The United Methodist Church, which boasts a history of ordaining women clergy, is seeking to shatter the so-called “stained-glass ceiling” blocking female pastors from its largest pulpits.
The nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination has launched a new initiative, the Lead Women Pastor Project, to examine barriers to women being appointed pastors to Methodist churches with more than 1,000 members. The Nashville-based United Methodist Church has 44,842 clergy, and about 10,000 are female — or 23 percent. Yet just 85 women lead those largest churches, compared with 1,082 men in those positions.
Church leaders say more women are needed to shepherd large churches, given that women make up more than half of those enrolled in master of divinity programs in United Methodist seminaries. Also, almost 58 percent of the 8 million-member denomination is female.
I’m glad the UMC is taking steps to make sure that their female pastors lead in churches of every size. It’s great that they are wanting women in leadership to reflect the percentage of their women in both seminaries and in their denomination.