Sisters and Brothers,
After much deep reflection and discernment, Erin Hawkins has decided that she must stay as the General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race at this crucial time in the life of our United Methodist Church.
I have been walking this journey of discernment with Erin for the last month, and even though I am saddened that she will not be working directly with us, I understand the great needs of our church at this time, and how Erin will directly impact issues of national importance. With so many ethnic lives being taken by violence, the civil unrest of some of our cities, and the rising intolerance of our nation, Erin is needed in national leadership for such a time as this.
Let us be gracious to honor Erin’s decision, and pray for her leadership now, and into the future.
A letter written to Cal-Pac about her decision is below.
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the California Pacific Conference,
Grace and Peace to you. I write to you to share that after much prayer, discernment, consultation and many tears, I have decided to remain in my present position as General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race instead of assuming the role of your Executive Director of Connectional Ministries effective October 1.
The reason for this decision is solely related to where I feel God is calling me at this time. I had hoped to return to Cal-Pac in order to be more actively involved in ministry on the ground. Yet, each day as the heaviness of Charlotte, Standing Rock, Beni DRC, and Northern Europe weigh on my heart, I hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to me. In my listening, I have come to believe that my work as a denominational leader tasked with challenging and equipping our church to resist oppression of all kinds and to boldy embrace and include ALL in the human family no matter their cultural identity, is not done.
I feel equal parts disappointment, gratitude and resolve regarding the fact that I will not be “coming home” to join you in ministry. I am disappointed that I will not be working more closely with so many who have played an instrumental role in my faith development from a very early age, like our Bishop Grant Hagiya, Dean of Cabinet John Farley and the members of Saint Mark UMC in Los Angeles. I am grateful for this conference that has seen and acknowledged gifts in me since I was a child. It has been your love and support that allowed me to rise through the ranks of our connection and to become the youngest executive staff member in a General Agency for the majority of my tenure. And I resolve to, in my time left as General Secretary, represent the mission of this conference by Inspiring the World as a passionate follower of Jesus Christ so all may experience God’s life giving love.
My heart, prayers and support continue to be with the staff, leaders and members of the California Pacific Conference.
Erin M. Hawkins
General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race