As a person of privilege (Becca here, so I’m straight, white, middle class and theologically at home in my geographical context), I am very sensitive to classifying people and trying to cram folks into categories. At the same time, being aware of the diversity– or lack thereof– in our body provides helpful information and challenges us to seek and invite the voices we might not always hear.
Of the people participating in the TweetChat who introduced themselves and/or provided some information:
- 43 were female and 34 male (a pretty good split– the church has a higher % of females than males, but techie things can often be heavy on male representation)
- 30 identified as clergy (elders, deacons, and appointed local pastors), and 16 as laypersons, and then another 19 as students, candidates, former/defrocked clergy, etc (maybe a little clergy and clergy-to-be heavy, but a great mix of people on a spectrum)
That’s the good news.
- Of the 171 people on the chat, 7 identified themselves or were known by the moderators to be persons of color. This was a very caucasian chat. We can do better, and I daresay the future of the conversation depends on it.
- Based on my best guesses about age (never a safe thing!), about 45 people were in the 18-39 range, 10 in the 40-59 range, and 3 persons I guessed were over 60. Given the usage of twitter and the strong identification of this movement with young people, I want to celebrate the bold older adults engaging in this conversation, and encourage us to seek out more. I also know that, while we cannot gather data on the people observing the chat, many who contacted me afterward and said they were watching were in the 40s-50s range.
- Although a handful of people self-identified as GLBTQ, I chose not to compile statistics, as most of my tally would be based on personal knowledge, not a person’s self-identification.
- Although several people identified themselves as liberal or progressive, I know there were a handful of folks participating who were moderate and conservative, because some had contacted me and asked if they would be welcome at the table. Thanks to them for keeping the chat from becoming an echo chamber.
Our Jurisdictional representation broke down like this:
- Northeast Jurisdiction – 24 people (10 from New England- highest single AC representation- which is my conference and I believe skews the representation a bit)
- Southeast Jurisdiction – 16 people
- South Central Jurisdiction – 12 people (9 from Texas, the highest single state tally)
- North Central Jurisdiction – 12 people (7 from Illinois, the second-highest single state tally)
- Western Jurisdiction – 6 people
- Central Conferences – 1 person checking in from outside the U.S. (North Katanga). Of course we want to build a global conversation, but realize that time zones and tech/internet availability make this challenging. This is another huge growing edge for our conversation and its relevance moving forward.