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Reading & Reflection: Independent Commissions

April 17, 2012

Independent Commissions Reports and Petitions

The Independent Commissions section of the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) includes the following reports:

General Commission on Archives and History

African American Methodist Heritage Center

General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns

Pan-Methodist Commission

General Commission on Religion and Race

General Commission on Communication (UMCom)

General Commission on the Status and Role of Women

General Commission on United Methodist Men

Global Warming Task Force (Created at 2008 General Conference)

Opportunity Sunday (studied combining churchwide Special Sundays – led to lower giving)

Interagency Sexual Ethics Task Force (formed in 2002)

Socially Responsible Investment Task Force (Created at 2008 General Conference)

Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of The United Methodist Church (from 2008 GC)

I chose this section to study because I knew little about the work of many of the Independent Commissions of our church and I wanted to learn! I was rather fascinated by some of the work going on. I would hate to lose some of these voices, “vitality” aside, to a sweeping restructure.

Connectional Table/Call to Action legislation eliminates the follow agencies:

General Commission on the Status and Role of Women

General Commission on Religion and Race

General Commission on Archives and History

General Commission on Communication (UMCom)

General Commission on United Methodist Men

Some of the commissions have already addressed economic/effectiveness issues and decided to restructure themselves. For example, General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns is reducing itself from 38 to nine board members and incorporating its work into the Council of Bishops.

Of major interest:

  • General      Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns is proposing      full communion agreements with our Pan-Methodist denominations.
  • The      Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of the Church doesn’t have much      legislation in this section, but considering the gravity of what their      study might mean for the church, I would recommend reading their report!      They are suggesting a model for a new worldwide structure at General      Conference. They will develop a study guide for 2012-2014, and at 2016      General Conference will make major recommendations in legislative form.      One important suggestion is to have a two volume Book of Discipline– one      global and one amendable by central conferences for local situations. The      United States churches would become a central conference.

Proposed Amendments to the Book of Discipline

I submit that many of the proposed amendments to the Book of Discipline from this section are relatively easy to decide on and not too controversial in nature, on the whole. Some address restructures or clarifications of commissions. Some seek to legislate specific theological positions in reaction to specific events or perceived threats. Overall, this is not the legislative section that will make the news or rock the boat this year!

-Jeremy Deaner

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