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COSROW – 2008 Annual Conference Report

This year’s theme for Annual Conference asks us to look beyond the walls to make disciples of
Jesus Christ to transform the world. There is a world of vast diversity beyond the walls of our
church. Jesus teaches us that we are all precious children of God. We still may struggle
somewhat with our own personal biases towards gender, ethnicity, and cultural background. The
General Commission on the Status and Role of Women produces a news subscription entitled
“The Flyer” four times a year. There were two issues during 2007 that speak to making disciples
to transform the world and the term “diversity fatigue” is mentioned. The April-June 2007 issue
states the primary task of making disciples “must include working to end worldwide racism and
sexism, beginning in the hearts of each church member and in the ‘bones’ of each congregation.”
Garlinda Burton’s editorial in the July-September 2007 issue explains that “diversity fatigue” is
just a new euphemism for giving up and giving in to sins of prejudice, guarding privilege and
reverting to acceptable levels of misogyny, segregation and fear. We ask God for guidance to
reach beyond our comfort zones and not give into the fatigue.

The General Commission published a six-session study on “Women Called to Ministry” this past
year. This was co-sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The
leader’s guide and study guide are available through the website – along with
many other resources. We are pleased that Garlinda Burton, the General Secretary for the
General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, who is one of our laity in the Tennessee
Conference, will be our guest speaker at our dinner on Monday evening of annual conference.

Our conference continues to award scholarships for women and men of the conference who have
a visible commitment to the inclusiveness of all people. The scholarships are awarded on the
basis of supporting the goals of COSROW including events that support transforming churches to
follow Christ’s example of inclusiveness. Forms are available at our display table.

The Book of Discipline states in paragraph 643 that one of the responsibilities of the conference
commission should gather data relating to all structural levels of the conference, including the
local church. Paragraph 2524 speaks of the local church board of trustee’s qualifications that at
least one-third be laywomen. There are still some churches that do not follow this. Our
conference nominating committee was very intent on finding qualified individuals being inclusive
of gender, race, age, both laity and clergy.
Last year, we looked at the conference statistics on total compensation, equitable salary, housing
allowance, number of parsonages, average age and average number of years service broken down
by the relationship to the annual conference. There were a total of 15 relationships that included
females. One item that stood out was that in only 3 of these relationships, the average
compensation was higher than the overall group. Three of eight full connection elders serving
less than full time (FE-L) were female, averaged 2 more years of service than the total group, and
were compensated an average of $40,867 versus $33,921 for the total group. Eleven out of sixty-
five full time local pastors (FL) were female, the average compensation and average total housing
allowance were higher for female, and they served an average of less than one year than men.
The average of compensation, equitable salary, and housing allowance was $42,118 for female,
and the total group had an average of $40,364. One out of ten elder from another conference
(OE) were females with an average of three years less than the total group and had a total average
of $48,981 compared to $37,080 of the total group. Total average compensation was also higher
in the probationary deacon (PD) and probationary elder (PE); totals $51,539 to $34,720 and
$46,077 to $44,152 respectively.

Twenty-seven out of one hundred forty-eight full connection elders (FE) were female. Although
the females did get more equitable salary and averaged the same years service, their average
overall compensation (compensation, equitable salary, housing allowance) were less ($57,725 to
$68,854). We did not include compensation of those serving outside the pulpit on a regular basis,
such as the conference council staff, Wesley Foundations, or other extension ministries.

This year, there were a total of seventeen relationships with the conference that included females.
This does not include compensation of those in extension ministries. Females make up one
hundred two out of the four hundred ninety-one number of people included in our compensation
statistics. The average age of females were higher in all but four relationships and eight with
higher average year service (one is the same year service). The three relationships that were
female and received equitable compensation had a higher average than the total group. Females
also had a higher average housing allowance in seven of twelve cases.

There were six relationships with females having a higher average total compensation
(compensation, equitable salary, and housing allowance). These included full connection deacon
serving less than full time (FD- L $16,083 to $14,806), full time local pastors (FL -$38,083 to
$36,074), probationary elders (PE - $43,395 to $40,191), retired associate members (RA -
$15,680 to $11,193), retired member (RM - $27,222 to $22,942), and other supplied (SY -
$15,024 to $15,036) Full connection elders (FE) have an average of $54,516 compensation, $735
equitable salary, $8,136 in housing allowance to make a total of $63,387. Female full connection
elders (FE) have an average of $44,724 compensation, $2,141 equitable salary, $7,119 in housing
to make a total of $53,984. The average age for total full connection elders is 52.12 with females
being 53.51. The year’s service average is 3.99 for total and 3.74 for females.

There were a few changes in numbers from the reporting relationship between last year and this
year. This includes females having two additional relationships (retired associate and retired
minister) and leaving one relationship (associate member). There were increases in compensation
for full connection elders (FE), full time local pastors (FL), and also in probationary elders
serving less than full time (PE –L). There were decreases in the compensation of associate
members (AM), full connection deacons (FD), full connection elders serving less than full time
(FE-L), deacon members of other conferences (OD), probationary deacons (PD), probationary
elders (PE), and part time local pastor (PL). Although student local pastors (SP) average
compensation was down, additional housing allowances were given so the total compensation
was an increase. Other supplied (SY) also had a decrease in compensation, increase in equitable
salary (for females), and decrease in housing allowance. The total group (SY) had a decrease in
total compensation but the females had an increase in their overall compensation.

I have a list of the comparisons from last year to this year on our display table along with the
grand totals for each relationship with separate totals by gender. I wish to thank our
administrative services group for their help with the conference statistics. I also wish to thank the
Tennessee Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women members and the
Conference Council staff for their continued support.

We are here to serve as advocates and catalysts when you need us. We will continue to monitor
along with the Conference Commission on Religion and Race progress being made in our plan of
inclusiveness. We hope that the conference will look beyond our walls into the vast diversity that
surrounds us and embrace all of God’s children.

Dawn Yelverton
Tennessee Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women chair