|May 12, 2000 GC-073
Multicultural sensitivity to be required in recruiting pastors
CLEVELAND (UMNS) Members of conference boards of ordained ministry must participate in intensive training to help develop multicultural sensitivity for more effective recruitment and support of United Methodist pastors.
The 992 delegates attending United Methodism's top legislative assembly made that decision by a vote of 783-28 on May 12.
The delegates issued this mandate because communities surrounding United Methodist churches are becoming more racially and culturally diverse. "It is critical that pastoral leadership understands and is supportive of ministry in a diverse society," the adopted petition said.
General Conference delegates asked that all members of conference boards and district committees of ordained ministry, as well as district superintendents, be encouraged to participate in intensive training to help people develop multicultural sensitivity and competence. The assembly also directed those people to assist in better identifying, recruiting, developing and supporting racial-ethnic leadership and supporting pastors in cross-racial appointments.
The delegates required all who are responsible for identifying and shaping pastoral leadership to participate in this type of training in their first year of service.
Each annual conference, in conjunction with the church's racial monitoring commission and conference-level entities, is required to develop a new sensitivity program or use an existing one to support clergy members in their racially and culturally diverse communities.
Delegates at the General Conference also elected a cadre of bishops to the membership of the churchwide agencies, commissions, councils and organizations. In addition, a bishop and other clergy and lay people were elected to serve as trustees of the Old John Street United Methodist Church in New York.
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-- Linda Green