United Methodist Women Statement

General Conference 2021 Board Task Force Proposed Recommendations

General Conference 2021 Board Task Force Proposed Recommendations

The United Methodist Women Board of Directors General Conference task force makes the following recommendations as principles to support for General Conference 2021:

Guiding principles for General Conference
United Methodist Women members are not of one mind. We disagree on matters of both polity and politics. We do not interpret Scripture in the same way, and we do not hear the voice of God speaking in a single register. Yet we value one another deeply and we all share a concern for the future of the church. Our love for one another and for this church compel us to speak. To that end, our board of directors humbly offers the following recommendations for General Conference 2021. 

While there are no perfect solutions, we believe that the most faithful future for the church must be based on the following core principles:

  1. Gender equity: Women have been the backbone of The United Methodist Church for decades, building and sustaining the church through contributions of time, talent, gifts and witness. Yet both clergywomen and laywomen still find their work dramatically undervalued and underappreciated in many spaces. A faithful future for the church will seek gender justice, share power equally with people of all gender expressions, and respond particularly to the global and local needs of women, children, and youth.
  2. Mutuality in mission: We are blessed to be part of a global connection. We repent of the ways our connection has been misshapen by colonial attitudes, policies and practices. Our connection must grow ever more deeply into that of the beloved community, known through equity and mutuality in mission. A faithful future for the church will allow every region of the church to discern its own callings and shape its own future without undue interference, manipulation or financial threat.
  3. Antiracism: The sin of white supremacy grieves the heart of God. Throughout the church’s history white United Methodists have sidelined, ignored, disrespected and dismissed United Methodists of color, especially Black and Indigenous people of color. The church must move beyond rhetoric and ensure the leadership of people of color, provide meaningful material and social support for ministries and churches serving communities of color, fulfill its own promises in the Charter for Racial Justice, and reject racism in all its forms.
  4. LGBTQ+ inclusion: Understanding that some support the current stance of The United Methodist Church, but consistent with United Methodist Women’s belief that LGBTQ+ people are of sacred worth, we support the formation of an expression of the church that will celebrate every individual, including LGBTQ+ persons in the full ministry and life of the church, without barring ordination or marriage. United Methodist Women is an inclusive organization. We celebrate the gifts LGBTQ+ siblings bring to the church.

Regionalization
The United Methodist Church must move out of a U.S.-centric, colonial mentality. Central conference informed and supported plans like “Creation of a U.S. Regional Conference” and the Christmas Covenant help bring parity in structure and focus to The United Methodist Church and allow the church to be truly global. As a regional organization, United Methodist Women works to practice mutuality in mission, partnering with women worldwide who organize in ways that work best in their context; we support regionalization of the denomination as a step toward decentering the United States. Regionalization also unburdens General Conference from dealing with U.S.-only matters and allows the church to be better stewards of its resources by reducing the time and money needed for a General Conference.

Remaining connected
United Methodist Women grieves separation but supports plans that offer more financial and contextual independence and that facilitate a United Methodist Church connected in mission and ministry to new expressions that may form. United Methodist Women has already taken steps to make this possible for our own membership.

Fiduciary responsibility 
Throughout its 151 years, United Methodist Women and predecessor organizations have fought to protect the women’s right to raise and manage their own funds and elect their own leadership. United Methodist Women is an independently funded organization within The United Methodist Church; it does not receive apportioned funds and is not subject to the oversight in paragraphs ¶701-824 of the Book of Discipline. United Methodist Women will continue to protect funds given to the organization for women, children and youth.

Next steps planning
United Methodist Women commends delegates’ attention to work preparing for next steps and support having a process in place before the leaving Minneapolis. 

Posted or updated: 9/4/2020 12:00:00 AM

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