United Methodist agencies collaborate for religious research gathering

Nicole Burdakin

Representatives from the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Board of Pension and Health Benefits and General Commission on The Status and Role of Women (COSROW) recently presented collaborative work at the largest gathering for church and religion-based researchers in the United States. The group hosted a session at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion/Religious Research Association annual meeting, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2014, in Indianapolis.

“We saw this as an opportunity to collaborate and share our research among other United Methodist agencies, as well as to engage the UMC with the larger research community,” said Mark McCormack, director of research at GBHEM.

The session titled “The United Methodist Church: Trends in Diversity and Clergy” featured a presentation by Erin Kane, COSROW, on diversity in United Methodist leadership; a report on clergy health from Anne Borish, Board of Pension and Health Benefits; a report by Mark McCormack, GBHEM, on United Methodist seminarian debt; and a collaborative study on changes in racial diversity in United Methodist congregations.

“For me, it’s important to get the UMC more engaged in the research community. Our presence at these events exposes our research to an audience that can help enrich our work. It’s a way of getting feedback on our research, connecting with other people that are doing this kind of work, and finding new resources,” McCormack said.

Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

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