General Commission on Religion and Race Continues Work on Ministry Model
Baltimore, MD. - The Board of Directors of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) gathered to continue its work to lead the agency in the implementation of a ministry model for the new quadrennium. The ministry model, officially adopted by the board last fall, encompasses three strategic areas of focus: vital congregations, institutional equity and inter-cultural competency.
The strategic priorities were shared with lay leaders, bishops, clergy, agency staff and seminary students from throughout the worldwide church through an appreciative inquiry summit, Changing the Conversation on Race in the UMC, hosted by GCORR in November in Chicago, IL. The work of that summit is being utilized to create a strategic plan for the agency.
Bishop Minerva Carcaño, President of the Board, articulated the impetus behind the agency's prioritization of work for the quadrennium. "GCORR has an expansive role in equipping annual conferences and Central Conferences to prepare our front line workers--our local churches--to build vital congregations. That cannot be done without reaching more people, younger people and more diverse people. A vital congregation is one that reflects the community around it. Helping local churches increase their cultural competency to effectively engage their communities is an essential role that GCORR will play."
GCORR will continue to critically examine racial and cultural injustice in local and global contexts and work to eradicate it through the establishment of specific institutional goals and intentionally measuring progress toward those goals. The agency is focused on partnering with other leaders within the UMC to develop inter-culturally competent leaders to promote and sustain institutional equity.
The board also designated funds and resources to partner with the Central Conferences in new ways to address culturally and contextually relevant issues impacting local churches, including issues relating to tribalism and ethnicity.
"Our vision is that as a result of GCORR's work, the Church at all levels, all around the world reflects and values the full diversity of God," said GCORR General Secretary Erin Hawkins. "We believe we can achieve that by being both a catalyst for action and a provider of practical resources to leaders throughout the Church."
Other actions of the board meeting included:
- The CORR Action Fund grants made to ethnic caucuses to focus on their future capacity building and development of strategic planning.
- Program grants to expand or replicate programs that fit with the agency's ministry model.
Discussions regarding the call for agency restructuring surrounding General Conference 2012. The board is committed to being in dialogue with leaders throughout the Church on this matter in anticipation of 2016.
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) was established in 1968 to challenge and equip the denomination's agencies, institutions, annual (regional) conferences and congregations to achieve full, equal participation of its racial and ethnic constituencies in the total life and mission of the church.