FAQ

Read the full FAQ about Clergywomen

Are more women entering ministry now than in the past?

The number of women seeking seminary degrees more than tripled between 2002 and 2003, from about 10,000 to almost 32,000, according to the Association of Theological Schools’ 2002-2003 Fact Book on Theological Education. In the 13 United Methodist theological schools, more than half the students enrolled in master’s programs in fall 2002 were women. There were 1,442 women enrolled, or 52 percent of the total, compared to 1,270 men.

Can clergywomen serve as district superintendents or bishops?

The UMC was the first mainline Christian denomination to have a woman bishop and in total, has elected 21 women bishops.

About 15 percent of female elders serve as district superintendents.

How does a clergywoman find a job within The United Methodist Church?

Elders are appointed to posts by bishops, rather than local churches hiring their own pastors, as in some denominations. In this way, a local church is never without a pastor, and a pastor never goes without a setting for ministry. This system is known as itinerancy.

Deacons are non-itinerant. Their appointments may be initiated by the deacon, an agency seeking her service, the bishop, or the district superintendent.

How many women serve as lead pastors?

Clergywomen, who are 27 percent or nearly one-third of the UMC’s total active clergy, make up 21.5 percent of more than 26,000 pastors-in-charge.

Why does The United Methodist Church ordain women?

The United Methodist Church stresses equality and the ministry of all believers, not reserved for a select few. Women have equal access to God’s call to full-time ministry as do men. Official denominational statements, commentaries by several United Methodists, United Methodist News Service stories, and other resources are available at Women Clergy in The United Methodist Church Web site.

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