Since 1972, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women has been charged with monitoring, research, education and advocacy to eradicate sexism in The United Methodist Church. Such an enormous job requires the work not just of the commission staff and governing board, but also the help of volunteers in every annual conference.
All United Methodist Annual Conferences are required by the Book of Discipline to have a Commission on the Status and Role of Women (AC COSROW). You can find a description of the annual conference COSROW's purpose and responsibilities in The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church in Resolution #8021- Functions of an Annual Conference COSROW. Annual conferences are also required to fund the group's work.
The Book of Discipline tasks each AC COSROW with the work of raising awareness about the status of women and working with leaders of our churches, districts and conferences to move towards the full and equal participation of women in the total life of the church (2012 BOD ¶2103). To achieve this goal, AC COSROWs are encouraged to undertake the following four areas of ministry: Education, Advocacy, Cooperation, Monitoring & Research. (Excerpt from General Commission on the Status and Role of Women website, gcsrw.org)
Coulbourn to chair COSROW
The Rev. Debra Coulbourn, pastor of Ridge Avenue UMC, Phildelphia, is the new chairperson of Eastern PA’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Learn about the UMC’s General COSROW’s work and 50th anniversary in our recent Women’s History Month article,"UM advocacy agency reveals lagging equity for clergywomen.”
Coulbourn succeeds the Rev. Jonette Gay as chair of COSROW. A lifelong Philadelphian and United Methodist, she has led Ridge Avenue UMC in the Roxborough community as a biovocational pastor for seven years. She also works in a Philadelphia law firm. Contact her at email@example.com.
Featured News & Information
Women’s History Month Feature:
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCOSROW), created by General Conference in 1972, provides research, advocacy, training, monitoring and educational resources to churches and conference commissions like Eastern PA’s COSROW. All UM annual conferences are required by the Book of Discipline to have a Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
GCOSROW’s board, comprising women and men, met March 11-12 and focused on the future of its engagement and advocacy within the UMC. Read press release. Its recent efforts include providing information and guidance for persons interested or involved in sexual ethics and complaints of sexual misconduct in the UMC. That includes its “Do No More Harm” and “#MeToo Toolkit” resources... Read more.
As leaders, teachers, missionaries, and organizers, women have shaped the history of Methodism. In their work with the poor and disenfranchised, women have initiated important social and political reform. Roughly 800,000 members belong to United Methodist Women, and approximately 25% of clergy in The United Methodist Church are female.
We invite you to explore the inspiring stories of women who have made important contributions to the life of the church, as well as ideas to help nurture your own participation and witness.
In 2014, GCSRW convened a research summit to identify the ways that unique struggles and stresses that clergy family experience, best practices for supporting clergy families, and to seek recommendations for how to better provide a denominational culture and resources for the spouses and children of UM Clergy. That summit identified recommendations for improved support and behaviors at multiple levels of the denomination, including annual conferences, districts, local church staff parish relations committees and an online resource and networking hub to be sponsored by the GCSRW. Read the summit report.
General Commission (GCSRW) News
Following God's direction
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When faced with resistance, we sometimes back down, even when we believe we are doing what God has created us to do. In the latest episode of the "Get Your Spirit in Shape" podcast, the Rev. Donna Fowler-Marchant introduces some of the amazing women of the early Methodist movement who chose to follow God, even when the tradition of the day — and many of the men — said what they were doing was wrong. Listen to podcast
Anti-racism, gender pay gap discussed by board
CHICAGO — The board of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women met virtually March 19-20. Discussion topics included the commission’s role in anti-racism work and an updated survey addressing the gender pay gap in the denomination. Read press release
- General Secretaries Table: Statement on Racism
- Why Has COVID-19 Been Especially Harmful for Working Women
- General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Thanks Elaine Moy for Her Faithful Years of Service to the Commission
- General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Moves into New Work/Share Office Space Agreement with the Northern Illinois Annual Conference
- General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Board Affirm Policy of Election Day Being Recognized as an Official Office Holiday