Commission on the Status and Role of Women

Commission on the Status and Role of Women


  • Our role in the UMC: Monitor/Advocate/Change Agent/Witness
  • Working for the full inclusion of women in the life of The United Methodist Church
  • Ask Before You Hug:  Every United Methodist Church congregation should be a place of safety and security where caring, respect, and trust are experienced by all.

The Guide:  What Do I Do If…?

A basic informational handbook for clergy spouses in the Iowa Conference:  Click here for the web version or contact your district COSROW rep for a printed copy.  This handbook was published in June 2010.


To contact the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women: Email

To contact the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women: 515-974-8900

Or contact your District representative:

  • Central:  Dave Beane
  • East Central:  Eileen McPherson
  • North Central:  Pat Moser
  • South Central:  Sue Clausen
  • Northwest:  Daina Powers           
  • Southwest:  Denise Stevens
  • Northeast: Alex Bruening
  • Southeast:  Luann Benge
  • Liaison to Iowa Conference United Methodist Women: Olivia Pleggenkuhl
  • Youth Representative: Amber Jerson
  • Young Adult: Rachel Hollingsworth
  • At Large:  Momodu Kamara
  • Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries:  Karen Dungan
  • Co-Chairpersons:  Nancy Hanaman and Lauren Wise Loonsfoot


Saturday May 6, 2017 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet at Iowa UMC Conference Center in Des Moines

Saturday October 21, 2017 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet at Iowa UMC Conference Center in Des Moines

The General Commission publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Flyer.  You may contact them at for a subscription.


The Ambassador Award recognizes individuals (non-COSROW members) who are committed to the full inclusion of women, especially those who are on the margins of the church and society, through one or more of the following ways:


  • An advocate stands along side and shares the pain and joy of women
  • An advocate seeks on behalf of women so that women may claim their rightful place in decision-making arenas in the church
  •  An advocate takes the initiative to make changes collectively on behalf of all women and of special groups, such as lay women, racial ethnic women, and clergywomen


  •  A catalyst raises awareness of ways in which women are not fully included in the life of the church and sparks new perceptions and ways of being women in the church.
  • A catalyst inspires new women leaders to find their places in our denomination


  • A monitor is aware of the life and commitment of the church to full and equal participation of women
  • A monitor acts to promote that participation.

The person selected to receive the Ambassador Award by the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women for 2016 is Nitza Dovenspike of Indianola. Nitza has shown the attributes needed to receive this award through her work with the Spanish School for Lay Ministry, encouraging women and others to be part of this program; for her work with the Ecuentro Latino (Latino Encounter) in 2014; and her passion for ensuring that people of all races, sexes and faith backgrounds are served by the United Methodist Church.

Coming to the United States from Panama, Nitza has tirelessly served in many ways through the Iowa United Methodist Church in addition to her career in the insurance industry and caring for her family. She has been a pivotal leader for the Ecuentro Latino and the Spanish School for Lay Ministry with participants representing Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba and Puerto Rico. She also serves on the Connectional Council on Ministry (CCMC) as the secretary, the Central District Ministry Committee, and chairperson of the Hispanic/Latino Ministries Standing
Committee. While working with budgets and goals, she steers the conversation to the least and the lost. She truly has a passion for those that Christ would want us to serve.

Nitza is willing to serve through her vision as she equips, encourages, supports and teaches Latinos and others to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. She is a worthy recipient of the 2016
Ambassador Award.

Nominations will be accepted until March 31 of the year under consideration.  Any person or group may submit a nomination by sending a completed nomination form to your COSROW representative or to the Conference Center. 

All members of Iowa COSROW serve on the selection committee.  The Ambassador Award recipient will be recognized during Iowa Annual Conference.

The selection criteria:

  • Nominee must be a member of a United Methodist church in the Iowa Conference
  • Nominee may be of either gender
  •  All contributions of the nominee must be substantiated
  • The nominee’s contributions must have far reaching impact for women in the Iowa United Methodist Conference

For further information and nomination information please contact COSROW through your District Representative to COSROW.

Suggested Studies and books:

  • HERSTORY, a compilation of the stories of ordained women in the UMC
  • Rock, Shepherd, Friend: Enriching Our Images of God
    A four-session study prepared by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church. This study is available through the General Commission web site:
  • The Journey Is Our Home by Carolyn Henninger Oehler
    A history of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church

Contacting us

The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
2301 Rittenhouse St. Des Moines, IA 50321 | (515) 974-8900 |