The Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) Co-Chair Christi Dye read from Galatians in which the Apostle Paul declared there is no male or female, but all are one in Christ Jesus. She stated at the outset of the report, “We call upon men and women to share power and control…. COSROW is here to help us all live into that Pentecost vision.”
Rev. Carolyn Burrus shared reflections from the Seneca Falls Pilgrimage in July 2018, which served as a history lesson for the progress of women from 1848 toward winning the vote in 1920. Men and women, including bishops, clergy, and lay women toured the Seneca Falls area which included The Women’s Rights National Historical Park, with the restored Wesley Chapel, the site of the first meeting to organize for women.
Burrus noted the long journey and agreed with Bishop Ward’s earlier remark that “we have not reclaimed the goodness of the Garden of Eden, where both men and women are created in God’s image.” Burrus asked, “How are we limiting our girls and women in our churches?”
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COSROW members emphasized, “We can change the culture of demeaning women and your pastors; may we all work together to live the promise of Pentecost today and every day.” To make changes, COSROW provided an action list:
- Speak up when someone is demeaned
- Attend the COSROW Friday morning break-out session
- Use COSROW studies
- Identify and address salary and leadership gaps
- Male pastors were encouraged to prepare their church for open itineracy, for both female and pastors of color
- Learn and speak about the prevalence of sexual violence
- Address sexual misconduct
“Ask your female pastor about her experiences and then listen. Then ask how you can support her…. Ask yourself, ‘How would I want my sister, wife, daughter, or friend to be treated in her own church?’”
Co-Chair Rev. Laura Dunlap, spoke about the need for women “to raise their voices; while much is being done, we still have a long way to go.” She announced a newly-formed COSROW partnership with the Center for Leadership Excellence launching in June and a November gathering of Southeastern Jurisdiction Clergywomen in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dunlap closed out the presentation with the words of Joshua 1:9: ‘Be strong and courageous; be strong and courageous.’”