Clergy Women’s Retention Study completed

in News
January 29th, 2013

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You will want to celebrate with the Anna Howard Shaw Center in its completion of Phase 2 of the Clergywomen’s Retention Study. Dr. Hee An Choi has worked on this intensely, along with Rev. HiRho Park (STH PhD) of the UMC General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and a number of our students and faculty. Congratulations to all. Dr. Choi has written a summary of the project below, and you can learn more here.

In 1994, the Anna Howard Shaw Center began a project focused on understanding what clergywomen experiences were and how clergywomen participated in ministry. The United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study I Project was conducted 38 years after the first women’s ordination in the United Methodist Church in 1956. Following this initial research project, in 2010-2012, the Anna Howard Shaw Center, co-sponsored by the Clergy Life Learning Office, Division of Ordained Ministry at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry conducted the United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study II. The purpose of the second project was to investigate changes in clergywomen’s experiences and participation in ministry since the initial study two decades earlier. In order to compare our findings with United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study I, we used the same questions that United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study I, we used the same questions that United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study I used and compared both data for our analysis. We believe that it is necessary to examine the current status of clergywomen in the twenty-first century and pay attention to urgent needs of support for clergywomen and their ministry.

With great support and assistance of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, especially from Director Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, amazing numbers of clergywomen voluntarily participated in our research survey. Seventeen years after the United Methodist Clergywomen Retention Study I, there were 10, 231 clergywomen in 2010 (7,531 active clergywomen and 2,700 retired). Of the 18.6 percent of United Methodist clergywomen, 1,906 clergywomen, responded to the survey, several of them provided additional support through detailed comments. Their active engagement in this research amplifies its depth.

The entire research document is available on the Anna Howard Shaw Center website. A research summary will be published in two phases in the Anna Howard Shaw Newsletter. The first summary was published in the Fall 2012 newsletter and the second will be published in the upcoming Spring 2013 newsletter. The results and theological implications of this research will be presented in the Women in the World Conference 2013 “Occupy the Church”: Economic Justice for Ministry in the 21st Century, April 10, 2013 engaging the conversation with other presentations more in depth.