Commission on the Status and Role of Women

Commission on the Status and Role of Women


  • Our role in the UMC: Monitor/Advocate/Change Agent/Witness
  • Working for the full inclusion of women in the life of The United Methodist Church
  • Ask Before You Hug:  Every United Methodist Church congregation should be a place of safety and security where caring, respect, and trust are experienced by all.

The Guide:  What Do I Do If…?

A basic informational handbook for clergy spouses in the Iowa Conference:  Click here for the web version or contact your district COSROW rep for a printed copy.  This handbook was published in June 2010.


To contact the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women: Email

To contact the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women:  515-974-8900 or email us at

You can also contact your District representative below:

  • Central:  Dave Beane
  • East Central:  Momodu Kamara
  • North Central:  Vacant
  • Northeast: Doris Howard
  • Northwest:  Vacant    
  • South Central:  Sue Clausen      
  • Southeast:  Olympia Marcos
  • Southwest:  LeAnn Robine
  • Liaison to Iowa Conference United Methodist Women: Olivia Pleggenkuhl
  • Youth Representative: Amber Jerson
  • Young Adult: Rachel Hollingsworth
  • At Large:  Millie Frese
  • Co-Chairpersons:  Alex Bruening and Lauren Wise Loonsfoot


The General Commission publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Flyer.  You may contact them at for a subscription.


The Ambassador Award recognizes individuals (non-COSROW members) who are committed to the full inclusion of women, especially those who are on the margins of the church and society, through one or more of the following ways:


  • An advocate stands along side and shares the pain and joy of women
  • An advocate seeks on behalf of women so that women may claim their rightful place in decision-making arenas in the church
  •  An advocate takes the initiative to make changes collectively on behalf of all women and of special groups, such as lay women, racial ethnic women, and clergywomen


  •  A catalyst raises awareness of ways in which women are not fully included in the life of the church and sparks new perceptions and ways of being women in the church.
  • A catalyst inspires new women leaders to find their places in our denomination


  • A monitor is aware of the life and commitment of the church to full and equal participation of women
  • A monitor acts to promote that participation.

The person selected to receive the Ambassador Award for 2018 from the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women is Eileen McPherson.  Eileen is being awarded the COSROW Ambassador Award posthumously.

Eileen had a passion for equality and justice for ALL of God’s children. She was involved in her local United Methodist Women at St. Marks, Iowa City. She was a catalyst for women through her involvement in United Methodist Women and in the Iowa Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Eileen helped monitor at Annual conference, raising awareness about the voices not being heard at the table and at the microphone.

Eileen, in true Eileen fashion, worked extremely hard to attend classes in both the Spanish Speaking and English School for Lay Ministry leading to her graduate with two certificates in 2017. Eileen was passionate about full minority inclusion. An inspiration and advocate for all voices to be heard in every level of the church and world.  

One of Eileen’s greatest qualities was her encouragement of others. Eileen would always have a smile and a big hug waiting for you. She would speak strongly and boldly about what she believed, a true ambassador for us all.

Eileen died on September 28th 2017 after battling renal cancer. Eileen is loved and missed dearly by all who knew her.  It is our hope as we present this award, that we will be inspired to carry on her work. 

COSROW is receiving $1,500 this year to support their ministries as inclusive people of God reaching out to care for a hungering and hurting world. These funds are made possible with the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.

Nominations will be accepted until March 31 of the year under consideration.  Any person or group may submit a nomination by sending a completed nomination form to your COSROW representative or to the Conference Center. 

All members of Iowa COSROW serve on the selection committee.  The Ambassador Award recipient will be recognized during Iowa Annual Conference.

The selection criteria:

  • Nominee must be a member of a United Methodist church in the Iowa Conference
  • Nominee may be of either gender
  •  All contributions of the nominee must be substantiated
  • The nominee’s contributions must have far reaching impact for women in the Iowa United Methodist Conference

For further information and nomination information please contact COSROW through your District Representative to COSROW.

Suggested Studies and books:

  • HERSTORY, a compilation of the stories of ordained women in the UMC
  • Rock, Shepherd, Friend: Enriching Our Images of God
    A four-session study prepared by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church. This study is available through the General Commission web site:
  • The Journey Is Our Home by Carolyn Henninger Oehler
    A history of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church