The Board of Directors of the General Board of Church and Society met in Montgomery, Alabama, March 22-24, 2023.
April 25, 2023
Last month, the Board of Directors of GBCS gathered in Montgomery Alabama for their first in-person meeting since 2019. Board president, Bishop Sally Dyck presided over a full 3-day agenda of GBCS business, worship sessions, work committee and task force meetings, and a board member visit to The Legacy Museum.
The 11,000-square-foot museum, which opened on April 26, 2018, was founded by Montgomery’s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and contains more data on racial lynching than anywhere else in the U.S., as well as previously unseen information on the domestic slave trade. Displays provide a link from the past to current social justice issues such as mass incarceration of African Americans and police brutality.
New Church and Society Endowment Fund Honors Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
The night before the board meeting, guests and board members celebrated Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe’s retirement of 48 years in ministry (including eight years as the GBCS General Secretary) during a special legacy ceremony. Toward the end of the celebration, Board Trustees Committee Chair Raúl Alegría publicly announced that the board approved a new GBCS Endowment Fund named after the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe. The new GBCS fund will provide financial support for emerging leaders and advocates for justice.
36 GBCS Resolutions Unanimously Readopted
Church and Society’s board approved 36 petitions to General Conference to readopt resolutions that would expire under the Book of Discipline’s eight-year rule (¶510.2a). The resolutions, which had been adopted by the 2016 General Conference but without action, would expire due to the delay in holding the 2020 General Conference.
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.
Below are a few examples of resolutions categorized in three work areas for Advocating, Connecting and Educating.
3428: Our Call to End Gun Violence
Foundational resolution for UMC engagement on gun violence prevention and international small arms transfers.
4134: Rights of Farm Workers in the U. S.
A call to stand in solidarity with farm workers to change unjust conditions.
6129: The United Methodist Church and Peace
Foundational resolution for disarmament work, advocacy on budget priorities, multilateral engagement, economic justice initiatives, and peace education.
Click here for the full list of 36 petitions that were unanimously approved.
Board Establishes Search Committee for New GBCS General Secretary
Alison Mark, member of the Board Personnel Committee announced the new GBCS General Secretary Search Committee, chaired by GBCS Board Vice-president Randall Miller. The committee held its organizing meeting in Montgomery and in the coming months will solicit input from a variety of constituencies and ultimately nominate a candidate to be elected by the full Board of Directors.
Interim General Secretary Reports GBCS is Well Positioned This Year and Beyond
John Hill, Church and Society Interim General Secretary provided an agency address focusing on the continued strength of GBCS, increased operational programming, enhanced communications, carefully managed finances and steady support for the year ahead and beyond.
According to Hill, Church and Society’s role as a partner in justice work will stay the course to educate, equip, connect and provide opportunities for advocacy on peace, poverty, health, climate, migration and immigration through a racial equity lens as United Methodists engage in acts of personal, social and civic righteousness.
“Our mission in ministry is as essential as ever, equipping the church to interrupt and transform systems of exploitation and oppression that are denying children of God in our communities and around the world the ability to lead flourishing lives,” Hill said.
Hill noted that United Methodists are responding to the work of GBCS. The trust that was exhibited in last year’s survey has been reflected in a willingness to engage as United Methodist legislative actions are up 40% over last year.
Moving in the year ahead Hill highlighted a few exciting priorities, which include:
- Reengaging and rolling-out the revised social principles, the lifeblood of UMC’s social conscience and civic actions.
- Publish the United Methodist Building 100th Anniversary book and produce a video celebrating and acknowledging our presence on Capitol Hill as a beacon of work, worship and witness across our connection.
- Engaging Church and Society leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo to support electoral education in advance of this year’s elections.
- Establishing work and support for the 2024 General Conference.
Board Delivers Hunger Dinner Offering to Communities of Transformation Ministry
The board’s annual hunger offering was given to the Communities of Transformation (COT) Ministry in the Alabama West Florida Conference.
The Hunger Dinner is a “humble” board meal instead of a full-fledged banquet, where the savings from the cost of the meal is donated to a local non-profit organization.
COT’s mission is to move families from surviving to thriving by developing personal leadership skills and building authentic relationships in their community. “COT represents how the church should be,” said Katy Wrona, Director of COT. “It’s how Jesus would have us to treat one another.”
Next GBCS Board Meeting is planned for October 2023.
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is the social justice agency for The United Methodist Church (UMC) addressing more than 30 social issues endorsed by United Methodists. Its mandate is to advocate for UMC’s Social Principles among government policymakers, interfaith partners, non-government entities, and ecumenical leaders around the world. GBCS is headquartered in the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and has offices at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. Learn more at www.umcjustice.org