NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 27, 2016 – United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston August 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference.
Themed ONE: Birthing a Worldwide Church
, the gathering’s events are designed to foster unity among clergywomen and strengthen their Methodist identity. The three-day event provides clergywomen with leadership building, education and networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to explore how women in leadership influence The United Methodist Church.
“We are an international church, and it is important that United Methodist clergywomen build upon the church’s legacy of leadership,” says Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). “We need clarity of purpose and flexibility in strategy. This assembly of clergywomen from around the world creates a rich intellectual, intercultural and spiritual space that every clergywoman can contribute to, and grow from.”
The gathering begins on Monday evening with an opening worship designed by Rev. Dr. Beauty Maenzanise, an ordained elder and global clergy formation consultant for GBHEM. The opening worship speaker is Rev. Helen Manalac-Cunanan, an ordained elder and pastor of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Angeles City, Philippines. Rev. Manalac-Cunanan organized the Filipino UM Clergywomen Consultation in Manila last year.
Tuesday offers a multitude of interactive learning and networking activities. Attendees will hear from organizers of regional UM clergywomen groups, participate in consultations with leaders from around the world regarding their experiences, and partake in Christian conferencing led by Rev. Sharon Vandegrift, a United Methodist Endorsing Agency-endorsed certified professional coach. A second session that day will examine clergywomen’s leadership across the global connection; it will include a roundtable conversation and coalition building exercises.
Tuesday night will be capped by a UMC Clergywomen banquet featuring women bishops and leaders of the World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Church Women; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Houston Episcopal Area will be a speaker. The General Secretary of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Rev. Charmaine Morgan, will greet participants. This year, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa is celebrating 40 years of ordination of women in their ministry.
During Wednesday’s discussions, women bishops will share their vision for women leading the church into the future, and clergywomen will set forth their views of UM clergywomen as church changers and world changers. The gathering culminates at a luncheon with United Methodist Women bishops, and a celebration of deacons.
“When the United Methodist Church established the full-member deacon in 1996, it joined an ecumenical movement to revive this historic form of church leadership,” says Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of deacon ministry development for GBHEM. “The elders order the life of the church and deacons send disciples out of the church and into ministry. We will celebrate this partnership of clergy that draws people closer to God and sends them forth to share God’s love.”
Closing worship is being designed by Rev. Barbara Day Miller, deacon and associate dean of worship and music, emeritus, Candler School of Theology. Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, of the Mozambique Africa Episcopal area, is the closing worship preacher.
“Expect a powerful, inspirational, educational and spiritual experience,” says Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, director of clergy lifelong learning, Division of Ordained Ministry at GBHEM. “We are celebrating a new path of clergywomen—deacons, elders, local pastors, chaplains and candidates for ministry—working together around the world. After we gather, share ideas and reinforce our support for one another, we will be even better equipped to lead the charge in making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Registration and Support
Registration is open here: http://bit.ly/1YYvhkh
An additional way to be part of this historic gathering is by sponsoring a clergywoman serving a congregation in Africa, Europe/Eurasia or the Philippines who would not otherwise be able to attend. GBHEM has been actively raising funds to assist clergywomen with minimum salary from central conferences and the U.S. to join the gathering. Financial gifts may be shared online at https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Global-Women-Pastors-Gathering-Fundraiser
Worship resources for the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of full clergy rights for women and 20th anniversary of the full-clergy-membership diaconate are available here:http://www.gbhem.org/sites/default/files/Clergywomen%20Celebration%20Woeship%20Resources%20PDF%20%285%29.pdf
For additional information, please go to www.gbhem.org/clergy/clergywomen
or contact Rev. Dr. HiRho Park at firstname.lastname@example.org
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to prepare global leaders for a global church and the world. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.
See in online news room: http://www.gbhem.org/article/registration-open-global-united-methodist-clergywomen-gathering