Rosemarie Wenner explains that unity doesn’t necessarily mean harmony. “If we insist on harmony, we will create an illusion and disregard the reality of those who are excluded, silenced, or forced to fit into our system. Conflict is not the opposite of unity. It is, instead, a lively expression of seeking reconciliation of interests.”
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, who is the resident bishop of the Baltimore-Washington area of the United Methodist Church, shares insight on leadership styles of faith-filled women. Get to know the “great cloud of witnesses” who have helped form her identity and continue to inspire her walk.
Victoria A. Rebeck, of the Minnesota Area of the United Methodist Church, describes how clergywomen can revitalize the church while serving as elders and deacons.
By Candace Lewis.
Clergywomen are starting and leading new vital congregations. They make up almost fifteen percent (15%) of the 684 church planters serving United Methodist new congregations started between 2008 and 2012. We anticipate seeing an increase in the number of clergywomen starting new churches; more women are learning about the opportunity, being assessed, and receiving specialized training in church planting.
By Kim Cape.
I accepted the invitation to write this piece on women’s leadership because it gave me a chance to reflect more intentionally on this rather fluid topic. I entered Perkins School of Theology at SMU in 1975, graduating in 1979. I joined The United Methodist Church in 1972. Women were perhaps 10 percent of the Perkins student body at that time. There were two women on the faculty. One in Hebrew Bible and one in Pastoral Care. Period. Some of the male students made a pact not to date any of us because it was clear to them that we were there for the MRS. Degree, not the MDiv. That didn’t last long!
By Sandra L. Steiner Ball, Bishop, West Virginia Conference.
“God rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas” (Ps. 107:3 MSG). God has been rounding people up since the beginning of time, calling them, and empowering them to be God’s change agents in this world. Clearly this calling is not, and has never been, limited to men. Both the Old and New Testaments include women. The recorders of biblical history have shared their stories habitually from the perspective of the dominant culture, and most often from a distinctly male perspective and understanding of the world. The fact that women appear in Scripture in and of itself is indeed one of God’s miracles in a world where leadership has been predominantly male.
By Linda Lee.
he 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church was an emotional roller coaster. Just when it seemed the body had moved one way, it swung about in a different direction altogether. There were the expected differences of perspectives, understandings, and beliefs. And there were surprises—unexpected twists and turns, which sometimes brought us to laughter, tears, anger, or disillusionment. The surprises revealed a deeper conflict within The United Methodist Church body than we may desire to admit. But conflict is always an opportunity to go deeper, to grow into more maturity and to create new solutions.
By Laceye Warner.
A distinction of United Methodism is its polity, which focuses responsibility on the General Conference. The General Conference is an internationally representative body that meets every four years. Most notably, the General Conference possesses the sole authority to speak for the denomination. Yet, to many the results of the last General Conference were largely inconclusive, disappointing, even infuriating. There was much discussion, but little was resolved, contributing to a post–General Conference melancholy.
By Minerva G. Carcaño.
A beloved aunt of mine recently reminded me that when I was in high school, she had told me that wherever I led, all my cousins in my large extended family would follow me. There was a tone of responsibility in her statement, and it made me shudder. I vaguely remembered it, and began to immediately think about whether I had led well. I was, in my head, going through my relationships with the long list of my cousins when she continued, saying in a pensive way, “I wish they had followed you . . .”
By Cynthia Harvey.
When God called Nehemiah, God did not call him to simply manage a project; God called Nehemiah to lead and do so boldly. I believe that is the same kind of bold leadership God calls us to today. God calls us to lead from within with vision and with purpose. God calls us to leadership that requires risk, that takes us to places and decisions that stretch us—and takes us beyond our comfort zone.