What women clergy hear from male clergy and congregants

In their college course evaluations, female faculty get a lot more comments about their appearance (some highly sexual) than male faculty members. It appears that the situation is the same for female clergy. In this video, male clergy were asked to read the comments made to their female colleagues. They had not been told the comments ahead of time.

After the success of the Lutheran synod’s video last year, conference leaders first thought to show the Lutheran version. When they decided to produce their own and sent out an email to women ministers asking them to submit comments anonymously, the response was voluminous.

If the object was to make United Methodists uncomfortable with the sexism that female ministers routinely experience, it achieved that goal in the responses of male clergy who read the remarks. Many squirm and roll their eyes as they read out loud the words the women ministers submitted. (The female ministers did not read the comments themselves because it might betray and shame their congregants.)

But as the video showed, those who are able to fulfill their call to ministry still face discrimination, a fact that appalled, disheartened and disgusted the male clergy in the video.

“I’m surprised folks had enough gall to express those comments outwardly, let alone think them,” said the Rev. Chris Brady, pastor of Wilson Temple United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C.

Women in Ministry from NC Conference of The UMC on Vimeo.


  1. ridana says

    Having grown up Methodist in OH, this does not surprise me. I’m kind of surprised the pastors were so surprised. This is one reason I’m no longer a Methodist. Then again, the guy in the knit cap wouldn’t have been allowed to set foot in our church, and the black pastor would’ve been chased off with a thousand cuts (i.e., gotta do it in a way that’s not overtly racist, while hippies could just be kicked to the curb), so maybe things have changed a little.

    “I’ve never met one of you before.” I’m guessing the commenter assumed or knew she was a lesbian, which doesn’t seem to have even occurred to this group.

  2. robert79 says

    I suspect that if you compare this to what some female atheist bloggers get in their comments, these methodists appear “polite”.

    This is a human problem, not a religious one.

    I do like the method of exposing these comments, and may shock some people into some awareness.

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