Topic: Women in Leadership

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As preachers, leaders, teachers, missionaries, organizers, women have shaped the history of the Methodist Church. In their work with the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised, church women have initiated important social and political reform.

In the Methodist tradition, women were ordained as ministers as early as the late 19th century, and in 1956 the Methodist Church, a predecessor body of The United Methodist Church, granted women full clergy rights. Women now make up approximately 25% of clergy in The United Methodist Church.

We invite you to explore the inspiring stories of women who have made important contributions to the life of the church both past and present as well as resources to help nurture your own participation and witness as a church leader.


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Church Leadership
East Congo Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda prepares remarks during a celebration in Kindu, Congo, in which the bishop received a new 4x4 vehicle from Congolese President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. Unda said the gift is “a mark of recognition of the activities of The United Methodist Church.” Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UM News.

Congolese president donates 4x4 vehicle to Bishop Unda

A new 4X4 vehicle donated to Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda by Congolese President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo will help the episcopal area build on its efforts to evangelize in rural parts of East Congo.
Mission and Ministry
Members of Capital City Christian Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, celebrate the congregation’s campaign to eliminate the medical debts of some of their neighbors in partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit based in Long Island, New York. Like Capital City, United Methodist churches in Michigan, Tennessee and Nebraska have staged successful medical bill forgiveness campaigns. Photo courtesy of Capital City Christian Church.

Churches help pay off medical debt

The fundraising campaigns of several United Methodist congregations have led to millions in medical debt forgiveness through RIP Medical Debt.
Local Church
Niurka Meléndez, a founder of Venezuelans and Immigrants Aid, offers practical information and advice to newcomers trying to navigate New York City. The aid group is a partner with the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in assisting the recent influx of asylum seekers there. Photo by K Karpen.

Learning to 'live welcome' in response to human need

New York church aims to fill a need through a migrant ministry that relies upon partnership to provide practical support to newcomers.