Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Connectional Table Weekly Update: General Secretaries Table and Prayers

Dear CT Members and Friends,

Greetings in God's Love!  This week the General Secretaries Table will gather in Washington DC to come together for the sake of mission and ministry.  Although, this is not a body sanctioned by the Discipline, it is an important body in the life of the church.  They voluntarily covenant to join with one another regularly to seek collaborative opportunities in which they can collectively impact the mission of the church.  In fact, many new ideas have emerged when this group has sought to learn from one another and be innovative and creative together.  

The General Secretaries of our denomination have a unique role in our connectional system.  By Discipline (Para. 703.7a), they hold the title "General Secretary" and are the "chief staff officer of a general agency."  They are elected by their Board of Directors and serve as the CEO of that corporation.  The general secretaries of the program agencies are elected quadrennially and can serve three consecutive terms.  They can manage anywhere from 7 staff members to 300-400 staff, depending on the general agency.  And they have a variety of expertise based upon their education and experience.  In this quadrennium, there have been five new General Secretaries who have been elected by their Boards.  

Because the CT Board doesn't get to hear from all of our General Secretaries, I wanted to highlight some of the ways in which our General Church agencies have been seeking to address the adaptive challenge we have identified as a denomination.  Several of the General Secretaries who are in their second term have made great strides in setting up systems of accountability by addressing their research and monitoring needs.  They have been using data and research to evaluate the outcomes in their objectives and have been seeking to better understand the needs of the local church as they resource Annual Conferences and local communities of faith for effectively carrying out the mission of the church. Some have begun using the "balanced score card" model and the "Logic model" as tools to determine their objectives and outcomes.  These leaders have a responsibility of helping build and increase capacity within our connectional system for greater missional impact.  As the CT has sought to continue the focus on increasing vital congregations, the systems that the agencies are developing and building and the tools that they are using to monitor and evaluate their work are critical to helping us see the big picture of the system.

The General Secretaries of our church are faith-filled members of The United Methodist Church.  Some are clergy, some are laity, AND all are devoted to the strength, well-being and vitality of our connection.  If you know them individually, you will know that they are called out leaders in our church seeking to make a difference by offering their unique gifts to God's mission through The UMC.  No member of the GST is perfect, but all are striving towards the call to Christian Perfection.  They join the Bishops in partnership, leading our denomination towards a creative, innovative and faithful response to the 21st Century mission field.  I hope that you will join me in praying for the members of the General Secretaries Table as they gather together this week.

Members of the GST:
Neil Alexander, United Methodist Publishing House (19 Years)
Barbara Boigegrain, General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (21 Years)
Rev. Dr. Tim Bias, General Board of Discipleship (1 1/2 Years)
Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (4 Years)
Rev. Fred Day, General Commission on Archives and History (1 Year)
Gil Hanke, General Commission on United Methodist Men (5 Years)
Dawn Hare, General Commission on Status and Role of Women (2 1/2 Years)
Erin Hawkins, General Commission on Religion and Race (8 Years)
Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Board of Church and Society (1 1/2 Years)
Thomas Kemper, General Board of Global Ministries (5 Years)
Dan Krause, General Commission on Communications (3 months)
Moses Kumar, General Council on Finance and Administration (7 Years)
Harriett Olson, United Methodist Women (2 Years)
Gere Reist, Commission on General Conference (10 Years)
Rev. Dr. Stephen Sidorak, Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (7 Years)

With God's Love,


Rev. Amy Valdez Barker, PhD
Executive Secretary