Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

What’s in a word? COSROW event explores gender influences

2/9/2018

February 17 workshop 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at OCU’s School of Business
BY CHRIS SCHUTZ
Traditionally male “God-talk” and other word usage that may discourage women from considering a ministry career will be the topic of a Feb. 17 workshop planned by the Oklahoma Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW).
The workshop in Oklahoma City will be led by Leigh Goodrich of Chicago, representing the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. The event will be that Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Small Gardner Room of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.
Under the title “WIDE WORDS,” Rev. Goodrich will discuss the use of male pronouns and images in church life.
“There are other words we can use to widen our understanding of God and ourselves,” according to promotional information about the event. “Come learn how a wider vocabulary transforms people’s lives, and listen for how gender influences shape our own experiences of God.”
Goodrich has served churches in the New England Conference for 14 years. She serves on the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Appeals Committee and is a delegate to the special 2019 General Conference.
“We are interested in how women are represented in the church,” said Jennifer Ahrens-Sims, who chairs Oklahoma’s COSROW.
Sometimes, she noted, “churches are not prepared to be led by females. You find it in churches everywhere. There is much more familiarity with male leadership.”
COSROW studies statistics within the conference on female leadership, she said. Those show about 30 percent of active clergy in Oklahoma is female.
“I’m not sure that we do a good job of helping our young women imagine themselves in leadership positions in the church,” Rev. Ahrens-Sims said.
COSROW would like to see an increase in role models for women, to help them imagine “that could be me,” she said.
Ahrens-Sims is an associate pastor at OKC-Chapel Hill. She has been a pastor for three years.
Only a small percentage of offices within Oklahoma churches are held by women, she said, according to COSROW’s research. No women chair any District Committees on Ordained Ministry, she said.
“There is room for improvement toward equal participation.”
COSROW “works with all people,” Ahrens-Sims said. “We are interested in how women are represented in the Church.”
To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/widewords. Fee, $12, includes lunch.
For more information call Ahrens-Sims at 405-507-7318 or email Jennifer@mychapelhill.org.

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