Denomination restructure draws finance agency warningLatest News Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
A UMNS Report
By Heather Hahn
A proposed consolidation of general agencies could put The United Methodist Church’s assets at risk, says a statement approved by the board of the denomination’s finance agency.
That is just one of four areas of concern outlined by a task force of General Council on Finance and Administration board members regarding the denominational restructuring proposed by the Call to Action Interim Operations Team. By a show of hands, a clear majority of the 40 board members approved the statement during its March 5-7 meeting. No official vote count was taken. The finance agency sent the statement on March 9 to Interim Operations Team leadership.
“We believe that this (Interim Operations Team) restructure plan fails to address many legitimate concerns relating to the work of GCFA and the legal structure of the denomination,” the board’s statement said.
The board said it fears the proposal:
- Creates ascending legal liability risk with the pooling of assets;
- Upsets the balance of powers in budget recommendations;
- Could cost various church entities their IRS tax-exempt status; and
- Falls short of the Call to Action goals of fostering congregational vitality and shrinking the distance between the local and general church.
The proposal would merge nine of the denomination’s 13 general agencies — including the General Council on Finance and Administration — into a new United Methodist Center for Connectional Mission and Ministry. A 15-member board of directors would govern the center, and that board would be accountable to a proposed 45-member General Council for Strategy and Oversight, which would replace the Connectional Table.
The Connectional Table, which coordinates the denomination’s mission, ministry and resources, drafted the restructuring legislation. The Council of Bishops affirmed the changes at its fall meeting in 2011.
The 2012 Unted Methodist General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, will take up restructuring proposals from the Interim Operations Team and other groups when it meets April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla.
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