The number of United Methodist clergy of color increased by 7.6% in the United States over a five-year period, according to an analysis by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
Clergy of various racial/ethnic groups mirror their proportions in the U.S. membership nationwide, the agency reported. The U.S. lay membership was 89.6% White in 2011, the most recent figures provided through the General Council on Finance and Administration, while White clergy stood at 88.5%, a decrease from 89.4% five years earlier.
Black clergy were 6.4% of the group in 2011, while UMC lay membership was 5.9% Black. Asian clergy were 2.9% of the total, and Asians were 1.7% of UMC members, the report showed. The smallest percentage of any racial/ethnic group was Pacific Islanders at 0.2% of clergy and of the same percentage of lay members in 2011.
However, the statistics show that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference had 24% Black clergy, and Asians were 24% of the California Pacific clergy. One annual conference reported zero clergy of color.
GCSRW’s analysis determined the annual conferences with the most diverse clergy were in the Western, Northeastern and North Central jurisdictions.
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