National, regional consultations focus on clergywomen

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

National, regional consultations focus on clergywomen

June 27, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0509}

An e-Review Feature
By John M. De Marco**

Florida Conference clergywomen have the opportunity to attend two consultation events, one regional and the other national, that will deepen the sense of calling and encourage the heart.

FRUITLAND PARK — The Rev. Catherine Fluck Price serves communion at a training for church cluster leaders last November at the Florida Conference Life Enrichment Center. Photo by Tita Parham, Photo #06-390.

Catherine Fluck Price, co-senior pastor of Harvest United Methodist Church in Bradenton, is encouraging female clergy to join her in attending the International Clergywomen’s Consultation in Chicago, as well as the Southeastern Jurisdiction clergywomen’s gathering, “Somebody’s Calling My Name,” at St. Simons, Ga.

The Chicago event is Aug. 13-17 and features a major emphasis on celebrating 50 years of full membership rights for clergywomen in the Methodist Church.

“I think they’ll focus on our calling,” Price said. “The brochure talks about refocusing our vision, remembering our past, reflecting on the global church. That’s one of the neat things — there are women there from all over the world.”

Price attended the international consultation in San Diego in 2002 and another one in Atlanta in 1996. She recalls meeting clergywomen from Africa, the power of worshiping alongside them and feeling a sense of global community.
“I think there are times, as women in ministry, that we feel isolated and alone and very different from the norm or the supposed norm,” she said. “And going to an event like this, an international event, gives me an incredible sense of belonging. There are so many times I feel like I should be on ‘Sesame Street’ — ‘which one of these things doesn’t belong?’

“When I go to an event like that, and I’m around 1,500 other women who are in ministry, many of whom are in the same situations I am in as a mother, wife and clergywoman, I feel like I do belong. I feel very affirmed and very safe and comfortable.”

Price remembers attending one of her first female clergy events and stopping in the middle of the singing with the realization she was surrounded by female voices. Most of the time at conference events she says she cannot hear the sound of her own voice or those of other women.
The Chicago event features numerous worship experiences and workshops. Those interested in attending may visit to learn more. The Web site includes scholarship information. The registration price is $225 per person and $150 for students.

The St. Simons conference is April 23-26, 2007. Registration information will be mailed to clergywomen this fall. The event will feature Bishops Charlene Kammerer, Hope Morgan Ward, Mary Virginia Taylor, Minerva Carcaño and Linda Lee as speakers and leaders.

“There will probably be 200 to 300 women there. We’ve only had one other jurisdictional gathering of clergywomen, at Lake Junaluska four years ago,” Price said. “It’s a great time to connect with clergywomen we know but don’t get to see very often. … to make new friends with other clergywomen within the jurisdiction. Even more specifically, these women in the Southeast live the same experience that we live as clergywomen in the South, which is slightly different than clergywomen in the Northeast or clergywomen in the West.”

Price recalls that the last time this group convened Kammerer was the only female bishop in the jurisdiction — the last jurisdiction to elect a woman. Two more from the jurisdiction, Ward and Taylor, have since been elected.

“One of the most powerful things they did at the one (jurisdictional event) in Lake Junaluska was when, the first evening there, the women put together a service that was a combination of narration by three different women, with music interspersed,” Price said. “It reviewed the history of clergywomen in the Methodist Church in the jurisdiction. We sang all sorts of different songs, from spirituals to hymns to praise choruses. It was jut an overwhelmingly powerful evening, to hear the stories and hear our history.”

“We rarely have the opportunity to sit and share our stories together,” Price added. “These kinds of events are a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to do that.”

Price’s husband and co-senior pastor, the Rev. Steve Price, planned a party for clergywomen in the couple’s hotel after the ordination service at the recent annual meeting of the Florida Conference.

“He said, ‘I’ve decided that somebody needed to throw a party for you guys,” Price recalled. “I told every clergywoman I saw after the service. There were probably only 15 of us, but it was so powerful and meaningful to just start telling stories about our lives and ministry and struggles … and our many joys.

“These two upcoming events are times when l’ll be able to do that.”

Price encourages clergywomen to check with the conference’s Center for Clergy Excellence and Connectional Ministries office (800-282-8011 or for potential education funding for either event. “We don’t want anyone unable to go because of money,” she said.

This article relates to Ordained Ministry.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a commissioned minister of the Florida Conference and a freelance writer, speaker and consultant.

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