Commission on the Status and Role of Women
The United Methodist Church this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of full clergy rights for women in the United Methodist tradition. Much has been accomplished, but much still needs to be done.
The 2000 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church does indeed affirm “women and men to be equal in every aspect of their common life.” Sadly, in 2006 there are still subtle and open obstacles standing in the way and preventing women from the path leading toward God’s purpose of wholeness and inclusion. Women continue to be stereotyped and encouraged to assume roles that are, by tradition, “safe” and correct for them. Although inclusive language is encouraged throughout The United Methodist Church, there continues to be a need for structural inclusiveness. This requires more than just changing our language; it requires changing our attitudes as to what roles women may serve in building the church.
The Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) maintains there is a continued need to be vigilant and work to educate all United Methodists that there should be no barriers to what women are able to do or should be permitted to do; thereby, dispelling the preconceived ideas our own communities have regarding a woman’s place in church.
To this end COSROW in the Florida Conference plans “to share the unconditional love of God by educating, challenging and encouraging women — especially young women — to step out in leadership and voice.”
What a powerful statement of positive reinforcement and a challenge in itself. As we search our hearts and review our own attitudes here is a real-time challenge we can manage quite easily to set us on the right path. Consider the following:
- In the local church at this year’s charge conference ensure there is a representative for COSROW.
- At the district level ensure there is a district representative for COSROW.
- At all levels be mindful of the role and status of our women, both clergy and laity, and be specific and consistent in providing them support.
Let us be in constant vigil and prayer for the day that everyone’s efforts will provide such a renewed growth in awareness that change will slowly, but surely, take place. In the future, imagine there not being a need for COSROW.
As we pray and work together for such a time we look forward to being in fellowship and sharing with all.
If you have questions, suggestions or comments regarding the Commission or its activities please contact: Lynn Campbell at email@example.com