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 & Millie Frese
  • Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries:  Karen Dungan
  • Co-Chairpersons:  Alex Bruening and Lauren Wise Loonsfoot



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 Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) honored Rita Carter during the Iowa Annual Conference in June. She was the recipient of the 2017 Ambassador Award, which recognizes the efforts of a United Methodist person who exemplifies the goals and values of COSROW. A Difference Maker in many ways, Rita is a catalyst and monitor who empowers women and transforms the Church through her ministry.

rita.carterRita has been serving as Social Action Coordinator for United Methodist Women in Iowa. In addition, she advocates for legislation related to social justice issues through the Legislative Action Alerts for individuals and the Methodist Federation for Social Action.

One avenue for her witness is in organizing the Legislative Advocacy Day to provide training for people to contact legislators and visit with them at the State Capitol. The immigration ministries of Justice for Our Neighbors and legislation to end human trafficking are among the many topics of concern she addresses with government leaders.

Rita has always led with a positive attitude in challenging women and men to become involved in social justice issues as people of faith. “Let’s do what we can,” she says, “to shine some light.”

COSROW is receiving $1,500 this year to support their ministries as inclusive people of God reaching out to care for a hungering and hurting world. These funds are made possible with the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.

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