According to M. Garlinda Burton, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on the status and Role of Women (in the current issue of Church Executive Magazine), the UM church has made some strides in the area of sexuality, but still has a very long way to go. A survey of some 6,000 United Methodists shows some startling results:
- Half of all laywomen and one-third of laymen witness or are victims of some degree of sexual harassment or misconduct in their congregations, from inappropriate comments by the pastor or laity in leadership to physical assault and stalking.
- 77 percent of United Methodist clergywomen and 50 percent of clergymen say laity have violated their boundaries through unwanted sexual behavior or comment.
- Half the people who make sexual misconduct complaints at the local church level say the pastor or laity in leadership routinely â€œtrivializeâ€ their concern
Affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Claremont School of Theology has a long history of educating religious leaders. Founded in 1885, the School embraced an ecumenical vision upon its move to Claremont, California, in 1957. Today, it is making a similar adjustment of vision, to meet the cultural and religious demands of a world in transition.
While maintaining a strong School of Theology to prepare Christian ministers, Claremont is developing other schools to prepare teachers, counselors, scholars and community leaders for the interreligious realities of the 21st Century. We call this plan the University Project.Also from the Claremont website:
We envision a model of theological education in which students are educated rigorously and intensively in their own religious traditions and in contact with the other religious traditions that are thriving throughout our society.Â We aim to instill our students with a strong sense of their own religious identities and the integrity of the religious traditions that they represent, while simultaneously teaching them to recognize the legitimacy and integrity of the other religious traditions which they will encounter at Claremont and the world beyond.According to Jerry Campbell, President of the school:
Some times, change seems glacial in its pace.Â And at others, it hits like an avalanche.Â Today, I am invigorated by the rush of change coming to Claremont, and we’re running as fast as we can to keep one step ahead of it all!Your thoughts? Todd