actions and reports umma history and vision membership information umma facebook page umma blog
map of the world
steering committee umma update gbgm theology and strategy links and regional news home

Actions and Reports

Global Ministries Staff, Directors and UMMA Luncheon Dialogue, April 11, 2011 (pdf file)
Assumptions and Responses from Nan McCurdy and Jim Gulley resulting from our conversations with GBGM leadership and other UMMA members
Statement of Concern and Call to Action: Aid to Cuba
Edited Notes from the GBGM/Missionary Association Mini-Consultation, Stony Point, NY, December 3-4, 2007
Mission is Focus of August 2007 Gathering
Coordinator's Report, UMMA Gathering, October 8-10, 2006
October 2005 UMMA Gathering at Stamford, Connecticut: Report by Norma Kehrberg, chair
Minutes of the 2005 UMMA Gathering, Stamford, Connecticut
St. Louis Meeting: "Day of Conversation Around Topics of Mutual Concern", May 12-13
Report of GBGM Meeting, April 7-10, in Birmingham, Alabama
UMMA Representatives Meeting with R. Randy Day, GBGM General Secretary
Minutes of the UMMA Gathering, Stamford, CT, Oct. 21-23, 2002
Retirement Luncheon GBGM -10/22/02 Presented by Taka Ishii
Report of the August 14th Meeting of Staff, Directors and UMMA
2002 GBGM Spring Board Meeting Report
FAQ: Financing a Missionary Kid's Education
The Challenge of Mission Leadership in the New Millennium
General Board of Global Ministries: A Five Year Review
Missionary Group Wants Review of United Methodist Agency


Assumptions and Responses from Nan McCurdy and Jim Gulley
resulting from our conversations with GBGM leadership and other UMMA members

GBGM Pension Committee Assumptions

NB: This is UMMA's formulation of the GBGM Pension Committee's assumptions based on what we have read and heard in our conversations.

  1. Non-U.S. citizens will retire in their countries of their original citizenship.
  2. With increasing numbers of missionaries being drawn from around the world there is a need to modify the current system.
  3. Setting pension rates based on an index that appears to account for differences in cost of living produces a more equitable outcome than a U.S.-based system applied to all missionaries.
  4. It is more equitable to set pensions based on the original citizenship of missionaries with an appropriate base [not clearly specified how] with annual adjustments based on a escalator index determined by GDP / PPP ratios than to set pensions based on U.S.-based system for all in a single-tier system because continuing the present U.S.-based system discriminates against those retiring in higher-cost countries (in Japan, Europe, etc.) and in favor of those retiring in lower-cost countries (some, but not all in Africa, Asia and Latin America).

Responses from the missionary community shared with GBGM leadership

  1. When non-US missionaries were hired they understood that they would have good pensions, equal to that of all standard support missionaries. Changing the system in a way that lowers or increases (in the case of a missionary from Japan) benefits for non-US missionaries in mid-stream of their careers appears unfair. This will undoubtedly create fears of financial insecurity for these missionaries.
  2. It is not appropriate to assume that one's country of citizenship is the country where one will retire. Yet, the newly adopted two-tiered system for calculating benefits is based on the justification that country of citizenship accurately represents the country of residence upon retirement.
  3. Some U.S.-citizen missionaries now retire outside the U.S. without any change (increase or decrease) in benefits, pension or health care. With the new pension system all retired missionaries would receive the pension based on their citizenship status no matter where they retire.
  4. We do not yet have much history with non-US missionaries retiring, but as that begins to happen more frequently, there will be non-US missionaries who retire in their countries of citizenship, some who will retire in countries outside the U.S. and some who will retire in the US.
  5. Non-U.S. citizen missionaries are much more seriously impacted by reductions in pension benefits than are U.S. citizen missionaries.US citizen missionaries will haveSocial Securityand Medicare as well as their pensions.Most non-US missionaries do not have a local social security-type pension and will not be receiving Medicare, so they are much more vulnerable and rely more heavily on the GBGM pension.
  6. The missionary community assumes that pension and health benefits should be as equitable as possible. Defining what is "equitable" is what requires additional discussion.A part of that discussion would include examining outcomes - who gets what in different countries - U.S., other higher cost countries and other lower cost countries.
  7. By making comparisons of outcomes of the old system, the newly adopted system and possible alternative systems, a diverse group should be able to come to a consensus as to which system produces the greatest equitability within the missionary community, while achieving other essential goals of system solvency over time.
  8. UMMA leadership has thus called upon GBGM leadership to re-consider the changes made to the pension and health benefits system and review alternatives.

Observation that emerged from post-meeting discussions among UMMA leaders: The pension system before the recent changes was not as equitable as it might appear. US citizens and non-US citizens living in countries with a higher cost of living have been receiving, in effect, relatively lower pension benefits than might be expected based on cost-of-living by location because missionaries who retire in lower-cost countries receive pensions based on US-cost rates, even though their cost-of-living is relatively lower. The new system was proposed to correct this inequity.

Rev. 15 Jun 09


A Statement of Concern and Call to Action: October 12, 2008

Dear Friends,
Please read the following Statement of Concern regarding relief to Cuban churches. If you agree, copy, paste, adapt to your Congress person, sign and send to your representatives in government ASAP. We will appreciate you concern and help. (Download the Word version of this Statment of Concern and Call to Action here.)

Sincerely in Christ,
UMMA Leaders


[temporary instructions for adapting the following letter to your member of Congress:]

[date]
[add name of the Congress person below - delete lines and instructions in brackets]

Dear Senator ________________________________
[or]
Dear Representative ____________________________

I affirm the following statement approved by the United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA) and kindly request that you consider initiating or supporting approval of the necessary license so that relief funds can be released to assist those who have been adversely affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in Cuba.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this humanitarian need.

Sincerely,

[your full name and mailing address and email address - delete this instruction]


A Statement of Concern

We, the United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA) gathered at the fall board meeting of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) in Stamford, CT, October 12-14, 2008, join with the declaration by former Cuban Methodist bishops to request United Methodist officials to intensify efforts to acquire a license to send relief aid to Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. As active and retired United Methodist missionaries who have lived as members of the body of Christ across the globe, we are concerned that the policy of the United States government has limited the ability of The United Methodist Church to be in partnership with the Methodist Church in Cuba and respond to the urgent needs of the Cuban people. While we understand that the U.S. Treasury Department has not granted a license for the GBGM to transfer funds to the Methodist Church in Cuba, we believe that the church has the right to be the body of Christ across borders despite political differences between governments.

We therefore call upon United Methodists and all people of good will to write U.S. representatives and the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to grant a humanitarian license to The United Methodist Church. We also ask leadership of the GBGM and UMCOR to step up efforts to obtain a U.S. Treasury license to send humanitarian aid through the church in Cuba.

The United Methodist Missionary Association
October 12, 2008

Edited Notes from the GBGM/Missionary Association Mini-Consultation
Stony Point, NY, December 3-4, 2007

Present:
General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM): Edith Gleaves, Steve Goldstein, Jorge Domingues, Christine Lee, Roland Fernandes, Shawn Bakker; Brenda Connelly (Church and Community Workers Office) and Becky Louter (Deaconess Program Office)

Church and Community Workers (CCW): Marilyn Beecher, Meredith Whitaker, Earnestine Varnado

National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries (NADAM): Dana Jones

United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA): Hugh Frazer, Fred Price and Jim Gulley

Missionary-in-Residence (MIR): Helen Dwyer

GBGM Board of Directors: None could attend - Wendy Rhodehamel's flight was canceled due to weather and no alternate seat/flight was available; John Peterson had academic commitments.

What are the big Issues facing GBGM?"

Quadrennial Goals
First mentioned were the proposed four (4) new quadrennial goals (2009-20012) that emerged from the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table: leadership development, church growth, ministry with the poor and global health. The General Secretaries met and agreed to allocate lead responsibility for the four goals among Higher Education (leadership), Discipleship (church growth), Global Ministries (poverty) and United Methodist Communications (global health). Social Concerns has no lead role. The agencies have begun to set goals, objectives and action steps with the intention of identifying measurable outcomes. It appears much work remains to be done. Concern was expressed about the effectiveness of such a top-down approach and noted that General Conference must approve the goals.

Conversation moved quickly to budget implications. GBGM expects a six (6) percent increase in budget per year for a total of $245 million over the quadrennium. If staff and missionary salaries increase at an expected 3% per year, budgets will be tight. "Telling the story", it was suggested, remains the most effective way to increase support, but it was noted that GBGM's capacity in communications has been weakened in recent years.

The Connectional Table (CT) intends to introduce a "new way of working" for the UMC, but it was noted that the CT is primarily "bishop-led". Furthermore, 1/3 of the representatives come from developing countries where many do not yet understand how the CT works, do not contribute financial resources to but do receive benefits from the general church. If the concept of Regional Conferences should be adopted, the US Regional Conference would in essence be in the position of determining the use of the bulk of resources for the general church.

"Telling the Story"
Covenant Relationships, The Advance, and Funds Development Office are central to interpreting GBGM's story. "GBGM needs to re-focus its time and energy" one staff member suggested.

"How can the associations help GBGM tell its story?" Missionaries are a resource that GBGM could tap more often. Many NADAM deaconesses are involved in health care and have much first-hand experience they could share to address the global health goal, for example. Deaconesses attend Schools of Christian Mission as "resident" missionaries and are available there to interpret mission. GBGM might hire additional missionaries to do interpretation. E.g., Paul Jeffrey is a missionary who tells very effective stories.

Missionary Preparation and Support

"Are missionaries being trained in mission theology?" "We should be doing more mission personnel networking so that more mentoring and support may be given to new missionaries." Coordinating a Mission Forum, such as the one held in Evanston in 2007, with the Global Mission Personnel Conference (GMPC) is one way to educate missionaries in mission theology. The next GMPC is scheduled for August 20-24, 2008 (Wed-Sun).

How can associations be involved? It was agreed that the two events should be separate events but could overlap. UMMA indicated that it was not planning to take the lead on another full-blown forum in 2008, but it would be willing to cooperate with and support the other associations if one of them took the lead. NADAM agreed to see if some of their members would provide leadership on a mini-forum around the topic of "Theology of Commissioning". The GMPC Planning Committee had scheduled its first meeting on December 5. Helen Dwyer (UMMA), Brenda Connelly (CCW) and Becky Louter (NADAM) all were scheduled to attend the meeting and planned to discuss how to coordinate the two events - GMPC and Mission (mini-) Forum.

Priorities

"How does GBGM set its priorities?" The Mission Development Committee (MDC) of the GBGM Board of Directors recommends priorities. JD elaborated: Priorities in recent years have shifted toward the United Methodist Churches, specifically in Africa. The last quadrennium about $100 million was spent in Africa through GBGM. At the same time, the New Mission Initiatives have been funded mostly from local churches and conferences in partnership with these New Initiatives. Priorities have shifted because of the increasing voice of Central Conference leadership, e.g., voting for the Africa Development Fund in 2000. The Global Health focus is/will be primarily in Africa as well.

The Mission Development Committee (MDC) will follow the 4 foci/goals in the new quadrennium 2009-2012. At one time Mission Personnel only handled missionary placement. Now Mission Context and Relations assesses and confirms the setting into which missionaries are sent.

Key points

The process is not perfect. There is still much interference, and "The needs are too great."

Status of the campaign: "The Face of the Missionary: Could It Be You?" ...GBGM currently has more places, more people and less money. GBGM increased its budget for mission personnel by $1.7 million to a total of $19.8 in 2008 (including salary increases).

Status of Conference Committees on Mission Personnel (CCMP) - About 40-45 Conferences have functioning CCMPs; about half are very strong. Many missionary recruits come from VIM experiences.

Missionary Pension and Health Care
RF reported that the "goal has been to raise the [pension] rate as much as [GBGM] could without increasing unfunded liabilities." [GBGM has given raises of $25 per year of mission service each of the past two years.] Because of the lack of raises for some time prior to the last two years, the perceived threat of large unfunded future liabilities has turned out not to be real. Hugh Frazer shared his deep appreciation for the Collins Pension Fund along with an article on the Fund that he found in a 1995 New World Outlook. In response to several questions, RF explained his understanding of the assumptions underlying the management of the Collins funds, based on his thorough review of documentation and personal communications with Collins family members.

RF is considering seeking approval to have the Collins Pension Fund money managed by the UMC General Board of Pensions. GBP has many more investment and actuarial specialists managing over $16 BILLION dollars, compared to the Collins Fund's $100 million (pension), $31 million (health) and $7-10 million (active fund for receiving new Collins money and paying out benefits both to active and retired missionaries). Historically, GBP's return on investments have been quite good.

UMMA requested GBGM consider raising dental coverage maximum. Staff said they would consider the request. Background: At one time, retirees had a maximum of $2,500 while active missionaries had a maximum of $1,000. The rate for retirees was lowered to $1,000 with no premium payment. Currently, GBGM staff have a $1,500 maximum; they also pay a monthly premium for their health insurance, e.g., Steve Goldstein reported he pays $400 per month.

Advancing the Advance

Shawn Bakker made a presentation on changes underway with The Advance. 2008 is the 60th anniversary of The Advance. Core values determined to be fundamental to The Advance's constituents:

  1. Operate with transparency, accountability and integrity
  2. Promote compassion and service world-wide
  3. Make a positive, lasting impact

Recognized challenges: More than 3,000 individual Advance numbers [projects and personnel]; 1/3 are not funded; only 6-10% of UMC churches have formal Covenant Relationship agreements; 1/3 of GBGM missionaries have no U.S. home conference (24 of 29 of the last two missionary trainee classes were non-U.S-based personnel); this presents cultural and language issues that must be addressed in itineration.

As a global church, increasingly missionaries will come from non-U.S. churches; e.g., two Brazilian doctors now serve in Mozambique under GBGM.

The Advance Goals

NADAM affirms the new directions being taken by the Advance with one concern: Access to Advance status has been set up so that bishops are the gatekeepers on all Advance requests. NADAM asked that consideration be given to additional routes as there are settings in the world where ministries to women, children and youth will not be given full consideration or approval by bishops. History shows women around the world need access that doesn't include bishop sign-offs. DJ suggested several ways this can be done through existing units and staff of GBGM and regional missionaries who have direct contact with women.

JG suggested that The Advance is a donor-friendly program but a recipient unfriendly program, e.g., 2-3 years might elapse between submitting a project and receiving funds. SB: That gap has been shortened to 9 months: April 1 2008 is deadline for projects beginning in 2009.

The Advance, Mission Personnel (itinerating personnel), Development Office (Lynda Byrd) and Mission Education are coordinating their efforts. The Development Office will complete and report on its Pilot Program on Covenant Relationships early 2008.

Search Committee for GBGM General Secretary - None of the GBGM staff present had seen a list of the committee. Bishop Martinez heads the committee. Missionary representatives emphasized that the membership of the committee should be public information. The search firm indicated in its questionnaire [circulated to UMMA Steering Committee] interest in receiving guidance on where to search for candidates. Some directors were said to have expressed hope that a new GS would be found by March prior to General Conference. However, some GBGM staff have indicated that finding the right person is much more important than having someone in the position by March.

Deaconess issues

DJ requested that when deaconesses are commissioned the Commissioning Service incorporate language that speaks to their unique calling and service. EG requested examples of what might be included.

NADAM will hold its biennial Convocation on October 23-26, 2007.

The Deaconess Office is preparing to celebrate 120 years of the deaconess lay movement at Brooks-Howell in February 2008. Representatives from CCW and UMMA will be invited.

Becky Louter shared preliminary results of a survey on pensions and health care among deaconesses, home missioners and home missionaries.

Church and Community Worker Concerns

MW reported on an Oklahoma law that has been passed requiring anyone who provides services to immigrants to check the immigrant's identification and also validate its authenticity. Failure to do so is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year. Several other states either have or are considering similar laws. Mission Personnel has already written letters expressing solidarity with CCW. MW requested that GBGM go beyond solidarity and explicitly state what assistance would be provided in the case of arrest while performing their ministries, e.g., legal fees, salary and benefit support, etc. EG requested a draft letter with the proposed wording be sent to MPU for action. Meredith Whitaker will take the lead.

MW raised an ongoing concern of Native Americans that sports teams continue to use mascots identified with Indian/Native Americans. They are concerned that there may be some move to change the UMC position of not holding meetings in cities that have such mascots.

Interaction with Board Members

UMMA suggested it would like to further interaction with Board Members and proposed alternatives for doing that (printed invitation in mailboxes to meet UMMA representatives, announcement of availability during free time, setting up table with association representatives). EG indicated that there was almost no free time during board meetings and that even mealtimes are taken up with meetings already. Any request must first go through the Cabinet.

Mission is Focus of August Gathering - Register Now

United Methodists interested in mission will meet in Chicago in August to reinvigorate their denomination's involvement in ministries at home and around the world.

A Mission Gathering and Forum, to be held August 5-8 at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, will be a time to discuss mission as a vital part of being the church, as well as to pray, renew friendships and worship together, organizers say. There will also be time to walk along Lake Michigan and before and after the event, and to sample the summer activities in Chicago.

The event is organized by various mission groups within the United Methodist Church including the National Association of Deaconess and Home Missionaries, United Methodist professors of mission, North Central United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, the General Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist Missionary Association and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary where the sessions will be held. Speakers will include: Elvira Arellano and her 8 year old son, Saulito, Gennifer Brooks, Rich Darr, Randy Day, Ruth Daugherty, Edith Gleaves, Howard Heiner, Robert Hunt, Paul Jeffrey, Elma Jocson, Hugh Johnson, Dana Jones, Lorna Jost, Miguel Mariena, Nan McCurdy, Bishop Sharon Rader, Bishop Roy Sano, David Scott, Al Streyfeller, and Steven Ybarrola.

A father and son mission professor duo will also be featured. Doug Wingeier, son of missionaries and himself a missionary in Southeast Asia as well as a professor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, will appear with his son Phil Wingerier-Rayo, a former missionary and now associate professor at Pfeiffer University. They will discuss "Missionary Service: Relic of the Past or Hope of the Future".

There will be music, book sales and roundtable discussions on many topics, as well as training for United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program leaders. The General Board of Global Ministry will be represented by three current staff members. Seven former staff members, many of them missionaries will also be present. United Methodist professors of mission have wholeheartedly endorsed the gathering and four of them will speak. Missionaries from Asia, northern Africa, Latin America and the US will be present. Each day will begin with worship and prayers of the people.

Registered participants may also organize their own roundtable discussions on topics of interest to share among colleagues and friends. Books written by participants or by their friends will be featured during one afternoon roundtable. Missionary reunions from Southeast Asia, the Philippines and India will use the Mission Gathering as their venue. There will literally be something for everyone, according to Norma Kehrberg, the event coordinator. Program ends at 12 NOON August 8 but the annual UMMA meeting is scheduled on August 8th from 2:00 to 6:00 pm. Please contact Richard Vreeland if you want a dorm room for the night of August 8. Registration deadline is June 15.

Registration Reminders by Norma Kehrberg

Mission Gathering and Forum: August 5-8, 2007 with Opening plenary 7:00 PM Sunday, August 5th and closing at noon on August 8, 2007.

Registration Fee until June 15: $35
Registration Fee from June 15-July 15: $45
One Day Registration fee for drop-in visitors: $15
Food per day: One Day Food is $35 (requires registration by June 15)

Plan to stay for the annual meeting of UMMA from 2-6 PM on Wednesday afternoon, August 8. UMMA members will be allowed to rent their dorm room in Loder Hall for one more night if they are unable to make travel connections after the 6:00pm closure. Confirm with Norma Kehrberg before June 15 to be sure of availability. Separate check required.

This is your invitation to come join the...
MISSION GATHERING and FORUM
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201
August 5 - 8, 2007

Opening plenary Sunday evening, August 5 at 7:00pm in the chapel at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Music by Joline Bestounes and Stephen Edwards of Community UMC in Naperville followed by Bishop Roy E. Sano speaking on "Biblical Basis for Mission". Program ends at 1:00pm, August 8.

Housing: Loder Hall Dormitory Housing on Campus. Forty-five rooms at $186 for three nights for single or double occupancy. (Thus, 2 persons would divide this and pay only $93 each. If only one in the room the room rate is still $186.) No AC. Bathrooms down the hall. (Dormitory style housing.) Reservations for dormitory are made on the form below.

Best Western Hotel: Garrett Event Rates $99 per night plus taxes (about 15-20 minute walk). Parking additional. Limited number of reserved rooms available until July 1, 2007. Call Best Western Hotel at 847.491.6400 and ask for the Mission Gathering and Forum group. Airport Express to the Hotel $22; Taxi, approximately $35.

Hotel Orrington: $119 per night, plus taxes (about six blocks from campus). Limited number of reserved rooms available until July 1, 2007. Parking additional. Call 847.556.7987, contact Group Reservations and ask for the Mission Gathering and Forum at Garrett-Evangelical. From O'Hare call American Taxi at 847.673.1000. Cost: $25.

Other Hotels in the area may be less expensive but farther away.

Wheelchair participants will have an elevator to reach chapel meetings.

Travel: By train: Blue line from airport to downtown, then red line and then purple line to Evanston City Center. Garrett is about eight blocks away from the train station. If driving, parking at Garrett is limited and will cost at least $5 per day.

Food: $105 for full three days ($35 per day). Includes entree for evening meal, continental style breakfast and executive style bag lunches. Limited options for food preferences. Otherwise, meals on your own at cafeteria at Northwestern, a 10 minute walk away.

Please send the following basic information to Richard Vreeland, Registrar. Windows users can print out the registration form by right-clicking the mouse on the form to see the menu, then left-clicking to print. Mac users can just print out the registration form here.

Coordinator's Report, UMMA Gathering, October 8-10, 2006

Lists
I have come to appreciate that the Coordinator's job consists in maintaining lists. Lists of all members - ever. Current members. Voting lists. Lists of votes tallied, etc., etc.

In light of the lists mentioned, allow me to report the following Steering Committee elections: in Europe/North Africa: James Dwyer through 2007* and Carol Seckel through 2009; in Sub-Saharan Africa: Jeff Hoover through 2009; in East Asia/Pacific: Sonia Strawn through 2009; in South America: R Stephen Newnum through 2009; in Mexico/Central America: Nan McCurdy through 2007* and Cherie White through 2009. These elections are confirmed. (*Please note: we elected two persons through 2007. This allows us to get back into our normal election cycle).

There was, however, no election for the Retiree member of the Steering Committee since no candidate managed to get 50% of the votes cast. In such a case our Constitution and By Laws call for a runoff election. Therefore, immediately following the Gathering I will again poll the retired full members of UMMA by placing before them the names of Hugh Frazer and Hugh Johnson. I remind the Gathering that another election will follow in January 2007. This will get us back into our election cycle as outlined in our Constitution and By Laws. [NOTE: By action of the Gathering, no run-off election will be held. For this term Hugh Frazer and Hugh Johnson were elected.]

Allow me to briefly report on our financial situation. As of Wednesday October 4, 2006, in our checking account we had a balance of $5,022.50 ($886.60 of that amount is designated for our Mission Gathering and Forum in August 2007). In addition we have a $10,000.00 7 month CD invested at 4.65% coming due on October 30, 2006. We will earn approximately $270.00 in interest.

A matter from the past. I contacted the lawyer who handled UMMA's incorporation in the State of New York. He said we did not need to report a change in our officers or our office address.

During the year I attended the spring Board of Director's meeting along with James Dwyer and Carol Seckel.

A brief word concerning membership. It is up for the year. Our total membership as of Saturday October 7, 2006 was 372. Of these 17 were new and 24 returned after two years absence, 23 after three years and 17 after four years. There are seventeen members who have paid through 2007. I hope we will be able to break four hundred total membership for the year. I will be offering a two-for-one deal for those who have not already sent in their membership. With one membership fee, they will cover 2006 and 2007.

Once again, I request the Gathering authorize a check for $50.00 to Emmanuel UMC in Oaklyn, NJ for their generosity concerning my time and the use of office equipment. Fred W. Price

October 2005 UMMA Gathering at Stamford, Connecticut: Report of Norma Kehrberg, Chair

In August, I went to Scotland for multiple reasons: a) a little bit of work, b) meet old friends and to c) visit Iona; all part of a three week vacation. The planned purpose of the visit was to take materials collected during the research on the growth of the first generation, indigenous church in Nepal to the archives of the Nepali church. The archives are housed at the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World in Edinburgh. In retrospect, I realize that I was on a pilgrimage.

As I traveled through Scotland from Edinburgh to Iona, I visited missionary colleagues from various church and mission groups who worked with the United Mission in Nepal from 1968-2000.

Visiting missionary colleagues was a prelude to the week "in community" on Iona. In Iona, the discipline of daily morning and evening prayers and worship, living and working in community and exploring one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots on the coast of Scotland was spiritually and physically renewing. I expected that aspect of a pilgrimage. I did not expect that my visits with former missionary colleagues would also be a form of pilgrimage.

One colleague was retired; the others worked in "secular jobs". Fulfilling their continuing commitment as former missionaries in their home countries was not just something that added to their life, it framed their life and work. As members of churches they continued their journey in the Kingdom of God on our planet, earth.

After visiting with them, I examined my life to see if I could measure up to the standards set by my former missionary colleagues in Nepal. These same standards are evident in the lives of the UMMA membership called and sent through the United Methodist Church. It is my continuing conviction that those called, commissioned and sent to serve as witnesses are faithful to their calling. I remain challenged by my calling, am renewed by association with such clouds of witnesses and "trudge" on.

Review of the Formation of UMMA

The United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA) was formed in 1996 primarily as a counter balance to the reorganization of the GBGM. The reorganization of GBGM effectively negated a presence, voice and role for missionaries around the table of GBGM, blending directors, staff and missionaries as colleagues and friends.

With the initiative and energy of Ric and Caring Schwenk, Gil Bascom and Howard Heiner, UMMA was formed. The initial hopeful optimism - annual gatherings held at the time of the GBGM Mission Personnel Consultations, joint efforts of the three mission associations and yearly consultations with staff of Mission Personnel and representatives of the associations - gave way to turbulence. As the missionary community sought information on issues affecting its life and work and presented its perspective that missionaries had a right, even an obligation to share input into the decision-making of the board, UMMA was increasingly isolated.

However, at the end of 2002, there was a change in leadership at the GBGM. It seemed that there would be an opportunity for change in the position of GBGM towards its missionary community. Though we now have a congenial relationship, in reality, there has been little movement on outstanding issues that UMMA has posed over the years. Even so, I want to identify some optimistic signs.

Optimistic Signs

In 1996, UMMA quickly identified the need to have an opportunity for missionaries to share their perspective with the policy makers of GBGM. The reorganization of GBGM in 1996 negated this. During an August 2001 meeting of UMMA representatives with the then General Secretary of GBGM and the chair of the GBGM Mission Personnel Committee with other GBGM staff, it was clearly expressed by the UMMA representatives that there should be a way for the missionary community to give meaningful input into decision making of the GBGM Board of Directors.

In preparation for this meeting, I reviewed the October 2004 report of the Deputy General Secretary of the Mission Personnel Unit. Edith Gleaves in her introduction to Bruce and Kathy Griffith, the MIRS, stated that "the primary role of a Missionary-in-Residence is to provide an avenue of missionary input into decision-making at the Board level". These are familiar words for us.

It also appears that missionaries are being given a higher profile in the staff of GBGM.

Edith Gleaves in her October 2004 report highlighted the significance of having missionaries serving as staff of the Mission Personnel. She stated that missionaries Mark and Kathleen Masters would be replacing missionaries Nancy and Mark Garrison. Susie Henry, long time missionary in Bolivia completing her last term in Bolivia in December 2005, has been asked (and she has accepted) to serve as the Latin America secretary for six months from January 1, 2006.

Current MIIRs - Jerri and Bill Savuto (Kenya), Al and Mavis Streyfeller (Senegal), and Carol and Kevin Seckel (Latvia) - were appointed to serve in their roles from active mission service. Glenn Rowley, also a missionary serves in the Western Jurisdiction as the MIIR. It is recognized that missionary representation is present at various levels of GBGM. However, only the persons involved can inform us if they feel they are entrusted, empowered and enabled to give meaningful input at the decision making at the board level.

During the past years, UMMA has observed the dramatic decrease in mission personnel, particularly in longer term, standard support missionaries. However, there seems to be a change in general mission recruitment. Edith Gleaves highlighted in her October 2004 report that 48 missionaries were to be trained and commissioned in 2005. At this meeting seven longer term, cross-cultural, standard support (GBGM missionaries) and four missionaries related to the National Plan for Hispanic Mission will be commissioned. At the April Board meeting 14 deaconesses and five Church and Community Workers were commissioned and this summer eight US2s and eight Mission Interns were trained for a total of 46 new mission personnel. (Deaconesses are individuals who work in professional areas and are in relationship to the UMC as a deaconess. Seeking their own placement, their employing agency, not the GBGM takes responsibility for their terms of employment.)

Another optimistic sign is the initiation of a Pastors' Academy for Mission, which, if realized as intended, could result in a strengthening of mission on the part of pastors in the churches. This initiative was announced at the April 2005 GBGM meeting. Several professors of mission have been involved in the initial stages of this program. (In June, 2005, UMMA, among others, was asked to develop a presentation on "Apostolic Missionary Service as a Vocation". In late August it was learned that the plans developed at the meeting with missionary professors in June were changed.)

In April, 2005 Randy Day also announced the formation of a Seminary Task force for Mission composed of three directors of the GBGM - Maxie Dunam, Grant Hagiya and Joan Johnson, all related in some way to seminaries; three seminary professors - Myron McCoy at St. Paul; Dana Robert at Boston and Harold Recinos at Perkins; and Bishops Ken Carder and Al Norris. Their assignment is to assess the current situation in teaching mission, look at ongoing ways GBGM can interact with seminaries and Courses of Study for local pastors and envision strategies for the fiscal under-girding of the recommendations.

These two initiatives from the GBGM through the General Secretary indicate awareness and concern to get mission in our church back on track. It is unfortunate that neither of the initiatives include specific representation from the missionary community, a major oversight. Missionaries share the passion and awareness for mission and are trusted and respected in local churches.

Another significant organizational analysis came at the close of the last quadrennium in a report from the GBGM Executive Committee in April 2004. The Executive Committee recognized the disconnect between GBGM mission personnel and the GBGM and referred to this disconnect specifically in their recommendations to this quadrennium Board of Directors. In their Executive Committee Report (see attachment 1) Article D of Section 2 states that among other issues, "particular attention is given to the process to enhance the participation of missionaries and other leaders from across the church in Board cross-functional teams, task forces and advisory groups." This direct recommendation is not followed in the make up of the committee in the Pastor's Academy for Mission or in the Seminary Task Force.

At the advocacy of UMMA, the Mission Personnel Unit directors forwarded an action in April 2004 that the GBGM nominate three directors for representation at the UMMA Gathering. It was approved by the Mission Development Committee and forwarded to the cabinet. In July 2004, Debra Bass indicated (in response to my July 2004 letter inquiring about the nomination of the representative to the 2004 UMMA Gathering) that it was decided by cabinet that only one director would be nominated to represent GBGM at the UMMA Gathering and that it would not be one person nominated for the quadrennium. This is the first meeting with a representative from GBGM and we are happy to welcome Rev. Wendy Rhodehamel. I requested Debra to have the cabinet change their earlier decision so that there could be continuity in representation, but that earlier decision has not changed.

Fred Price reported following the April 2005 GBGM meeting that the directors of the Mission Personnel Unit (MPU) requested that a missionary speak at each meeting of the GBGM. At this October meeting, two mission initiatives, Senegal and Cameroon will be introduced officially. Unlike other recent mission initiatives, the mission initiative in Senegal was formed out of the efforts of longer term, cross cultural missionaries. Also at this meeting, Lynda Byrd, Finance Development Director for GBGM is sharing ways in which retired missionaries may assist in helping develop financial support for the board.

These optimistic signs indicate that though some of us may think too little has happened, mission is on the agenda of GBGM.

As we continue to strategize on ways to resolve UMMA issues that are outstanding with GBGM, others, perhaps outside the close camaraderie of missionaries, may feel that there is considerable activity in mission in GBGM. I would quote from our former chair, Howard Heiner, "Perhaps the leadership in UMMA has been living in a past way of doing mission that is no longer viable. We continue to try to identify with new directors and staff that do not share our understanding and experiences. We have to trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives just as we felt it was in our lives as active missionaries."

Present Reality on Outstanding Issues of UMMA

Pertinent issues relating to UMMA remain unresolved: discussion of the Collins Health and Benefit Plan and an identifiable means for mission personnel to give meaningful input into decision making at the board level. To date, there is no indication that GBGM staff or directors are willing to enter into a discussion on these issues and the issues are ignored from year to year. One could hope that there could be positive outcomes if discussions were held, but neglecting or fearing to hold discussions leads to distrust.

Collins Health and Benefit Plan

To date, there is no systematic review of the Collins Pension plan for retired missionaries and unlike other retirement systems such as the GCFA and social security, there is no plan for it to keep pace with increased costs. In 2005, there was a rate increase of $10 per service year and on behalf of UMMA, I wrote to express our gratitude. However, this comes after a gap of many years with no increase. Whenever there is a rate increase, it seems dependent upon the benevolence of the cabinet when they feel sufficiently inclined to bring it to the board of directors for action. UMMA has requested that the directors clarify the process for reviewing the rate for the Collins' Pension Plan.

It also is noted that a staff person who worked for the GBGM for seven years receives almost one third more per month in the GCFA pension program than what is received for 25 years of mission service. (The GCFA pension as a staff with seven years of service is $18,696 per year but as a missionary with twenty-five years of service, the Collins Pension is $10,500 per year. Realizing that there are differences in plans, decisions on missionary pension are initiated by staff who receive a much high pension when they retire with the GCFA. An open process with representation from the missionary community would lead to better understanding when decisions are made.

UMMA understands that one legal requirement of the Collins Health and Benefit Plan is that consultation is to be held with constituents and beneficiaries before changes are made in the plan. There has been no discussion with the constituents since 2001 and there have been changes in the Collins' Plan. UMMA is requesting that the directors review the legal requirements of the Collins' Health and Pension Plan to clarify this issue.

Medicare Plan B

In July 2005, through casual correspondence among missionaries, it was discovered that several longer-term, standard support missionaries were not reimbursed for Medicare Plan B. Though the missionary handbook indicates that this reimbursement is to occur, this information, it appears, was not fully shared with all retired missionaries. A request for full reimbursement was made for one couple affected. Edith Gleaves has written that it is complex, involves research into the magnitude of the issue with all retired missionaries and indicated that there are critical issues that need to be reviewed before a response can be made to the missionary couple that first posed the problem.

This situation, though complex, shows some lack of oversight of GBGM resources at the time of the reorganization of the Board in 1996. Most of those known not receiving reimbursement retired 6-10 years ago. It benefits GBGM financially to have all its retired missionaries in Medicare Plan B and one could assume that this would be a requirement. This complex issue must be followed to its resolution so that all are fully reimbursed. At the writing of this report, six retired missionaries are known to have not received reimbursement for Medicare Plan B.

Letters of Agreement (LOA)

In the past 12 months, six missionaries who have returned to their place of service have not received letters of agreement. All the details have not been shared; however perhaps it is partly due to the LOA being under revision. However, these missionaries have not been given the courtesy of clarifying their relationship within the GBGM family as missionaries of the United Methodist Church.

Decrease in Longer-term Mission Personnel

Although it was noted earlier that there are plans for commissioning seven GBGM (standard support) missionaries in October 2005, over the past three years there has been a dramatic decrease in the missionary community, particularly standard support, longer-term, cross-cultural missionaries.

Financial constraints have been the stated reason for the moratorium and for not opening missionary recruitment. However, after three years there is still no broad based plan to raise funds for missionary support across the UMC.

The number of longer term, cross-cultural commissioned missionary personnel has decreased from 367 in 2002 to 271 in January 2005, a drop of 26%. Overall numbers of mission personnel dropped from 1031 in October 2002 to 867 in April 2005. (Figures from GBGM Reports.) With retirements in an aging longer-term missionary group and non renewals in mission service, the UMC may soon have fewer than 200 longer term, cross-culture missionaries and this, at a time when witnesses are more critical than ever.

For the past three years, it has been stated that this is solely a financial issue; I believe it is a theological issue. If members and leaders of the UMC understand Christ's call to mission and are able to identify the changing and increasing needs of today's world, funds will follow; however a process to contemplate, pray, discuss, identify, send and support is required. With this dramatic decrease in numbers it is necessary to suggest that we might be faced with a future in which the General Board of Global Ministries will no longer send longer-term, cross-cultural missionaries. Individuals in our church are already looking for other groups through which they can fulfill the apostolic call to mission as a vocation. (See UMMA's Theology of Mission in attachment 2.)

UMMA Activities

During the past twelve months, UMMA as an organization has been busy. In 2004 seven UMMA Updates were published and five have already been published in 2005 with three more expected, all under the editorship of Ric Schwenk. The work and effort of Ric and Caring Schwenk provides UMMA with a most effective means of communication with a membership across the world. As chair, I want to thank Ric for his consistent, sometimes persistent, energy and skill in getting the Update published.

Fred Price represented UMMA at the April 2005 GBGM meeting. Fred had follow-up conversations with Lynda Byrd to identify retired missionaries who may be able to assist the GBGM in their pilot programs in selected annual conferences to increase mission support. Your chair represented UMMA at the 2004 NADAM meeting in Gulfport and Howard Heiner will represent UMMA at the 2005 CCW meeting at the end of October. The UMMA chair also participated in the discussions with mission professors of the UMC prior to the meeting of American Society of Missiology in June 2005. Additionally there have been two gatherings to discuss UMMA matters at Pilgrim Place in Claremont organized by Beryl and Stan Moore. The first was held in March 2005 with 27 participants with Howard and Peggy Heiner representing UMMA. The most recent gathering at Pilgrim Place with 26 participants was held on September 26, 2005. Ric and Caring Schwenk represented UMMA. In April 2005, Claudia Yamamoto and Hazel Terhune, missionaries in Japan organized a meeting of the GBGM missionaries in the Tokyo area with the UMMA chair. These informal gatherings of missionaries are opportunities to share ideas and concerns among mission personnel of the United Methodist Church.

Future of UMMA

During the past year, there have been discussions among the UMMA Steering Committee about UMMA, its purpose and future including a question of whether UMMA should continue. On the eve of turning over the leadership of the chair of UMMA to our colleague Jim Dwyer, I want you to know that I am hopeful for the future of UMMA and the missionary community.

UMMA is a force in the life of mission in our church and in relationship to GBGM. Sometimes it may seem that we are not being heard. Then a letter will come or an email discussion ensues following a UMMA Update about vital issues to our life and work.

For the past two years, we have discussed the need for and worked to identify active missionaries to take the leadership of UMMA. That is now a reality. At the close of this meeting, the officers of UMMA will be active missionaries with James Dwyer as Chair, Cherie White as Vice-Chair, Carol Seckel as Secretary and James Gulley as Treasurer. This may allow UMMA to more fully take its place alongside the staff and directors of the GBGM. Eight years ago when UMMA was formed, it was felt that in the difficult relationship between UMMA and the staff of GBGM, particularly members of the cabinet, it would have been unwise to have active missionaries as officers. The present congeniality of GBGM makes it possible to look to that future with confidence.

As an organization, UMMA must look at its structure; the make up, terms and representation of the Steering Committee, finances and review the work of the task forces. We must also look at our membership and seek ways to increase the numbers beyond the standard support missionary. Perhaps we can do this by widening the focus of UMMA from the GBGM to mission of our church in general. The dramatic decrease in the missionary pool from which UMMA has drawn most of its membership means that UMMA may be a much smaller association unless the base of UMMA is broadened. A smaller membership has financial implications for UMMA.

The financial under-girding of UMMA will be reviewed at this meeting. Informal policies of the past need to be identified, reviewed and formally affirmed or changed. Perhaps some costs covered in the past may have to be discontinued. As your chair living in far away Hawaii, I did not want UMMA to bear the increased travel costs and I was able to subsidize most of my participation at events. This may not be possible for others, and thus UMMA needs to look at the financial resources available.

I would like to see UMMA broaden its interest in discussion of mission issues to include a wider body of those wanting to be involved. This could allow us to discuss critical issues in our church and society that are not being addressed and possibly enhance our membership.

Our first priority may not be the relationship to GBGM, the mission body of our church. It was natural for many of us to want to relate closely, because GBGM played a significant role in allowing us to live out our witness - often a prophetic witness as commissioned missionaries of our church in the world. We also believed the GBGM is to lead our church and speak prophetically in the UMC and that its mission personnel in critical areas of the world had, and still have, contributions to make as GBGM sets its priorities. It remains to be seen if the current leadership of the GBGM is willing to risk being prophetic or will seek safety.

Broadening a base of interests does not mean that we cease work with the mission sending agency of our church, we add to it. There is tremendous interest in mission in our church as a part of our understanding of being followers of Jesus Christ. During the last year, over 600 individuals were drawn to missionary reunions. Even though not all were United Methodists, United Methodists were in the majority. This number comes from only the missionary reunions that I know about with missionaries and families connected to Japan, India, Bolivia, Korea and Chile.

In June, 2005, the American Society of Missiology drew 129 participants to discuss and debate mission issues. The group included evangelicals, Roman Catholics and mainline denominations. Before the missiology conference, ten United Methodist professors of mission (including three former GBGM missionaries) met to deliberate on ways to increase the mission agenda in the United Methodist Church. I was privileged to be included through the kindness of Dr. Dana Robert, Professor of Mission at Boston University. Additionally, it can be estimated that there are over 75,000 volunteers of the UMC involved in mission as short term volunteers in mission. MISSION IS ALIVE.

I am suggesting that we consider separating the UMMA Gathering from the GBGM meeting and design a mission conference to invite a larger group in our church who are interested in mission. This conference could be held before or after the missiology meetings (usually held in the Chicago area) or at a place that is more convenient, and perhaps more interesting to a wider group of people than the GBGM meetings in Stamford.

We need to carefully examine UMMA as an organization to ascertain if we have become too self-interested. Our church and our world need prophetic witness. If we can no longer be assured that the GBGM will do this collectively, then we need to take it on directly. While traveling through Scotland in August this year, every contact in some way expressed concern for world issues - globalization, free trade, global warming and poverty. Banners from corners of Edinburgh proclaimed "make poverty history" and at a concert of the Swingle Singers at St. John's church in Edinburgh, there was a peace exhibition and an activity center to get involved in ending poverty. Can we say the same for our community and local churches, or even our general agencies?

The issues are waiting to be discussed and waiting for engagement. One missionary responded to the discussion on apostolic missionary service in an email to Ric Schwenk, "I sense the need for a great deal of clarification about the uniqueness of the longer term missionary as a vocation, in contrast to the shorter term service provided by VIM. Without such clarification, it may appear to many that those of us who press for greater recognition of the need for longer term missionary service as a vocation are simply yearning for the 'good ole days' of a past that is no longer relevant in the 21st century."

Where do significant issues of mission and theology, apostolic mission service, war and poverty get addressed? Peter Storey, former Bishop of the Methodist Church in South Africa spoke at a MFSA gathering of 230 in June 2005 in Iowa. Storey stated, "the church needs to rally its people to conscientize and theologically educate our church members to grapple with four questions: 1) the question of wealth and poverty and good news to the poor, 2) the question of violence, of war and peace, 3) the question of altar and flag, and 4) the question of inclusion and exclusion." We can no longer be fence sitters in our churches or community and wait for a general agency to lead on these critical issues in society.

Bill Moyers was invited to give an address at Union Theological Seminary on September 9, 2005 where he and his wife Judith received the Union Medal for their contributions to faith and reason in America. Bill Moyers ended his address with a challenge which I would like to quote.

"As I look back on the conflicts and clamor of our boisterous past, one lesson about democracy stands above all others: Bullies - political bullies, economic bullies and religious bullies - cannot be appeased; they have to be opposed with a stubbornness to match their own. This is never easy; these guys don't fight fair. Robert's Rules of Order is not one of their holy texts. But freedom on any front - and especially freedom of conscience - never comes to those who look and wait, hoping someone else will do the heavy lifting. Christian realism also requires us to see the world as it is, without illusion. And then take it on. Christian realism also requires love. But not a sentimental, dreamy love. Reinhold Niebuhr who taught at Union Theological Seminary and wrestled constantly with applying Christian ethics to political life, put it this way: 'When we talk about love, we have to become mature or we will become sentimental. Basically love means…being responsible, responsibility to our family, toward our civilization, and now by the pressures of history toward the universe of human kind.' Christian realists aren't afraid to love. But just as the Irishman who came upon a brawl in the street and asked, 'Is this a private fight or can anyone get in it?' we have to take that love where the action is."

Old structures and ways of mission may not be revived; however mission in the UMC is not dead. As missionaries, active and retired, we need to cease our lament because working in the Kingdom of God is bigger than the GBGM. We can broaden our efforts and base, even as we continue to urge the GBGM where needed on the justice issues that affect our life as mission colleagues.

I am hopeful! I reviewed the membership list of UMMA at the end of 2004 with over 300 members. I also read through the list of missionaries who were the first members of UMMA in 1996. On the lists are icons and heroes of mission service in the UMC, some of them are present at this meeting. There are many more, which in the midst of their active and busy lives of mission service may not have the extra energy and vision to join UMMA, but I believe they are with us in spirit. We continue to be a force. Let us remember our calling and press onward to the prize.


Minutes of the 2005 UMMA Gathering, Stamford, Connecticut

Session 1 began at 3 p.m. at the Amsterdam Hotel in Stamford, Conn. with the presence of the following members: Norma Kehrberg, outgoing Chair, James Dwyer, incoming Chair, Fred W. Price, Coordinator, Cherie White, outgoing Secretary, Richard Schwenk, editor of UMMA Update, Howard Heiner, Gene Matthews, Dick Vreeland, R. Kevin Seckel, Carol Seckel joined the meeting on Oct. 10 as incoming Secretary, Paul Perry, Callie Perry, Hugh Frazer, Elizabeth Frazer, Gerhard (Gay) T. Johnson, Wendy Chun, Joyce Hill, Sally Wisner Ott, Rep. CCW, also the MIR. Lynda Byrd from GBGM joined us to make a presentation. Thanks to those attending.

1. The session began with a meditation led by Norma Kehrberg.

2. This was followed by introductions which took into account the total number of years of service: 417, plus the years of spouses (Rick S. later came up with a total amount).

3. The previous report from Oct. 17-19, 2004 was approved.

4. Howard Heiner brought greetings from Gil Bascom, former Coordinator for many years, whom he visited recently. He reported that Gil is quite weak and will be going on Hospice care. Prayers were offered for Gil and Maxine.

5. Paul Perry reports on his struggle with cancer.

6. Presentation & Discussion of James Dwyer's notes on "Apostolic Missionary Service as a Vocation: Relic of the past or critical to the future in the UMC." Jim comments on the fact that he did not have time to do research and present a formal paper, but his thoughts on two basic commissions in the New Testament: Matthew 28 and Acts 1:8-9 were the basis of his presentation and led to a fruitful discussion. One basic idea was that the present problems to send out missionaries by GBGM is presented as an economic problem, yet it was felt that the crux of the matter was really theological.

7. Fred Price presented his Coordinator's Report and requested we approve a $50 donation to Emmanuel UMC, Oaklyn, NJ in appreciation for their support of Fred's work with UMMA.

8. Fred Price also presented the Financial Report, which he had prepared, which had the approval of Jim Gulley, Treasurer (in Cambodia) who has copies of all documents received and processed. There was a suggestion that UMMA advertise in its Update the donation of bequests, which was approved.

9. Budget for 2006. There was a discussion on some line items, but the Provisional Budget presented by Fred Price was adopted with the clarification that the Administrative Council could adapt it over the year as needed.

10. By-law changes. The recommended changes were ratified so that no term limits exist for Steering Committee members (it had already been approved via email consultation). Delete "but may not serve for more than 8 years" from Section 2, a. iii. Also those whose terms were to expire in 2005 were re-elected for one more year.

Also, the new members of the Administrative Council were presented (elected and ratified via e-mail) and for the first time is composed of all active missionaries: Chair: James Dwyer; Secretary: Carol Seckel; Vice-Chair: Cherie White; Treasurer: Jim Gulley.

11. Presentation by Lynda Byrd, Director of Development, GBGM. Lynda...dynamically shared on how her office is addressing diminishing funds for mission and working on a financial development plan. Strategies: 1) Mission advocacy: internal & external, 2) Church partnerships, 3) Donor cultivation, 4) Covenant relationships...

12. The session ended with a prayer by Jim Dwyer.

October 10, Session 2, 9 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, Stamford, CT.

1. The devotional led by Dick Vreeland, was very moving. [in UU#36]

2. We had the presence of Wendy Rhodehamel, Board member from the MPU, who was assigned to meet with UMMA at our request....

3. Report of the Chair, Norma (a document was shared with all present). Norma highlighted some points such as the fact that one's missionary commission is considered forever; that the reorganization of the GBGM negated team work with missionaries; that there has been little movement with the new leadership, but that there are optimistic signs; there is a decrease in long-term, cross-cultural missionaries, yet there are new ones; there is a request that there be a systematic review of the Collins Pension Plan, since increases have been sporadic; there was a mention of work on LOA's (Letters of Agreement) which not everyone has; non-payments of the premium of Medicare Plan B; she emphasized the fact that longer term missionaries is a theological issue, not an economic one; Ric Schwenk's work on the Update was raised up as great work; the concluding note was one of achieving an Administrative Council fully composed of active missionaries.

4. There was consultation with Wendy Rhodehamel as to whether she will be assigned to be present in UMMA meetings just this time or over the Quadrennium. She understood it would be the full time. (P.S. the MPU (Mission Contexts and Relationships) later determined that they wanted to rotate representatives - see results later in the minutes).

5. Howard Heiner presents: "GBGM Relations and the Way Forward," mentioning several key issues:

  1. The need to have a Consultation with all 3 missionary associations (UMMA, CCW and NADAM).
  2. The need for Board Directors to have direct access to all sources of decision making: partner churches, overseas and U.S. missionaries.
  3. The struggle to know where God is calling us.
  4. It should be a high priority of all that GBGM should lead the United Methodist Church forward in mission. How can we communicate jointly and be on the same team in this effort?

6. Wendy Chun presented her concern that her LOA hasn't been sent to her. It will be added to the agenda of those meeting with Edith Gleaves later on.

7. Ric Schwenk informed that missionaries present represent 674 years of service (includes absent spouses), speak 20 languages and are in 24 fields of service.

8. Medicare Plan B premium reimbursements are part of the Collins funded pension benefits for standard support missionaries. It has been brought to the attention of the staff that some missionaries are not receiving this benefit. It is felt that the Directors do not know how the income intended for the CPP (Collins Pension Plan) is being used. UMMA will continue to request review of and information about the funds for clarification and understanding.

9. At this point, Wendy Rhodehamel withdrew from the session due to another commitment. There was an 11:30 break for lunch.

10. We reconvened at 2 p.m. at the GBGM Opening Session. Bishop Oystein Olsen from Norway presided in the absence of Bishop Joel Martinez, President of the GBGM. There was a multi-media worship service with communion, followed by presentations. When UMMA was presented and we all stood, the assembly applauded and Bishop Olsen shared our statistics of years of service, languages and fields of service represented.

11. UMMA remained in the session until it adjourned to go to supper. Treasurer Roland Fernandes gave his report, mentioning that the GBGM was out of its financial deficit. Gen. Secretary Randy Day gave information & asked for prayers for all those areas which have suffered from natural disasters. Paul Dirdak from UMCOR gave a visual presentation of GBGM's response to these situations; and Sam Dixon from ECG (Evangelism and Church Growth) reported on response to disaster throughout the world.

12. After supper, the different units met. Many of us visited the MPU session. There was the impression that the Directors still do not have a clear idea as to how missionaries are being supported. A draft of the new Handbook was presented, highlighting certain points where changes had taken place. Wendy Rhodehamel reported on her meeting with UMMA in the morning. UMMA's request to speak to the directors was not honored.

October 11, Session at First United Methodist Church in Stamford, CT, 9:00 a.m.

1. We were greeted by the minister of the church, Rev. Douglas MacArthur.

2. Norma Kehrberg led us in the opening prayer.

3. Fred Price explained that with the rise in hotel costs, UMMA could not subsidize people as much as in the past. Each of us settled our financial obligations with Fred, who had everyone's bills already prepared.

4. Sally Ott, CCW liaison presented her report, mentioning that she would be rotating out and that Gayle Lesure would be the new representative. Norma K. thanked her for relating to UMMA and her faithfulness. Sally expressed an interest in the renewal of the joint consultation of the 3 missionary associations.

5. Presentation of Debriefings from our small group sessions:

  1. Norma talked about the lunch she, Bruce Griffith, Fred Price and Jim Dwyer had with Edith Gleaves, Wendy Rhodehamel, Steve Goldstein, John Petersen, MPU Chair, John Nuessle and Roland Fernandes. There was a discussion as to whether Wendy R. would represent the MPU at UMMA meetings during the Quadriennium or whether they would rotate representatives. Edith had no position and considered that it should be decided by the Cabinet.
  2. The information that active missionaries would be UMMA leaders was presented as a courtesy.
  3. It was requested that the missionary consultation with the 3 associations be reactivated. This would be worked on together in coordination with the MPU staff.
  4. It was requested that a policy be established for regular increases for payment for service years (this in relation to the Collins Pension Plan).There were divergent opinions on Edith's and Roland's response to this issue. Roland acknowledged the need for a standard procedure for this.
  5. Medicare B premiums reimbursement. Steve G. said that they were working on it, reviewing each case and that everyone would be paid in full and retroactively... [A benefit for those who qualify with 15 or more years of service.]
  6. UMMA asked that Directors implement a policy which sets the per service year rate at 1% of the DAC (Denominational Ave. Compensation). Such a policy would ensure that the rates would be reviewed every year automatically since the DAC changes every year.
  7. Matters related to the CPP will be worked through the MIR's and Kevin and Carol Seckel. If there is no answer by March, we would request a meeting before the April Board meeting, working with Jim Dwyer.
  8. Debriefing of the previous night's MPU meeting. A major issue was the problem with LOA's, especially Wendy Chun's situation. A problem seems to be the clarification of her job description in terms of GBGM's mission priorities...We expressed solidarity with her.
  9. Kevin Seckel reported on the MCR session in which it was stated that in the last 3-5 years the missionary pool has gone from 391 to 245 missionaries.
  10. We broke for lunch and reconvened at 1:50 p.m. to meet in groups.

6. Group Sessions Reports and Related Actions:

  1. Group 1: Finances and Membership
    1. A move was defeated by the Gathering to raise membership dues.
    2. A focus on increasing membership was considered the best way of raising funds and that we should sharpen our approach; each responding with the recruitment of new members.
    3. Reunions were seen as an excellent way of promoting membership and collecting dues.
    4. 2006 is UMMA's 10th Anniversary and we should capitalize on it.
    5. We should recognize Gil Bascom as a Charter Member.
    6. Mention in the Update our "Achievements" to promote UMMA...
    7. Howard Heiner will monitor reunions and designate an UMMA representative to be present.
    8. Use MIR's to promote membership, especially with new missionaries as they are commissioned.
  2. Group 2: Relationship of UMMA to GBGM
    1. Help GBGM and Church-at-large define its vision of mission in the world: theology, geo-political issues, etc.
    2. There is an issue of labor relations and it is important to promote fair labor practices.
    3. A distance from GBGM has been created; we should focus on bishops, ministers and local congregations.
    4. Continue a presence at the professors of missiology meetings.
    5. There should be a personal letter from the new Chair, James Dwyer to the Directors in the MPU & the GBGM Staff to engage them in the vision of mission.
    6. That UMMA be recognized in the "U.M. Book of Discipline" (this issue was not discussed fully).
  3. Group 3: Organizational Make-up of UMMA
    1. Future of the Steering Committee - keep as is.
    2. Constitution, p. 7, art. vi - notify the Chair.
    3. Constituton, p. 8, Sect. 3, a, iii - review.
    4. Task Forces are a good place for retirees to contribute.
    5. Plan for a Global Mission Conference sponsored by UMMA in which there could be a discussion of the broader missional concept and to help raise consciousness.
    6. Gay Johnson suggests adding a "Missional Moment" to the Update.

7. General Matters

  1. The Provisional Budget was approved. It is a balanced budget and can be improved if the financial strategies are implemented.
  2. Budget. Jim Dwyer, Fred Price and Jim Gulley will work on line items.
  3. Norma K. will send a thank you note to Rev. MacArthur for the use of the church.
  4. UMMA Gathering 2006. The Steering Committee will decide the location. It will not necessarily be in conjunction with a GBGM Board meeting. In any case, UMMA should always have a representative at Board meetings.
  5. Mailing list, hard copies. Gene Matthews volunteers to handle this for a year.

8. Jim Dwyer is installed as new Chair of UMMA.

9. Howard Heiner leads us in a final devotion, focusing on Hebrews 13 and how different kinds of service were pleasing to God; how do we combine fear and faith in a time of grace and how can we be focused.

by Cherie White, Secretary, outgoing


St. Louis Meeting: "Day of Conversation Around Topics of Mutual Concern", May 12-13, 2003

Official Minutes by David Markay, MIR

Participants:
R. Randy Day, General Secretary, GBGM
Curtis Henderson, GBGM Director,MissionPersonnel Committee Chair
Sally Dyck, GBGM Director, Personnel Committee Chair
Stephen Goldstein, GBGMMissionPersonnel Unit, Assistant General Secretary
David Markay, GBGM Missionary-in-Residence
Meri Whitaker, Church and Community Worker
Harry Howe, Church and Community Worker
Bud Carroll, United Methodist Missionary Association
Howard Heiner, United Methodist Missionary Association
Joanne Reich, National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries
Shay Blackwell, National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries

Meeting began with lunch at 12:30pm in the Jefferson Room of the Four Points Hotel.

Steve Goldstein led the group in opening worship, focusing on John 14:8-14.

Discussion began with each group represented sharing concerns and visions.

Day: Welcomed and thanked group. Expressed apologies from Rev. Edith Gleaves, whose health concerns prevented her from attending this meeting. Underlined the importance of listening to people who know the context; cited examples of recent trial in Bali, storms in Midwestern USA, medical issues like SARS and others - that people who serve in those contexts have an insight that is valuable. Listening is important. Relating to the local church is a key in our mission endeavors; cited his own experience as pastor and DS. In discussions about budget and mission, we need to keep before us the question, How are these programs affecting these problems and issues? How are they actually touching peoples' lives?

[Group agreed that David Markay would write minutes]

Henderson: Expressed concern that directors are often limited in their knowledge on matters for which they act. Directors often depend on the views of staff to guide them. Directors have limited knowledge of history; he has leaned heavily on MIR's, MIIR's, staff, to help him understand more about the contexts for mission service when directors are called on to make decisions relative to policy. For example, some mission endeavors looked quite promising and exciting at the time directors were asked to vote on them; the flaws only became apparent later (10-10-10 is an example). Directors have copious amounts of material to read. It takes a long time to understand the mechanics of the GBGM, and some directors still do not understand these mechanics fully.

Dyck: Reflected on the impact that the '96 restructuring had on the GBGM, the MP unit; and commented that some of the relationships within the system have deteriorated because of the restructuring. It is difficult for directors to get oriented; often very disorienting when you begin, hard to grasp how things are done.

Henderson: There is little in the way of orientation for new directors. It is even harder for persons from Central Conferences to get oriented because of issues of language and culture. For example, how are persons new to the process expected to understand immediately all the acrostics, initials that are used? Some standing committees have initiated the process of "shepherding" new directors who are brought on in the middle of a quadrennium.

Howe: At at least one of the previous consultations, some members of the associations raised concerns about the 10-10-10 program. Did any of those concerns ever reach the directors?

Henderson: Directors have had to trust the staff that everything is before the directors before they (directors) are asked to vote on a matter.

Reich: Serious concerns were raised by all three associations that the things presented to directors were not only the reasons for a particular issue, but also the reasons against. There has been little way to channel dissenting opinions. The only way has been to go through the GBGM staff.

Henderson: In my own conference, I urge questions for the Board of Church and Society to go directly to the C&S directors.

Reich: We have been told not to speak to directors.

Day: That's all history. You can talk with the directors.

Whittaker: We were told that the only access to the directors was through the cabinet. Outlined the present relationship: Church and Community Workers, and Deaconesses have national advisory committees. UMMA does not; that is why UMMA has met with directors most frequently. "The vehicle [for dialogue] has never had good wheels on it."

Missionaries have been told not to speak to directors. In addition, since there is so much confusion in the local churches about things like the apportionment and the advance, we need something like a power point presentation about the GBGM; something to get the word out and to explain. Education is a problem throughout the church.

Henderson: Directors who will start in 2004 come out of the milieu - lack of mission education in our churches, lack of info about many aspects of the church, lack of knowledge about how GBGM works.Missionbegins and ends in the local church. The axis of all that happens in our church is the local church. Other religious organizations are more effective in getting their message out, because their message is constantly bombarding the local church.

Dyck: Something needed that is similar to new clergy orientation that is done in East Ohio Conference. Mission education is not happening at the seminary level.

Whittaker: Missiology is not taught enough in our seminaries.

Goldstein: Wondered if prior to restructuring there was more awareness on the part of the directors.

Heiner: It's like day and night. In the 80's in the context of Latin America, missionaries felt a partnership with staff and directors. We were a team. I was called quite often to attend Board meetings. We hammered out policies together.

Goldstein: Through processes like those, staff learned many things.

Heiner: Communication is more than PowerPoint presentations, more than reading reams of material. These tools only go one direction.

Goldstein: Initially, after restructuring the communication even with the GBGM was more difficult.

Day: Recalled in his days as a DS, when he would sit in every 6 months at the Board of Directors Meetings held inManhattanduring those years, listening in on discussions, asking people questions. This openness was very helpful.

Carroll: Served eleven years as a GBGM staff person. The progression was like moving from freedom to slavery. There had been close relations between directors and staff. There was comradery between staff and directors. Missionaries were called in to have dialogue.

Henderson: At one time "sub-staff" were once available to directors for dialogue. In reading material about how organizations work, I would say that the current problems are not about structure. The Board has never transitioned through the '96 restructuring.

Markay: MIR's observed that after the Fall '02 Board meeting, which they attended, staff in NY wanted to learn about details. There is a gap of dialogue, and a fear of an open flow of information. While on one hand, staff have been told not to speak to directors, staff is still eager to hear what directors have decided. R. Day did much to address this gap after his speech at the Birmingham April '03 Board meeting, urging staff and directors to eat together, talk with one another, not sit at separate tables for meals.

Day: In an early meeting with Cabinet, I urged each to have meals with directors. It is exciting to get people with a common interest together. Why wouldn't we take advantage of our time together?

(Day asked for a return to agenda, and the opening comments given by each group)

Markay: Commented on the manner in which people from different cultures interact. Some believe that when encountering someone from a different culture, if you raise your voice, enunciate more clearly, your point will be understood. That, however, is not healthy dialogue. We cannot underestimate the impact of our respective cultures on this dialogue. There is a culture at GBGM, with many sub-cultures (who are sometimes at odds). There is a culture of experience and views around this table. Each can benefit from encountering the other. In the absence of understanding between groups, we can inject malice that was not intended, see the other only as threat, hunker down into siege mentality where info is embargoed, refuse to speak to the other or listen to divergent views… Even with sharp disagreements, holy things can come when we sit down at the table together. Cited Mandela/DeKlerk negotiations. MIR role needs to be re-evaluated as a tool for dialogue - it can be a channel; but needs more power within the GBGM to be heard.

[Break]

Whittaker: Commented on organizational structure. One drawback is several vehicles for communication have been set up, then the people involved change positions. Continuity is lacking. CCW is concerned that Church and Community Workers not lose their special identity. Another concern is the continued status of a Church and Community Worker presence in NY, where Brenda Connelly is currently serving.

Howe: Time of dialogue is needed. We want to get to know the staff better. Because we've not been invited to directors' meetings, we do not know the directors well. Urged reinstituting invitations to the missionary community to the BOD meetings, begin again the consultation process to share concerns and policy issues. Cited the CCW bi-annual meetings as an important venue for dialogue and community. Upcoming CCW meeting will be at Camp Sumatangain AL,September 17-21, 2003.

Henderson: Would be a good idea to invite directors to events like those, especially directors who live in the area where the meeting was being held.

Day: Commented on the September '03 Camp Sumatanga meeting, adding, "I'm going to try to get there".

Reich: Explained the history and status of deaconesses. Emphasized deaconesses' role as laywomen within the church who are committed to Christian service, in particular in places where people have been marginalized. Support from the GBGM is primarily spiritual, administrative, not financial. After restructuring, many did not understand who the deaconesses actually are; need for education. Deaconesses are often on the cutting edge of ministries, often our front even of local churches in their areas of concern. NADAM is considering ways of opening up its structures to men who wish to live out their call in that way; legislation will appear at '04 General Conference. Raised question as to whether NADAM can play a role in the healing of the10-10-10endings. Perhaps some of those people can be incorporated as deaconesses so as to continue an official relationship with GBGM.

Every two years NADAM holds a National Convocation, made up of 180-200 persons; fully staffed and funded from sources outside GBGM, done by NADAM leadership team; includes an educational piece. Women's Division offers some scholarship money for persons wishing to attend who would have financial difficulties doing so. Next convocation will be at Gulfside Assembly, October '04.

In responding to a question, J. Reich clarified that NADAM is North American deaconesses only.

Heiner: Divided up UMMA's concerns into "external" and "internal" concerns. Under external, reiterated the MDC's list of priorities in its March '03 draft document, "Christian Mission in the New Millenium," i.e, Christian mission a) in Multi-Faith Settings, b) and Globalization, c) Seeking Peace and Security, and d) as Partnership.

Under "internal" concerns, referred to UMMA's October 2001 document, The Challenge of Mission Leadership in the New Millenium". Commented that structure hampers effective communication. GBGM staff turn-over is high, and experience level in particular areas is limited. There is a lack of framework for participation by partners and missionaries. Commented that UMMA has been critical of the GBGM, has offended some staff members, even though UMMA leadership tried to keep criticisms professional, not personal. UMMA's statements have been distorted. We have been accused of being racist. It has become a high confrontation relationship between GBGM staff and UMMA. There is a need for reconciliation. R. Day's speech inBirmingham(April '03) was seen as a reaching out in that spirit.

Carroll: Entitled his remarks, "Moving from Good Friday to the Fourth Day"; the fourth day being Jesus' call to his followers to be in effective and caring mission. Referring to C. Henderson's previous comments, he stated that UMMA does feel that this is a structural problem. We need to confess that we are part of a body that is ill. We make this diagnosis without joy. There is a lot of hurt in this body. We want to move on. We want to hear about the past but not dwell in it. UMMA remains committed to mission…we want to be part of the solution, not the problem; move from "sad mistrust to trust...from power-holding to power-sharing...from an era of controlled hierarchy to partnership. Missionary community is seeking a voice, not vote on issues.

Reflected that GBGM program cabinet macro and micro manages GBGM. UMMA does not seek a vote; we do want, however, to be heard. New staff should be hired for their commitment to Christ or their experiences in that area, not for their loyalty to a particular staff member. These issues have to be addressed by structural change.

Henderson: Reminded the group that the '92 General Conference had mandated the restructuring which took place in '96. It was also mandated that the '96 restructuring was to be reevaluated at the '00 General Conference. In 2000 some issues were raised about the new structure. The issue is to be revisited again in '04. Let us not be mired in the past. Commented how valuable missionary input has been to him personally in the past, cited example of Norma Kehrberg's book on history of UMCOR.

Goldstein: Didn't we not have more participation of directors on policy matters, for example, in the MP unit?

Carroll: There was a time when 'outsiders,' such as partner churches, annual conferences, missionaries, were given voice in some of those MP discussions.

Dyck: Observed that the system was in need of "a cultural revolution" of trust. It is not only a structural issue. It's a whole cultural shift that needs to take place. She expressed surprise that, based on some of the previous comments, GBGM staff had been afraid to express their opinions, especially to directors.

Day: Noted that while he has observed a callousness in some areas of the GBGM to hear views of mission personnel, that situation did not exist in all areas of the Board. Some units have more issues to deal with in this area than do others.

Carroll: The restructuring was done for more economic and political reasons than theological and missiological. Partners are not out there just to be a name; they want to be partners.

Henderson: In '94 the Connectional Process Team was initiated to explore issues of being a fully global church. General Conference members were under the impression that the GBGM was going to move in that direction, too.

[At this time, R. Day suggested group adjust the order of the agenda. It was decided to focus on item 2d, which reads, "Proposed: to form a new framework for increased input of all related groups on matters of personnel, programming, consultation, visioning, and implementation of policy"]

Reich: One of the original intents of the missionary handbook was to help with communication, to help respond to misinformation. That purpose was never developed. The handbook still needs an introductory chapter which would include a definition of the different types of mission service supported by the Board. This introductory chapter, and the entire handbook itself, should be available to all new mission personnel, as well as for directors' reference.

Whittaker: Categories of mission service need more definition; the introductory chapter should include the GBGM's theological statement of mission as an educational tool.

Heiner: Directors should have the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives before they make decisions. A "cabinet filter" keeps some information from ever reaching the directors.

Dyck: Suggested giving certain persons "ex-officio" role in the decision making process.

Heiner: Not sure that ex-officio status was necessary. Cited example of the 1999 decision to give raises to GBGM staff. 2001 Simpsonwood missionary conference created "CPR" committee to review issues of salary. Associations were promised a place on that committee. Association representation on that committee, in the end, never materialized.

Whittaker: It was also decided several years ago that the new covenant [for missionary support] handbook was to include missionary input. It never happened.

Goldstein: It was not that the missionary input was not received; it was not included in the new handbook. Consulting in the process does not mean that you'll get what you want. The compensation report did include missionary input. In the end the document was not accepted by the cabinet.

Dyck: How do we implement in our program staff work, directors' work, that missionary input would be included? Are you seeking a framework?

Heiner: No, not a new framework.

Henderson: All the policy of the Board should be available on request.

Day: I would lean towards not legislating a new framework. The process should include consulting, circulating documents. Not a lot of money is available for new layers of consultation.

Heiner: UMMA was blocked from getting in touch directly with directors. At the consultation at McCurdy several years ago, we said we weren't satisfied with the staff in its passing things on the directors. Could we not have a "minority report" that accompanies legislation that staff sends to directors?

Henderson: At the August '02 meeting inChicago, it was decided that UMMA could participate in directors' meetings. This new practice occurred at the October '02 board meeting in Stamford, CT, and again at the April '03 board meeting in Birmingham, AL.

Whittaker: I would advocate for having the consultations again. CCW and NADAM were not invited to the directors' MP committee meetings. If the directors had more input from missionary community, they [directors] could reflect as they received a piece of legislation: What I heard the missionary community say about this was… The consultations should not be held at expensive hotels, but at mission sites. Let us reconstruct the old consultations.

Markay: Whenever the issue of reinstating the consultations is brought up, the suggestion is met with the tough economic realities the Board is facing. In fact, after UMMA's January '03 meeting with R. Day, the MIR office was asked to research the costs for the previous consultations - believe the most recent one cost between $80,000 and 100,000. For that reason, the MP committee at the April '03 meeting set up a task force - made up of several directors, staff, MIR, association reps - to brainstorm on creative ways for maintaining the spirit of dialogue without having to pay for flying everyone to a larger consultation. The committee members have already begun to bring up issues such as chat rooms, conference calls, tacking on meetings to already planned events...

Goldstein: It would be wise to look at places such as Cookson [OK] and the Alma Matthews House [NYC], where we would not have to pay for housing. Associations have been willing to pay travel for their reps in the past; this might be an approach for future events.

Carroll: We are not for creating more bureaucracy. A less-formalized form of dialogue is necessary, a cross-section of people that participate in the discussions. You can't invite everyone, but you can invite different persons at different times for dialogue about particular issues. For example, a group is needed to discuss the "at will" clause in the Letter of Agreement for missionaries. There should always be a flavor or taste from the missionary community. Another example: Missionaries-in-Residence used to be selected by the missionary community. They could sit in on every meeting of the Board.

Markay: It has been our experience that while MIR's are encouraged to participate in meetings within the MP Unit, their involvement in meetings outside that unit are limited. Furthermore, MIR's have been put in the awkward position of being given some information at 475, but are told that the information is "embargoed". For example, on several occasions, the MIR office has asked for permission to float a policy draft to the missionary associations; the MIR input then includes a broader cross-section of perspectives. I would hope that in the cultural shift that we are talking about, embargoes would be fewer, and information would flow more freely, in all directions.

[Break for Dinner. R. Day asked that the discussions continue during dinner. At three separate tables, staff, directors and association members divided themselves appropriately.]

Conversation resumed, focusing on agenda items:

  1. Proposed: To create a new form of missionary gathering;
  2. Proposed: To forge a new means of dialogue between staff, directors, associations, and larger missionary community;
  3. To find creative avenues for increased missionary participation in BOD's meetings;
  4. Proposed: To form a new framework for increased input of all related groups on matters of personnel, programming, consultation, visioning, and implementation of policy.

Reich: Consultations were a way for retirees to be honored by their colleagues. Perhaps missionary gatherings could occur every-other year?

Goldstein: There is the real hope at the GBGM to commission new missionaries in '04. Hopefully, this will include the commissioning of deaconesses.

Reich: What is the possibility of having regional events?

Goldstein: Cited the examples of meaningful missionary gatherings in particular regions of the world. These obviously cost money, but are effective forums for dialogue and support.

Heiner: We need somehow to gather with staff.

Markays: What about adding time to the directors' meetings? The directors and staff are already there, and the missionaries who are itinerating or living in the area, could also be invited. It would be more cost-effective than organizing a separate event, and would give the opportunity for dialogue.

Dyck: Already there is so much on the schedule at directors' meetings. Perhaps that would not be the right time.

Heiner: Brought up the issue of the Collins Task Force. The use of the Collins Fund has not been fully looked into. A task force was formed, then disbanded. Why not reinstate the task force? Furthemore, the "at will" clause in the missionary letters of agreement is unjust. Why has all discussion about the inclusion of the clause in the contract been discontinued?

Goldstein: Sometimes, UMMA just does not want to accept the answers. The GBGM received from its legal counsel the advice to include the "at will" clause in the letters of agreement. New Yorkstate law requires the "at will" clause; cites specific examples where such a clause protects the GBGM from law suits.

Carroll: It is my experience that legal advice can be manipulated by the management to suit its cause. The "at will" clause is an example.

Goldstein: The "at will" clause protects the Board from litigation from missionaries.

Whittaker: Missionaries need to be informed about what's happening at the Board. Those of us out there interpreting the mission need to be kept informed. For example, put the missionaries on Conference Mission Secretary mailing lists so that we receive regular mailing from the GBGM. We are sometimes called on to interpret what happened to the 10-10-10 plan. Is our opinion valued?

Carroll: Would like to see more use made of retired missionaries. We are a valuable resource for the Board who are often ignored.

Markay: Reflected on the pride he felt to be a UM during missionary training, where the theme of empowerment was stressed, such as in books like "Pedagogy of the Oppressed". Missionaries of the GBGM are trained to bring all people to the table, to honor all voices, especially of the marginalized, to seek consensus, to hear many perspectives and even allow them to change us. Sadly, much of that way of operating is missing at the mission headquarters. Urged a new openness in cabinet and unit leadership to seek the voices from the outside.

Day: Acknowledged the importance of works like "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" in the mission of the church. Cited the positive results from the GBGM listening sessions.

Dyck: The GBGM listening sessions that were held around theUSand elsewhere were effective tools. They gave the General Secretary and other staff the opportunity to hear what others are saying.

Day: Offered his willingness to remain an extra day at an event where he's already scheduled. Acknowledged how rapidly his schedule fills up, but suggested that with enough prior planning, his office could invite the appropriate people to discuss particular issues.

Howe: It would be helpful to find out who the particular directors are in that region, as well as the association reps who live nearby, so that they could attend such sessions with the General Secretary. Other missionaries, who are not members of any of the three associations, could also be invited.

Day: Important to invite staff, directors to such events; anything that can get people talking with another strengthens the work we do. Mentioned the upcoming chat room (May 15, 2003) in which he will be available for dialogue over the net.

Reich: Suggested that publicizing the events in advance, such as Board meetings, so that those living in the area, might attend.

Markay: Suggested posting upcoming events on the GBGM web site. Suggested that R. Day and other GBGM staff members might consider posting some of the events they will be attending on the web, so that interested persons might come in contact with them. Cited example of congressional reps who announce their speaking engagements in local papers, radio, and web so as to be more available to their constituencies.

Day: Announced the hiring of Rena Yocom as new "Special Assistant to the General Secretary", effectiveJune 15, 2003. Formerly employed at the GBGM, she will work out ofKansas City, have regular contact with local churches, help prepare GBGM for General Conference, serve as Public Information Officer, attend some events R. Day cannot attend.

[In remaining minutes, group asked R. Day to preview the issues of General Conference '04]

Day: Outlined some of the issues which will be before the General Conference inPittsburgh. Noted that October 1, '03 is the deadline for legislation.

Reich: General Conference will also hear legislation about "home missioners," - a parallel organization to the deaconesses, only for men.

[At 9:30pm, R. Day asked B. Carroll to lead the group in prayer. Following prayer, the meeting was adjourned. More informal conversations took place among the members until almost midnight, and at breakfast on Tuesday morning].

Respectfully submitted,

David Markay
GBGM Missionary-in-Residence


Report of GBGM Meeting, April 7-10, in Birmingham, Alabama

It was Tuesday morning, April 8, 2003, day two of the Board Meeting which is traditionally set aside for the address of the General Secretary, the Reverend Randy Day. The hotel ballroom filled quickly and additional chairs were brought in to accommodate the Conference Secretaries of Global Ministries who joined the assembly to hear the General Secretary's address. All waited in anticipation, yet with some apprehension, fully aware of the difficult financial status of the board. How would the new General Secretary of a board with a severe financial crisis address the mission board to provide the leadership to guide the church at this time of peril?

The Report of the GBGm Meeting is in pdf format. If you are unable to read pdf files, then click on the Adobe Acrobat logo, and download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

UMMA Representatives Meeting with R. Randy Day, GBGM General Secretary

February 10, 2003
To: UMMA Steering Committee
Fr: Norma Kehrberg, Chair UMMA
Re: Report of January 31, 2003 meeting

Dear Friends:

Greetings and best wishes. I am happy to forward to you the report from the January 31, 2003 meeting of the UMMA Representatives with Randy Day, General Secretary of GBGM. This report by the UMMA representatives has been shared with Mr. Day. He has indicated that it is an accurate reflection of their meeting.

Please review the report. If you have specific comments related to the meeting or issues reflected in the report and/or require addition information, please direct your queries to Howard Heiner, as the convener of the meeting.

This report provides us with issues that UMMA will want to place on the Mission Personnel Agenda at the April meeting of the GBGM. We need your suggestions for that agenda also.

I want to express my deep appreciation to Howard, Kristin and Bud for representing UMMA at the meeting with Randy Day on January 31, 2003. However, I also want to thank Millie Carroll and David Markay who were involved in preparation leading up to the meeting, in thinking through the issues strategizing as well as involved in the debriefing following the meeting.

What a difference a "Day" makes.


UMMA Representatives Meeting with R. Randy Day, GBGM General Secretary

31 January 2003, 10:00am to 1:20pm

UMMA Representatives: Howard Heiner, Kristin Markay, Bud Carroll

  1. I. Introduction. Circled around Randy's conference table with freshly brewed Sumatra coffee before us, we joined hands for prayer. Bud told Randy, "UMMA's concern is not a return to the past. Rather, to reclaim a spirit of cooperation and justice as GBGM Directors, staff, mission personnel and partner organizations seek to fulfill God's mission in the 21st Century."

    There was mutual agreement that we would follow the proposed agenda UMMA had previously sent to Randy, asking him to first share some thoughts regarding his vision for GBGM's future. Bud served as time keeper to insure we were able to at least touch all the proposed agenda items.

  2. Randy's response to a question about his vision for GBGM's future included the following:
    1. In working towards a new agenda and vision, he wants to first listen to the diverse segments of GBGM: staff, partner church organizations, mission personnel, directors and grassroots United Methodists. He stated, "...mission personnel are clearly an important group within our church. I am encouraging GBGM staff to spend more time in getting to know our missionaries. Not just Mission Personnel staff but people from other Board units as well."
    2. "Partnership in mission must include spiritual, theological and financial development. We must also find ways to narrow the gap between central and local units of our church. I've spent thirty years in the local church as a pastor and superintendent, and know through these experiences the importance of having local people aboard. I also want to focus on ways to better involve the '30's crowd'. These are young adults with interest and commitment to mission. We must find ways to better involve them in the missional life of the church."
    3. "We must find ways to better involve retired persons in mission. This must include not only retired lay members of local congregations, but also retired mission personnel. These people are a rich resource of mission which we must not overlook."
    4. "I don't need to whip up a Randy Day vision of mission. The Book of Discipline already provides us with a general overview of our tasks. However, I'm an optimist and I want to give people time to turn around."
    5. Desire to better involve Directors in the shaping of future missional priorities and practices.
  3. Howard provided some background information regarding the origin of UMMA.
    1. Bob Harman encouraged the missionary community to form an association of missionaries from the then World Division. During the first three years, UMMA sought to work cooperatively with GBGM staff.
    2. Following the formation of the Collins Task Force, UMMA found staff quite reluctant to provide information regarding the Collins pension and health plans. By 1999, UMMA became greatly disillusioned with the way the General Secretary and senior staff related to UMMA.
    3. In September 1999 the three missionary associations [Church and Community Workers, Deaconesses/ NADAM and UMMA] were invited to meet with Dr. Nugent and the Mission Personnel Unit leadership team. An agreement was reached to hold two yearly missionary consultations and a Mission Forum of directors, staff and mission personnel. Unfortunately, these agreements lead to future tensions and misunderstandings.
    4. During the Mission Forum, UMMA raised a number of missionary-related issues of which the directors were unaware. A major flaw in the structure of the Mission Forum was lack of future action by any of the participants - directors, staff or mission personnel.
    5. UMMA previously expressed disappointment to Bishop Martinez, President of the GBGM Board of Directors, regarding GBGM staff response to UMMA issues. It was hoped that as Board President, the Bishop would take no "sides," but rather would insure an equitable approach for issues to be raised. After the initial contact Howard noted the Bishop failed to respond to any of his telephone calls or letters. Over a year transpired before UMMA was able to meet with Bishop Martinez and other directors in Chicago to attempt to resolve the tension between staff and UMMA.
    6. Howard noted, "UMMA colleagues were perplexed by Bishop Martinez's refusal to intervene in the growing tension between GBGM staff and UMMA." Randy noted he has concrete ideas on how to better relate to the Bishop, including more frequent and periodic meetings with him. Randy appeared appreciative for Howard's suggestion that GBGM consider providing part-time secretarial service for the Bishop's GBGM-related activities.
  4. Non-renewal of Mission Personnel: Guidelines and Appeal process.
    1. UMMA noted the revised numbers of non-renewed mission personnel given in the recent GBGM news release. The Fall 2002 figure reported 88 Standard Support missionaries; the January 2003 figure was 51 - as of June 30, 2003. UMMA questions and challenges the letter's reference that consultation with partner agencies had been carried out and shared. Three differing examples from South America, Korea and Mexico were mentioned.
    2. Randy noted that MP and MCR staff had worked together to evaluate placement of mission personnel and to finalize the list. UMMA strongly urged him not to continue the process of micromanagement of the previous General Secretary, but because of the sensitivity and justice issues of this matter, he should secure greater detail about what kind of process MP/MCR staff used.
    3. UMMA noted previous efforts to formulate and implement a grievance process were tabled by the Directors at the Fall 2002 Board Meeting. Randy asked, "What suggestions would you all make to help resolve this matter?" Howard urged for starters, the inclusion of partner agencies in evaluating and determining future assignments and assurance of some kind of fair hearing for involved mission personnel.
  5. Working relationship between GBGM staff, active mission personnel and missionary associations. UMMA urges the following:
    1. Future relations should be with all three missionary associations, not focused on UMMA.
    2. Resumption of twice-yearly Mission Personnel Consultations, with new guidelines and objectives.
    3. Need to investigate management of the Collins Pension Plan, which some suggest has been illegal and mismanaged. Also why Collins Pension Plan information has been embargoed and unavailable to recipients of this program. The Collins pension plan payment per service year goal is supposed to be 1% of the median income of a U.S. United Methodist clergy. Unfortunately, there is a perception that the Program Cabinet wants to keep the percentage low so that the "extra funds" can be used for general funding purposes.
    4. Review the goals of Mission Forums for communication between directors, staff and mission personnel.
    5. Resumption of Global Mission Personnel Conferences with revised goals and guidelines. Randy appears quite keen for this to happen and to also hold regional mission personnel conferences outside The United States. Kristin Markay was asked to check on the financial costs of previous GMPC.
    6. Randy also appears interested to have, where financially possible, periodic mission personnel-related events within The United States, including participation from GBGM staff, Annual Conference mission secretaries, active and retired mission personnel and other interested people.
  6. Use the Global Gathering to further motivate United Methodist to increase support for mission & mission personnel.

    When encouraged to personally use the GG experience to appeal for increased support from local churches, Randy noted, "I've sworn the Program Cabinet to secrecy. Wait until next week and you will know the answer to this matter." [Note: GG has now been cancelled.]

  7. UMMA request to form diverse tasks forces. UMMA suggests such possibilities as:
    1. Collins Retirement and Health Benefit Plans.
    2. Compensation and benefits for the 11 categories of mission personnel.
    3. Mobilization of The United Methodist Church around mission and response to our current theological and financial crises.
    4. Present GBGM organizational structure and its ability to envision and respond to mission today.
    5. Ways to further enhance ecumenical sharing or resources in mission.
  8. Concluding items.
    1. Howard: We know there is a need to seek reconciliation with some GBGM staff, particularly colleagues in the Mission Personnel Unit.
    2. Howard reported that Sally Dyck was interested in GBGM holding another Chicago-type meeting between directors, staff and mission personnel. Randy plans to talk with Sally about this.
    3. UMMA pledged anew that we want to be part of the solutions, not the problems as GBGM moves towards a new day with Randy Day.

Minutes of the UMMA Gathering
Stamford, CT, Oct. 21-23, 2002

Members present

Howard Heiner (retiree), Peggy Heiner (retiree), Norma Kehrberg (retiree) Gilbert Bascom (retiree), Cherie White (active), Fred W. Price (affiliate) David Markay (active; MIR), Kristin Markay (active; MIR), James Dwyer (act.), Gene Matthews (retiree), Stan Moore (retiree), Elizabeth Frazer (retiree), Hugh Frazer (retiree), Jim Gulley (affiliate), Paul F. Perry (retiree), Sally Wisner Ott (Church and Community Workers), Bruce Ott (guest; October 22-23), Randy Day (guest; October 23) Vera and Everett Woodcock (retirees; present October 22-23) Bud and Marion Taylor (retiree; present only October 23)

Monday, October 21

The first informal gathering was in the morning with 9 members present, later joined by 2 more. There was a general discussion of membership and other issued to be dealt with at an official session. Howard also explained our presence and participation in the sessions of the Board of the GBGM and how Curtis Henderson (Chair, MPU) was in agreement at the injustice of the recent cuts in rent and education allowances.

UMMA will be allowed in the MPU sessions with half an hour to make a presentation and at this time 3 basic goals were defined: 1) request communication re: the downsizing policy, 2) request a hold on reduction to rent and education allowances until letters of agreement are terminated, 3) request channel of communication as a mechanism to get past the Cabinet filter.

The Markays informed about being able to submit UMMA's suggestions to the Grievance Policy. Discussed the possibility of including in said policy the possibility of having a Director of the Board as a member of the Grievance Committee.

2pm: The Fall Board meeting began with an opening liturgy.

When guests were welcomed, UMMA was included and all stood and were recognized.

Business items of the Board

"International Lecturer of Missions" foundation established with Randolph Nugent as only lecturer in U.S. and the world. He will also be responsible for raising funds for the new foundation and seeking to establish two lectureship on missions at two United Methodist seminaries. Time frame: 2 years with funds to come from designated funds. Questioning from the Floor related to what would occur after 2004 and clarification on the source of the funds.

Address from the President of the Board, Bishop Joel Martinez. Resume: the spirit of mission is alive; no one person contains the spirit of mission; all of us are used and this leads us to Christ in others.

4pm: UMMA informal session with Jim Dwyer presiding - 14 present

8:10pm: Reconvened After Supper Break at the Budget Hospitality Inn

Jim Dwyer was in the chair as Howard Heiner went in to New York City for the GBGM retirement gala for Randolph Nugent, representing UMMA.

  1. Paul Perry presented his ideas on how to mobilize the retiree community to do mission interpretation and his efforts in that respect with GBGM since August, 2001. He reported on UMMA's offer to help, but the rejection of said help by the GBGM. It was proposed that this be presented to the new General Secretary. We AGREED that Paul Perry and Gil Bascom would be in communication on the retiree issue and be ready to respond upon request in the future.
  2. Discussed a possible petition to General Conference to give official status to UMMA as exists for NADAM and CCW. AGREED that Jim Dwyer and Gene Matthews would review the Discipline to see what the missionary presence was and draw up action to present to the Steering Committee by next Spring.
Tuesday, October 22

8:00am

  1. All attended the morning opening worship of the Board, which was followed by the Treasurer's Report (Steven Feerrar). He declared a "state of financial weakness" that would result in further curtailing of staff and mission personnel. Total net assets have decreased by over $100 million since 1999. At the present time cash borrowings are fully extended and there will be no further borrowings. A very grim picture was presented. In addition to the loss of income from investments the Board also faces $1,000,000 increase in insurance costs and a 25% rise in health costs.
  2. Report of the General Secretary (Randolph Nugent's final report). A rambling report, which had to be cut short and people directed to the document for conclusions, though a need to work with the burgeoning number of Mexican immigrants was a suggested priority. He concluded with the rhetorical question, "What time is it for us: past, future or suspended?" We were called to remember the past and live in the present and future, plus recall that we are a part of a chain of human beings all called to One. He received standing applause.
  3. Randolph Nugent was presented with gifts from some churches and organizations.
  4. New Mission Partners. Three new missions were accepted as mission partners in the following three countries: Cambodia, Honduras and Côte d'Ivoire, representatives of whom were on the platform.
  5. There was a worship service to give thanks for the new mission partners.

Noon

UMMA hosted a lunch for retirees and several Directors were also invited to attend.

Howard Heiner explained the purpose of UMMA and Rev. Takayuki Ishii was the speaker. He offered an apology to missionaries for the pain and suffering caused by recent Board policies. He expressed appreciation for the role missionaries have played in his life. The speech is posted below.

2pm

All UMMA members attended the Mission Personnel Unit (MPU) session chaired by Curtis Henderson and with the presence of Edith Gleaves, Deputy General Secretary for the Mission personnel Unit (MPU).

4pm: UMMA session (16 present)

The following topics were discussed:

  1. the feasibility of presenting a resolution to General Conference requesting official recognition, such as CCW and NADAM possess.
  2. who UMMA represents, since there are 13 different persons in mission categories. The need to contact all was stated if we hope to be "the representative of missionaries"
  3. the need to communicate with all possible, the cuts that are taking place.
  4. the GBGM's insistence on a model of short-term missionaries to the exclusion of long term missionaries.
  5. the problem related to setting mission priorities—there does not seem consultation with host churches or organizations, such as the regional consultations which recently took place (no one knew of any minutes from the Panama Consultation, for example).
  6. how UMMA can help the GBGM be a better mission unit.
  7. AGREED to give Randy Day the document with immediate actions requested of the MPU, plus a document with the UMMA vision of mission.
  8. AGREED to have Jim Dwyer and Gene Matthews, as discussed previously, draft and study a resolution, focusing on present policies in the Discipline, which will be presented to the Steering Committee for discussion and study. 15 present to vote - ALL IN FAVOR.
Wednesday, October 23

Following a brief worship the Board went into executive session to hold elections including the election of a new General Secretary.

UMMA held an official session at 8:20am in a neighboring room at the Marriott Hotel. Note: Two friends came out of the GBGM executive session to notify us of Randy Day's nomination as the new General Secretary of the Board.

UMMA Chair, Howard Heiner (HH) commented on the need to find hope in the midst of confusion and lack of clarity on the part of the GBGM.

  1. AGREED that minutes from this Gathering will be sent to the Steering Committee for their approval and that a summary would be included in the Update.
  2. The election of Steering Committee members as written in the By-laws is not working, so Gil Bascom, Jim Dwyer and Cherie White met to draft an amendment to be presented at the afternoon session.
  3. Treasurer's Report. Don Cobb could not attend, so Gil Bascom presented:
    • Budget Summary Report with assets of $30,844.31 as of Sept. 30, 2002.
    • Financial Report for 2001.
    • It was received and APPROVED.
    • Gil mentioned that this Gathering was more expensive than usual and that we would go over our travel budget and Gathering budget, but subsidizing was considered important so that members could come.
  4. Coordinator's Report. Gil Bascom presented his report (separate document). Gil spoke of his pleasure in serving as the volunteer Coordinator for 6 years, but asked to be replaced not later than the next Gathering. He is willing to work with the new Coordinator to make the transition a smooth one. The report was received with applause and APPROVED with minor corrections.
  5. A request was made for a summary document stating key issues from the past that need to be dealt with on a continuing basis. HH stated that a brief history exists in UMMA documents, but that he could prepare such a resumé.
  6. Carolyn Cowen's proposal for a day for prayer and fasting was ACCEPTED with the clarification that it be voluntary. A specific day was not agreed upon at this time. Details will be determined with Carolyn by the Administrative Council.
  7. Norma Kehrberg informed all of the upcoming presence of Bud & Millie Carroll in the NYC area who are willing to be active advocates for UMMA re the GBGM.
  8. Gil Bascom recommended a 1 year gift membership for all new retirees and persons commissioned in 2002 who are not already members of NADAM or CCW. APPROVED BY ALL The MIRs will get the statistics on retirees and lists of commissioned personnel.
  9. Sally Ott, CCW representative, withdrew at 10am, thanking UMMA for the hospitality and standing in solidarity with all who are marginalized and with UMMA. Gil Bascom responded stating that CCW and NADAM are seen as partners in solidarity, offering to share e-mails. Sally celebrated the leadership of HH and Gil.
  10. All withdrew to go to Board Committee meetings, and Gil, Jim Dwyer and Cherie to have a meeting to work on By-laws amendments.

2:10pm: Reconvene with 17 Present

Marian and Bud Taylor joined the group and their help in making the arrangements at the motel was appreciated publicly.

  1. Spent time having everyone report on their contacts with Directors, plus outcome of committee meetings in the morning. There was a general feeling that everything gets rubber stamped and that the G.S. has been around too long. Also, that our presence at the Board meeting has been fruitful in that we are being heard.
  2. Those present in the Policy and By-laws Committee of the Board stated that the points that UMMA presented the previous day to the MPU were in the minutes of this committee, which is a recognition of UMMA's presence and our list of requested actions. Unfortunately there was no discussion of the UMMA material while the UMMA representatives were present. Although the UMMA visitors were not given any papers or agenda from the committee chair two members came and shared later.
  3. At 3:05 p.m. Randy Day (RD), the newly nominated G.S. arrived. RD stated that he is glad to be held in the prayers of all and appreciates the role of missionaries throughout time, plus the fact that missionaries are a thing that is happening now. He also mentioned the importance of missionaries in his life and pledged to meet with missionaries in any area that he visits in the future.
  4. UMMA comments:
    1. Missionaries seem to be an extinct species; what does long term service mean & what is our role?
    2. We stated a willingness to help, pointing out that we have not been heard by the present G.S. & Cabinet; we want to be part of a team effort & help set a new course, i.e. a mechanism for Directors to have access to missionaries. An example is the discontinuance of the presence of missionaries on the Collins Task Force.
    3. We requested a meeting with RD early next year & he responded favorably for January or February.
    4. RD stated that he will work openly with Directors and all groups. He will call Directors and plans to be pro-active.
    5. Gil B. shared need for mission education throughout the church and how UMMA, especially retirees, can be part of the team.
    6. Stan Moore mentioned the need for Directors to be better informed on issues and RD responded on the need to improve communications with Directors so that they will be well informed on issues before a vote.
    7. Norma K. stated need for a serious consideration of a life calling to missions.
    8. Cherie W. requested that there be respect shown to the call and commissioning of missionaries (ministers do not have their ordination removed summarily).
    9. HH gave the example of missionaries to Japan who feel arbitrariness of the cuts they have been subject to and how neither they, nor their receiving agencies have been consulted on costs and challenges, in which they were supposed to have a say. At the present time we live with a siege mentality.
    10. R.D. responded stating that we need new and creative resources of funds and must ask boldly.
    11. Gil B. stated the problem with cutting personnel and what that means in terms of support from churches which may withdraw support from GBGM.
    12. Fred Price stated that we must be passionate in terms of what we believe, like the issues surrounding the loss of missionaries.
    13. Paul Perry emphasized the use of retirees who would be willing to share the mission vision of the Church. There was a positive response from RD.
    14. MIR Dave Markay pointed out the passion that he has noticed in the UMMA group, which is a gift to the Church, and conveyed the sense of suspicion that exists due to the lack of communication with the GBGM.
    15. The session with Randy Day terminated with a prayer after almost 40 minutes. HH stated words of appreciation for RD's presence in our meeting.

Following a break and the departure of Jim Gulley the meeting reconvened.

  1. UMMA Gathering for next year: We understand that The Global Mission Personnel Conference for 2003 is budgeted. It was requested that Dave M. confirm the dates and location. In principle, it is AGREED that the Gathering will take place just prior to and at the same place as the Global Mission Personnel Conference MPC. [NOTE: Word has been received that this has been canceled after all.]
  2. Discussion of UMMA presence at 2003 Global Gathering: It was AGREED that we will support the MIR's who will be present as volunteers and that no further UMMA promotion needs to take place at that time. Paul & Calley Perry plan to attend and will be the liaison with the MIR's.
  3. Cuts to rent and education allowance: Cherie mentioned an encounter with Edith Gleaves in which she affirmed the possibility of appealing to the Regional Secretary to reconsider cuts until the end of the Letter of Agreement (LOA). It was also stated that anyone being terminated would be notified in time to make new plans. We were reminded that the MIR's are the official link between missionaries and staff, so they should be notified whenever a missionary has a concern so they may pursue the issue. It was APPROVED that all missionaries be notified of the possibility of appealing their cases to their Regional Secretaries with a cc. of the appeal going to the MIR's.
  4. HH recommended contacting Directors in specific positions and keeping them informed of recurring issues missionaries are facing.
  5. Termination of Assignment: All missionaries should request:
    1. A recommendation for another position within the GBGM.
    2. A return to the U.S. at a proper time for placement, if clergy.
    3. Request placement assistance from the GBGM for lay persons who have no fall-back situation.
  6. Amendments to the UMMA By-laws Section 2a. on elections were presented by Gil and were ACCEPTED. The corrected version is attached and will be shared through the UpDate and the web site with all members.
  7. Resignation of Howard Heiner as Chair: HH thanked all for the privilege of being the Chair for 6 years. The meeting was turned over to the Vice-chair, Jim Dwyer who thanked both Howard and Peggy Heiner for their efforts and sacrifice. UMMA presented them with a gift certificate for books and a card of gratitude signed by all present.
  8. HH's resignation was ACCEPTED with regret, thanks and a vote of appreciation. It was clarified that HH will continue to be a retiree representative and thus, a member of the Steering Committee, plus a resource until the end of his term.
  9. Gil Bascom explained the procedure by which Norma Kehrberg was appointed to serve until the 2003 elections by the Administrative Council as a replacement for Ruth Ann Robinson upon her resignations as a retiree representative on the Steering Committee. Upon receiving HH's resignation as Chair, The Chair Pro-tem, Jim Dwyer in consultation with the Coordinator (see Bylaws Sec.3.a.iv) nominated Norma K. to finish Howard's term till elections in 2003. The report was unanimously APPROVED by all present.
  10. Norma Kehrberg took over as Chair. She recommended that the Transition Task Force be disbanded, since it was created explicitly for this time when a new General Secretary was being selected for the GBGM.

    Thanks were expressed to all involved.

    Norma explained that she has been asked by her District Superintendent to cover an emergency need for a pastor at a church in Saipan. She will be able to carry out her duties as Chair by e-mail, with the active help of Howard Heiner, Jim Dwyer and Bud Carroll.

  11. The meeting was adjourned at 5:50pm with a prayer by Fred Price.
Retirement Luncheon GBGM -10/22/02 Presented by Taka Ishii

Did you know:

that barbers in Waterloo, Nebraska, are forbidden by law to eat onions between 7am and 7pm?

that according to Virginia law, bathtubs are forbidden in the house: Tubs must be kept in the yard?

that in Sterling, Colorado, it is unlawful to allow a pet to run loose without a tail light?

that in International Falls, Minnesota, cats are forbidden by law to chase dogs up telephone poles?

that in Dawville, Pennsylvania, all fire hydrants must be checked one hour before all fires?

that in Blythe, California, a person must own at least two cows before he is permitted to wear cowboy boots in public?

that Nicholas County, West Virginia, forbids clergy to tell funny stories from the pulpit?

Such are the absurdities of some of the laws on some of the books in some of the cities in our nation. These absurdities were often taken out and dusted off as reason why some people felt that they were not obligated to follow certain laws.

I guess I was born to break the rules of our society. Growing up in Japan and the only son in the family meant that I was supposed to follow certain rules. I was supposed to take care of the family business for the next generation and to take care of my parents until their death, and to keep the traditions of and for the Ishii family. But much to my parents' dismay, I seemed to be born to break the rules of our society. I didn't follow my father's footsteps to take care of his business. I wasn't present at either of my parent's death beds, because I have been living half a world away for the past 30 years. Looking back on my younger years, I believe that God had plans for me. My mother was not a baptized Christian, but I remember my mother taking my sisters and me to Sunday school. I was told that I was going to a special program of the kindergarten on Sunday mornings. As you may know, most churches in Japan have kindergartens on their property. I guess that reason was more for my father than for us kids, so that she didn't get into trouble with her husband. He might not have approved her introducing us to a foreign religion. My parents, or, perhaps, mostly my mother, sent me to a private Junior High School, which was/is a very common practice in Japan. This school was founded by the Disciples of Christ.

I was then encouraged to go to church by the chaplain of the school. I never missed Sunday school, because I was told to go to church every Sunday by the chaplain, Sunday school teacher and the pastor. If I were to talk about my first heart warming experience, I would say that it was in the summer of 1961. I attended my first church retreat. My pastor talked about prayer, and at the end of our Bible study class, everyone was encouraged to pray. One by one, from left to right in the circle, my older friends started praying. I was sweating, I was nervous, and finally my turn came. I don't even remember what I prayed. My pastor came to me later, and told me that my prayer was a very good prayer.

Soon after that, I was told by the pastor that there would be a Bible study class in English in our cluster of churches. I always liked learning English, so I decided to join the class with my friends. My teacher was Miss Ruth Elmer, a tall, skinny woman. She taught me Bible stories and hymns, and told me about her church in America. She had a beautiful voice. I never missed her class.

I became very active in the Junior High Youth Fellowship, and became the president of the group, and then went on to the High School. With the guidance and encouragement of my pastor, Sunday school teachers and missionaries, God - the Christian God, not a Shinto god, not Buddha - the Christian God guided me into the community of believers. I was baptized. I broke the rules of the family and Japanese custom again. But you know what? I had to get my father's permission to be baptized. I would be the first person in my entire family to become a Christian. My father asked me if I had to change my name to a Christian name. My father asked me what I would do to my parents' bodies when they died. He asked me what I would do to the family grave. I guess I answered these questions well for at the age of sixteen I was given permission to be baptized.

My father said to me that he did not want me to be a lukewarm Christian. He wanted me to be a committed Christian. I think what he meant was more for his own ego than what I would become. He did not want to embarrass himself that his only son decided to accept a foreign religion and didn't take it seriously. I took his words seriously, and as a result, I became more and more active in the church.

With the persistent prayers of my pastor and missionaries, I was called into the ordained ministry. They told me that the Japanese church needed a global vision, and strongly encouraged me to attend seminary in the U.S. I was to go back to Japan, and preach the good news of Jesus Christ in Japan, but God had other plans. Again, I broke the rule. I married an American woman and a United Methodist pastor. God said that my mission field would be here in the U.S. God said that I should preach, teach, baptize and administer the Sacrament of Holy Communion here in the U.S., and that is what I have been doing for the last 28 years.

My dear dedicated missionary retirees, I have the utmost respect for you. You have dedicated yourselves to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in very different cultural settings from your own, and you became a part of those cultural settings. You have been transformed by your close ties to that culture, and you have transformed lives and cultures because of your ties to Jesus Christ. You have spent most of your adult lives in other countries. Your dedication and your commitment to the church of Jesus Christ are greatly appreciated. You have sacrificed so much, I know that. But the reward of serving Jesus Christ was so great, you have dedicated yourselves to God and the mission of the General Board of Global Ministries. For that, I thank you. Aren't you glad to know that there are many people, like me in the world who have been nurtured by your work? And because of that, they have committed themselves to the church of Jesus Christ. I am proud to say that I am a product of the missionary movement, and I consider myself to be one of your good ones, because of you!

About a month ago, Howard Heiner asked me to speak to you today. I am very honored to speak to you today. For long time I have wanted to publicly say my "thank you" to the missionary community. When Howard emailed me to speak to you, I thought that this would be a great opportunity. God works in mysterious ways. I never met Howard until last night at the Randy Nugent retirement dinner, but we have been emailing each other since April of this year. Here again, I am breaking the rule, openly a little critical of the Board of Global Ministries. Please accept what I will be saying as constructive criticism! In March of this year, I got involved in missionary termination in Japan, because I was contacted by my Japanese colleague at Kyodan [ed. note: Kyodan is short for The United Church of Christ in Japan which includes the former methodist mission work there.]. Some of them, and some of you are not ready to retire at this time, but they are saying you must. I was not pleased by the way some of our missionaries have been treated by our Board. In the process, many have been hurt after years of service to the church of Jesus Christ through the General Board of Global ministries. I sincerely hope and pray that some of the policies related to missionaries will be changed very soon.

On behalf of the church of Jesus Christ, we are sorry that you got caught in this difficult situation after serving our church so diligently. I would like to express my sincere apologies on behalf of our church, and ask your forgiveness. At the same time, on behalf of the church of Jesus Christ and the United Methodist Missionary Association, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for your dedicated work, and please know that you have changed countless lives of people, like me, where you served all these years. I am just one example, and I am sure that you have many, many stories to tell. On behalf of countless indigenous persons in the mission field, I apologize to you, because we haven't told you our stories personally, but please be assured that you have spread the seeds, and many have grown nicely, and many will be growing because of you. On behalf of many on the receiving end of your ministry, I would like to say from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

I am 100% certain that you will never retire from spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, because this is our lifetime job. So I invite you, today, on this somewhat sad, but glorious day, to re-commit yourself, in at least one area, to pleasing God. If you do, then I think you will find life, and happiness, and wisdom, and well, all sorts of good things. Do more than just get by with God. Try to please God. You will be glad you did. Thank you again for your dedicated work. Amen.

1. Report of the August 14th Meeting of Staff, Directors and UMMA

by Howard Heiner, Chair of the United Methodist Missionary Association

August 14th Meeting Participants,
I want to express thanks on behalf of UMMA to the directors and staff for the opportunity to share our concerns and visions for the future work of the GBGM. The UMMA delegation felt it was a productive session. We view the meeting as a first step in building bonds of trust which can allow for a renewed team spirit among directors, staff and missionaries.

We have prepared a report to send to our members which we want to share with you as well. I will send a letter to Edith Gleaves (cc to Henderson, Martinez, and Nugent) outlining the issues we are requesting to be placed on the agenda for the directors and staff at the October meeting.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." Let us look forward to working together, united in the name of Christ.

Report

GBGM and UMMA Meeting
American Airlines Admiral Club
Chicago O'Hare Airport
August 14, 2002

Participants
Directors: Bishop Joel Martinez, President GBGM; Reverend Curtis Henderson, Chairperson Mission Personnel Committee; Reverend Sally Dyck, Chairperson GBGM Personnel Committee

GBGM Staff
Dr. Randolph Nugent, General Secretary GBGM; Edith Gleaves, Deputy General Secretary Mission Personnel; Wilma Roberts, Associate General Secretary, General Secretary's Office Michael Rivas, Deputy General Secretary Planning and Research

UMMA
Howard Heiner, Chairperson UMMA; Beverly Reddick, Missionary in Residence; Phil Wingeier-Rayo, active missionary in Mexico, and Norma Kehrberg, Chairperson of Transition Task Force

Bishop Joel Martinez opened the meeting with reflections from Acts 8, 9, and 10 and commented on three types of early missionaries, one a stranger, one a foreigner and Paul, a former oppressor.

Following Bishop Martinez' opening reflections, all participants introduced themselves. An agenda was given to the Chair by Edith Gleaves for distribution. Although UMMA had prepared a proposed agenda and circulated it, the agenda that was distributed had not been shared with the UMMA participants prior to the meeting. After reviewing the distributed agenda, it was determined that the items on the distributed agenda provided adequate scope to cover UMMA's concerns.

Bishop Martinez stated that the purpose of the meeting was to listen to each other, to clarify relationships, practices and procedures as necessary.

Dr. Randy Nugent gave his perspective on the meeting which was to clarify how UMMA relates to the GBGM, identifying structures and avenues which are available for UMMA to use. Dr. Nugent added as an aside that GBGM had never spoken negatively of UMMA nor had responded negatively to UMMA.

Howard Heiner reviewed how and why UMMA was formed in 1996 out of a growing feeling of disfranchisement of the mission personnel community. He reviewed briefly the organization structure of UMMA with a Steering Committee composed of two representatives from the six regions of the world and two representatives from the retired missionary community.

Howard also stated that the present GBGM structure limits contact and opportunity for directors to hear directly and to get input from GBGM commissioned personnel. All information needs are channeled through the Program Cabinet where it is screened. In the past there was a team spirit between staff, directors and mission personnel acting together in mission. Today that does not exist. Howard reiterated that there is no desire to return to the past, but a new future is needed for working together successfully.

Edith Gleaves with Michael Rivas and Wilma Roberts then proceeded to identifying from their perspectives, the various contact points between the mission personnel community and the staff and board. Their list included: Mission Personnel Program Unit, Regional Executive Secretaries, Associate General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary, Missionary In Residence, Missionary Associations which include Church and Community Workers, National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries and UMMA; Missionary Personnel Consultation, Global Mission Personnel Conference, Mission Forum, Regional Retreats, Mission Personnel Committee, Regional Consultations and the feedback from Global Context of Mission Statement.

Some clarification points were made noting that the Church and Community Workers Association and the National Association for Deaconesses and Missionaries both had directors on their committee, thus allowing them direct input to GBGM directors. Dr. Nugent stated that was because they were programs of the board. A comment was made that missionaries are also partof the board's program.

Following this presentation Norma Kehrberg began UMMA's response by pointing out some of the different perspectives UMMA has from what had been presented. She indicated that the underlying reason for UMMA concerns is that those who have been identified, selected, trained, commissioned and sent by the United Methodist Church through GBGM have been eliminated from giving meaningful input for sharing information and insights with those who make decisions for the board. She indicated that UMMA would like to have communication links and avenues reinstated and so be part of a team effort to carry out mission. She also mentioned that in the past directors would often visit areas of work with staff, meet with mission partners and mission personnel to gain first hand experience.

Norma also mentioned some changes: selection of the Missionary in Residence by staff rather than missionaries as previously, the abrupt discontinuation of the Collins Trust Fund Task Force, the Mission Forum was only arranged after 21 months of persistent efforts on the part of UMMA and was held only once. Norma closed with the request that those who are commissioned, set apart, dedicated and sent out by the church to work in the mission of Jesus Christ be considered a part of the team in order to share their perspective of "living in mission in cross culture settings."

Curtis Henderson, Chair of the Mission Personnel Program Unit responded by first indicating that General Conference stated in 1988 that the GBGM would be examined. In 1992 General Conference asked GBGM to restructure itself.

Mr. Henderson also noted that the decline of Board members from 180 to 90 had a major impact on communication links. He pointed out that directors are now allowed to make only one national visit and one international visit. He stressed that it is difficult to grasp the complexities of GBGM work sitting around a table twice a year with directors already carrying their own full time portfolios. He appreciated the point that if we don't have direct communication about what we are doing, we won't get very far.

Sally Dyck wondered if it were not possible to use modern technology to reconnect. She indicated that it appears the challenge of connecting to mission personnel has been exacerbated with the restructure.

Norma was asked to clarify the phrase "meaningful input" and she responded that it would include the opportunity to share in dialogue concerning mission theology and in the development of mission policy. Often the only sharing done is through responses to documents already formulated. She also stated that the Steering Committee of UMMA communicates and dialogues on issues through email every week. This dialogue is meaningful because of the many years of cross cultural experiences reflected among dedicated colleagues. Would it not be advantageous to expand the dialogue and share this information among directors and staff?

Curtis Henderson picked up on the "meaningful input" phrase and indicated that it is perhaps even more important to have "meaningful output" which can then be evaluated - to judge whether stated objectives have been met.

Following lunch, Howard as Chair of UMMA pointed out that issues brought to the Personnel Unit were mostly personal, not broader group concerns. The Mission Personnel Program Unit is not the place in the new structure for giving input into wider theological and programmatic issues.

Howard also reviewed the Mission Forum issue noting that the agenda was not developed by all the participants involved. There was no evaluation and no follow up. A second forum has not been planned as yet.

He also expressed concern that GBGM expansion has often taken place without adequate consultation with partner churches or missionaries in place on the field. The lack of appointment of a UMMA representative to the Compensation Policy and Review Committee as recommended upon the disbandment of the Collins Trust Fund Task Force is another point of concern. The Consultation scheduled for last spring was canceled and no new one has been scheduled.

Dr. Nugent responded strongly indicating that there are some radical differences in perspective. He presented some rationalizations from his point of view as General Secretary.

Bishop Martinez affirmed that the differences in perspectives are great. From the time he took office as President of the Board, he was confronted with UMMA concerns about the lack of willingness of the GBGM leadership to respond to UMMA concerns and Dr. Nugent's interpretation of these concerns as attacks on the Board. It became evident that a three party discussion was necessary to avoid misunderstandings. Norma proposed creating a task force of directors, staff and representatives from the three mission personnel organizations to explore avenues for communication and participation of the mission community in the wider program issues dialogues of the GBGM.

Curtis Henderson, citing funding and timing constraints, rejected this and stated that an avenue already exists through the Mission Personnel Program unit and that he as chair had full confidence that Edith Gleaves and her staff would bring UMMA matters to the directors at their October or subsequent meetings. He also indicated that he thought this was already in place through the Missionary-in-Residence responsibility. Repeated questions made it apparent that this avenue was felt to be inadequate by the UMMA representatives. Mr. Henderson finally allowed that the issues if deemed necessary, could be referred from Mission Personnel Program Unit to other parts of the board.

UMMA is to develop agenda items for the fall Board meeting and send them to Edith Gleaves with a copy to Mr. Henderson, Dr. Nugent and Bishop Martinez.

Bishop Martinez requested UMMA to assist members of the National Hispanic Association and National Korean Ministry to become engaged as UMMA has become engaged.

The meeting was closed at 3 PM with prayer by Curtis Henderson.

Report dated August 19, 2002


2002 GBGM Spring Board Meeting Report

UMMA Representatives attending as guest observers: Norma Kehrberg, Beverly Reddick and Howard Heiner

The basic goals of the UMMA delegation were to:

  1. be a missionary presence at the meeting and also to dialogue with directors concerning the work of the GBGM;
  2. meet with selected directors to continue our request to establish an official communication procedure between a Committee of the GBGM Directors and the three Missionary Associations;
  3. initiate dialogue with selected Cabinet members to prepare for the future under the leadership of a new General Secretary.

We have placed the report in a day-to-day format so that you might get a feel for the flow of meetings throughout the four days. We think this may be helpful for UMMA members as we plan for our Global Gathering in the fall in Stamford concurrently with the director's Board Meeting.

Monday, April 15

The official opening of meeting was at 2pm; however, the Woman's Division plus some other committees for directors are always held prior to the official GBGM Board Meeting during the weekend. The opening session is devoted to the welcoming ceremony and the President's address.

Prior to the Fellowship Dinner, in the evening there was a special session devoted entirely to welcoming one new church in Bermuda that has not officially joined the United Methodist Church. The leadership of the Bermuda church was present for the occasion and attended the meeting as guests throughout the week. It was formed many years ago by the Methodist Church of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It has recently been a part of the United Church of Canada but after several visits and contacts has been welcomed into the United Methodist Church.

During the first day, UMMA representatives were able to have significant contact with selected directors to discuss the following issues:

  1. Conversation with Bishop Joel Martinez, GBGM President, concerning: 1) Communication procedure with directors 2) UMMA Gathering to be held concurrently with Directors' Fall Board Meeting.
  2. Breakfast and conversation with a Director on: 1) Communication procedure with directors 2) Missionary termination without due process, 3) GBGM financial problems.
  3. Awards Dinner: Visited with a Director about the challenges facing the directors to address the Board's problems.

At the Awards Dinner, five distinguished Mission Service Awards were presented to:

Rev. Sandra Olewine (GBGM missionary)

The Anna Eklund Award which honors those who serve beyond the bounds of their own ethnic and cultural contest, are committed to ministries of healing, give selflessly of their lives in service among the poor, and seek to integrate the proclamation of the gospel with Christian service;

Posthumously to Kinmoth W. Jefferson (Former National Division staff person and GBGM consultant) and Euba Harris Winton (Lay person - Mallalleu UMC in Fort Smith, Arkansas),

The Frank Mason North Award for service in the most unlikely places to those in dire need, service without prejudice in the spirit of Christ, service as a means of grace, a life of prayer for Christ's presence among the throngs of earth, and unwavering commitment to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ;

Dr. Dora Ames Lee Wong (Lay person - St. Marks UMC in Stockton, California)

The Everell Stanton Collins Award for values associated with hard work, achievement, prudence, integrity, frugality, devotion to family, loyalty to the church, service to the community and generosity.

Dr. Randolph W. Nugent (GBGM General Secretary)

The Distinguished Peacemaker Award for the years of service and the courage and character as an advocate for peace throughout the world.

It was especially moving to have the first award presented to an active missionary - the Rev. Sandra Olewine for her work in Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine.

Tuesday, April 16

The General Secretary presented his address followed by a question and answer period.

Dr. Nugent began his address by stating: "the following reflections are intended to provide the perspective, to set the stage, to point to the arenas in which we should expect to be found in mission and expect to be ardently at work."

Dr. Nugent's address was lengthy, 17 pages in all, and he indicated at the beginning that he would not be able to give it to the Directors in full due to the lack of time.

He ended his speech with a section entitled "Our Primary Administrative Task" with the following key statements:

"To be an effective General Board of Global Ministries, we must understand what forms the basis of our work and the mission of the organization, and the understanding of its responsibilities.

"For us today as the General Board of Global Ministries, we must once again come to terms with the urgency of the mission to which God calls the Church and about which the denomination has given us responsibility. We dare not flag nor weaken because our financial resources are so limited in comparison to our recent past."

Day two was spent in meetings of the directors assigned to specific Mission Program Areas - Community and Institutional Ministries, Evangelization and Church Growth, Mission Contexts and Relationships, Mission Education, Mission Personnel, Mission Volunteers, Health and Relief.

Bev Reddick and Norma Kehrberg attended the session on Mission Personnel. There was only one action item on the agenda relating to the health benefit contribution of missionary spouses in the "10-10-10" program. Kathy Masters was asked to present information on the training curriculum in Atlanta. It has been seriously revised following the departure of Allen Kirton last October who was a part of the staff reductions. The session is now only ten weeks and was held in the last instance with no children present. There were ten participants with fifty percent from international persons in mission and fifty percent from North America.

Special conversations with Directors during that day included an unscheduled but fruitful meeting with one of the Cabinet Members over breakfast in regard to general issues related to the board, and particularly related to cabinet - board relationships.

Special time and concern was given to Curtis Henderson who is Chair of the Mission Personnel Committee. We apologized for some confusion in not relating directly to Curtis Henderson earlier. It became very clear that mission personnel concerns including all issues dealing with the Global Mission Conference, consultations etc., really come within his portfolio.

In the evening the UMMA representatives had dinner with a director to continue discussions from previous meetings.

Wednesday, April 17

A Special Report from the General Secretary Search Committee

Bishop Martinez introduced this session and indicated that there were 27 applications for the position of General Secretary. He also indicated that the board had contracted with an external group that assisted in searches for top executive officers and this has facilitated the work.

Bishop Martinez also gave a review of the process to be followed including the expected meetings of the Search Committee with each candidate for interviews then interviews with the entire Personnel Committee of the Board (the Search Committee is a sub-commmittee of this), and the final recommendation that will be given at the fall Board meeting for a vote.

Bishop Martinez then referred the meeting to Duane Sarazine who was responsible for setting up the details of the transition of leadership and Sally Dyck who reported on the Listening Events. A report from the Listening Event was given to Directors and Program Cabinet but it was not made available to others present.

Following this report, the Board's four Standing Committees - Mission Development Committee, Finance Committee, Policy and By-Laws Committee, and Nominations and Legislation Committee - met.

In the evening they had several special presentations on the Board Members' Responsibility for Fund-Raising, Middle East Issues and a Global Praise Program presentation. The Global Praise Program included many outside musicians who lifted up various musical publications and productions available for use with the Global Praise books.

Special Conversations During the Day

This is the time in the church calendar for members of the General Council on Ministries to visit the various boards and agencies for their evaluation. There was a four member team from GCOM including Dan Church, the General Secretary of GCOM. There was a conversation with Betty Ellison - GCOM Director and Member of the GCOM team reviewing the responsibilities of GBGM according to the mandate in the Discipline. UMMA material was shared with Betty at her request for their appraisal.

Meeting with Sally Dyck, Director, who is Chair of the Personnel Committee of the GBGM Board. Note that she is not the chair of the Mission Personnel Committee.

In the conversation we:

  1. clarified the new understanding of the differences in issues and responsibilities of the Personnel Committee of GBGM and the responsibilities of the Mission Personnel Committee that relates to Edith Gleaves office and is chaired by Curtis Henderson.
  2. Reiterated again the need for UMMA to establish an official communication procedure with directors;
  3. Reviewed ongoing attempts by Sally to arrange a meeting among herself, Bishop Martinez, Curtis Henderson, Randy Nugent, Edith Gleaves and UMMA representatives.

Had lunch with a Director and discussed challenges facing the directors i.e. the installation of a new General Secretary does not address the board organizational, climate and structure.

Initiated a meeting with Youngsook Kang, Cabinet Member for Mission Contexts and Relationship to review:

  1. Future Cabinet relationships and
  2. Initiated dialogue on how to address the MARCHA charges concerning Honduras document and matters related to it. In this regard the documents were shared with Youngsook Kang

Dinner with Bud Carroll and UMMA representatives to plan strategy for the UMMA Gathering and for further updates on GBGM issues.

Thursday, April 18

The final morning was given to reports of the standing committees and Mission Program areas. A resolution on the Middle East was adopted after lengthy debate and urging by the Mission Development Committee.

At a breakfast meeting a Director indicated that he had not been receiving the UMMA UpDate and missed having that contact to understand the missionary perspective. He also indicated his desire to have UMMA address the board during their session this fall.

We also had an opportunity to meet Steven Feerrar, the new General Treasurer and shared UMMA material with him. We expressed concern over GBGM financial problems and our special interest in the Collin's program.

Summary Comments

At the 2001 Fall Board Meeting Sandra Olewine was invited to give a special report to the directors concerning the Middle East situation. It was wonderful to see her again as she received a special Service Award Sandra did have time to present issues related to the Middle East during an impromptu brown bag lunch and at the Mission Contest and Relationship meeting.

Subsequently there was a resolution on the Middle East but only after considerable debate about whether any resolution should be made. It was subsequently passed. This hesitancy is indicative of the change in thrust and direction the GBGM is taking on some of the critical issues that we have come to expect the GBGM to act prophetically toward.

We talked to Sandra about the possibility of a UMMA sponsored witness for peace tour to Israel the first quarter of 2003 in conjunction with directors and staff. More details will be furnished in another email.

There seemed to be a genuine interest on the part of many directors to listen to learn more about and actually speak with members of the UMMA representation. We found this very positive and hope it continues.

We appreciated the opportunity to work together as a team and to represent the missionary community in such a fruitful meeting.

We want to thank you for your prayer support for us as we attempted to represent the missionary community at the Spring Board Meeting and ask your continuing prayers for the directors and staff as they respond to the many challenges facing them in this year of transition.

Please share this Report with other missionaries in your area, plus any directors you may know.


FAQ: Financing a Missionary Kid's Education
(Revised draft, 28 November 2001)

Most U.S. GBGM missionaries serving outside the U.S. are aware that the GBGM deducts a portion of their salary each month as a forced savings plan at the rate of 3 percent for each child under 18 in the missionary household. Many of us may have questions about those funds. As a father who has learned by costly experience what inaccurate declaration of the funds can do, James Dwyer has put together this rudimentary "FAQ" of questions he has frequently asked himself in the process of dealing with educational expenses of his two oldest children and in anticipation of another round with the youngest in the immediate future. Please submit your own questions and any answers you may have discovered, as well as any corrections or variant experiences, to Jim for a future revision of this FAQ.

1. How can a missionary child's education be financed on a missionary salary -- or even two?

Contrary to possible first impressions about the insurmountably high costs of higher education, missionary children who are U.S. citizens have potentially great financial support for their education in the U.S. through federal grants and loans and college financial aid programs. Almost all colleges currently seek to provide "need-based aid" to students who are admitted, while academic scholarships play a secondary role. (Scholarship grants usually reduce the need, and thus the "need-based aid" for those who receive them.)

Missionary parents should seek to inform themselves well -- and well in advance -- about current aspects of college financing, including changes in aid policies since they left the U.S., with publications such as those from the College Board, Petersen's, Barron's, Yale Daily News, or Princeton Review, and by contacting colleges a child may be considering. Take careful note of the different weighting given assets in a child's name and those which belong to the parents, and the significantly larger claims laid on the former.

(A child may need to be persistent to convince some colleges that living overseas does not make you a "foreign student" for financial aid purposes! As everywhere, not everyone who answers mail. Email or phone calls has an overview! Potential students should ask for someone "higher up" until they get acknowledgement that they are fully eligible for aid like any other U.S. citizen.)

Even a missionary couple's salaries combined with cost-of-living adjustments and a fair value of housing provided are at sufficiently low levels of income to qualify for generous financial aid. Standard definitions used by most colleges and the U.S. government (the "Federal Methodology" [FM]) would probably see the Expected Family Contribution {EFC] to the education bill to be well under $10,000 per year at current missionary salaries, regardless of whether at a state school or at an expensive private college. (A child may, however, be offered substantial loans which will need repayment by someone at some time in order to meet defined need, and will probably be expected to engage in several hours in a Federal Work-Study job each week.)

(As an example of what happens to resources, a child's savings of $1,000 would be diminished to $666 after one year, $444 after two, $300 after three, and $200 after four. Parents' savings of $1,000 would fall to $940 after one year, $884 after two, $832 after three and approximately $782 after four.)

N.B. United Methodist Student Loans may not be a good choice, if others are available, since interest is charged from the date of issue, rather than from graduation, as with most Federal loan programs. Again, experience speaks!

2. Should missionaries put their resources in their children's names to avoid tax liability?

At the current time, this is not wise. Missionaries outside the U.S. have a large income exclusion, in any case. Money in the child's name will be claimed by the college at a high rate for college expenses. One-third of remaining resources in the student's name will be drained off each year, until only a token amount is left at graduation, if any. If the resources are in a parent's name, current formulas claim only 6 percent of those resources each year (Source: U.S. News & World Report. "America's Best Colleges 1998").

3. College and governmental financial aid forms (College Scholarship Service Financial Aid Profile [CSS/Profile] and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA]) ask for all sorts of vague information. In which category should missionaries declare the amount available from the GBGM's educational endowment funding?

You should not declare this money, because it does not yet belong to you! At the most, the portion you have had withheld from your payroll check might be regarded as parental savings -- but it is not the child's savings. When GBGM pays out this money, a major portion of it will appear as additional taxable income in the year you receive it. It is difficult to anticipate what this amount will be -- but it will become visible after the fact for the following year's aid application. When you submit subsequent financial aid forms and supporting tax forms, this increase in your income for a given year will be duly noted and create a new, diminished aid package for the following year. Money beyond the taxable amount will appear in your bank balance as a parental asset on next year's forms.

It is also wise to make sure that you enter taxable income and tax-excludable income in the forms in such a way that it is not counted twice.

(This happened to the Dwyers on an early edition of the FAFSA -- since revised. One college which received the forms acknowledged the error, but claimed to have no further funds to distribute to correct it. It was a painful experience which may have determined our elder daughter's choice of college; she choose one which still had funds to accommodate the correction!)

4. Do I have to pay taxes on money from the educational endowment benefit?

You will receive a Form 1099-MISC for amounts reckoned as additional GBGM income from the educational endowment for the year you receive them. If you are still outside the U.S. when you receive it, it will be a part of the tax-excludable income provision. If you have returned to the U.S., you will have to pay income taxes on the portion not previously taxed. (The amounts deducted each year have already been taxed, but GBGM does not provide a consistent and regular accounting of the amounts available and their attribution.)

5. Who gets the money? And when?

As indicated above, the money belongs to the person who earned it. For a missionary couple, each spouse owns a portion of the money. It will be necessary for each spouse to sign the requests for payout. Each check paid out requires a new, signed request.

Although each missionariy has paid half the money in herself, GBGM has some standard bureaucratic rules for paying it out. The missionary's regional secretary can process her request and tell her his own understanding and implementation of these rules.

Generally, the child must be 18 years of age AND enrolled in college before a missionary can receive a payout of any of these funds. Evidence of acceptance or enrolment will be expected. The funds can be paid to the parent or the college.

(My own advice is to have payments made to your bank account where your pay check is deposited, if in the U.S. GBGM educational endowment checks are not processed automatically, and treasury errors do happen. (!) If missionaries receive the money directly, they can more quickly be aware of any problems arising and work to correct them before a child's enrolment is jeopardized. Keeping the college out of the equation may also stave off any temptation the college may have to redefine these funds as belonging to the child and not to the salary-earning parent.)

GBGM rules foresee one or two payments per year, as the missionaries request.

6. Can a missionary claim part of the money early to equip her child for college?

If the missionary family needs part of the funds before the child enters college for college-related expenses (computer, musical instrument, etc.), and the child is already 18, the missionary may be able to accomplish this through her regional secretary, with sufficient justification. My experience indicates that there may not be great flexibility in this regard, even though the missionary has contributed half of the funds to be disbursed.

7. What if my child doesn't study, or drops out of college? Who gets the money?

Despite an inflexibility at the beginning of the process, there is also a provision that the whole amount on deposit must be paid out in one lump sum to the parent when the missionary child turns 21, if no program of education is in progress at that time!

The Challenge of Mission Leadership in the New Millennium

Board of Directors
General Board of Global Ministries

Dear Directors:
For the past five years, mission personnel who have been recruited, commissioned and sent by the General Board of Global Ministries have struggled to find ways to communicate with the leadership of the GBGM. We have also tried to be advocates for those historic partners of the GBGM who were cut off from giving input into the work and mission of the global United Methodist Church. We are aware that the Discipline provides that the directors constitute the GBGM, carefully reserving to them the responsibility for developing policies and programs in order to carry out God's mission through the Board. The GBGM staff, including the general secretary and members of the cabinet, are employees of the Board and fully accountable to the directors. Yet in recent years this fundamental relationship has been largely inverted, with top GBGM leadership exercising inordinate power and authority in shaping policies and programs and regularly excluding input from the extended mission family.

We who serve as mission personnel do not seek to make decisions for the Board. Yet we do want to have input into those decisions. Since the restructure of the Board in 1996, it has been clear that no permanent mechanism exists that provides for that input. We believe this exclusion was intentional.

Repeatedly we have tried to find acceptable channels of communication, but this has not occurred. With regret, but with love for the GBGM and our church, we feel called to speak out. The enclosed document represents our reflections about the future and we would like all Board members to have a copy. We share it with you in the hope that we can work more closely together to strengthen the life-changing ministries of the church around the world.

Background information is available upon request for most of the points outlined in the document.

In God's peace,

Howard Heiner
UMMA Chair

The Challenge of Mission Leadership in the New Millennium

A statement by the United Methodist Missionary Association
October 2001

We have been called by God to be in mission, and we are commissioned by the United Methodist Church to serve in many different places. As missionaries, we believe that mission is the essential vocation of the whole church, a collegial task that calls on all the people of God to dedicate their lives to incarnating the peace and healing that God wants for all God's children in all places.

From our perspective as commissioned mission personnel serving the church around the world, we have some observations to offer regarding the future of the mission agency of the United Methodist Church. We share our thoughts with humility, yet also with conviction, for we are women and men passionately committed to and intimately involved with the life-changing ministries of the church around the world.

Background

As missionaries involved in the Covenant Program of the Mission Personnel Resources Department of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), we travel extensively to speak in local United Methodist congregations. We stay in the homes of church members and share our faith and work experience during worship services, Sunday School classes, potluck dinners, and countless informal settings. During these visits we hear from local United Methodists some of their concerns about mission. They report to us that the United Methodist Church has been unable to articulate a cohesive vision of mission that unites its members. With them, we would expect the GBGM to provide leadership in articulating this vision. Yet ever since the GBGM was restructured five years ago, a number of crises have undermined the GBGM's ability to organize and communicate an understanding of mission that would nurture confidence and kindle excitement in local congregations.

From our perspective, much of this is due to certain fatal flaws in the restructuring of the GBGM. At a time when many organizations, seeking greater efficiency and responsiveness, are decentralizing authority and responsibility (an attitude which in our Protestant tradition makes good theological sense), the leadership of the GBGM has moved decision-making inward, basically ignoring consultation with historic denominational and ecumenical partners around the world and ignoring the advice of many of its own commissioned mission workers and executive staff. Rather than fostering a more comprehensive partnership that empowers all participants in mission, the GBGM's top leaders have suppressed creative discussion of the direction of mission in favor of an organizational culture in which they alone are deemed capable of making important decisions. By disparaging the collective wisdom of the larger mission community, the GBGM's leaders have lost historic opportunities to discern critical trends and detect new opportunities for service.

As a result, except for the Person in Mission Program, a vision of mission has been promulgated in recent years that is bound by decidedly North American cultural norms and which discounts input from partner churches and ecumenical organizations in other lands. In addition, the Wesleyan balance between social justice and evangelism has been lost. Consensus as an administrative style within the GBGM has been abandoned for political maneuvering. Simple civility in dialogue with staff, mission personnel, and the larger church has frequently been lacking.

A Way Forward

During the past five years, the United Methodist Missionary Association has noted the growing estrangement of missionaries from the decision-making processes inside the headquarters of the GBGM. Many mission personnel have tried to share their unique insight into a variety of critical mission issues facing the church, yet too often their input has been ignored or disparaged by GBGM executives.

We want to suggest some directions the GBGM could take to begin to resolve these difficulties and strengthen the comprehensive mission of the United Methodist Church. We speak out now because this is a critical moment for GBGM. We believe this juncture offers the directors of the GBGM an historic opportunity to conduct a major review of the organizational structure of the board, evaluating its effectiveness, assessing its administrative transparency, and analyzing its theological foundation for mission in the world today.

We urge the directors of the GBGM to examine particularly the policies and programs of the GBGM that conflict with a theology of mission that supercedes denominational self-interest and northern ethnocentrism. These policies and programs have been spawned without authentic participation by colleague and indigenous churches and ecumenical bodies in the decision-making processes of the GBGM. This participation was eliminated by the restructure of the board. At the same time, the perspective of mission personnel called and commissioned by the United Methodist Church was also effectively excluded.

Challenges

We encourage the directors to examine these key issues.

  1. Instead of being an uncompromising prophetic voice attuned to the needs of communities and churches around the world needing the liberating and empowering Gospel of Jesus Christ, the GBGM has developed its current priorities primarily in response to the needs of U.S. churches and the challenge of raising funds from United Methodist Churches within the United States. Instead of cooperating as it once did with historic partners outside the United States and encouraging the leadership and ministry of these indigenous churches and ecumenical organizations, the GBGM in recent years has launched ambitious and costly programs of denominational expansion outside the United States, without due consultation and with detrimental and divisive effects on local ministries.
  2. While the Volunteer in Mission movement has many positive aspects, its growth has been embraced uncritically by the church and the current GBGM leadership without a sound theological and missiological justification. The GBGM should be encouraged to help the church evaluate this trend, honestly weighing the strengths and weakness of volunteers, their impact on sustainable development initiatives, the repercussions of their presence in politically sensitive situations, and the implications of their presence in mission contexts characterized by historic patterns of paternalism and dependency. This analysis would help the church discern where the volunteer experience fits within a larger, more comprehensive understanding of mission.
  3. Current GBGM leaders reported earlier this year that they had generated a $39 million deficit. Yet rather than accepting responsibility for this troubling financial development, they launched a campaign of disinformation, questioning the validity and cost-effectiveness of continuing to appoint longer term, standard support mission personnel, as if the responsibility for fiscal difficulties rested on missionaries serving throughout the world. Missionary personnel should not be made into scapegoats for the current financial crisis at the board. It was not missionaries who made the administrative and financial decisions which have brought the board to the threshold of fiscal disaster. The deficit was incurred at the same time the current GBGM leadership undertook the rapid expansion of mission personnel programs, including the 10-10-10 Program, without fully analyzing the financial repercussions. The directors should undertake a profound review of the financial and management capabilities of the GBGM leadership, and this review should include a hard look at real operating costs.
  4. The restructuring of the GBGM has had harmful effects on staff morale, provoked rapid turnover, and left critical positions unfilled for long periods of time. The hiring of new staff who lack an understanding of and respect for colleague and indigenous institutions has led to disrespectful behavior toward important and faithful partners in mission. The failure to appoint staff with appropriate geographic experience, language skills, and cultural sensitivity, along with the development of a structure that disregards the need for regional expertise, has crippled the GBGM's ability to respond appropriately to developments in many areas of the world. The hiring of staff with little ecumenical experience or sensitivity has contributed to the GBGM's focus on mission projects that can be labeled United Methodist, often to the detriment of more viable cooperative endeavors. The evolution of an extremely authoritarian and hierarchical structure has meant micromanagement of board activities, poor stewardship of human resources, and a chronic inability to completely carry out some of the basic programs of the board.
  5. Inattention to many personnel issues has led to a high level of frustration among commissioned missionaries. Unilateral decisions made by executives at GBGM headquarters, such as the abrupt discontinuation of Collins Trust Fund Task Force, have exacerbated the situation. Assigning different categories of missionaries to serve in the same context with a variety of funding arrangements has raised concerns about inequality. Despite years of promises, no handbook is available for mission personnel, provoking confusion among mission workers and encouraging arbitrary and sometimes capricious decisions by executive staff. The lack of administrative and emotional support for persons in difficult placements, especially those not receiving standard support, has worried many, as has the lack of adequate contact between the GBGM and large numbers of Hispanic and Korean mission personnel assigned inside the U.S. Recent assignments have been made without adequate preparation of the receiving group, causing difficulty for all involved. And, an intentional lack of formal contact between mission personnel and directors, something once encouraged by the Board, has proved disadvantageous for both parties.
  6. The management style of the current GBGM leadership cripples the ability of the directors to provide adequate oversight of GBGM programming and determine future directions for the board. The four goals of the GBGM were developed in a collegial process of discernment that brought together directors, staff, mission personnel, and representatives of partner organizations and churches. Yet implementation of those goals has been appropriated by the current GBGM Cabinet, excluding mission personnel and partners from having input into decision-making, and strictly controlling the flow of information to directors.

An Opportunity For New Leadership

The directors of the General Board of Global Ministries are beginning a process to seek a new general secretary for the General Board of Global Ministries. We hope the next general secretary will possess the personal qualities and professional skills that one would expect in the leader of an organization of the GBGM's complexity. These would include a demonstrated ability to responsibly manage the financial and personnel resources of a complex organization, significant experience working with other cultures and languages within a church or church-related program, the ability to articulate a theology of mission, demonstrate a personal lifestyle of integrity and honesty, and be capable of working in a respectful, collegial manner with partners, staff, mission personnel, directors, and all other groups that relate to the GBGM. The new general secretary should bring to the job an enthusiastic commitment to mission that she or he has demonstrated in lifestyle and work, as well as a humility that recognizes that God is working in and through many others who are connected in a variety of ways to the structure of the GBGM.

The United Methodist Church is looking for someone it can trust and respect to lead the General Board of Global Ministries in this new millennium. The selection of a new general secretary can be a turning point for the GBGM, an opportunity to remedy past mistakes and chart a new course into a future where the fervor and generosity of evangelical faith is blended with a passionate thirst for justice, producing a mission which is genuinely Christian and historically Wesleyan, and which responds creatively and gracefully to the critical issues and challenges of our day.

Missionary Group Wants Review of United Methodist Agency (07/18/01)

July 18, 2001
News media contact: Linda Bloom
212.870.3803
New York 0-71B{321}

By United Methodist News Service

Concerned about mission program directions and a lack of response from staff, the United Methodist Missionary Association is calling for a "major review" of the denomination's mission agency.

The association, an unofficial, voluntary organization of more than 350 current and retired missionaries, wants the directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries to initiate that review. The association also works closely with two other mission personnel groups, the National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries, and Church and Community Workers.

The call emerged out of the United Methodist Missionary Association's annual meeting on July 2, according to Howard Heiner, president. "Basically, we're going public because we would like the issue raised of a major review of the board during this transition period," he told United Methodist News Service.

Heiner was referring to the search for a successor to the Rev. Randolph Nugent, who has served as the Board of Global Ministries' general secretary since 1981 and has indicated his intent to leave that position during the 2001-2004 quadrennium.

The Rev. Sally Dyck, chairwoman of the board's personnel committee, and the Rev. Duane Sarazin, a committee member, are leading the transition process and seeking input from the wider church regarding the board's future leadership. Heiner said he has talked with Dyck and "she has guaranteed we will meet with her," but the date has not been set.

In a July 9 news release, members of the missionary association "expressed continued frustration" that board management has not allowed mission personnel to provide input and expertise for the agency's planning process. They also are concerned about the "practice of founding new programs of denominational expansion without first consulting local church leaders in areas of the world where there is already a vibrant Christian presence."

Nugent told United Methodist News Service he doesn't consider the term "denominational expansion" to be an accurate description of the board's activities. "This concept of expansion is a political concept, not a theological concept," he explained. "The Gospel calls us to proclaim the Good News to all places and all people."

Citing the dialogues the Board of Global Ministries has conducted in different regions of the world and with annual conferences, he said that it is what the churches and people in those areas say that helps shape mission programs.

"The missionary community cannot see itself as the sole factor in determining where the mission of the church takes place," Nugent said. "Not even the board can determine that anymore. That era of mission is over."

In Kenya, for example, the missionary association is concerned about the establishment of United Methodist churches in a country where an autonomous Methodist church already exists. Nugent's response is that the United Methodist work there was not started by the board but by Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa and his church members when they were exiled from Burundi.

Another concern cited in the missionary association's press release was a reported deficit of $39 million for the Board of Global Ministries. The unaudited 2000 financial statements show total operating expenses of $182.2 million and total operating revenues of $143.1 million.

Stephen Brimigion, the recently retired board treasurer, explained that many of the programs listed under operating expenses are multiyear programs, and all of the funds available for those programs were not reflected in the statement. "We spent more than we took in, but there was money set aside by the directors to cover it (the gap)," he said.

In 2000, he added, "assets still exceeded liabilities."

But because the Board of Global Ministries launched new programs - including the expansion of the missionary community - when the stock market was at a peak, the decline in the market will have a definite effect. "We probably will see some cutbacks this year," Brimigion said.

Nugent believes that most church members don't understand the kind of finances required to support the missionary community. The board's biggest problem, he said, is that funding for missionaries - especially support from local churches - has not increased along with their numbers.

His comments about those financial obligations during the board's spring meeting in April angered missionary association members, who felt the remarks "would seem to portray long-term career missionaries as motivated solely by financial gain and which denigrated mission personnel by comparing them unfavorably with short-term Peace Corps volunteers."

Nugent said he is, in fact, recommending a missionary force that depends more on volunteers than those receiving a regular salary and benefits. "The speech was signaling to the board that we need a missionary program in which compensation would be less," he explained.

Heiner's response was that mission categories currently exist within the board "where people can serve in a Peace Corps type of activity." But he firmly believes there remains a place for the more traditional long-term missionaries who become absorbed in the language, culture and concerns of the communities where they serve.

The missionary association has completed a five-year review of the new organizational structure of the Board of Global Ministries, which it hopes eventually to distribute to board directors. The goals it has listed in that review include:

"Our vision," Heiner said, "is a board where the directors and staff and missionaries are joined together as partners, with our overseas partners and churches and others, to try to serve Christ's mandate."

General Board of Global Ministries: A Five Year Review

Howard Heiner, UMMA Chair, April 20, 2001
(With Editorial Suggestions and Approval of the UMMA Steering Committee)

Part One: Introduction

The purpose of the UNITED METHODIST MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION (UMMA) is to develop and nurture a vital connectional network among active, inactive and retired missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the purpose of promoting Christian mission.

UMMA envisions its role as one of advocacy, advisory and support for those engaged in the Mission the Risen Lord has charged us with, especially those working within the United Methodist structure. Since its formation in 1996, UMMA members have articulated our vision for mission and shared our recommendations with staff.

From this dialog and reflection we are called to speak now from a broader perspective of conscience and justice. The "Priesthood of all Believers" calls, individually and collectively to share in a common mission through the leading of the Holy Spirit. United Methodist missionaries strive throughout the world to meet the needs of the poor and oppressed. We as missionaries and retired missionaries of the United Methodist Church seek to enter into a fuller and more meaningful dialogue with Directors and staff in order to contribute our particular "Spirit endowed" gifts to a common mission fellowship.

After five years of working on these needs, serious problems continue to confront us all - directors, staff and missionaries. From our perspective these problems are rooted in the lack of a participatory process in the formation and implementation of our new GBGM organizational structure. This fundamental problem continues to plague the staff and missionary community, hampering their ability to effectively carry on the mission outreach of the GBGM. The staff workload is too heavy and missionaries feel lost within the structure.

In a January 25, 2001 letter to Dr Nugent the UMMA Chair stated: "I would like to express to you our concern over the work load you and the staff continue to carry in the management and administration of the GBGM. I have observed that the pace and pressure have increased since the implementation of the new organizational structure. Five years later it appears that the tempo is not going to diminish. A large cadre of experienced personnel have resigned and those of you remaining are carrying heavier responsibilities and working longer hours. It is detrimental to everyone's health - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual - and family. If one member suffers, all suffer together ...(1Cor 12: 26)."

Following is a list of problems facing the staff that missionaries have observed:

Working together in partnership with the other two mission personnel groups - Church and Community Workers and the National Association of Deaconess and Missionaries - UMMA has listened to the concerns of the missionary community. Through a multitude of meetings with the Mission Personnel Unit we have discussed those concerns and together established various task forces to seek solutions.

The following goals are needed for a better working relationship:

  1. Developing an open, transparent working relationship with the staff that will honor missionary concerns by establishing common goals and guidelines and by the completion of assigned tasks arising from the goals and guidelines;
  2. Publishing a current missionary/mission personnel manual that will provide administrative guidelines for both staff and missionaries, thus, insuring equitable application of the personnel policies of the GBGM;
  3. Establishing a fair and equitable compensation and benefit policy for all categories of GBGM employees.
  4. Administering the Collins Pension and Health Trust benefits in an equitable, legal and financially responsible manner.
  5. Developing a dynamic program that will utilize the skills and talents of retired GBGM missionaries throughout the United States to promote global goals of mission outreach.

In Closing: Recommendations

After five years of intense efforts by the GBGM to implement mission outreach within a new structure there are still major problems.

UMMA would recommend the following:

Note: Such a review would need to be conducted by a consulting firm (third party neutrality) with the active input of Directors, staff, mission personnel, Autonomous Methodist Churches, Partnership Organizations and appropriate Divisions/Units of the United Methodist Church.

[For further discussion write the Coordinator for Part Two.]

Actions and Reports | Brief History | Membership Information | Prayer Request | Regional News
Related Links | Steering Committee | Task Forces | UMMA Update | Vision and Mission | Home

Last Modified: 19 June 2009
Copyright © 2009
United Methodist Missionary Association
We welcome your comments: