REPORT ON 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS
The General Assembly Committee of the General Board has a two-fold responsibility. First, it is the General Board committee responsible for recommending the location for future General Assemblies. Secondly, it follows up on approved or referred resolutions which contained actionable items from the previous General Assembly and report back to the current General Assembly
From the General Assembly which met in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 7-12, 2017, the General Assembly Committee of the General Board has the following updates.
- The Christian Church Foundation formed the Bostick Select Fund as an option for ministries seeking to invest responsibly.
- The Pension Fund offered a workshop at the Christian Church Foundation’s 2018 Development Conference and will be offering a workshop at the 2019 General Assembly.
- In an effort to make pro-reconciliation/anti-racism training more easily available, a full training is being offered during the 2019 General Assembly workshop periods.
- The General Minister and President is working with the co-chairs of the Reconciliation Commission to charge a committee to conduct an assessment of Reconciliation Ministry and develop a proposal for the future of the ministry. The goal is to ensure that the ministry offers state-of-the-art training and consultation, maximizes financial resources available for grants, and moves beyond training to help the whole church continue to live into becoming a pro-reconciliation/anti-racism church.
- The Northwest and Montana regions are holding Winter Talks based on the model of the larger Winter Talks held at Phillips Theological Seminary and Brite Divinity School in recent years. The regional events are supported in part by Reconciliation Ministry funds as well as regional reconciliation funds.
- Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries and Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel of Disciples Home Missions, Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries, NAPAD, NBA Hispanic Outreach/Prison and Jail Ministries have worked in collaboration with local impacted immigrants and congregations to encourage congregations to fulfill the goals of the GA-1723 resolution.
- Obra Hispana works with front line immigrant congregations impacted by policies threatening expanded detention and deportation of our Disciples communities. RIM has provided additional sanctuary, asylee, Central American/African/Haitian TPS and DED, and DACA advocacy and protection resources to help congregations respond to immigrant communities at risk and has expanded immigrant background stories in its “Refugee & Immigrant Welcome Sunday” resources. Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel continues to provide trusted legal assistance and referrals. NBA and its Hispanic Outreach/Prison and Jail Ministries network continues to strengthen mental health outreach to individuals in detention and at risk of deportation. Thousands of local Disciples congregations and individuals responded in summer 2018 to sign the national Disciples “Family Separations: A Word to the Church” letter sharing desires for ending family separation and criminally prosecuting migrants seeking freedom and safety.
- Collaborative partners will host two workshops at the 2019 GA re: “Becoming Immigrant Welcoming Congregations, Part 1 and Part 2” to further the goals of the 2017 resolution. Congregations will hear models for how initial congregations have been engaging as “immigrant welcoming,” and will learn ways for congregations to further “qualify” as “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations.”
- Additionally: Saguaro Christian in Tucson, AZ Facebook streams a daily prayer vigil for separated families; Southwest Good Samaritan supporting families at the border; Casa de Oración and partners in Tijuana supporting asylum seekers at the border; University Christian, San Diego and Harbor Christian of Newport Beach CA participating in border education; Matthew 25 Project led by Gabriel Lopez.
Green Chalice, Christmount National Camp and Conference Center, Week of Compassion, Disciples Volunteering, and Global Ministries Division of Overseas Ministries sponsored Resolution 1723 which calls Disciples to reduce our carbon output with our goal to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. This resolution seeks to create more economic, spiritual and ecological sustainable congregations and communities while offering leadership in health and wellness for people and planet.
- Toward these goals, Green Chalice has worked with its partner, Blessed Tomorrow, to create a Carbon Neutral Guide and a Climate Ambassador training program. In addition, Blessed Tomorrow has added a carbon offset program. Green Chalice has offered workshops on going carbon neutral and will host a Clergy Pre-Assembly training retreat in Des Moines, Iowa July 18-20, 2019. Currently 156 congregations and ministries are Green Chalice Ministries, nine of them are certified. Mission Hills Christian Church, Mission Hills, CA and Midway Christian Church, Midway, KY are both officially working actively toward carbon neutrality and many other congregations are discussing it. Working toward carbon neutrality requires conserving energy by substituting clean, renewable energy for polluting fossil fuels and offsetting any energy source that cannot be reduced or replaced. It is also requiring us to conserve forests, urge our policy makers to provide clean energy choices; explore a plant rich diet, and guide and support communities everywhere to do the same.
- The Canadian Region extends its thanks to Council on Christian Unity, Week of Compassion, NBA, and Alliance Q who were the first groups to respond to the call to greater inclusion of Canada within their ministries and organizations. Alliance Q was the first group to make radical changes, most notably changing their constitution to guarantee a place for a Canadian representative. We are grateful for the occasional times when changes have been made across General Ministries to recognize and include French language, Canadian-specific nomenclature on forms, and requests for Canadian representatives for committees. We believe more can be done. We specifically call on Reconciliation Ministries to include Canadian content in ALL of their training as a standard and integral piece. We also call on the OGMP to be intentional about including the Canadian perspective when consultants are retained to assist the church in visioning and future plans (i.e., when consultants are hired to review who we are, our future, etc., it is unclear if any Canadians are included). We continue to call on the entire church to recognize that the Canadian Disciples’ story IS the Disciples’ story! We recognize that change is difficult, but we are a Church with a passion for justice…and greater inclusion of the Canadian church is a justice issue. Thank you to all who have taken the adoption of this resolution seriously and taken steps to live it out.
- Aware that there was a good chance the study document may not find its way from the protective covers of the 2017 docket into the church, Director of the Center for Faith and Giving, Bruce Barkhauer, assembled a team of curriculum writers to make the 22,000-word study more accessible for congregational use. That team created a six-week stewardship study entitled Overflowing which became available for use on March 1, 2018. The material is designed with both Adult and Grade 6-12 designation. Youth are an intentional priority for the church and teaching young people about faithful stewardship is a priority of the Center for Faith and Giving.
GA-1739 Concerning Executive Order 13780 (Emergency Resolution)
- Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries (RIM) has continued to monitor and advocate against Executive Order 13780 through its subsequent revisions and court responses and has offered ongoing education and engagement opportunities for congregations to help protect the US’ long-term history of refugee resettlement. RIM promoted resources for congregational participation in the June 2018 and June 2019 celebration of “Refugee and Immigrant Welcome Sunday” near to World Refugee Day. In partnership with Week of Compassion and Disciples Marketing and Communications in the Office of the General Minister and President, RIM worked collaboratively to gather, and utilize for advocacy, video testimonies by Disciples leaders of the positive impacts of refugee resettlement in communities and their desire to restore US resettlement levels of at least 85,000 refugees annually.
- RIM led an interfaith Press Conference at the White House in response to the September 2018 “Presidential Determination” announcement of a refugee resettlement goal of only 30,000 during FY2019; less than half of historic US resettlement numbers. RIM, Global Ministries, and the Council on Christian Unity have worked with Church World Service partnership communions to revise and update our “Ecumenical Declaration: Protecting Welcome, Restoring Hope,” as of November 2018.
GA-1740 Concerning Support for the “New Poor People’s Campaign: National Call for a Moral Revival” (Emergency Resolution)
- General Minister and President Teresa Hord Owens made it a priority to attend both the beginning and ending events for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in Washington D.C. In addition, Communication Ministries shared information leading up to events as well as photos and reflections from individuals who participated in PPC activities throughout the 40-day period. A grassroots group from the Upper Midwest Region, Disciples Public Presence, also shared organizing information and news from state campaigns in which Disciples participated. The connections fostered among those interested in these issues resulted in a fall 2018 conference that continues to build a network of those interested in social justice.
The General Board has reviewed GA-1920 Report of the General Assembly Committee. The report is submitted to the General Assembly for presentation and
discussion. No action is required. (Discussion time: 12 minutes)