As the general secretary of GCORR, Erin is the team leader, coach, learner and teacher, leading the staff and board of directors on a journey of discovery of God’s call for this agency.
Erin builds on the solid history of GCORR by helping to make The United Methodist Church relevant to the times in which we are now living. The United Methodist Church and the world are more globally focused, more multicultural, and more multi-textured and complex than at any point in our history. GCORR must be about creating a culture at all levels of the church that welcomes that complexity and is focused on engaging more people, more young people and more diverse people.
In Her Own Words
What do you do at GCORR?
I lead the GCORR team in understanding, interpreting and fulfilling the church’s mandates to engage United Methodists in the work of reconciliation beyond race, culture, ethnic, tribal and national biases and institutional discrimination and division.
What brought you to GCORR?
I was applying for a GCORR grant on behalf of my local church and I called the agency to get more information. A then-GCORR staff member who was planning to leave the agency spoke with me about the grant and we began talking. She encouraged me to apply for her position and I did. I was hired as an Associate General Secretary in 2001 and was named General Secretary in 2007.
What is your Meyers-Briggs type?
ENTP “Progress is the Product”
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
One super power I’d love to have is the ability to speak and understand every language and dialect in the world perfectly. That way, I could be more effective in building relationships and bridges of understanding everywhere!
What’s your favorite flavor combination?
I’ve been talking with a friend of mine about having a cupcake bake-off to see who can come up with the most delicious and unique cupcake flavors. My cupcake line-up would include: chocolate Crunch n Munch (salted caramel, popcorn, peanuts); bread pudding with brandy custard frosting; lemon lavender; maple bacon; and sun dried tomato, basil and gorgonzola.
What song gets stuck in your head most often?
I catch myself humming and dancing to “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” from the movie, Sister Act. There’s something about those classic words of praise sung to a new beat that helps me feel a wonderful, spirited connection with the church of the past and the future.
What book from childhood that inspires me today?
Stone Soup, a folktale retold by Marcia Brown. It is the story of a village whose people claim they don’t have any food to share with three soldiers who come to town. Hearing that the people have no food, the soldiers propose to make a soup of stones to share with them. Suddenly, the townspeople “discover” they have vegetables, meat, bread and drink to add to the feast. Even as a child, the story about the “magic” that comes from cooperation and trust spoke to me. We have so much more abundance than we realize, and there really is enough for everyone if we dare to share our blessings instead of hiding and hoarding them.
Who is your mentor?
I have many mentors who have and continue to walk with me as I discover a path of authentic and faithful leadership and discipleship . These men and women are Bishops, colleague General Secretaries, pastors, laity, educators, for profit and non profit leaders, spiritual guides and just plain folk without title or position. The Rev. L.L.C Hammond, who was one of many extraordinary pastors who served my home church Saint Mark UMC in Los Angeles, Calif., always comes to mind as a mentor of note. She prays for me, offers me honest feedback and treats me as a surrogate daughter. Sometimes, when you work for the church, people forget that you also need your own worshiping community and a pastoral presence in your life. Rev. Hammond reminds me that God is watching over me and cheering me on.