1997 Stewardship Report | Annex G - Annex N | Appendices 1995 Stewardship Report

Annex A | Annex B | Annex C | Annex D | Annex E | Annex F

ANNEX A
Historical Perspectives of UM - Related Stewardship

While there is much good that the United Methodist Church does with its money, we continue to be troubled by the fiscal prioritization evidenced, and by the lack of openness, honesty, and accountability in its overall use. The following historical information gives but a few examples of problems in how money has been used in the past:

- Analysis of GBGM expenditures during the four years 1984-87 shows that $54,694,344 given to 2,314 non-United Methodist groups equaled ninety-six percent of the World Service Fund received by the GBGM. [1]

- The amount of United Methodist Church money that actually goes to benevolent and mission causes has declined to 13 per cent and exhibits a continued downward trend. [2]

- Money from the ICF, United Methodist Women (UMW), World Service, CROP, special offerings, and various general boards and agencies go to support the NCC and subsequently Church World Service (CWS). Please consider how some of that money was used:

-$500,000 was given by CWS to the government of Vietnam to set up "New Economic Zones", a southeast Asian place of exile to which political undesirables are sent - a veritable "Siberia." People with no farming experience are sent there as punishment to fend for themselves; ethnic Chinese have braved death at sea to escape going to these locations. In another situation, Le Thi Loi, a Christian pastor, was executed for his work among the peasants; his was only one of 60,000 such deaths. CWS consistently works for political advocacy on behalf of this government.[3]

-Thousands of dollars support the Office of Development Policy (ODP), a CWS political lobby in Washington, DC. Larry Minear, head of the ODP, wrote an article critical of aid to the Afghan resistance and supportive of the Soviet-backed regime when it was in Kabul. Among other numerous atrocities and attempted genocide against the people, butterfly mines were used to intentionally maim and injure children. Pictures of this are available at the offices of Concerned Methodists. During all of the years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and its numerous documented atrocities there, no credible protest was ever voiced by the NCC, WCC, or our own UMC leadership.[I, 3]

-Other CWS political activism has involved support of the Marxist governments in Mozambique, Cuba, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, the Southwest African People's Organization (SWAPO), the African National Congress (ANC), and pro-Sandinista elements in Nicaragua,. At Congressional hearings where the director of CWS testified as to the excellent conditions of Vietnamese "reeducation camps", Nguyen van Coi, a survivor of those same camps testified: "I was given two small bowls of rice twice daily, plain rice with salt. The cell in which I was detained was 11 feet by 22 feet. There were around 81 prisoners in my cell. We had to lie on our sides because there was not enough room to lie on our backs during the night."[3]

- In excess of $754,000 was given to the ANC through the WCC. The ANC uses the method of "necklacing" to terrorize other Africans, which is the practice of taking any who displease the ANC, putting a tire around his or her neck and setting fire to gasoline poured over the victim.[4]

- In excess of $1,348,000 was given to SWAPO by the WCC.[4]

-$75,000 was given to the Christian Council on Mozambique, which is politically active on behalf of increased aid to that Marxist country.

- $200,000 of church money was spent for a study of homosexuality.

- Bishops who receive an average compensation package exceeding $150,000 per year work to promote the adoption of homosexual practice within the United Methodist Church and in American society. In addition, they have failed to address the continuing spread of the goddess theologies stemming from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in the late 1970s, exemplified by the "Re-Imagining Conference" and continuing up to the present.[5]

- Money was given to the Caribbean Conference of Churches, involved in political activism on behalf of Cuba and against the United States.

- $1,039,971 was spent for three separate GBGM meetings within one year's time.[6]

- $500,000 was spent for a terminated GBGM staffer.[6]

- $64,052 was spent for one year's travel expenses for just one GBGM staffer, over and above receiving his regular salary.[6] - $25,000 was spent by the GBGM for a study to counter the one authorized by the 1988 General Conference: the original study showed that it was economically feasible and desirable for the GBGM to move from its New York offices, an action which that board is fighting.[6]

Notes:

  1. Biases and Blind Spots, by Professor R. L. Wilson, Bristol Books.
  2. Rekindling the Flame, by professors William H. Willimon and the late Robert L. Wilson of Duke University, Abingdon Press.
  3. The Coercive Utopians, by Dr. Rael Jean and Erich Isaacs, Regnery Gateway Books.
  4. See The World Council of Churches" at Annex G of this study.
  5. See "The Episcopal Fund" at Annex C of this study.
  6. The Report by Karl Stegall, at Annex E, Appendix 1 of this study.
I The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1521 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.

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ANNEX B
(United Methodist) Communications

(UM) Communications (UMComm) $11,110,000/year apportioned
In addition to its designated duties as designated by the UMC, UM Communications has involved itself in other areas as well:

- Pornography: Wilford Bane, head of the public media division of UM Communications, stated that "the UMC had not joined the defense of the Pink Pyramid Bookstore in Cincinnati." His comments came after the American Family Association (AFA) reported that UMComm is a member of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) that filed arguments in September (1994) defending that bookstore's right to rent "Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom." An AFA publication said the bookstore caters to gays and that the video version of the 1975 film shows teen-age boys and girls being burned with candles, scalped, and forcibly sodomized. The coalition, filed a court brief supporting defendants' motions to dismiss the charges.[1] Note: UMComm contributed $1500 to NCAC.

- Monitoring Group: UM Communications chief Judy Weidman has formed a task force to "monitor" "conservative groups" like the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), UMAction, and AFA. Weidman's task force which includes Bishop Sharon Rader of Wisconsin, convened in April 1995 to discuss how to "mop up" when a controversial UM event catches us unaware" and "all hell breaks loose." According to Weidman, the meeting cost $5,000. UM Communications receives $11,110,000 annually from the World Service apportionment collected from over 30,000 local UM churches. The April meeting included a briefing from Thomas MacAnally of UM News Service about UMAction Mark Tooley and Dr. Donald Wildmon of the AFA, which spotlighted UM Communications membership in the National Coalition Against Censorship. Wildmon, a UM minister, charged UM Communications with "McCarthyism" after hearing that he was the topic of a "briefing." Since convening her task force, Weidman has pledged that UM Communications would not "just report the news" but would be a "critic" of "conservative elements" like IRD. [2]

- "Re-Imagining" Theologies: Ms. Weidman edited a book called Christian Feminism: Visions of a New Humanity which uncritically featured the works of Rita Nakashima Brock, Rosemary Radford Ruether and other future Re-Imagining movement leaders who promote goddess substitutes for the "unholy" Trinity of Christianity. In the book's introduction, Weidman complains that, "Christianity reflects a male dominated, hierarchical world-view." She calls upon feminists to "unravel the dominance of the patriarchy."[2]

- Video. United Methodist Communications produced a new video series featuring some of today's most radical theologians. The nearly 15 hours of video includes interviews with about 50 spiritually-minded individuals, few of whom could be called traditional Christians. Indeed, the qualification for appearing in this film series appears to have been a rejection of historic Christianity. Among the speakers are Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has denied the virgin birth and physical resurrection of Christ, and Rosemary Radford Ruether, who led a worship service devoted to ancient Mediterranean goddesses two years ago at UM Garrett Seminary near Chicago. Also included are radical feminist theologians Rita Nakashima Brock (formerly of UM Hamline University in Minnesota), Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz (of UM Drew Seminary in New Jersey) and Katherine Keller, also of Drew Seminary. Brock has written that Sophia, as the "erotic Heart of the Universe," is responsible for resurrecting Jesus. Isasi-Keller believes that god is not eternal but is simply an "experience of life." Keller advocates a deity with breasts. Other speakers were: Delores Williams of New York's Union Seminary, who has rejected the Atonement of Christ by declaring that, "We don't need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff." Tex Sample of UM St. Paul's Seminary in Kansas City is a leading proponent of ordination for practicing homosexuals within United Methodism. Hyung Kyung Chung has advocated the worship of ancient Korean gods and goddesses.

In the video series, speakers question the authority of the Scriptures, the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, divine omnipotence, the expectation of eternal life, the reality of human sin, and God's ability to answer specific prayer. God is portrayed as virtually unknowable. Truth is seen as adaptable to our own devices.

Author Will Campbell notes that god can be called either Father or mother. Madeline L'Engle, a New York writer, says "The cosmos is God's body." Valerie Russell of the City Mission Society in Boston asks that we "re-conceptualize" God in new ways such as: "Nature images. Black Women. Clouds in the sky. do not limit God's power and passion. God is everything." James Lawson surmises that God is an energy rather than a personality. Prayer is described as more an act of self-actualization than communication with the Lord. Russell opines that, "Prayer is a time you meditate and get in touch with the seeds of power in you." John Vannorsdall, a Lutheran seminary president, "Don't expect God to do something." He explains that "God is hands off. The God who is active in my life is a God I do not want." "I have trouble with a God who changes the law of nature on my behalf," complains Ignaxio Castuera, a UM pastor. "Is God in control? I hope not. God is one power among other powers. The past is far more powerful than God." Walter Brueggeman: "I think on a good day God has power to do this stuff, but God has lots of off days."

The Bible's historical and textual reliability is dismissed. "No one believes the Bible literally," assumes Will Campbell. Says Bishop Spong, "I think it's [the Bible] been ruined for most religious people by the kind of superstition we have placed upon it." What happens after death is largely unanswerable to most of the speakers. Former Catholic priest James Carroll says, "We're all on this escalator going up. Well I don't know what's at the top." Walter Wink, a United Methodist, tries to be more hopeful by declaring, "There's nothing lost. God gathers up everything somehow into Her breast." Hyung Kyung Chung, who believes in ancestor worship, opines that, "If they had a good life, they go to paradise and they visit us like vacation."

The video series fails to uphold Christian sexual morality. "I've suggested that marriage is not the only relationship in which sex can be called holy," observes Bishop Spong, one of the nation's leading religious defenders of homosexuality. UMComm produced the film series through "EcuFilm," a consortium involving the UMC and other mainline denominations, plus the National Council of Churches. UMAction reviewed videos, transcripts and study guides provided by UMCom.

Notes:

  1. Newscope, December 9, 1994, p. 1.
  2. UMAction, Fall, 1995.
  3. UMAction, Autumn 1997

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ANNEX C
The Episcopal Fund

The Episcopal Fund* apportioned: $13,894,317/$14,342,552/$14,836,628
Compensation
* projected to be: salary - $80,740; residence - $19,000; office expense - $53,000. The bishops, by virtue of their position, are the leaders of our church and should offer spiritual guidance, establishing a climate of worship that nourishes and grows the laity in the spiritual realm. Their actions and the priorities they espouse are important to the future direction of the United Methodist Church. Below is a small percentage of the data in the files at Concerned Methodists regarding episcopal activities. It should also be noted that the letter from Bishop Lindsey Davis**(Appendix 5) to the First United Methodist Church of Marietta, Georgia, was in reaction to their directed payment of their apportionment; it could be argued that the reasons for First Church's action stems from a failure of our episcopal leaders (one of whom is Bishop Davis) to exercise responsible leadership in addressing the problems in these two areas. The areas delineated below, especially those of the "Re-Imagining" theologies and homosexual advocacy are the visible signs of the leading cause for the decline in the United Methodist Church: the loss of the authority of Scripture. The reason that figures on our church's membership loss (at Appendix 6) are listed in this Annex is because a significant degree of responsibility for the decline in our United Methodist Church rests with our leadership - the bishops.

Following are some of the activities in which our bishops have been involved:

- "Re-Imagining" Theologies: The bishops have as of yet not exercised decisive responsibility of doctrinal oversight (par. 514.2, page 280 of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church) by addressing the spreading goddess worship that has resulted from the "Re-Imagining Conference," which retired Bishop Hunt called the "worst heresy in fifteen decades." The 1994 study of the concept of "wisdom" was termed by Bishop Cannon "inadequate." (See the Women's Division in Annex E, the General Board of Global Ministries)

Homosexuality. Examination of the information in Appendices 1 - 3, and the information listed below are illustrative of the pattern of support for the homosexual lifestyle. Compared to the information of a socio-political and a spiritual nature contained in the fact sheet "The Gay Lifestyle" at Appendix 4, it is difficult to understand the reasons for promoting this activity, since it is so deleterious to one is life.

- UM Reverend Jeanne Audrey Powers. At a meeting of a "Reconciling Congregations" convention in July, UM Reverend Jeanne Audrey Powers, deputy chief of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, admitted that she was a lesbian; Bishop Grove, Christian Unity's president, called Powers' announcement if courageous" and "a good gift of God." Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher called her a "distinguished ecumenist" and "respected leader." Council of Bishops president Roy Sano and Bishop William Dew also attended this convention. [I] In another action, the Council of Bishops voted to amend Discipline paragraph 402.2 related to ordained ministry. Instead of language saying that "self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed" in the church, the bishops proposed: "A person who is self-avowed, or proven with clear and convincing evidence, to be a practicing homosexual is not to be accepted as a candidate, ordained as a minister or appointed to serve in the UMC." A footnote would say, "Self-avowed is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, D.S., district committee on ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual."[1] This is interpreted to mean that it would be more difficult to prove conduct involving homosexuality in order to bring charges against a pastor under these provisions. For instance, the question could be raised, "Does this mean that a person could flaunt his lifestyle in front of any number of lay people without effect; does it take only ordained clergy to ascertain he is a practicing homosexual?"

- General Conference. At the beginning of the 1996 General Conference, the Episcopal Address given by Bishop Judith Ann Craig contained veiled language urging the UMC to reconsider its position against homosexuality with: "We have much to learn about our human nature and what it means to be created in the image of God. Let us bind ourselves in common search for God's continuing revelation about Divine creation intention, especially the meaning and employment of the beautiful gift of our sexuality."

The entire week was orchestrated with a view toward reversing the church's stance in this area: people stationed at entrances passing out literature, news conferences, the "Denver 15's" press release opposing the UMC's stance on homosexuality (see Appendix 3), an "Open the Doors" theme, Hillary Clinton's speech, and legislative maneuvers. A petition from the Iowa conference for revision of the language in paragraph 71F of the Book of Discipline focused this debate. Despite aggressive activity by those who wished to overturn the UMC's stance, current language was supported by a vote of 577 to 378 (60.4%). Central Conference delegates, who were especially eloquent in their support of biblical standards, were: Sul A. Nawej (Southern Zaire), Ndjungu Nkemba (Southern Zaire), and Akasa Umembudi (Central Zaire). In other action, delegates passed a resolution prohibiting pastors from performing, and from allowing their churches to be used for, same-sex covenanting services. Some of the reactions to how the homosexual issue was addressed at General Conference were:

-Prior to the end of General Conference, Concerned Methodists of the Rocky Mountain's Mel Brown publicly called for Bishop Mary Ann Swenson's resignation for her participation as one of the "Denver 15."
-The Alabama-West Florida Conference registered its "frustration and disappointment" at the lack of episcopal leadership on homosexual-related issues at General Conference. A resolution voicing opposition to the "Denver 15" and with the episcopal address by Bishop Craig passed unanimously.
-The Northwest Texas Annual Conference passed a resolution expressing its disappointment with the bishops and stating that if they are unable to enforce with integrity the laws of the church on homosexuality matters, they should resign as bishops.
-Members of the West Ohio Annual Conference wrote their bishop (Judith Ann Craig, another of the "Denver 15") requesting her resignation. Others go on record stating that they were "ashamed" that she was their bishop. The annual conference passed a resolution reaffirming the UMC's biblical stance in opposition to homosexuality.
-The Little Rock Committee on Older Adult Ministries canceled an event at which ("Denver 15") retired Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly was scheduled to speak. A resolution introduced at the Annual Conference calling for the resignation of the active bishops among the "Denver 15" was amended, and a resolution supporting the church's stance on homosexuality was passed.

- Bishop Judith Craig. Bishop Judith Craig of the West Ohio conference, one of the "Denver 15" bishops, said she signed the statement during General Conference opposing proscriptions in the Discipline against gay and lesbian persons because her study of Scripture and social and scientific data and her personal experience with homosexual persons "caused me to open myself to new understanding." She stated that ... she will also "raise questions and invite a search for knowledge that will call the church to keep being open to new learnings and revelations of God's will."[2]

Political Activism

- The Republican Contract with America: In April the Council of Bishops listened to Carol Rasco, Domestic Policy advisor to President Clinton, denounce the Republican "assault on our children." She alleged that the Contract With America is a "financial arrangement" that "favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor." Bishop Melvin Talbert joined a National Council of Churches press conference on Capitol Hill just before Easter to "encourage lawmakers who oppose the Republican contract." Talbert urged fasting and prayer during Holy Week to resist the Contract With America. "Who in good conscience could support it?" asked Talbert who is the NCC's president-elect.[3]

- Welfare Advocacy: In a letter (organized by the GBGM) sent this past summer to members of the U.S. Senate, 30 UM Bishops opposed cuts in social services programs that had been proposed for the 1996 budget. The Bishops alleged that a "me first mentality" in America has been fueled by "budget priorities over the last fifteen years." They expressed alarm that 'social disintegration' was resulting from the absence of a comprehensive economic policy aimed at assuring that the basic needs of the people are met." Additionally, Bishop Melvin Talbert signed an October letter, organized by the National Council of Churches (NCC), to President Clinton which called budget cuts an assault upon the poor to enable "tax breaks" for the rich. The letter attacked military spending increases.[4]

- Cuba: For actions by the bishops in advocating for this country, please refer to Annex D, GBCS, on Cuba.

- UM Stewardship. Bishops Dan Solomon (Louisiana), J. Woodrow Hearn (Houston), and Joao Samane Machado (Mozambique), and Randolph Nugent, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) made a "pastoral visit" to exiled Burundi UM Bishop Alfred Ndoricimpa in Nairobi, Kenya. Solomon, GBGM President, said that Ndoricimpa and his wife "are doing well but longing to return to Burundi." In an unrelated trip, a 10-member team headed by Bishop Melvin G. Talbert (San Francisco), president of the National Council of Churches, visited North Korea to see the start of the distribution of a Church World Service shipment of 670 tons of rice from Bangkok, Thailand. "Christians have a moral obligation to respond to the growing famine in North Korea regardless of the religion or politics of its citizens," according to Talbert.[5] [One questions why the correlation is not made between the type of government and the economic welfare of its inhabitants. In addition, one wonders how priorities are determined. What about Sudan?]

- Israel. Bishops urged Clinton to review U.S. assistance to Israel. The Council of Bishops approved a two-page pastoral letter to President Clinton here expressing concern about Middle East peace and asking for a review of U.S. aid to Israel.[6]

Notes:

*The Daily Christian Advocate for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering the 1997-2000 quadrennium.
  1. The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1521 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
  1. Newscope November 5, 1995, p. 1.
  2. UMAction Briefing, Spring 1995, p. 1.
  3. West Ohio News
  4. UMAction, Fall, 1995.
  5. Newscope, 2/7/97 and 3/17/97, p. 2.
  6. The Interpreter, July-August, 1997, p.7.

Appendices:

  • Appendix 1: Letter by Bishop C. P. Minnick, Jr. urging the pastors in his conference to attend a seminar sponsored by the Raleigh Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality
  • Appendix 2: Letter from the Raleigh Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality, signed by United Methodist pastor Jimmy Creech
  • Appendix 3: News Release by the "Denver 15"
  • Appendix 4: Fact Sheet on "The Gay Lifestyle"
  • Appendix 5: Letter signed by Lindsey Davis, bishop of the North Georgia Conference***
  • Appendix 6: Membership Decline in the United Methodist Church
***Taken from "The Unofficial Confessing Movement Page" on the INTERNET (permission granted to use information)

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ANNEX D
The (United Methodist) General Board of Church and Society

The (UM) General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) $2,612,050/year
The GBCS had net assets of $15,622,478 (the independent study in Annex D shows $15,622,476, a difference of $2.00), of which $13,807,981 is unrestricted.[
l] That equates to approximately 5.29 years' equivalent of World Service Fund allocations (the independent study in Annex D shows 5.8 years allocation). The GBCS believes that its chief function is to lobby our country's national leadership to achieve what they perceive as the political agenda of the UMC. This is accomplished by individual actions and through six areas: Peace with Justice Program, Environmental Justice Program, Ministry to God's Human Community, Human Welfare, Ministry of Resourcing Congregational Life, and Communications. Selected activities were:

Homosexuality

- General Conference: The GBCS took the lead in recommending that the 1996 General Conference overturn the church's opposition to the ordination of homosexuals. At its spring meeting, GBCS directors voted by a 6 to 1 margin to delete paragraph 71F in the Discipline, which states "we do not condone the practice of homosexuality," to be considered at the 1996 General Conference. The motion was originally submitted by Tex Sample, a professor at St. Paul's School of Theology in Kansas City, who has called homosexuality a "gift of God." Only 13 of the board's 80 directors opposed the proposal. [2]

- Political Legislation. Thom White Wolf Fassett, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, expressed 'deep disappointment' with the final Senate vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S932). The defeated legislation, introduced by Sen. John Chaffee (R-R.I.) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. "The Social Principles," said Fassett, "clearly states a commitment in supporting the rights and liberties for homosexual persons." [3]

Political Activism

- The Balanced Budget Amendment: 18 religious organizations, including the UM GBCS and the NCC sent a message to Congress urging opposition to the balanced budget amendment. They claim that it would cut effective programs serving low and moderate income people. The message noted that Congress needs to have the flexibility to respond to fiscal crises with the type of limits imposed by the amendment, and told Congress that even if religious bodies tripled their efforts to provide food, housing and other programs for low income people, "the religious community could handle only a tiny fraction of the need that is currently being met by the federal government."[4]

- Cuba: An eleven member United Methodist team visited Fidel Castro's Cuba early in 1995 and liked what it saw. "Everyone had free education, free health care," said Ellen Carter about the Cuban dictatorship. She is a director on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) and shared her impressions at the GBCS's March directors meeting. "There were no rich, no mansions. No poor and no homeless on the streets. There was a sense of noncompetitiveness and of community. There was a richer life for many." The team was led by GBCS chief Thom White Wolf Fasett. In February, Fassett declared there to be no human rights problems in Cuba "at this time." He denounced the U.S. embargo as a "terrible scourge on the people of Cuba," which he said "it was meant to be." Fassett complained that despite the Cuban National Assembly President's having "graciously" visited the Methodist Building in Washington last fall, leaders from other church offices were disinterested. "Our task is not easy," said Fassett, who hopes to meet with President Clinton to urge better U.S. relations with Cuba. The GBCS is forming a task force to advocate an end to the U.S. embargo. The may meeting of the Council of Bishops also called for an end to the U.S. embargo. [5]

- Affirmative Action: GBCS officials are defending affirmative action programs to give preferential treatment to minority groups in the job market. In a letter sent this summer to U.S. senators, GBCS chief Thom White Wolf Fassett avowed that the UMC "opposes any and all amendments that may weaken existing affirmative action programs." Fassett cited the UM Book of Resolutions in his claim to speak for Plover 9 million" church member in defending current affirmative action policies. (It should be noted that the UMC has 8.6 million members.) "The premise upon which affirmative action is built is essentially moral and spiritual in nature," according to Fassett and the Book of Resolutions. Hilary Shelton of GBCS did the same to Clinton in July; he directs the board's Ministry to God's Human Community. [5]

- Other Selected Political Activism: GBCS officials denounced the "Contract with America." At a February meeting of the official UM Joint Panel on International Affairs in New York, Fassett declared that "Republican secular Christians are lying to our people. People are getting hoodwinked."....Director Peter Trainor replied that, "We define positions quite well but the local church never gets it." The GBCS has endorsed 14 Puerto Rican terrorists and is calling upon President Clinton to give these "political prisoners" immediate pardon. Most of them are affiliated with the FALN, a Puerto Rican (PR) revolutionary group that fought for a "free and socialist" PR by blowing up numerous buildings during the 1970s and 1980s. These blasts resulted in five deaths. The "political prisoners" are serving sentences that range up to 100 years each. None has expressed sorrow for his or her crimes, but our UM social action agency compared them to American patriots in the Revolutionary War and to the apostles Paul and Peter, who also were imprisoned for "political reasons." [2, 6]

- Methodist Building Hosts Anti-Promise Keepers Events. The National organization of Women (NOW) staged two press conferences this summer at the United Methodist Building in Washington to denounce the October 1997 Promise Keepers "Stand in the Gap" gathering in the nation's capital. Joining the feminist organization were several homosexual groups and Church Women United, of which the UM Women's Division is a member. Permission for NOW to use the building was granted by Board of Church and Society general secretary Thom White Wolf Fassett. Hundreds of thousands of Christian men met on the Mall on October 4, under the banner of Promise Keepers, to reaffirm their fidelity to God, their churches, and families. But NOW president Pat Ireland expressed fear over a perceived "hidden agenda" by the men's movement. "The Promise Keepers speak about 'taking back America' for Christ, when they really mean men taking charge," warned Ireland. "Their targets are women, lesbians and gay men, and anyone who supports abortion rights or opposes an authoritarian, religiously-based government." Among the groups joining Ireland in the Methodist Building for the protest were the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, the Feminist Majority, Church Women United and Equal Partners in Faith. The last group is a new coalition of liberal religious leaders organized to oppose Promise Keepers. Its leaders include Tex Sample and John Swomley of UM St. Paul's Seminary, and Rosemary Radford Ruether, a feminist theologian at UM Garrett Seminary.

- Assisted Suicide. Thom White Wolf Fassett, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, raised a series of concerns to protect "the right and faculty to choose life." He underscores concerns of the disabled who fear that societal prejudice could place them at risk if caretakers are legally protected in hastening death. "Will decisions influenced by depression be mistaken for clear thinking?" he asks. He also expresses concern about the profit motive in managed care: "Will the decision for life or death be that of the patient, the physician, or the insurer?" Newscope, 1/17/97, p. 3. Don Messer, president of Iliff School of Theology, said, "People sometimes war against 'playing God' in the discussion of suicide. But in the medical field, we're already playing God by extending life beyond what used to be and by putting people on machines .... We need more intensive caring and maybe less intensive care." Messer believes Scripture indicates that God has given humanity a good deal of autonomy, and while God is caring and compassionate, God has not specifically forbidden suicide. [7]

- The Civil-Rights Act of 1997. The GBCS is opposing the Civil-Rights Act of 1997. Thom White Wolf Fassett, general secretary, says that the McConnell-Canady Bill would "sanction discrimination against women, racial and ethnic minorities,...stifling their advancement in education and in employment." The agency also supports Bill Lann Lee for assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Justice Department.[8]

Notes:

*The Daily Christian Advocate for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering the 1997-2000 quadrennium.

  1. General Agencies Income and Expense for 1996, GBCS
  2. UMAction Briefing, Spring 1995, p. 1.
  3. Newscope, Sept. 20, 1996, p.3
  4. The United Methodist Reporter (UMR), February 10, 1995, p. 4.
  5. UMAction, Fall, 1995.
  6. Mark Tooley's Letter, November 9, 1995.
  7. Newscope, 1/24/97, p.2.
  8. Newscope, November 28, 1997, p.4

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ANNEX E
The (United Methodist) General Board of Global Ministries

The (UM) General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM)
The information presented here is far from comprehensive; a shortage of space precludes our giving more complete coverage and analyses of expenditures by the GBGM. Since this board is designated by the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline as the "missional instrument" of the UMC, it has a primal responsibility to translate God's commands into practice. The largest agency in the UMC, it receives more money than does any other. In the examination of financial data, it should be noted that there have been discrepancies between the Treasurer's Report (TR) and the unaudited Financial Disclosure Report (FDR), both of which are published by the GBGM. For instance (for historical purposes), income differences varied from the greatest in 1992 (TR): $120,467,706 versus FDR: $134,326,668 - a difference of $13,858,962, or 11.50%) to the least in 1994 (TR): $133,173,640 versus FDR: $133,770,208 - a difference of $596,568, or .448%). For the sake of consistency, FDR figures were used since this is the document that also lists organizations supported.

1994 1995 1996
GBGM Assets: $295,956,199 $387,994,505 $409,210,898
% Change of assets
from Previous Year:
2.06%
Decrease
31.10%
Increase
5.47%
Increase
GBGM Income: $133,770,208 $168,847,907 $191,551,170TR
% Change of income
from Previous Year
15.56%
Increase
26.22%
Increase
13.358%
Increase
Distributions/Grants
to organizations:
$44,310,043 $70,734,241 $96,465,479
% of GBGM Budget: 33.12% 41.89% 50.369%
Administration/NYC
Office Support:
$30,226,708 $32,668,817 $49,486,777
% of GBGM Budget: 22.65% 19.35% 25.835%
Direct Spt./Persons
in Mission (GBGM):
$16,392,710 $22,731,586 #19,241,794
% of GBGM Budget: 12.25% 13.46% 10.045%
Direct Spt./Pers. in
Mission (World Div.):
$11,361,989 $15,572,143 $10,787,894
% of GBGM Budget: 8.49% 9.22% 5.632%

A full board meeting costs $350,000, while executive committee meetings cost $275,000. The GBGM spent $738,000 for two meetings in 1995 and had budgeted $855,785 for two in 1996. [See Appendix 1, "Report by Dr. Karl Stegall";I]

For 1996, the General Board of Global Ministries had net assets of $409,210,898, more than at any other time in its history.

The GBGM received $191,551,170 in revenues in 1996, up from $168,847,907 in 1995 - an increase of $22,703,263, or +13.358%. Of 1996's total income, $22,900,588 came from World Service apportioned funds, $39,989,923 from the Women's Division funds/appropriations and from the United Methodist Women, and the rest from outside trusts and interest, dividends, capital gains from the GBGM's some $273,517,812 of investments in 1996 (up from $251,729,019 in 1995).

At the same time, distributions and grants to "outside organizations" not related to the UMC received $96,465,479 (50.369% of income), up from $70,734,241 in 1995 (41.89% of income for that year) - a net increase of $25,731,238. Support of the GBGM's offices in New York City and other administrative expenses received $49,486,777 (25.83% of income), up from $32,668,817 in 1995 (19.35% of income for that year).

In contrast, direct support of persons in mission received $19,241,794 in 1996 (10.045% of income), down from $22,731,586 in 1995, which was 13.46% of income for that year. Direct support of persons in mission in the world division [i.e., foreign missionaries] was $10,787,894 in 1996 (5.632% of income), down from $15,572,143 in 1995 (9.22% of income for that year). This is consistent with the pattern of decline of money actually reaching the mission field, not only for the World Division but for the entire GBGM as well. In the past, American Methodism fielded over 2500 in the 1920s, far more than any other Protestant denomination. By the 1960s it had declined to 1500, and to 516 in 1985, 323 in 1993, 320 in 1995, and to the present total of 287 (foreign) missionaries with the World Division.

Citing "budget problems" for 1993 and 1994, Robert J. Harman, World Division Executive stated that 20 missionaries "must retire or not continue in missionary service" due to reduced funding[l], yet despite the fact that total revenues received by the GBGM are higher than ever before, the missionary force has dwindled to the present level.

The financial data above reflect the picture that overall revenues have been increasing, and more money is going to the categories of "organizations outside of the UMC" and to "administrative expenses" (to include support of its offices in New York City), both in actual dollars and also as a higher percentage of GBGM income. This latter statistic reflects a double increase since higher proportions of a growing revenue are allocated to these two areas. Conversely, money allocated into overall mission support and foreign mission support decreased, both in terms of real dollars and in terms of the percentage of GBGM revenues.

The study included in Annex K approaches the stewardship issue from the perspective that General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) policy is that denominational agencies retain a minimum of 25% of annual operating budgets in reserve. If this is the case, the figures cited above show excessive accumulation of moneys at the general church level. This study then offers the estimate that the World Division of the GBGM has accumulated assets representing 40 years worth of World Service Fund income. In other words, with the funds it has invested, it could operate for 40 more years without receiving another penny from the World Service part of the apportionments. Reserves held by the other divisions and agencies were: 9.7 years for the National Division, 7.8 years for the Women's Division.

The results of the study included in Annex K support our analysis that excessive wealth is accumulating at the general church level. In addition, the fact that our general boards and agencies have accumulated more invested assets now than at any other time in history is indicative that not all of the money given in response to appeals, based on poignant pictures showing abject need, is making its way to help the people so portrayed. In other words, the pictures are used to elicit sympathy on the part of donors, who give their money thinking it will alleviate that poverty, but the funds are invested by the general agencies and they become wealthier.

Observations

- Money ($442,004) allocated in the Financial Disclosure Report indicated "Undesignated/No description found/Payee name not found." Although evidences of this were found in the past, the figure given here is for 1994 only. At best, this indicates a lack of financial responsibility in this money being expended with no record of the payee, nor a record of the cause for which the money was paid; at worst, this would be an obfuscation of the recipient to preclude disclosure. The World Division was by far the worst offender in this area with 3.63% of its moneys being used in this way.

- At present, the "mainline denominations" account for only 9% of all of missionaries sent out to foreign countries. [2]

- Of the thirty major Protestant denominations, the UMC ranks in the bottom tenth of all the churches in ratio of missionaries per member.

- More money is spent on supporting the personnel and headquarters in New York City (a city that is one of the highest cost of living areas in the United States and the world) than on the entire missionary force: total expenditures on administration and support of the NYC office for 1996 was $49,486,777, while support of persons in overseas mission totaled $10,787,894. The support of the NYC offices and other administrative expenses is 4.587 times that of the entire overseas missionary force. In addition, the cost per missionary is now $667,425, up from $334,000 first estimated in 1988. This reflects overhead expense" in supporting the overseas missionary force.

The GBGM continues to espouse radical ideas such as "liberation theology" (the theology of some movements which espouse violence to achieve their goals) while eschewing traditional biblical Christianity. In conversation, a top GBGM executive was told by one of his missionaries that "an experience with Jesus Christ was a necessity to be a good missionary;" the executive's reply was, "That's a controversial statement." When questioned by a candidate for the foreign mission field about evangelism, another GBGM staffer stated, "Oh, we don't convert anyone to Christ; we let God do that" (see Appendix 2 "Missionary Orientation"). A dominant view is that to try to evangelize others is "to exhibit the height of spiritual arrogance" or "spiritual imperialism.

- GBGM priorities are best shown by the nature of the organizations listed in Annex I ("Non-United Methodist Organizations Supported with UM Money") that are funded with "missional" dollars. Despite the organizations and activities listed in this Report, there are many more not depicted. It should also be noted that certain trends are evident, such as increased funding of the National Council of Churches (NCC), the World Council of Churches (WCC), Angola, Mozambique, and organizations active in Nicaragua. This may reflect the financial crisis in which the NCC and the WCC have found themselves, while consistent funding of the Centro Antonio Valdivieso (CAV) and the Ecumenical Committee for Aid to Development (CEPAD) may reflect continued activism on behalf of restoring the Sandinistas to power. For additional information on patterns of funding of the GBGM and its involvement in support of outside organizations, refer to Betrayal of the Church written by Dr. Ed Robb and Ms. Julia Robb.

- The 1996 GBGM's Financial Disclosure Report has seen a marked increase of money given to organizations involved in various aspects of universal health advocacy, political activism, "women's theology," "day care," "environmental racism, If it economic justice," "economic racism," and "justice" issues. There is concern that money spent on the "women's theology" may, in fact, be used to promote the "goddess" theologies evident at the 1993 "Re-Imagining" Conference. It is thought that this advocacy works toward a society in which all have equal pay, standards of living, etc., which would, in turn, devolve to a it classless" society.

"In kind contributions" are not financial grants, per se., but rather include assistance such as meeting space, administrative support, personnel actions, and/or the use of telephones, postage, printing, meeting rooms, etc. They serve to enhance a given agenda. For instance, if thirty staffers who are paid an annual salary of $50,000 spend four months working on actions beneficial to homosexual advocacy, that provides $500,000 of "in-kind support" for that agenda. It appears that greater use is being made of this type of support. Examples are:

For 1993:
- CWS, NCC, Islamic Heritage Society, War Resisters League, Coalition against Impunity, Women Strike for Peace, Venceremos Brigade, NGO Committee on Disarmament.

For 1994:
- Church Women United, Church World Service & Witness, Islamic Heritage Society, Guatemalan Human Rights, Palestine Solidarity Community, Peace Action/SANE Freeze, U.N. Development fund for Women (UNIFEM), U.N. Delegations Women's Club, U.N. Monitoring Group, U.N. Women's Guild, Hands off Cuba Coalition, War Resisters League, Women Strike for Peace, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), World Conference on Religion & Peace.
- 26 NGO (Non-governmental organizations) evidently in preparation for the Beijing Conference, U.S. NGO's to Social Summit.
- Education for Mission/Friendship Press NCCUSA (National Council of Churches in the USA).

For 1995:
- Church Women United, Islamic Heritage Society, Guatemalan Human Rights, Interfaith Impact for Justice and Peace, National Council of Churches, Peace Caucus for Social Summit, Presbyterian Church U.N. Office, Quaker U.N. Office, United Church of Christ, U.N. Association.
- United Kingdom, U.N. Association - USA, U.N. Delegations Women's Club ($3,840), U.N. Hospitality Committee ($7,680), U.N. Women's Guild ($7,680), Hands off Cuba Coalition, Women's Environment and Development (WEDO), Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), World Conference on Religion & Peace.
- 18 NGO (Non-governmental organizations) on priorities such as: Aging; Disarmament; Indigenous Peoples; International Decade for World Indigenous; Sustainable Development; Status of Women; Health Caucus; Women and Spirituality; Men in Partnership Committees; Peace; Women & the Environment; Employment, Management & Entrepreneurs; Department of Public Information. In addition, $80,000 of support went to "Conference of NGO's in 'Concultive' Status with Economic and Social Councils."

For 1996:
- Church Women United, Church World Service, Islamic Heritage Society, Guatemalan Human Rights, Interfaith Impact for Justice and Peace, National Council of Churches, Peace Caucus for Social Summit, Presbyterian Church U.N. Office, Quaker U.N. Office, United Church of Christ, U.N. Association - United Kingdom, U.N. Association - USA, U.N. Delegations Women's Club ($3,840), U.N. Hospitality Committee ($7,680), U.N. Women's Guild ($7,680), Hands off Cuba Coalition, Vencermos Brigade, Women's Environment and Development (WEDO), Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), World Conference on Religion & Peace, and World Federation of Methodist & uniting Church Women ($12,476). Of interest was meeting space provided for the "Center for Women's Global Leadership."
- 18 NGO (Non-governmental organizations) on priorities such as: Aging; Disarmament; Day of Indigenous Peoples; Decade on Indigenous People; Teaching about the U.S.; Status of Women; and U.N. Development fund for Women (UNIFEM). In addition, $12,000 of support went to "Women's Feature Service if and $12,000 of support went to "Conference of NGO's in Consultative Status with Economic and Social Councils."

Selected activities in which the GBGM has been involved are:

- Keeping the GBGM in New York: A UM Teenager had wanted the GBGM to move to Independence, Kansas where the Atlantic Richfield Company had offered a free 140,000 square-foot building. Cody Nuss, 18, appealed the decision of the site Selection Task Force to consider only Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Washington, D.C., but met with no,results. Don Messer chaired the task force. [3] An amendment to consider a move to the Atlanta area was defeated. Ignoring the PriceWaterhouse estimate of $9-12 million dollars for the cost of the move and using the GBGM-commissioned study of $72 million, the 1996 General Conference voted to explore remaining in New York City, to be decided at the year 2000 General Conference. (See Appendix 1 "Report by Dr. Karl Stegall")

- Political Activism: At its Fall 1994 directors' meeting, the GBGM called for friendlier U.S. ties with communist Cuba and North Korea. In addition to its promised support for the WCC investigation of alleged human rights abuses in the U.S., it donated $50,000 to the WCC for support of its investigation. (See Annex G "The WCC") At its Spring, 1995 meeting, the GBGM called for U.S. relations with (communist) North Korea, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, the promotion of Korean reunification, and the recognition of the U.S. role in "perpetuating the suffering and separation of the Korean people." GBGM representative Lois Dauway Supported President Clinton's veto of the Partial Birth Abortion bill. At a GBGM "Urban Convocation" in February, UM professor Tex Sample declared that, "Newt (Speaker of the House Gingrich) will not finally win the day. God is on the side of the poor." Bishop Felton May blasted "politicians who want to starve the children, who want to write a contract when we have a constitution and a covenant with God." Joycelyn Elders, the former Surgeon General, reminded the audience that "Republicans have children too." At its April directors meeting, the GBGM denounced Republican ideas as "mean-spirited" and established a "Human Welfare Crisis Task Force" to resist congressional budget cuts. A delegation from the board's Women's Division will lobby Congress directly. Division chief Joyce Sohl claims there "are many demons in our midst today" as she bemoaned a "reshifting of national priorities towards military preparedness" and away from "children's health and education." Both the GBGM and the bishops oppose cuts in welfare programs; see the section on the "Episcopal Fund" for their advocacy in this area.[4]

- "Re-Imagining" Theologies: At its Fall, 1994 directors' meeting The daily Bible studies by Charles Amjad-Ali, Pakistani clergyman and official with the WCC, referred to God as "he," "she," and "it" and spoke of a confused Jesus with His "society's prejudices" needing correction from women.[5]

- Beijing Conference: The UMC ... and others sent dozens of women to participate in the NGO Forum; some of them also had access to the formal UN conference and worked to influence the 121-page Platform for Action. The UM Women's Division has had representatives at a series of State Department discussions this summer and has also funded Bella Abzug's Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which is taking the lead in lobbying for a radical agenda at the Beijing conference. See the section on the Women's Division for a more complete discussion of the Beijing Conference.[6]

(The) Women's Division (WD) of the General Board of Global Ministries:

Insight: "The hand that rocks the cradle steadies the Nation." A comment by J. E. McFayden is cogent, and Amos 4:1-3 provides a case in point: "All the Hebrew prophets knew that for the temper and quality of a civilization, the women are greatly responsible. A country is largely what its women make it; if they are careless or unworthy, the country is on the road to ruin."
- The Navigators

The Women's Division is a dynamic, capable part of the GBGM. Its revenue-generating skills would be the envy of any fund-raising organization in the country, and much of its money goes to support good causes. Unfortunately, some finds its way into questionable use; misleading rhetoric further clouds the reality of its ultimate destination. For instance, many fund raising activities are used to raise money to go directly into "missions," with visions of support provided to feed a "hungry child" or to care for a "poverty-stricken family." But in reality, this money goes into one of several funds comprising the WD's over $100,000,000 in assets. From there it is channeled into any number of causes, some of which are listed in this study. Further confusing the issue is an imprecise definition of the term "missions." Traditionally, evangelicals understand it to mean caring for the physical needs of people coupled with attempts to lead them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Money raised by UM tithes and other fund raising activities may be used to support true missions, but it is more likely that it will go to something entirely different: from providing socio/political services for people to funding attendance at events such as the "Re-Imagining" Conference.

Following is an examination of funding for the Women's Division for the most current three years:

1994 1995 1996
WD Assets: $92,911,935 $108,991,817 $110,983,970
WD Income: $34,341,262 $52,471,182 $39,989,923
% Change of income
from Previous Year
16.68%
Decrease
52.79%
Increase
23.79%
Decrease

Income was significantly larger in 1995 than 1994, an increase of 52.79%. Despite the fact that funding decreased from 1995 to 1996, it is still significantly greater than in 1994. In addition, the Women's Division is reflective of other general boards by growing its accumulated investments.

Listed below is a historical listing of representative activities and issues supported by the WD, in addition to that provided to other organizations included in this study:

The Church Center for the UN $1,195,600 for 1995
The Church Center for the UN, which is located across the street from the UN, is owned and operated by the Women's Division (WD) of the GBGM. (The WD section of Christian Social Relations appropriations worksheet showed funds allocated for UN/International Affairs totaling over $60,000 annually for the years 1992-1994) (
R, p.1) Recently, it addressed "the negative images of women in the mass media" prompting an international panel of women to call for a balanced and more accurate portrayal of women and girls. The call came March 6, 1998, during a forum on media and violence against women at this center. Music videos, films, television shows and news broadcasts frequently depict violence against women in a sub-human fashion, according to Women's Division executive Mia Adjali. "The media often focus on the legs, breasts, and mouth of a woman, so in essence women are looked at in pieces," she said. The GBGM produced a short video that looks at the impact of music videos on children and youth.[7]

Women's Issues

- United Methodist "Joint Seminars on National & International Affair $140,000 (1992 only)
Seminars are conducted by the GBGM Women's Division at the United Nations in New York City and by the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC on national and international affairs; youth are heavily involved. Participants from across the country are instructed on "how the poor and ethnic minorities are paying for the arms race," "Biblical foundations for peacemaking," and how the UMC is involved in "peace and justice work."[T] Although there was no money listed for 1993 and 1994, it is known that these seminars are conducted, possibly with the costs being accounted through other funds.

- Political Activism. At the spring 1997 meeting of the women's Division and at the Texas Conference School of Christian Mission (SCM), the Women's Division and United Methodist Women aligned themselves with the Texas Freedom Network, People for the American Way, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to attack what was identified as the "Radical Right:" The American Family Association (led by UM pastor Don Wildmon), Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, National Right to Life Committee, the Christian Coalition, and Citizens for Excellence in Education, among others. At the spring meeting of the Women's Division, a presentation was made by Cecile Richards, who is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards and heads up the Texas Freedom Network (TFN). TFN opposes efforts to influence public policy on the part of those she terms "right-wing extremists." At the SCM meeting, seminar leader Rev. Don Sinclair stated that fundamentalists had a "sickness" and that "the Radical Right is off his rocker. It's a craziness that blows your mind. If they gain control all freedom will be taken away." Harriet Peppel, director of People for the American Way, was another presenter. Concerns about the radical left expressed by conservative attendees were ignored. UM funds were used to support these events.[8]

- Mission Studies. RENEW's review of the 1997/1998 mission studies has concluded that the study on violence in society is the best of the three, but both "Joshua and the Promised Land" and the regional study on Brazil are "very radical" in their perspectives. The UMW program book "The Promised Land" is currently being reviewed. Written reviews of these studies are available from: RENEW, P.O. Box 889, Cornelia, GA 30531.[9]

Supported activities relating to the "goddess" worship theologies and the UN conference in Beijing in 1995:

- Ecumenical Decade: $20,000
Self-described as "to support the initiatives of the decade" in relation to the WCC "Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women" that had spawned the "Re-Imagining" Conference. The World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Decade for Women will close with a Nov. 27 - 30 festival in Zimbabwe. The event, expected to attract 1,200 participants will occur just before the council's eighth assembly there. The celebration will feature 10 traditional thatched huts. Each "issue hut" will contain displays for information and action. A "quiet hut" also will be built for meditation and prayer, and a series of smaller huts will contain displays from invited organizations. (Duplicated in Annex G "The WCC")[10]

- The "Re-Imagining" Conference: $35,081 was used to pay all of the expenses for the attendance of 36 directors, 9 staff members, and 11 UMW conference vice presidents at this event. An additional $2,500 was given to the Minnesota Conference United Methodist Women for the "Global Theological Conference Re-Imagining" to provide Minnesota scholarships.[R] The aberrant theologies propounded at this event have been discussed in the Spring 1994 and the Spring 1996 editions of The Christian Methodist Newsletter.

- The National Women's Caucus of the UMC held a meeting at the Southeastern Jurisdictional conference this summer. (The Caucus is organizing in all jurisdictions.) Much of the information was directed in the June issue of their publication, The Yellow Ribbon; the purpose statement in the newsletter reads as follows, "to support women doing theology, to give new expression to women's experience of God, and to oppose efforts to legislate conformity to a narrowly defined doctrine; to support language in the Social principles which affirms a woman's right to full reproductive choice and the participation of all persons in the UMC, as laity and clergy, without regard to race or nationality, gender or sexual orientation, class of disabling conditions; to identify and take stands or actions on issues, such as sexual harassment or abuse, the Re-Imagining Community, or other critical topics as they may arise...... One goal mentioned was to "Hold a Re-Imagining type event."[11]

- The National Women's Caucus of the UMC. The leaders met April 27-28. 1997 in Toledo, Ohio, set plans to raise funds in order to employ a paid staff member sometime after 2000. The 24-member unofficial UM group also agreed to: (1) provide quarterly distribution of "The Yellow Ribbon" to some 500 members; (2) support selected episcopal candidates and women who are in posts previously held by males; (3) conduct national meetings; (4) develop proposals for the 2000 General Conference; (5) respond immediately to issues impacting women; (6) promote and hold gatherings for women doing theology; and (7) provide single-sheet curriculum pieces focusing on the roles and images of women.[12]

- NGO Planning Committee/NGO Forum on Women $341,149*
In addition to the "In Kind Contributions," this was seen as supporting the participation by the WD in the UN's Beijing Conference.

- General: In addition, the WD has worked with organizations such as Development Alternatives with Women of a New Era (DAWN), funded by UM money with $10,000 in 1994 and $10,000 in 1995 (World & Women's Division); Alternative Women-In-Development (Alt-WID), UM support of $1,500 in 1994, an increase of $500 over 1993; and Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), UM support of $1,500 in 1994 and In Kind support in 1995.

Unless otherwise indicated, data on the GBGM came from the following:

- Report of the Treasurers of the General Board of Global Ministries for the years covering 1994, 1995, and 1996.
- Financial Disclosure Report of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the years 1994, 1995, and 1996.
- The Daily Christian Advocate for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering the 1997-2000 quadrennium.

Notes:

  1. The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1521 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
  1. RENEW/ECUMW - The Evangelical Women's Network. Paper by Faye Short, RENEW/ECUMW Network, P.O. Box 889, Cornelia, GA 30529.
  1. The United Methodist Reporter, November 5, 1993, p. 3.
  2. Speech by Dr. Gerald Anderson, CONVO 90 in Louisville, Kentucky.
  3. Newscope September 2, 1994, p. 2.
  4. UMAction Briefing, Spring 1995, p. 1.
  5. UMAction Briefing, Spring 1995, p. 1.
  6. IRD Partnership Briefing, Summer 1995, p. 1.
  7. Newscope, March 20, 1998, p. 3.
  8. RENEW Newsletter, Vol. 4, Num. 4, pp. 1,4.
  9. RENEW letter, August 1997 .
  10. UM News Service, Newscope, March 20, 1998.
  11. Good News, Nov/Dec, 1996.
  12. Newscope, May 9, 1997.

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ANNEX F
The National Council of Churches in Christ

Getting a complete financial total is difficult because of the National Council of Churches' (NCC) refusal to send any information on its financial situation. The figures reflected are the totals from the disclosure reports of other organizations that have made contributions to the National Council of Churches. The true amount of revenues received is higher than the one shown. It should be noted that mainline denominations belonging to the NCC including the UMC have suffered severe membership losses in recent years.[T]

National Council of Churches (NCC):

1994 - $727,484* / 1995 - $974,997* / 1996 - $738,504*, +, **
Located at 475 Riverside Drive in new York City, the NCC has had an extensive political agenda that does not reflect the position of significant portions of the United Methodist membership. It has expressed opposition to: the Contras in Nicaragua, the death penalty, public school prayer, U.S. aid for Afghan guerrillas, the display of religious symbols such as a nativity scene on public grounds, U.S. aid to El Salvador, U.S. aid to the Philippine democratic government, etc. A 1978 NCC study book praised Mao Tse-tung's rule in China by comparing him to the Good Samaritan, and his Cultural Revolution to church "renewal movements." Subsequent "mission studies" on Korea, the Soviet Union, South Africa, and the Caribbean use defective analyses and arrive at faulty conclusions. Leaders of a 1984 NCC tour to the Soviet Union echoed the official line that Soviet Christians enjoyed full freedom to practice their faith.

See also The Betrayal of the Church by Dr. Ed Robb and Ms. Julia Robb for historical information on the NCC. Following are just some of the activities in which the NCC has been involved:

Political Activism

- Civil Rights Hearing in the U.S.: U.S. churches have taken part in an ecumenical campaign on human rights and racism that will culminate in testimony before the UN. The campaign, "Racism Is a Violation of Human Rights," is co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the NCC. It included hearings from October 7 - 19, 1994 in seven cities - New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Ocmulgee, Okla.; Oakland, CA; El Paso, TX; Birmingham, AL; and Washington, D.C. The General Board of Global Ministry's National Division, General Commission on Religion and Race, and the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns helped fund these hearings. [1] (SeeAnnex G, WCC)

- Separation of Church and State: "NCC executives support separation of Church and State" was in a statement delivered to Vice President Al Gore, which also stated that it is wrong to portray the U.S. as either a Christian or a Judeo-Christian nation, that public schools may not support religious exercises, but the schools should accommodate the religious rights of students when that can be done without disrupting the learning process or interfering with the rights of others. [2]

- Health Care: The general secretary of the NCC supported the Mitchell Bill that would provide for universal health care. Joan Brown Campbell told an August 11 press conference that universal health care is "the most important social legislation since Social Security." She noted, "Story after painful story documents the tragedies embedded in our present health-care system."[3]

- Proposition 187: The 271-member General Board also challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 187, which was approved by California voters. The board asked NCC General Secretary Joan Brown Campbell to write Gov. Pete Wilson, urging him not to implement the proposition immediately. "Many of us have been struggling against Prop 187 since its inception," said Bishop Melvin G. Talbert.[4]

- Union Activism: The NCC's Racial Justice Working Group is supporting the Fuerza Unida garment workers union in its efforts to negotiate outstanding grievances against Levi Strauss & Co.[5]

- The Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA): 18 religious organizations, including the UM General Board of Church and Society and the NCC sent a message to Congress urging opposition to the balanced budget amendment. They claim that it would cut effective programs serving low and moderate income people. The message noted that Congress needs to have the flexibility to respond to fiscal crises with the type of limits imposed by the amendment, and told Congress that even if religious bodies tripled their efforts to provide food, housing and other programs for low income people, "the religious community could handle only a tiny fraction of the need that is currently being met by the federal government."[6](Also in Annex D)

- Political Organization. The Washington, D.C.-based Interfaith Alliance is opposing the "Religious Freedom Amendment" sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook (R.Okla.). The alliance, with over 60,000 members from 50 faith communities, says, "A Constitutional Amendment mandating prayer in public schools jeopardizes religious liberty in America and violates the First Amendment." The group suggests that the creation of a "majority-rule" system of religion will destroy the rights of minorities and will take away "the rights of parents to determine the religious upbringing of their children." Alliance leaders say current laws already give public-school students the right to pray, read the Bible, and form religious groups. [7]

- Multiple Political Issues. The NCC General Assembly 1) called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to end the "inordinate politicizing" that has deadlocked Bill Lann Lee's nomination to the position of assistant attorney general for Civil Rights; 2) elected Episcopal Bishop Craig Barry Anderson as the new president, succeeding UM Bishop Melvin G. Talbert (San Francisco); 3) agreed to sponsor observances of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and called on the U.S. government to reaffirm its commitment to universal human rights; 4) celebrated a peace agreement in Sierra Leone; 5) supported affirmative action; 6) heard reports from NCC delegation visits to North Korea, Indonesia/East Timor, and the Middle East; 7) heard U.S. Vice President Albert Gore; 8) heard Diana Eck, a UM director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University; 9) supported organ and tissue transplantation; 10) backed efforts to gain clemency for Leonard Peltier, a Native American sentenced to two life terms following the Pine Ridge Reservation confrontation between 35 American Indians and 150 "combat-ready" law enforcement agents in June 1993; 11) observed the 70th anniversary of the Faith and Order Movement. As he left the post of president of the council, Melvin Talbert offered a challenge to the assembly..."We should pray that God will provide us with a kind of boldness to say, 'Yes, God, we have become instruments of you and we invite all of your children, regardless of who they are'." Metropolitan Community Church, a denomination ministering to gays and lesbians, has been denied full membership in the NCC.[8]

- The Repair of Black Churches. "A backlash has erupted against recent efforts by the NCC to repair ... black churches damaged or destroyed by fire." Charges have been made by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post that the fires are "racially" motivated is a hoax. They have charged that the NCC has fabricated the church burnings issue "to justify its thesis that America is on the verge of a race war." The Journal contends that $3.5 million out of a total of $8.6 million receiver by the NCC has been spent on a program against racism rather than being spent on rebuilding the churches themselves. "Racism lives among all white Americans and must be addressed," responded NCC head Dr. Joan Brown Campbell.[9]

Foreign Affairs:

- Korea and Cuba: In May, 1988 an NCC Washington Office staffer testified to a House committee that North Korea was "a fiercely independent state with a philosophy of self-reliance," where the people seemed quite happy. A 1990 NCC mission study on Central America referred to "the success of the socialist revolution in Cuba" as a model for the rest of Latin America. In 1993, the NCC General Board adopted resolutions calling for an end to the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba and for extending diplomatic relations to North Korea, while ignoring continuing human rights abuses in each. (See Cuba in Annex D GBCS) A 1993 mission study on the Caribbean proclaimed the wisdom of liberation theology and the glories of the Castro regime in Cuba. (Note: Amnesty International has cited both countries for human rights violations, in addition to the fact that Cuban refugees by the thousands are continuing to flee that country for the United States.)

- Church leaders apologized to Japan: Personnel from the NCC were among 7,500 signatories of a letter of apology to Japan which described themselves as "peace-loving people of our country who grieve over the decision of our government to drop the bomb and the unimaginable pain inflicted upon the families and survivors of the doomed cities." They declared, "We are deeply sorry for the agony caused by these actions, and we ask for your forgiveness."..." we feel it necessary to acknowledge and atone for the decision of our nation to introduce the use of atomic weapons." The letter pledged continued efforts toward "universal disarmament and the creation of a global culture of peace." Among the signatories of this letter was NCC General Secretary Joan Brown Campbell.[10]

- Haiti and Primacy of the UN: The Haitian government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide must be restored as quickly as possible, per the NCC. An Aug. 4 statement also called for the continuation of an embargo and the sealing of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The council urged the U.S. to take all future actions within the context of the UN. [231 A four-member delegation of the NCC pressed concerns about Haiti with an adviser of President Clinton. The delegation led by James M. Hamilton, NCC deputy general secretary, asked presidential adviser William H. Gray to urge U.S. officials to act within the context of the UN to restore the Aristide government and to adhere to UN standards relating to the status of refugees.

- East Timor. Bishop Melvin G. Talbert (San Francisco), president of the National Council of churches (NCC), is leading a mid-August ecumenical delegation to express solidarity with citizens of East Timor who are struggling for self-determination. The 10-member team will also visit Indonesia in order to strengthen ties with church partners there.
Church World Service, the NCC relief arm, initiated relief and rehabilitation programs in East Timor in 1975, when Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor caused the deaths of about 200,000 people, fully a third of the population. A movement for political change in East Timor was galvanized in 1991 when Indonesian troops killed more than 271 people at a memorial service. Since the, the NCC has advocated for those involved in the struggle and called for the U.S. government to halt military aid to Indonesia.[11] (Note: One still wonders about the silence of this organization over the present killings in Sudan, and the eastern European block countries under the former communist governments.]

*Financial Disclosure Report of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the years 1994, 1995, and 1996.
+The Daily Christian Advocate for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering the 1997-2000 quadrennium, p. 306: $764,000 in apportionments allocated to the NCC for 1996.
**Financial Disclosure Statement from the UM General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. The UM GCCUIC contributed $16,000 to the NCC during 1966.

Notes:

  1. The study by United Methodists for More Faithful Ministry written by Mr. Mark Tooley.
  1. Newscope September 9, 1994.
  2. Newscope July 29, 1994, p. 3.
  3. Newscope August 19, 1994, p. 4.
  4. Newscope November 18, 1994, p. 1.
  5. Newscope December 9, 1994, p. 4.
  6. The United Methodist Reporter (UMR), February 10, 1995, p. 4.
  7. Newscope, August 22, 1997, p. 4
  8. Newscope, November 28, 1997, pp. 2,3
  9. The United Methodist Reporter, August 23, 1996
  10. IRD Briefing, Summer, 1995, p. 2.
  11. Newscope, August 22, 1997, p. 2

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1997 Stewardship Report | Annex G - Annex N | Appendices | 1995 Stewardship Report

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