Nazarene Clergy Women: A Statistical Analysis from 1908 to 2003

Essay
The theme of this year’s ANSR conference—Women in Ministry: What We Say, What
We Do—implies that there may be a difference between our saying and doing. What we
say can be found in the doctrinal statements of our Manual, the pages of Holiness Today,
and in NTS classes. Manual paragraph 904.6, Women in Ministry, clearly states, “The
Church of the Nazarene supports the right of women to use their God-given spiritual gifts
within the church, affirms the historic right of women to be elected and appointed to
places of leadership within the Church of the Nazarene, including the offices of both
elder and deacon.” However, the focus of this paper will be on “what we do.” By
examining statistical changes that have occurred in regard to the number of clergywomen
and their roles from 1908 to 2003 it is my hope to allow the reader (or listener) to form
his or her own conclusion as to whether or not there is truly a difference between what
we say and what we do. For comparison, these statistics will always be placed along side
those of clergymen. This should enable us to: 1) gain a clear picture of what we have
done, and 2) explore some possible explanations for the changes that have occurred,
particularly among the female ministerial workforce.
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