Research-Based Tools for Women in Ministry
This webinar series of conversations for women in ministry is grounded in research from Wellbeing at Work on the experience of women clergy. Manuela Casti Yeagley, principal investigator of Well Being at Work/Flourishing in Ministry Project at the University of Notre Dame, and Carol Pinkham Oak, program coordinator for Thriving in Ministry at VTS, will lead discussions with women in leadership in the church on a broad range of topics affecting women in ministry.
Each webinar will be accompanied by a list of resources and readings, allowing participants to dig deeper. For a fee, subscribers to the series are invited to join small discussion cohorts providing safe space for conversation and questions, moderated by trained mentors. These groups will be limited to 8 participants and meet for one hour within two weeks of each live webinar.
All Sessions are 3:00pm – 4:00pm ET
October 6 A Field Guide to Navigating the Job Search
Panelist: The Rev. Meghan Froelich & The Rev. Dr. Molly James
Research shows that while mainline churches have strived to reduce gender inequality in clergy deployment and salary, significant gaps persist. Women’s median compensation is generally lower than men’s, and their employment opportunities still reflect more or less tacit geographies of acceptance or resistance to women’s leadership within each denomination. The webinar will provide participants with a practical map to navigate their search for a church appointment, negotiate salaries, and chart their career options.
November 3 (Im)Perfection, Self-Doubt and Over-functioning
Panelists: The Rev. Canon Altagracia Perez-Bullard & The Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlan
Women who occupy positions traditionally associated with a male figure are often exposed to implicit or explicit pressures to overcompensate—sometimes, to the detriment of their wellbeing. In this situation, failure is not an option, and self-doubting may become an unwelcome companion. Is there any space for clergywomen to be vulnerable and less than perfect? Through the experiences of new and more experienced clergywomen, this webinar will explore the intersection between gender, performance, and vulnerability.
December 1 Keys to Authenticity and Integrity as Women in Ministry
Panelists: The Rev. Canon Altagracia Perez-Bullard & The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burroughs
According to recent denominational studies, clergywomen are more likely than men to be placed in “low fit” churches—that is, congregations whose theology, culture, and political orientation may significantly differ from those they embrace. During the pandemic, ideological divisiveness has made reconciling differences while preserving one’s integrity (and job) even more challenging. The webinar will discuss a topic crucial to clergywomen’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing: how can ministers stay true to their identity and values in difficult ministry contexts? What insights can guide their choices?
February 2 #ThisIsWhatAPastorLooksLike: Being a Pastor with a Female Body
Panelists: The Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis & The Rev. Meredith Crigler
Women’s representation among the ranks of mainline clergy has significantly increased in recent decades. However, research shows that their gender—especially as manifested by their body—is still perceived as a somewhat awkward “fit” with a role traditionally associated with men. The webinar will explore the subtle but persisting impact of commonly held views that certain bodies are naturally entitled to certain spaces while others are not. Using contemporary clergywomen’s testimonies, we will discuss how women’s bodies are often used to undermine their function and how female clergy are using their physicality to spark more creative and inclusive understandings of a minister’s role.
March 2 Strategies for Fighting Everyday Sexism
Panelists: The Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis & The Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley
“Everyday discrimination” is recognized as one of the most pervasive problems affecting working women’s physical and psychological wellbeing, professional performance, and career perspectives. It can be defined as commonplace comments, attitudes, and practices—intentional or not—that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation slights and insults to a specific person or group. Most clergywomen report being an object of “everyday discrimination.” What are the best strategies to respond to this challenge?
April 6 Developing Your Well-Being Toolkit
Panelists: The Rev. Danae Ashley & Matt Bloom
Clergy face unique professional challenges that place their physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing at risk. Unsurprisingly, recent research suggests that clergywomen experience greater occupational stress than their male counterparts. Despite this situation, however, female ministers also show greater resilience and lower rates of depression than male clergy. Why? What are the factors and practices that protect and nurture clergywomen’s wellbeing? The webinar will explore female ministers’ experiences and clergy flourishing science to provide women with tools to face work pressures and increase wellbeing.