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Women in History Research Grant Winners Named

Featured Women in History Research Grant Winners Named

The Women in United Methodist History Research Grant, administered by the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) provides seed money (travel, secretarial services, etc.) for research projects relating specifically to the history of women in The United Methodist Church (UMC) or its antecedents. Selection is made by a committee consisting of three persons who are historians of women in United Methodism. The newly announced 2016 recipients are Dr. Paul Chilcote for his proposal “The Methodist Defense of Women in Ministry: A Documentary History” and Ashley Boggan Dreff for her proposal “A History of American Marriage: A Methodist Case Study.”

“I am so thankful for this grant that will help bring to completion a decade of study on Methodist publications related to the support of women in ministry. We need a renewed defense of the rightful place of women in the church at a time such as this,” said Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary. “Quite a number of my publications have been related to women in the Methodist heritage. For quite some time I have been working on a documentary history on the Methodist defense of women in ministry. Standing in a tradition that has embraced women fully as full members of annual conferences for half a century, you would think there is no need for a defense of women in ministry. In various church cultures, however, across North America there has been a resurgence of mysogynism. This attitude is fueled in large measure by stale, and in my view erroneous, interpretations of biblical texts that purport to limit the role and influence of women in the life of the church.”

Boggan Dreff is finishing her fourth year at Drew University. She is a PhD Candidate specializing in Methodist History and Women/Gender Studies.  She received her AM in Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School and currently resides in Chicago, IL. “I chose this topic out of a desire to broaden the United Methodist understanding of human sexuality to include aspects of sexuality that reach beyond the homosexual/heterosexual binary and include reproductive health, marriage, and sexual education.  I believe that understanding how The Methodist Church, The Evangelical United Brethren, and eventually The United Methodist Church have dealt with other aspects of human sexuality will enlighten the conversations surrounding human sexuality in 2016 and beyond. I am honored to have received this award from GCAH.”

“As the keepers of the Church’s ethos and DNA, GCAH seeks to bring voice and gravitas to groups that have been marginalized throughout church history,” said Fred Day, General Secretary for GCAH. “This grant helps to bring voice to those that have been buried in the past so that we may hear them, see them, and gain a better comprehension. Only by understanding the past can we help envision the future for the UMC.”

For more information on the Women in Methodist History Grant and how to apply, visit