Spring 2019 board meeting recap
The board of directors of the General Board of Church and Society met April 23-26 in Washington, D.C.
Following years of research, collaboration and writing across the denomination, the board voted to recommend a complete revision of the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church.
Three of the goals of the revision were to craft a version of the Social Principles that is more deeply theologically rooted, more succinct and more globally relevant. The revision will be available after it has been translated into multiple languages.
The board passed a motion for the 2020 General Conference to consider a reduction in the size of the board and increase the proportional representation of members from central conferences. The board currently has 62 members, of which 11% must be from central conferences. The board recommends General Conference change that to 32 members, of which at least 22% must come from central conferences. That change will make Church and Society a leader among the denomination’s boards and agencies for central conference representation.
The Book of Resolutions articulates the official policy statements and our ethical aspirations for United Methodists. The Book of Resolutions contains dozens of statements that relate to our Christian witness to the world. Church and Society’s board made several recommendations to current resolutions and recommended the 2020 General Conference adopt nine new resolutions. Along with the Social Principles revision, the board sought to make the resolutions more theologically rooted, succinct and globally relevant. The texts of these will be released when finalized.
New resolutions on:
- Organ and Tissue Donation
- Suicide: A Pastoral Response
- A Call for Civility in Public Discourse
- The United Nations and Multilateralism
- Eradicating Abusive Child Labor
- Rights of All Persons
- Church to be in Ministry with All
- Alcohol and Drugs (this is a new resolution that combines existing resolutions)
- Energy Policy Statement (this is a new resolution that combines existing resolutions)
- 2042 — Opposition to Sexual Prejudice and Homophobia
- 3085 — Child Soldiers
- 3087 — Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Schools and Childcare Facilities (combines 3087 and 3088)
- 3162 — The Right of All to Quality Education
- 3164 — DREAM Act
- 3202 — Maternal Health – The Church’s Role
- 3425 — Prohibition of Bullying
- 4021 — Tobacco Marketing
- 5012 — Church-Government Relations
- 5071 — Electoral Campaign Finance Reform
- 6111 — Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land
- 6112 — United Nations Resolutions on the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- 6118 — Philippines: Democratic Governance, Human Rights and the Peace Process
- 6135 — Korea: Peace, Justice and Reunification
- 6117 — End Impunity in the Philippines
- 6138 — Pursue Formal Peace Talks in Philippines
D.C.’s football team’s racist mascot
Consistent with the United Methodist resolution on mascots demeaning to Native Americans, the board sent a letter to elected officials in the Washington, D.C., region (including Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C.), Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, and Daniel Snyder, the owner of the District’s football team. The board called on the recipients to change the football team’s racist name.
The letter told the recipients that, “The United Methodist Church rejects the use of Native American names and symbols for sports teams and considers the practice a blatant expression of racism.” (Book of Resolutions, 3327)
Of One Heart
A panel of esteemed leaders from ecumenical and interfaith bodies led a discussion on the importance of ecumenical and multifaith partnerships. The panel, entitled “Of One Heart,” featured:
- Executive Team Member Azhar Azeez, Islamic Relief USA.
- Secretary Martin Johnstone, Church & Society Council of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian).
- President and CEO John McCullough, Church World Service.
- Executive Secretary Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation.
The board is responsible for allocating grants from two special Sunday offerings: Peace with Justice Sunday and Human Relations Day. It also administers the Ethnic Local Church Grant. The board awarded $80,500 in grants. Recipients are being notified and will be contacted in the coming weeks.
The board’s annual hunger offering will be given to support the U.S.-based organization is the Support Connections of Lebanon County in Pennsylvania and Dining Room for Migrants and Refugees, a project of the Methodist Church of Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico.