Sunday, February 04, 2007

Womens' Pulpit Progress :: Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Long article in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer subtitled unpretentiously, "More men still lead churches, but women are gaining ground."

The Rev. Nancy Roth of Christ Church in Oberlin grew up in an Episcopal parish where the only women in the front of the sanctuary were members of the flower or altar guilds.

So when a woman, the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, was elected presiding bishop at the Episcopal General Convention last year, Roth said, "I think it's the closest I've ever come to Pentecost."
Some data:
Women flocked to seminaries in the late 1970s after the ordination of the first female Episcopal priests. Now, however, seminary enrollment for women appears to be leveling off at just over one-third of the total, says sociologist Adair Lummis of Hartford Seminary. More than twice as many men as women completed a master of divinity program in 2005, according to Association of Theological Schools statistics.
The article also raises the question of the small number of women in leading large churches - "senior positions." Mostly the conclusion drawn is that parishes resist hiring women. While I wouldn't dispute that conclusion my guess is that the resistance has something to do with differences between men and women. Women want to break the mold of what it means to be a senior pastor, and churches are slow to adapt. (Also, women may have to break the mold because they are less likely to get the same support from their husbands as husbands get from their wives.)

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