Call to Action Steering Committee Begins Review
CHICAGO - The steering committee formed in response to the Call to Action issued in May by the Council of Bishops began work on its task this month, during an organizational meeting in Chicago.
The purpose of the steering committee is to further align the mission of the church and the Four Areas of Focus, and to refashion and reposition the church for the future. The committee will look at the current realities and systems of The United Methodist Church to better understand how they affect our ability to reach desired outcomes, and generate dramatic alternative options to reshape and reorder the life of the denomination.
"We have a vision of a church that is vital, growing, diverse, relevant, appealing to youth and young adults, and engaged in effective, life-changing ministry - but we're limited by an outdated organizational structure. We must have the courage to change that which no longer works, [in order] for that vision to become a reality," said Bishop Larry Goodpaster, project director.
Other members of the steering committee are: Bishop Gregory Palmer, chair; Bishop John Hopkins; Bishop Sharon Rader; Bishop Joel Martinez; Bishop Mary Ann Swenson; Bishop Rosemarie Wenner; Bishop John Yambasu; Bishop Grant Hagiya; Neil Alexander; the Rev. Larry Hollon; Barbara Boigegrain; Erin Hawkins; Moses Kumar; the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt; Benjamin Boruff; Jay Brim; and the Rev. Deborah McLeod.
The committee will generate proposals to be presented to the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table in November 2009. A consulting firm experienced in organizational change management, systems analysis, and renewal/redesign has been retained to assist the committee in its work.
The formation of the steering committee was one element of a five-point call to action by the Council of Bishops that outlines the need for urgent response to the economic crisis and its impact on an already declining church. "The current global financial crisis has uncovered our hesitancy to act, but it has also gifted us with a sense of urgency and an opportunity to lead courageously," the Call to Action states.
Other steps outlined in the Call to Action address freezing the salaries of active U.S. bishops at the 2008 level, shortening semi-annual Council meetings, redesigning the operation of the 2012 General Conference, convening a series of "conversation circles" around the Four Areas of Focus, gathering information about economic challenges and how congregations are adapting creatively to economic stress, and a commitment to raise $20 million for the Central Conference Pension Initiative and $75 million for the Global Health Initiative to help eliminate malaria.