A celebration of 60 years of full clergy rights for women will take place in Houston, TX.
United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston August 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons.
Themed ONE: Birthing a Worldwide Church, the gathering’s events are designed to foster unity among clergywomen and strengthen their Methodist identity.
The three-day event provides clergywomen with leadership building, education and networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to explore how women in leadership influence The United Methodist Church.
“We are an international church, and it is important that United Methodist clergywomen build upon the church’s legacy of leadership,” says Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). “We need clarity of purpose and flexibility in strategy. This assembly of clergywomen from around the world creates a rich intellectual, intercultural and spiritual space that every clergywoman can contribute to, and grow from.”
The gathering begins on Monday evening with an opening worship. The speaker is Rev. Helen Manalac-Cunanan, an ordained elder and pastor of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Angeles City, Philippines.
Tuesday offers a multitude of interactive learning and networking activities. Tuesday night will be capped by a UMC Clergywomen banquet featuring women bishops and leaders of the World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Church Women; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Houston Episcopal Area will be a speaker.
During Wednesday’s discussions, women bishops will share their vision for women leading the church into the future, and clergywomen will set forth their views of UM clergywomen as church changers and world changers. The gathering culminates at a luncheon with United Methodist Women bishops, and a celebration of deacons.
“When the United Methodist Church established the full-member deacon in 1996, it joined an ecumenical movement to revive this historic form of church leadership,” says Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of deacon ministry development for GBHEM. “The elders order the life of the church and deacons send disciples out of the church and into ministry. We will celebrate this partnership of clergy that draws people closer to God and sends them forth to share God’s love.”
Closing worship is being designed by Rev. Barbara Day Miller, deacon and associate dean of worship and music, emeritus, Candler School of Theology. Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, of the Mozambique Africa Episcopal area, is the closing worship preacher.