GA-1920

GA-1920

REPORT ON 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS

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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.

GA-1720 Affirmation of Our Commitment to Responsible Investing

  • 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.

GA-1721 A Renewed Commitment to Reconciliation Ministry

  • 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.

GA-1722 Repudiation of the Christian Doctrine of Discovery: A Call to Education and Action and Support for Indigenous Voices in the Witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

  • 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. 

GA-1723 On Becoming Immigrant Welcoming Congregations

  • 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.

GA-1724 Resolution Concerning Carbon Neutrality

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.

 GA-1725 Recognition of the Region of Canada as a Traditionally Underrepresented Cultural Community

  • 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.

 GA-1732 Stewardship as a Spiritual Discipline and Its Applications in the 21st Century

  • 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)

GA-1722

(Sense-of-the-Assembly)

 REPUDIATION OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY: A CALL TO EDUCATION AND ACTION, AND SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS VOICES IN THE WITNESS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)

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WHEREAS, Luke 4:16-21(NRSV) testifies to the 5-fold mission of Jesus Christ to “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” thereby calling Jesus’ disciples to oppose genocide, oppression, dehumanization, and the removal of Peoples from ancestral lands; and

WHEREAS, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery (CDoD) is a body of work beginning in the 15th century with a series of papal bulls and theological statements justifying the Age of Discovery and the colonization, conquest, subjugation of lands and peoples around the world[i]: and

WHEREAS, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery continues to facilitate genocide, oppression, dehumanization, and the removal of Peoples from ancestral lands in the United States, Canada and globally; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court legally adopted the Doctrine of Discovery in the 1823 landmark decision of Johnson V. McIntosh[i]; and

WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (DOC) has historically and consistently claimed an identity of a westward movement church on the North American Landscape; and

WHEREAS, the DOC recognizes its identity, polity, congregations, and theology have benefited from the CDoD and its legal/theological support of seizing indigenous lands and human rights abuses of indigenous peoples and further recognizes North American DOC congregations reside on land immorally acquired from Indigenous North American Tribes and Bands; and

WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) under the guise of civilization and Christianization, engaged in programmatic assimilation, discrimination, subjugation, and desecration of Indigenous American Tribes and Bands (e.g., American Tepee Christian Mission—also known as Yakama Christian Mission); and

WHEREAS, cultural, communal, and individual damage experienced by American Indians, Alaska Natives and First Nations people are disproportionate in the United States and Canada[ii]; and

WHEREAS, governmental and economic institutions lack the will to dismantle the CDoD, and the Church is the one institution who can clearly speak against this unjust CDoD system, as it has in the past against slavery and apartheid; and

WHEREAS, the DOC has recognized disproportionate hurt inflicted upon People of Color and oppressed Creation with Sense of the Assembly Resolutions[iii]; and

WHEREAS, many of our ecumenical partners have already repudiated and renounced the CDOD [iv]; and

WHEREAS, Robert Brock, Northwest Regional Minister, began a process of relational change between the DOC, American Indians, and First Nation peoples in 1987 by signing A Public Declaration of formal apology for the Northwest Christian Church’s participation in the destruction of Native American spiritual practices;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, meeting July 8-12, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana, condemns and repudiates the Christian Doctrine of Discovery; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly encourages the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to expose and remove denominational structure which benefits from the Doctrine of Discovery; work toward eliminating the CDoD as a means to subjugate peoples, property, and land; develop resources for study; enter into self-examination; seek to recognize and understand the historical trauma of indigenous people and to recognize DOC’s participation in the continuing effects of that trauma; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly urges the Office of General Minister and President, National Convocation, Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries, North American Pacific/Asian Disciples, Global Ministries and Disciples Home Missions:[v], in consultation with Yakama Christian Mission’s Advocate for Indigenous Justice, Reconciliation Ministry, and the Moderator(s) of ad hoc Landscape Mending Council to learn where their organization/entity/structure have benefited from the CDoD and assist Regions and Congregations in documenting and explaining the effects of the CDoD in the life of the Church; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly encourage the leaders of the church’s racial/ethnic constituencies to insist on an indigenous voice in all General Church and Office of General Minister and President meetings/conferences/etc., where leaders of the ethnic constituencies are invited; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly encourages the church’s educational affiliates (e.g., Colleges, Universities, Seminaries) to educate students on the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, how the CDoD influenced past and current DOC polity and theology, support instructors to research and write on how the Christian Doctrine of Discovery has benefited and/or damaged their area of expertise and recruit and provide scholarships to Native people; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly urges all Regions and congregations to develop and nurture relationships with the American Indian, Alaska Natives, or First Nation people of the place where they reside; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2017 General Assembly encourages congregations to act and urge their State to offer a free curriculum about the history, culture, and government of federally recognized Indian Tribes within State boundaries to State school districts, and require districts to incorporate the curricula of their nearest Tribe(s) into their schools’ curriculum [vi].

Notes:

[i] Find educational information on the Doctrine of Discovery at Yakama Christian Mission, http://wp.me/P6DjFC-2j.

[ii] US incarceration rates for American Indians (https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/aic.pdf and https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/2010percent/US_American_Indian_2010.html , suicide among American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 34 is 1.5 times higher than the national average (https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/Suicide-DataSheet-a.pdf), American Indian students are disproportionately disciplined (https://archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/american-indians-disproportionately-disciplined-at-school-compared-to-white-students-new-university-of-utah-research-shows/)

[iii] GA 1323: Incarceration, Justice and Restoration in the United States; GA 1324: Reflection on Christian Theology and Polity, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, and the Indigenous Voice; GA 1518: Black Lives Matter: A Movement for All; GA 1519: Commemorating 100 Years Since the Armenian Genocide; GA 1520: Concerning Environmental Racism; 0313 Ending Violence Against Women—an essay on Native Human Trafficking can be found at: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/trafficking-in-native-communities/.

[iv] Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, New England Yearly Meeting-of Friends-Quakers, United Meth­odist Church, Anglican Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), World Council of Churches.

[v] Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Green Chalice, Disciples Women, and Disciples Men, Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Week of Compassion, National Benevolent Association, Pension Fund, Hope Partnership, Higher Education and Leadership Ministries, Disciples Church Extension Fund, Council on Christian Unity, Christian Church Foundation, Christian Board of Publication, College of Regional Ministers, Disciples Center for Public Witness, Disciples Peace Fellowship, European Evangelistic Society, National City Christian Church Foundation, and the United Christian Missionary Society.

[vi] Washington State adopted such an amendment, RCW 28A.320.170, which, can be found at http://app.leg.wa.gov/Rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.320.170.


Yakama Christian Mission, White Swan, Washington
Marshall Avenue Christian Church, Mattoon, Illinois
Westlake Christian Church,  Westlake, Ohio
Illiopolis Christian Church, Illiopolis, Illinois
Heights Christian Church, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Disciples Christian Church, Owasso, Oklahoma
Christian Church in Ohio (Regional)
United Christian Church, Levittown, Pennsylvania
Firestone Park Christian Church, Akron, Ohio
First Christian in Bowling Green, Ohio
First Christian/Presbyterian Church, Pryor, Oklahoma
First Christian Church, Concord, California
First Christian Church, Clarkston, Washington
First Christian Church, Vallejo, California
First Christian Church, Puyallup, WA
Canoe Camp Church of Christ, Mansfield, Pennsylvania
University Christian Church (DOC), San Diego, California
First Christian Church of Eugene, Oregon
Downtown Disciples, Des Moines, Iowa
University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas
First Christian Church (DOC), Minneapolis, Minnesota
University Christian Church, Seattle, Washington
Pine Valley Christian Church (DOC), Wichita, Kansas
Rock Bridge Christian Church, Columbia, Missouri
First Christian Church, Redding, California
Nixa Christian Church, Nixa, Missouri

Supporters and Advocates:
Christian Church in Illinois & Wisconsin Regional Council
Christian Church in Illinois & Wisconsin Pro-Reconciliation & Anti-Racism Team
GLAD Alliance
Ohio Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Commission
Disciples Justice Action Network
Blue Eagle Wellbriety Ministry

The General Board recommends that the General Assembly ADOPT GA-1722. (Discussion time: 24 minutes)