The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is accepting applications for persons to participate in consultations to consider a process to make the United Methodist Social Principles more succinct, theologically founded and globally relevant.
Seven consultations are planned: five in Central Conferences and two in the United States.
The consultations are a preliminary step to develop a recommendation to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-setting body, to fund a process of six to eight public hearings across the connection. Those hearings will lead to a proposal to the 2020 General Conference to update the Social Principles more succinct, theologically founded and globally relevant.
The 2012 General Conference approved establishing a process to assess the Social Principles, which call all members of the denomination to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice. Their preface in the 2012 Book of Discipline, the United Methodist book of laws, states that the Social Principles are “a call to faithfulness, and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit.”
The Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary for Education & Leadership Formation, is spearheading the consultations. He said two GBCS staff members and two members of a task force approved by the agency’s Board of Directors will attend each consultation. Other board members in a consultation region are also invited to attend.
Each consultation comprising about 20 persons will last two days and focus on three questions:
Consultations and their dates are as follows:
A first consultation was held in Tagaytay, Philippines, during the Division on Young People Conference this month.
The consultations are being funded through the denomination’s World Service Contingency Fund. Participants will be selected from criteria representing the diversity of the United Methodist connection. Christie said experience and competencies in theology, ethics and practices that shape the mission and ministry of the Social Principles in a region will be important.
To apply to participate in any of these consultations, complete the application on the GBCS website: Consultation Application.
The General Board of Church & Society will cover costs for participant transportation, lodging and meals during the consultations.
Findings will be considered by GBCS’s Board of Directors in February 2015.
GBCS Board of Directors on the consultations task force are the following:
Regional task force representatives are the following:
The Division on Ministries with Young People has been asked to name three representatives to the task force.
For more information about the consultations or the application process, including obtaining an application in French, German or Portuguese, contact Katie Montfortte (firstname.lastname@example.org), (202) 488-5679, or the Rev. Neal Christie, (email@example.com), (202) 488-5611.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.