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May 12, 2000 GC-074

Churchwide boards will include Pan-Methodist members

CLEVELAND (UMNS) — Delegates to United Methodism’s highest legislative body have mandated that each of the church’s agencies must have on its governing board at least one member from among the three historically black Methodist denominations.

In a May 12 vote with no debate, the 992 delegates attending the quadrennial United Methodist meeting directed that each churchwide agency elect to its governing board at least one but not more than three representatives from the member churches in the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation. The members will have voice and vote on the boards.

The Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation consists of the United Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches. The denominations work together in areas such as publishing, missions, social concerns and higher education.

In addition to that commission, United Methodists also participate in the Pan-Methodist Commission on Union, which was formed to explore the possible reunion of the four churches.

Delegates voted 801 to 12 to support merging the two Pan-Methodist groups. The new commission would have a four-year budget of $140,000 from each denomination. A report about models of union must be provided to each church’s general conference by 2006.

All three of the black Methodist traditions originated through acts of exclusion or discrimination by white Methodists in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Earlier in the 2000 United Methodist General Conference, the predominately white denomination apologized to the black traditions, confessed to the sin of racism and expressed regret for how people of color have been treated inside and outside the denomination and its predecessor churches.

Delegates also approved the election of one member from among the churches connected to the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) to the board of directors of each agency. Members from the consultations would have voice but no vote. COCU is an ecumenical organization of Protestant churches.

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--Linda Green

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