal 19 0 100%
Germany East 87 19 82%
Germany North 111 6 95%
Germany South 265 12 96%
Hungary Provisional 17 12 59%
Northwest Russia Provisional 2 21 9%
Norway 92 12 88%
Poland 45 4 92%
Serbia-Macedonia Provisional 6 18 25%
South Russian Provisional 4 13 24%
Switzerland-France-North Africa 80 76 51%
Ukraine-Moldova 16 0 100%
EUROPE Total 871 308 74%
       
PHILIPPINES      
Bicol Philippines 21 8 72%
Bulacan Philippines 138 0 100%
Central Luzon Philippines 0 27 0%
East Mindano Philippines 76 1 99%
Hundred Island Philippines – new conference, did not vote --- ---  
Middle Philippines 87 0 100%
Mindanao Philippines 87 10 90%
North Central Philippines 0 35 0%
Northeast Luzon Philippines 6 10 38%
Northeast Philippines 0 154 0%
Northern Philippines 16 2 89%
Northwest Mindanao Philippines 49 7 88%
Northwest Philippines 178 5 97%
Palawan Philippines 28 2 93%
Pampango 142 0 100%
Pangasinan Philippines 57 0 100%
Philippines 116 16 88%
Philippines Cavite (PACC) 69 0 100%
Quezon City Philippines Est 14 51 22%
Rizal Philippines East 94 2 98%
South Nueva Ecija Philippines 45 1 98%
Southern Tagalog Provisional Philippines 31 1 97%
Southwest Philippines 48 0 100%
Tarlac Philippines 55 0 100%
Visayas Philippines 44 0 100%
West Middle Philippines 62 0 100%
PHILIPPINES Total 1463 332 82%
       
US JURISDICTIONS      
NORTH CENTRAL      
Dakotas 279 49 85%
Detroit 445 234 66%
East Ohio 445 391 53%
Illinois Great Rivers 404 367 52%
Indiana 662 205 76%
Iowa 810 168 83%
Minnesota 425 42 91%
Northern Illinois 469 25 95%
West Michigan 368 88 81%
West Ohio 776 435 64%
Wisconsin 389 76 84%
NORTH CENTRAL Total 5472 2080 72%
       
NORTHEASTERN      
Baltimore-Washington 611 84 88%
Eastern Pennsylvania 455 92 83%
Greater New Jersey 574 46 93%
New England 442 25 95%
New York 351 44 89%
Peninsula-Delaware 239 43 85%
Susquehanna 494 353 58%
Upper New York 799 116 87%
West Virginia 325 227 59%
Western Pennsylvania 414 336 55%
NORTHEASTERN Total 4704 1366 77%
       
SOUTH CENTRAL      
Arkansas 372 184 67%
Central Texas 403 125 76%
Great Plains 661 221 75%
Louisiana 365 155 70%
Missouri 576 143 80%
New Mexico 133 65 67%
North Texas 542 81 87%
Northwest Texas 42 184 19%
Oklahoma 370 250 60%
Oklahoma Indiana Missionary 82 12 87%
Rio Texas 618 195 76%
Texas 401 589 41%
SOUTH CENTRAL Total 4565 2105 68%
       
SOUTHEASTERN      
Alabama/West Florida 327 262 56%
Florida 695 271 72%
Holston 478 284 63%
Kentucky 154 386 29%
Memphis 272 150 64%
Mississippi 652 233 74%
North Alabama 351 188 65%
North Carolina 519 409 56%
North Georgia 698 539 56%
Red Bird Missionary 20 1 95%
South Carolina 505 487 51%
South Georgia 239 316 43%
Tennessee 346 160 68%
Virginia 1137 435 72%
Western North Carolina 809 632 56%
SOUTHEASTERN Total 7202 4753 60%
       
WESTERN      
Alaska 38 6 86%
California-Nevada 487 33 94%
California-Pacific 343 343 50%
Desert Southwest 320 25 93%
Oregon-Idaho 171 105 62%
Pacific Northwest 226 113 67%
Rocky Mountain 423 24 95%
Yellowstone 109 5 96%
WESTERN Total 2117 654 76%
GRAND TOTAL 29049 18317 61%


Jesus tells a parable about a widow who goes before a judge repeatedly and is consistently turned away empty handed. She does not let his rejection dissuade her, but continually returns until eventually, the judge grants her justice, thinking, “because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she will not wear me out by continually coming.”

In a world in which #MeToo is worldwide phenomenon; in a world in which women continue to make significantly less for doing the same work as men; in a world in which women are bullied on the streets and in churches, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women will seek to provide protection for women worldwide who seek membership in The United Methodist Church. The outcome of the ratification of this amendment has not dissuaded, but rather, energized members of annual conferences to take action on women’s equality issues. It is with that energy that we still work for the full and equal participation of women in The United Methodist Church


[1]Luke 18:5, The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version