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Eradication of Sexism in the Church

Whereas, sexism continues to be a pervasive and systematic force within our church and our society; and

Whereas, sexism deprives the church and society of the opportunity to use the skills and talents that women have; and

Whereas, a General Commission on the Status and Role of Women 2003 survey of local churches in the United States found that only 57% have policies against sexual harassment; inclusive language studies are rare in local congregations; and urban congregations more frequently have inclusive language studies, harassment policies, and diverse use of female lay persons (as Board of Trustees members and ushers, for example); and

Whereas, this survey also found that bishops who are female appointed more district superintendents who were female, and their conferences had more local congregations with sexual harassment policies in place than conferences with Bishops who were male; and

Whereas, the Church remains committed to the eradication of sexual harassment against children, employees, volunteers, clergy and their families, and congregants. Yet sexual misconduct remains a serious problem in our conferences, and an alarming number of local congregations do not have policies, procedures, or training in place for laity and clergy in stopping and preventing sexual harassment and misconduct; and

Whereas, the Church continues to lose clergywomen (particularly clergywomen of color) from local church ministry into more welcoming forms of ministry. A persistent, subtle, and often unchallenged sexism denies women in The United Methodist Church the opportunity to participate fully and equally in all areas of the Church;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference affirm the work and the necessity for the continuance of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and of the annual conference related commissions and counterparts; and

Be it further resolved, that each annual conference commission or counterpart be given the financial backing to pursue projects that are aimed at educating the members of the local churches about the issues of sexism and at sponsoring the leadership events that enable the annual conference commission members to be better advocates for all who seek equity and inclusiveness; and

Be it further resolved, that each annual conference, United Methodist seminary, and all United Methodist-related institutions are called to have policies on sexual harassment and equal opportunity; and

Be it further resolved, that each annual conference and local congregation is called have policy, procedures, and training opportunities in place for lay and clergy in stopping and preventing sexual harassment and misconduct; and that progress to full compliance will be reported through the Episcopal Office to the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women at the Commission's request. The Commission will be responsible to report to General Conference 2008; and

Be it further resolved, that the General Conference support the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women as the advocacy and monitoring agency of women's issues for increasing opportunities for females in leadership, promoting equality in filling decision-making posts, and fostering inclusiveness in all facets of The United Methodist Church.

ADOPTED 1996
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2004 (3444, 2008 Book of Resolutions)
RESOLUTION #48, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #40, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, 162F.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

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