Alternative Title

Womanist Vision, Sisterhood, Clergy Emerging as a Sisterhood, Jarena Lee, Laity, Ordained Women


Dr. Renita Weems, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Dr. Angela Walker

Subject Area

Communication, History, Humanities, Humanities, Religion, Theology/Religious Education, Education



Rhonda Green Harmon

B.S., Texas Southern University, 1980

M.Ed. Texas Southern University, 1989

M.Ed. Principal Certification, University of Houston, 2002

M.Div. Houston Graduate School of Theology, 2012

“Toward Unity, Acceptance, and Empowerment:

Bridging the Chasm between Women Laity and Clergy in the A.M.E. Church”

This Doctor of Ministry project/practicum endeavors to initiate and engage dialogue between clergywomen and laywomen in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church for the purpose of uniting, empowering, and fostering acceptance among all women. It addresses the ways that internalized patriarchy has hindered relationships between women. The main argument is that women can learn to trust the leadership of other women as they intentionally work together to build relationships and togetherness. Relationships are fostered when women talk openly about their journeys, allowing their interactions to blossom supportively for the sake of the ministry of God and for one another.

Utilizing multiple moments and methods for dialogue, this project identifies the underlying attitudes of women in the church in order to decipher how those attitudes affect the relationships between women clergy and women laity in the A.M.E. Church. The first method of dialogue involved thirty interviews with women serving the church in lay and ordained clergy roles. Questions posed to participants addressed personal thoughts about women in ministry. Common themes in their responses are addressed.

A seven-week Bible study was also conducted as an additional opportunity for gathering information and fostering dialogue. The perspective guiding the Bible study and the practicum as a whole was womanist thought. Dr. Renita Weems’ book Just a Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women's Relationships in the Bible was used as the main text of conversation alongside the Bible. A pre- and post-survey tool were administered during the Bible study period to gauge participants’ ideas concerning themes of friendship among women, sisterhood and responsibility, and broader ideas of women’s roles in society.

The project concluded with two follow up opportunities, a retreat and round-table luncheon. The purpose of these events was to determine if any attitudinal changes occurred among participants. Observations and responses from all stages of the project were analyzed to identify and to recommend ways to improve relationships between women laity and women clergy in the A.M.E. Church.

Degree Date

Fall 11-20-2017

Document Type


Degree Name





Dr. Mark Stamm

Second Advisor

Dr. Salatheia Bryant Honors

Third Advisor

Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi


Keywords: Sisterhood, Prayer Retreat, Jarena Lee, AMEC women, womanist, covenant daughters, women in ministry, ordained women, female laity, missionaries, female rivalry, women's studies, interpersonal and small group communication, Becoming Covenant Daughters of God Prayer Retreat, Emerging Sisterhood, Ordained Women in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rejection and Rivalry

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.