“Because female clergy aim to prove their worthiness and competence to their church leaders, peers, and congregants, they do not want to display weaknesses and appear vulnerable. However, such protective measures may isolate them from sources of support, including other female pastors, which may otherwise help to alleviate stressors that are unique to their experience as females in a male-dominated profession.” (LeGrande, 2013)
Women in ministry face unique challenges in serving the local church. As 35% of the Ordained and Provisional Elders in the North Carolina Conference (NCCUMC Journal, 2018), clergywomen are a minority presence in our pulpits and in leadership. Since women have only been ordained as pastors in local churches since 1956, they do not have the same tenure and historical presence as men. Moreover, because of many societal dynamics, women are not always as welcome in the pulpit.
The Center for Leadership Excellence is working with the Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) to support clergywomen through strong and regular mentorships, with women who are committed to listening deeply and responding empathetically to other women pastors. These relationships are intended to help clergywomen feel less alone in ministry and to feel the presence of a colleague who is encouraging boldness and being there during ministry challenges.
The program will begin with a retreat at Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores, October 15-17, 2019, and will run through July 1, 2020. For this first year, the Center will be able to accommodate ten mentors and ten mentees, for a total of twenty clergywomen. Please prayerfully consider whether this is an opportunity you might want to take part of, and consider applying for the 2019-2020 program year.
Applications are due Thursday, August 8. Click below for more information and to apply online.