From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Team's Lack of Diversity Criticized

Date 22 May 1996 17:12:17

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2969 by UMNS on May 22, 1996 at 16:52 Eastern (5714 characters).

SEARCH:  United Methodist, Connectional Process Team, GCOM,
General Council on Ministries, Council of Bishops, diversity,

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Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of
the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New
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CONTACT: Thomas S. McAnally                       255(10-71){2969}
         Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470              May 22, 1996

Concern expressed that new Connectional Process
Team may not reflect church's diversity

     CINCINNATI (UMNS) -- A Connectional Process Team (CPT),
authorized by the 1996 General Conference to lead the United
Methodist Church into a new organization and structure, is not off
the ground but already concern has been expressed that its
membership may not reflect the church's diversity.
     The executive committee of the General Council on Ministries
(GCOM) meeting here May 20-21 expressed concern that the 30 CPT
members already elected, including six bishops, are not
representative of the total church.  
     Concern also was voiced that the group does not include, for
continuity, any member of the GCOM task force that studied
connectional issues during the 1993-96 quadrennium.
     General Conference delegates meeting in Denver April 16-26
approved a slate of 30 voting members nominated by the Council of
Bishops. The 30 members will elect another seven members to ensure
balance or representation that may not have been achieved. This
slate is to be provided by the Council of Bishops after
consultation with GCOM. One other member will be named by the
General Council on Finance and Administration, bringing the total
to 38.
      Staffing for the free-standing CPT will be provided by the
GCOM but all churchwide agencies are to cooperate with the
committee and "provide staff and resources as necessary."  General
Conference approved a $660,000 quadrennial budget for the CPT
     Legislation approved by the General Conference calls for the
CPT to reflect the church's ethnic, gender, age and geographic
diversity and to ensure "continuity, inclusivity, expertise and
representation of churches of different sizes." 
     The GCOM Executive Committee, chaired by Bishop William W.
Dew Jr., Portland, Ore., expressed concern that even with eight
people yet to be named, the CPT will not represent the church's
diversity adequately.
     Of the 24 members elected, excluding six bishops, the
committee noted that there are only nine women, one clergywoman, 
one Hispanic American, one Asian American, no Native Americans or
Pacific Islanders and only three members from each of the five
U.S. jurisdictions although memberships in those regions vary
     The CPT is to continue the work of the GCOM Connectional
Issues Study and the Global Nature of the Church study begun by
the Council of Bishops.
     Nine of the 24 members are from outside the United States.  
Of the six bishops elected to the CPT, three are from outside the
United States including Bishop Emerito Nacpil of the Philippines
who chaired the bishops' Global Nature of the Church Study for the
past four years.
     Bishop Woodrow Hearn, Houston, said the lack of balance and
representation of the slate of members proposed by the Council of
Bishops resulted in the "piecemeal" and hurried way the names were
collected during the General Conference. The nominees were
proposed by bishops during impromptu jurisdictional gatherings
during the Denver conference.  "The list would have been different
if we had been able to look at it as a whole," he said.  Hearn is
to convene the first CPT meeting.
     The GCOM Connectional Issues Study Task Force had proposed to
the General Conference that members of the new CPT be nominated by
various groups and elected by the Council of Bishops at a later
time.  However, the legislative committee handling the proposal
recommended that the bulk of members be elected at General
Conference forcing the Council of Bishops to act quickly.
     Bishop Dew and GCOM General Secretary David Lundquist and a
small number of GCOM members, were asked to plan for the Council
of Bishops Executive Committee in July that will be considering
the additional seven nominees.
     If the CPT membership is not representative, the Rev. Peter
Weaver of Pittsburgh, urged that it be encouraged to find other
ways of broadening input "so there is confidence across the church
that this is a very open inclusive process."  
     Also expressing concern was the Rev. Gordon Goodgame, Lake
Junaluska, N.C., who served on the GCOM Connectional Issues Study
Task Force last quadrennium. "The future of the church depends on
how this (CPT) gets off the ground," he said.
     A 12-point purpose approved by the General Conference calls
on the CPT to review the summarized data collected by the
Connectional Issues and Global Nature studies and to "assess the
missional and structural needs" of the church.  It is also to
arrange for communication, training, evaluation and refinement of
an "interactive organizational process."  
     In other action here, the GCOM Executive Committee examined
other programs approved by the General Conference for which the
Council will have major administrative responsibilities. They
include "Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century," and
the "Shared Mission Focus on Young People."  Committee members
expressed their hopes that the special emphases could be up and
running when the quadrennium begins Jan. 1, 1997.
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