Methodists Approve Full Ordination of Women
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Time Period
Methodist women have served in leadership position as far back as 1770 with Mary Evans Thorne. However, full clergy rights, in terms of administering sacraments and full conference membership, remained an obstacle for quite some time. In 1880, Anna Howard Shaw and Anna Oliver both were denied ordination in the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC), and their applications even led to the revocation of preaching licenses.

However, the 1920s brought increased rights for female leaders. In 1920, the MEC granted women local preacher licenses and in 1924 women were granted limited clergy rights as local elders or deacons, but without conference membership.

After several Methodist churches merged in 1939 to form the Methodist Church (MC), discussions emerged regarding full ordination rights of women. This finally occurred in 1956 at the Annual Conference. Maud Kester Jensen became the first fully ordained female minister in the MC, with more to follow in the subsequent years.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Women and Religion
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Women and Religion in American History
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links


Ordination Service 2012 during the West Michigan Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church- Flickr- photo by Michigan Area (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Ordination at the 2014 Annual Conference Sessions of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference- Flickr- photo by Great Plains UMC (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Lippy, Charles H., and Peter W. Williams, 1988. Encyclopedia of American Religious Experience. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Web Source(s)
Timeline of Women in Methodism
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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