General Conference Volunteer Feature: Rev. Julia Pritchett-Gonzales

Rev. Julia Pritchett-Gonzales, incoming INUMC Committee On Status and Role of Women (COSROW) Chair and senior pastor at Main Street UMC and Poplar Grove UMC (Kokomo), is volunteering at the 2020 Postponed General Conference as an inclusion monitor. She was asked to serve as a monitor because of her previous work assisting with INUMC inclusion monitoring at Annual Conference and the 2022 North Central Jurisdictional Conference. 

As an inclusion monitor, Julia is observing and collecting data on behalf of General Commission on the Status and Role of Women regarding the gender, age, race, and status (clergy or laity) of the various speakers during the legislative sessions. Monitors also look for other indicators of inclusion, such as allowing appropriate time for those who are using translators to speak and take part in the discussions, if there is ableism present, and to highlight the moments of intentional inclusivity.  

When asked about her passion for inclusivity, she recalled a story from her childhood. She first noticed that boys and girls were being treated differently when she was a child, “maybe in kindergarten,” she said. Even at such a young age, she recognized the inequality. 

Her observations were met with criticism. “I remember being told that I was imagining things and that there wasn’t any difference between how boys and girls were treated,” she said. 

For awhile, Julia “went along with it, because when you’re a kid you only have so many options.” But she kept observing, trying to make sense of what she was seeing in school, public spaces, and church. 

Now, much of her work with COSROW is focused on making observations and figuring out the facts. “It’s healing to work with a team and say together, ‘We see this, and we want to name it.’”

About her volunteerism, she said, “I’m looking forward to garnering ideas from other COSROW teams about how they function and bring them back to Indiana to help us continue to grow as a denomination that supports the full and equal participation of women in the Church.”

Though Julia has watched livestreams of previous General Conferences, Julia has never attended in person and is grateful for the opportunity to serve.