Leadership Series Launched
Dawn Wiggins Hare, chief executive of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW), led the first session of WPAUMC's new series of virtual Leadership Development Workshops on Saturday, August 7. The focus of the session was on empowering women as leaders in their ministry context.
After offering some background and statistics on women clergy and leadership in the denomination, she encouraged participants to look at the situation in their local churches, districts and Conference to determine whether action is needed to ensure that everyone is valued and has an opportunity to develop and use their gifts. Women, for example, make up 58 percent of the UMC membership, but leadership statistics in most cases don't reflect that percentage.
For details, action steps and resources offered by GCSRW, download her Powerpoint presentation or watch the video of the Aug. 7 session
The Leadership Development Series offers a chance for participants to develop skills, mindsets and knowledge that can help increase capacity for disciple-making in local church ministry. The workshops will also encourage deeper partnership between lay and clergy leaders.
An attorney and the first woman elected in the 35th Judicial Circuit as circuit judge in Monroeville, Alabama, Hare was named General Secretary of CSROW in January 2013. She has also served on the governing board of the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits and was a General Conference delegate elected by the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019.
The Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry, coordinator of Lay and Clergy Excellence for the Western PA Conference, emphasized that the Leadership and the Empowerment of Women session was open and relevant to everyone.
“All of us need to be better equipped to encourage and empower women in leadership,” she explained. “The workshop focused on application to local church ministry, and how everyone has a role to play in creating and sustaining ministry where everyone’s gifts are valued, respected, utilized and encouraged.”
The Leadership series was born out of the inability to meet in person for the past two years on the day before the Annual Conference, when a Leadership Workshop was offered each year, Moudry said.
“Sharon Gregory, our Conference Lay Leader, and I worked together to develop this new model, so that clergy and laity could continue to come together for learning and growth. We believe lay and clergy partnerships are necessary for vital church ministry-- and they are deeply rooted in our Wesleyan heritage.
“With the success and convenience of online programming demonstrated clearly this past year, we believe offering virtual workshops throughout the year will allow more participation and greater access to build new skills and launch new ideas,” Moudry added. “Just like the local church, our reach can increase dramatically through virtual presence.”
The next session in the series is planned for October and will bring another UMC leader to share from their wealth of knowledge and practice.
|Dawn Wiggins Hare