February 28, 2017
Contact: Selby Ewing, Communications Director
SAN DIEGO — The General Commission on Race and Religion (GCORR), the United Methodist Church-wide agency charged with challenging racism and fostering intercultural competency, met February 22nd through February 25th in San Diego, CA for their first meeting of the 2017-2020 quadrennium.
Led by Rev. John Fanestil, Pastor of Faith Cultivation and Leadership Development, First UMC of San Diego, the GCORR board dedicated a day of their meeting time to learn about the realities of immigrants, refugees and borderland communities, visiting United Methodist ministry sites and listening to stories about how the history of US immigration policies have impacted families along the border. The trip included travel through the San Ysidro Port of Entry as well as worship and communion at the border wall.
“The trip to the border humbled and inspired me to do more in the church to hear the stories of those most affected by immigration,” said Bishop Earl Bledsoe of the Northwest Texas-New Mexico episcopal area and president of the GCORR board. “We need immigration reform, however, it must be reform that takes into account the human element regarding families. Although we have laws and policies, I believe the Christian church must also evaluate these in light of a higher moral motive from a biblical perspective. As Christians, we are called to love the immigrant, stranger, and alien in our midst. Our trip allowed us to see and hear from families most affected by immigration on both sides of the border.”
Throughout the 2017-2020 quadrennium, GCORR will convene board meetings in different cities in the US, Philippines, Europe and Africa to gain a deeper understanding of the global nature of the UMC and to connect the work of the agency to ministry “on the ground” in these areas.
“GCORR’s mission is to build the capacity of The United Methodist Church to reach more people, more young people and more diverse people,” says General Secretary Erin Hawkins. “This means that our work must be relevant to all parts of the connection all around the world. Being present in the communities most impacted by issues of racial, ethnic and cultural conflict and oppression is essential to this work.”
The board also took the following actions during its business meeting:
- Received a report from the CORR Action Fund (CAF) Committee about plans for the upcoming grant cycle. The CAF will begin accepting applications in May of 2017.
- Discussed the agency’s quadrennial strategic plan and adopted a logic model to guide its work.
- Affirmed a board covenant to guide members in modeling the agency’s emphasis on intercultural competent leadership, equity in policies and practices, and engaging in vital conversation especially when perspectives may differ.
- Approved plans for an operational audit which will insure the continuing efficiency of the agency and effective stewardship of UMC apportionment funding.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the General Commission on Religion and Race is one of 14 church-wide agencies charged with helping United Methodist congregations become more relevant to and engage more people as followers of Christ. The Commission’s specific mandate is to help laity and clergy address institutional and individual cultural and racial-ethnic biases and practices in order to engage more diverse people and younger people in the denomination’s mission and witness. Commission members are elected from a worldwide pool of candidates for four-year terms.