press release

Church and Society Executive Committee Meets to Address Racial Justice and COVID-19 Pandemic

Calls for racial justice witness at 2021 General Conference; Makes $10,000 gift to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund; Launches Special COVID-19 grant application

At a meeting on May 28, the Executive Committee of the General Board of Church and Society responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and called for racial justice.

Calls for Racial Justice Witness at 2021 General Conference

Moved by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer, the Executive Committee directed Church and Society to partner with the General Commission on Religion and Race to plan and implement actions to dismantle racism at the 2021 General Conference.

Because next year’s General Conference will be held in Minneapolis, the Executive Committee directed this task force explore coordinated witnesses for racial justice in the host city.

Makes $10,000 Grant to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization

Inspired by United Methodist bishops in the Central Conferences about how the global pandemic is impacting their communities, the Executive Committee made a $10,000 gift to the World Health Organization (WHO)‘s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund was created at the request of WHO by the United Nations Foundation in partnership with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. Donations to the Fund support WHO’s work, including with partners, to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.

This unrestricted contribution from Church and Society funds represents the agency’s effort to acknowledge the vital work that WHO does in developing countries which the United Methodist Church has long supported.

”Global solidarity is essential, not only in the ongoing response to this pandemic, but equally as we prepare for the future and continue to work towards our shared goal of achieving health for all,” said Dr Sylvie Briand, WHO Director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness.

Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of Church and Society said, “Remembering my recent visit to Democratic Republic of Congo at the gracious invitation of Bishop Daniel Lunge, the strong and courageous United Methodist people addressed the existing economic and health crisis even before the COVID-19 global pandemic. This pandemic exacerbates and highlights the existing vulnerabilities around the globe.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires local and global attention. Like United Methodist connectionalism, working together, especially with WHO, to tackle a global pandemic such as COVID-19 can be achieved better collectively than when doing and going it alone,” ** said the Rev. Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs.**

Bishop Sally Dyck, board president of Church and Society said, “We know that this small contribution can only signify our confidence and hope that the ongoing work of World Health Organization will contribute to the development of health care, and a vaccines for COVID-19 and other infections as quickly as possible for the general health and well-being of the most vulnerable world-wide.” The United Methodist Church has a longstanding commitment to supporting the United Nations and its global health agency, the WHO. This gift is given to WHO on the year of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

The church’s support for WHO is documented in resolutions 3202, 3205, 4057, and 6082 in the Book of Resolutions note support for the organization, and in Paragraph 162.X of the Social Principles.

Read more about the WHO’s principles in its constitution here.

Additional Actions Taken

The Executive Committee also took action on three additional items:

  • Special COVID-19 Grants: The Executive Committee authorized a special cycle of grant funding to respond to the urgent social justice issues exposed by the global pandemic. Up to $100,000 in grant funding will be awarded for United Methodist ministries working to address the pre-existing health, economic, and racial disparities to COVID-19. Apply here by June 26, 2020.
  • Native American International Caucus (NAIC) Letter: The Executive Committee endorsed the letter the NAIC sent to Congress and the Trump Administration about the revocation of the Mashpee Wampanong’s tribal reservation status. The Executive Committee directed Church and Society to share this statement with Congress and the U.S. Department of Interior.
  • Extending terms of board service: The Executive Committee adopted a motion to extend the terms of service for board members of the General Board of Church and Society until the successor board is elected. The 15-month postponement of General Conference necessitated the extension of board terms.


About the Executive Committee

Per actions of the board, the thirteen-member Executive Committee of the General Board of Church and Society is empowered to act in the interim of an in-person meeting of the full board.

About Church and Society

With offices on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations, the General Board of Church and Society is the advocacy arm of the United Methodist Church. The board is called to advocate for the implementation of the Social Principles.


Kurt Adams, Communications Director

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