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Topic: Women in Leadership

As preachers, leaders, teachers, missionaries, organizers, women have shaped the history of the Methodist Church. In their work with the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised, church women have initiated important social and political reform.

In the Methodist tradition, women were ordained as ministers as early as the late 19th century, and in 1956 the Methodist Church, a  predecessor body of The United Methodist Church, granted women full clergy rights. Women now make up approximately 25% of clergy in The United Methodist Church.

We invite you to explore the inspiring stories of women who have made important contributions to the life of the church both past and present as well as resources to help nurture your own participation and witness as a church leader.

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Women in the Southeastern Jurisdiction pray for Bishops-elect Sue Haupert-Johnson (in green-and-blue) and Sharma Lewis (in yellow-and-white) a day before their consecration. United Methodists already have elected a record number of women bishops this year. Photo by Jasmine Haynes, Mississippi Conference

New women bishops make history

U.S. delegates have elected more women bishops than in any previous class of United Methodist episcopal leaders. Four are African American. Read More

The Rev. Tiffany Nagel Monroe and her father, the Rev. Alan Nagel were ordained into the Oklahoma Annual Conference, June 1, 2016. Photo by Hugh Scott, Oklahoma Annual Conference.

A church first: United Methodist father, daughter ordained same day

Alan Nagel and his daughter went through seminary and became clergy together. She kids him now, “Those are all the Father’s Day presents for the rest of your life.” Read More

Methodist reformer Frances Willard is seen in portrait. Courtesy of United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Methodist History: Early Voice for Women’s Rights

Learn more about the 19th century reformer who fought for voting rights and full representation in the Methodist Church. View

Donna Miller of Historic St. George's United Methodist Church in Philadelphia points out images of Ann and Anna Jarvis at the church. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Methodist History: The Founding Mothers of Mother’s Day

Two women created the holiday that falls on the second Sunday in May in the U.S. but do you know how, and why, they did it? View

Methodist deaconess Kathryn Maurer is seen in a 1935 photograph. Courtesy of California State Library.

Kathryn Maurer: Methodist Angel Welcomed Immigrants

Meet a deaconess whose kindness and dedication to those seeking a new life made headlines in her day. View

Women immigrants who traveled alone were often at risk when they arrived at Ellis Island in the late 19th century. Public domain image.

Methodist History: Welcoming Women Immigrants

Alma Mathews made her mission field Ellis Island. She and others offered a safety net for women traveling alone. View