2000
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May 12, 2000 GC-069

Delegates vote support for European churches; elect judicial reserves

CLEVELAND (UMNS) — Delegates to the United Methodist General Conference backed a plan to give $12 million over the next four years for congregational growth and theological training for churches in formerly Communist Eastern European countries.

The 992-member international legislative body referred the plan to the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration, which must approve the churchwide budget for the quadrennium.

An earlier proposal for theological education in Russia was expanded in a substitute motion brought by the Rev. Eddie Fox, Holston Annual Conference, who directs global evangelism for the World Methodist Council.

Fox, backed by other delegates, proposed instead that the denomination establish a $10 million Advance Special program to support the work of the church in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and several other former Eastern Bloc countries, and Austria. According to the proposal, an additional $2 million would be apportioned to local United Methodist congregations.

The program — and the funding for it — is to be coordinated by United Methodist bishops in Europe.

Delegates also approved a petition calling for the development of "an innovative and economically strategic report for a God-centered alternative to gambling-centered economic development for Native American communities." Recommendations are to be brought to the 2004 General Conference.

In other action, delegates voted six clergy and six laity as reserve members of the denomination’s "supreme court," the Judicial Council. Reserves are available to fill slots vacated by Judicial Council members unable to complete their terms.

Clergy reserves (in order of election): Susan Henry-Crowe, South Carolina Conference; Theodore "Ted" Walter, South Carolina Conference; Linda Thomas, Northern Illinois Conference; Belton F. Joyner Jr., North Carolina Conference; Frank B. Davies, Sierra Leone Conference.

Lay reserves (in order of election): Sally Geis, Rocky Mountain Conference; John Gray, Missouri West Conference; Paul Ervin, North Georgia Conference; Daniel A. Ivey-Soto (believed to be the first Hispanic ever elected), New Mexico Conference; Daniel Evans Jr., South Indiana Conference; and Ann Alberty Saunkeah (believed to be the first Native American ever elected), Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.

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--M. Garlinda Burton

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