United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study


This project would not have been accomplished but for the question raised by clergywomen from the former Southern New England Conference. Voicing the concern of many of their sisters about where their women colleagues were going, a group of clergywomen who gather informally and regularly for fellowship, support, discussion, and spiritual growth approached the Anna Howard Shaw Center and asked us to investigate.  We thank Lois Bailey, Susan Carlson, Barbara Herber, Shirley Hoover, Judith Kohatsu, Deborah Shipp, Donella Siktberg, and Janet Smith-Rushton for articulating the question on behalf of others throughout the connection.

We are deeply grateful to the individuals who have spent countless hours working on this project. Nancy Johnson input all the data for the questionnaires; Fred Graham, Barbara Livingston, and Wendy Waterman transcribed the interviews; and Elizabeth Bettenhausen, Pamela Estes, Shirley Hoover, Judith Kohatsu, Jane LaMarche, Barbara Lemmel, Barbara Livingston, Elizabeth Lurie, Margaret Stowe, and Betty Truitt coded them.  Students working in the Center, Meredith Manning Brown, Danna Drum, Mary Beth Hall, and Julie Marashlian provided much in the way of project support.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Bettenhausen for her editorial skills.

Finally, we wish to express our gratitude to former members of the Division of Ordained Ministry (1993-1996), and the current Section of Elders and Local Pastors of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Rev. John Harnish, Associate General Secretary, who funded this research. We especially appreciate the support of the committee that works with clergywomen’s concerns, the Continuing Education for Ministry Committee, Rev. Mary Ann Moman, Chair, Rev. Lynn Scott, Staff. We also wish to acknowledge the many clergywomen who participated in this project and all other clergywomen who have embodied these issues in their lives.