GCSRW Board Meeting Highlights Progress and Initiatives

For immediate release
August 15, 2023

Chicago, Il. — Insightful discussions and significant updates took place on a wide range of topics shaping the future of the church at the Chicago meeting of the Board of Directors of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women on July 27-28.

The newly commissioned Rev. Katrena King delivered a heartfelt message centered around hope, drawing inspiration from Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the Thing with Feathers," based on Isaiah 40:31. The meeting also witnessed Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, president of the Commission, and Rev. King, board member, leading Communion, fostering a sense of unity and spirituality.

Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary of the Commission, provided a comprehensive overview of the church's journey during the extended quadrennium of 2016-2020, navigating through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent extension.

Notably, she highlighted the impending release of the new ADCA in January 2024 for the upcoming General Conference to be held in 2024.

Additionally, Wiggins Hare outlined the various accomplishments and milestones achieved during this quadrennium, including ethics training and assistance in the development of reporting policies for the Council of Bishops, the election of Bishop Malone as President Designee of the Council and hosting the Women Bishops' Tea. The second half of her report included details about the Central Conference Delegate Orientation Task Force and work GCSRW will be leading at General Conference.

Wiggins Hare reported that at a joint meeting in May to approve the quadrennial budget (which is reduced by 42.4% from the last quadrennium), the Connectional Table (CT) and the General Commission on Finance and Administration (GCFA) voted to keep GCSRW’s budget the same, keeping it at $3,957,518 rather than subjecting it to any reduction. In addition, the Commission’s budget would shift to a fixed cost, rather than on-ratio – which means if approved by the General Conference, it would get 100% of the budgeted amount instead of a lower percentage based on available funds. The Board expressed gratitude to CT and GCFA for recognizing the work of GCSRW as a missional priority of The United Methodist Church going forward. 

Scenario planning was undertaken to analyze GCSRW's financial future, leading to the board's recommendations for necessary adjustments. The organization has made reductions in overhead and other areas, ensuring the staffing budget remains unchanged to meet the minimum requirements for operational efficacy.

The World Service Fund Grant amounting to $300,000, which concludes this quadrennium, has played a significant role in enabling training across Central Conferences. Board member Bob Zilhaver aptly reminded the attendees of the notable joint letter issued by GCSRW and the Council of Bishops during the #MeToo movement in January 2018, recognizing our critical ministries.

Wiggins Hare reflected on the quadrennium's progress and the restructuring of board committees, including the addition of Mission and Evaluation. Key accomplishments since spring were highlighted, ranging from Lunch and Learn sessions on monitoring for annual conference representatives to Sexual Ethics Do No More Harm trainings for chancellors, onboarding a new Director of Leadership Development and Accountability, and fostering connectional work with GCFA, the General Secretaries’ Table and preparation for General Conference.

The GCSRW Executive Committee's respectful request, issued after last year’s board meeting, to be included for monitoring of the processes underway during Bishop Minerva Carcaño’s suspension has since been accepted and the agency will be represented in September at the jurisdictional trial.

Wiggins Hare said that the Commission’s next steps include leading ministries, developing scenarios, imagining GCSRW’s ministry in The UMC going forward, prioritizing within those missions and ministries and considering new revenue sources and methods.

The Commission heard reports from staff, updates on planning for General Conference and legislation, as well as reports from various committees and the legislative task force.

The board expressed its gratitude to the dedicated staff members whose hard work has contributed to the accomplishments and growth of GCSRW.


About the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women:

The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women advocates for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. GCSRW helps the church recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children – as full and equal parts of God's human family. They believe that a fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to The United Methodist Church's mission "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Learn more at GCSRW.org.

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