Sunday, April 1, 2012

UMMA Statement on Restructure

As commissioned missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) from around the world and elected representatives of the United Methodist Missionary Association we have read and listened to the arguments for the restructuring of The United Methodist Church already presented for General Conference action as well as some promising proposals not yet properly before the body.  
— We trust that General Conference delegates, as they make decisions on the structure, will do so with prayer, discernment and humility. We pray fervently that they be granted wisdom equal to their task. 
— We agree with Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, who recently addressed the directors of the GBGM with these words: „The reform of the church is part of our tradition as Protestants and as Methodists. My prayer is that our reforming effort in this century [will] retain and respect the creative tension between the global and the local, the ‘everywhere’ and each specific place.”
— We are convinced that this goal as articulated by Global Ministries’ General Secretary can best be accomplished by maintaining a separate agency with the requisite specialized cross-cultural, international and linguistic skills, with its own professional and missional competencies and clearly assigned missional responsibilities across the globe. Under the oversight of lay and clergy directors from across the church and around the world, the agency can continue to hone the understanding and appreciation of the whole church for the global and international aspects of God’s mission for the whole world.
— We applaud these directors for their recommendation to General Conference to reduce the size of their own board. We believe this reduction will both reduce costs and improve effective participation. At the same time, we ask for extreme care in assuring that the selection of board directors, staff and missionaries come from a breadth of ethnic and cross-cultural groups to enable GBGM to fulfill its responsibility to serve with all our neighbors.
— We recognize the importance of constant creative interaction, avoidance of duplication, and coordination among all agencies and other bodies (such as the Council of Bishops) for effective, affordable and appropriate common ministry and mission.
As Thomas Kemper also concluded, citing the Apostle Paul from Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4: „Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ…All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus.”

Steering Committee, United Methodist Missionary Association

consulting via Skype and email in March 2012

Contact: <>

Participating in the drafting: Eunice Arias (vice chair) Alex and Brenda Awad, Kristen Brown, Rukang Chikomb, James Dwyer (chair), Zachary Ferguson, Belinda Forbes, James Gulley (past chair), Norma Kehrberg (past chair), Billie LaBumbard, Nan McCurdy (secretary), Katherine Parker, Lyda Pierce (coordinator), Marilia Schüller, Adam Shaw, Dick Vreeland (treasurer), DarEll Weist, and Cathy Whitlatch (Missionary in Residence).