Moderator Rick Ufford-Chase, who normally remains neutral about Assembly business while he’s running the meeting, said, “If you’ll allow me a moment of personal privilege, the moderator appreciates that vote very much.” Ufford-Chase has dedicated his career to border ministry.
Several issues Thursday evening from the Mission Coordination & Budgets and National Issues committees dealt with issues regarding the diversity of the denomination.
The Assembly confirmed most recommendations from a task force that studied reparations, including promotion of discussions, workshops and worship services on reparations, reconciliation and renewal. But rather than move toward writing a new confessional statement repenting of racism and slavery, the Assembly recommended that the church study the Belhar Confession, which emerged from the context of racism in South Africa.
The Assembly approved a commissioners’ resolution to strengthen Hispanic Latino ministry, urging the General Assembly Council to hire more racial ethnic staff to make up for the loss of Spanish-speaking employees whose jobs were eliminated in recent budget cuts, and to commit more resources to implementing the Hispanic Strategy Report.
But while the Assembly approved a plan to promote and manage diversity in the church, it decided against the recommendation not to direct the General Assembly Council to staff its office of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. General Assembly Council chair Vernon Carroll said the GAC supports cultural proficiency — a program the church is adopting to plan for and manage diversity in its workforce — but that it couldn’t justify adding a new position after recent cuts of 28 jobs and $4.5 million in funding.