Mar 26, 2021

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. Learn more… 

Here are just articles on our Conference website and UM News’ website that celebrate women, lay and clergy, who have bless the UM church with love and leadership—past and present. There are many such profile stories across our denomination. There should be many more.

If you want to celebrate women who have made important historic contribution to your church and its ministry, please send us their names, information about them and photographs of them if you can. Even though Women’s History Month ends soon, we will continue to invite, accept and publish what information we can through May 2021. Send everything to  Thanks in advance!

Bishop Nhanala manages multiple crises

MAPUTO, Mozambique (UM News) — In July 2008, Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala made history by becoming the first woman elected to the United Methodist episcopacy in Africa. In honor of Women’s History Month, Nhanala reflects on United Methodism in Mozambique — its challenges and achievements — and how she has managed the crises that confront her episcopal area today. The Rev. João Sambo has the story. Read Q&A

Korean-American Polio Survivor and Longtime Pastor Prepares to Counsel Parishioners

Rev. Sukja Bang, pastor of Ackermanville UMC in Bangor, is featured in the Fordham News (March 29, 2021), an online publication of  Fordham University, where she will receive a D.Min. from the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education in May. Her pastoral passion and doctorate degree specialization is in pastoral counseling and pastoral care. 

Read this interesting account of her life story, from her challenging childhood and ministry aspirations in South Korea to her discovery of new challenges and opportunities for serving in cross-racial/cross cultural ministry in Eastern PA. Bang, whose doctoral dissertation is on  “Clergy Self-Care for Cross-Racially/Cross-Culturally Appointed Pastors in the United Methodist Church,” serves on the Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion and Race. Learn more…

Celebrating a trailblazer for women’s ministries

Growing up in the Midwest, Joyce D. Sohl, former head of the UM Women’s Division, learned several important lessons: Think for yourself. Accept all. Always try to do your best. Prepare to be able to support yourself.

Those values would serve her well later in life as a pioneer for women’s ministries in The United Methodist Church. Learn more…

Leader Spotlight: Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff      

 “I think women really are the foundation of many facets of society,” said Ashley Boggan Dreff, the newly elected General Secretary of Archives and History. Women today continue to play a vital role in society as they always have historically. Although Dreff recognizes that the foundational expectations of women are based on social constructions that sought to limit their influence, she praises women who challenged the basis for those expectations imposed on them and paved the way for others to reach their goals. Learn more…

‘Girls, Jesus is calling YOU!’

By Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño March 8, 2021  | Sacramento, Calif. (UM News)

In a video message on March 3, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the California-Nevada Conference shared some of the lessons she has learned about the value of women in helping heal the world and the plan that God has for all of us.

Video: Transcript:  Happy Women’s History Month to all but especially to the women and young girls of this country and of our United Methodist Church!  Women are an integral part of everyone’s life — they are mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, spouses…..To the men among us let me say, what you already know, “you can’t get anywhere without women!” …  Learn more…

Black clergywomen’s stories offer insights into racism

The Rev. Josephine Whitely-Fields. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Josephine Whitely-Fields. This commentary appears in the Blogs and Commentaries section of United Methodist News.

Women of color continue to encounter obstacles in ministry, but their experiences can also inspire all Christians to be more like Jesus. Black clergywomen are pioneers of The United Methodist Church who have answered the call to make disciples for the transformation of the world. They have had a positive impact on churches and communities, with spiritual, numerical and financial growth occurring under their leadership.

Their life stories can be valuable resources to provide insight for The United Methodist Church as we revamp to dismantle racism. Secondly, their stories can inspire and equip other women of color considering the call to ministry. In addition, their journeys can inspire and equip all Christians in their quest to be more like Jesus through prayer, love, forgiveness, perseverance and hard work. Learn more…

Who are Black women pioneers in US Methodism?

In celebration of Black History and Women’s History months, Ask The UMC remembers four of the pioneering and groundbreaking Black women in U.S. Methodist history in a two-part series. Part 1 celebrates Ida Bell Wells-Barnett and Mary McLeod Bethune. Part 2 celebrates Rev. Sallie Crenshaw and Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly.

Clara Ester inspired by MLK to make a difference through love

“I have come to grips many, many, many years ago that only through love can we make a difference,” shares United Methodist deaconess Clara Ester. “We can actually change things if we love.”

Ester, who keynoted the Eastern PA Conference UMW annual celebration in 2018, learned this important lesson from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the civil rights movement in the United States. “Love takes a lot of effort and work,” Ester continues, “but that’s the way God wants us to go, and that was the life that Dr. King led.” Learn more…  

Nevertheless, she preached

MADISON, N.J. — Jarena Lee, a free Black woman in the 19th century, felt the call to preach twice in her life. The second time, her bishop encouraged that call. Ashley Boggan Dreff, the new top executive for the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, offers an overview of Lee and other pioneering Methodist women preachers. Read story…

Meet the first woman to lead Gammon

LAKELAND, Fla. — As a Gammon Theological Seminary student in Atlanta, Candace Lewis was filled with conviction that she would one day change the world. Now a district superintendent with a doctorate, she is returning to the United Methodist seminary as the first woman to serve as its president-dean. Joe Henderson has the story. Read story…