Commission on the Status and Role of Women

The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women marks its 50th anniversary in advocating for women in the life of the Church, leaving in its history a trail of incredible ministry programs and projects that have challenged the Church to achieve full and equal participation of women. Watch a video about the past 50 years of GCSRW and the challenges and opportunities going forward. 

Watch a video of the eight new women bishops elected in 2023.

The Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) ministry is three-tiered:

  • Monitor:  Monitors the full and equal participation of women within the Minnesota Conference.
  • Advocate: Advocates for women, individually and collectively, and celebrates women and their accomplishments within the United Methodist Church.
  • Educate/Catalyst: Provides education and collaborates with other groups concerning justice issues for women in order for the church to be inclusive of all people and reflective of the fullness of God.

Minnesota COSROW does most of its work through e-mails, phone calls, and conference calls. Members meet face-to-face only twice each year: 1) The morning of the first day of each Minnesota Annual Conference session, at the Kelly Inn attached to the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud; and 2) Fall meeting (Oct. or Nov.) at Peace UMC in Shoreview.

During the past several years, COSROW has led seminars the day before annual conference and has collaborated with conference groups such as United Methodist Women, Church and Society, Commission on Religion and Race, and The Council on Native American Ministries. COSROW has coordinated these seminars with the Minnesota Annual Conference.

  • 2014: "Human Trafficking" featured survivors of sex trafficking and a prosecutor telling their stories of what is happening in Minnesota.
  • 2015: "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" featured live musical "Images of God" by Kay Hacklander and a speaker from the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) and the United Theological Seminary president, both of whom gave their perspectives on how our words matter.
  • 2016: "Domestic Violence" featured presenters from women's shelters in St.Cloud and Duluth. A survivor of domestic violence told her story. 
  • 2017: "Who is my Neighbor?" explored the topic of how minorities are treated in our neighborhoods.
  • 2018: "#MeToo #ChurchToo: Sexual Ethics in the Church" was a time of sharing stories and experiences, as well as viewing and discussing the film #HerTruth.
  • 2019: "Called to be Neighbors" focused on the plight of our Muslim sisters and brothers. Bombing of mosques and hateful actions against our Muslim siblings prompted this seminar to help us better understand the Islam faith, customs, and beliefs. Participants learned how to tie a hijab to experience how it feels to wear one. A walk-through exhibit "Green Card Voices" was displayed. It told the stories of the journeys of immigrants from their home country to Minnesota.
  • 2020 & 2021: These seminars were canceled due to the coronavirus. The 2020 seminar was planned with the Dakotas Conference COSROW, the seminar's focus was to be on a subject which has been given very little attention by the media: indigenous women experiencing sex trafficking, violence, rape & murder. 
  • 2022: COSROW held two virtual seminars in June. Each began with a Land Acknowledgment Statement.
    • “Where Are My Sisters? MMIW.”  Juliet Rudie, Director of the new MN Office of MMIR (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives) was the speaker. Ms. Rudie is a tribal member of the Lower Sioux Community. Pastor Dawn Houser, Aitkin UMC, and Anishinaabe & Ojibwe, told of a MMIW quilt she had received from indigenous women in Illinois. Watch a recording
    • “Voting in Native Country: Hurdles at Every Turn.” Bret Healy, Atty. For Four Directions Vote, and Mike Simpkins, Member & Coordinator of Red Lake Voter Registration Drive. They told of the many barriers indigenous people experience when voting throughout the country & then focused on voting difficulties in ND, SD, and MN. Watch a recording

At the request of the Minnesota Conference lay leaders, COSROW members developed an advanced course for lay speakers on the topic of how exclusive words can hinder our message from the pulpit and how expanding language can enhance our messages.

In 2016, COSROW developed a booklet that told the stories of many Minnesota clergywomen in order to recognize the 60th anniversary of women's ordination in the United Methodist Church.  It was the 1956 General Conference, held in Minneapolis, where women were given the rights and privileges of being ordained. Women's stories were highlighted and celebrated at the 2016 Minnesota Annual Conference session. View or download the booklet. A booklet about women clergy covering 1856-1977 is also available.

COSROW has a traveling display with free information and materials that travels to various United Methodist Women and other Minnesota UMC events in order to raise awareness about issues and provide resources concerning women and those on the margins of society.

Read several inclusive versions of the Lord's Prayer.

Find agendas, minutes, and elected team members for COSROW.

The COSROW co-chairs are:

Faye Christensen

 218-839-3452 /

Rev. Debra Collum

507-923-1097 /

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058