As previously reported on this blog, The United Methodist Church is currently in the process of trying to figure out how to revise its Social Principles, the official denominational statement of church stances on various social issues, to make them more globally relevant. To that end, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) organized a series of consultations around the world to discuss the Social Principles. The last two of these consultations were held in January in Washington, DC. Previous consultations occurred in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Maputo, Mozambique; Abuja, Nigeria; and Prague, Czech Republic.
Video from the Washington, DC consultations is available online here. This link includes videos from the consultations on both Jan. 17th and Jan. 23rd. Unfortunately, video is not available from the consultations held in the Central Conferences.
In addition to the video, Rev. Becca Girrell, an elder in the New England Conference who participated in the Jan. 17th consultation in DC, wrote a summary of her experiences at the consultation on her blog. Rev. Girrell succinctly summarizes the consensus of the group on the goals of global Social Principles:
- “Be shorter– less is more
- “Name values (principles), not behaviors (positions)
- “Be positively worded– state what we believe, not what we oppose or fear
- “Be statements that incorporate theology and human dignity– we can’t just re-state a universal statement of human rights, but say something unique to us as people of faith
- “Contain only that which is applicable cross-culturally or world-wide”
The process of revising the Social Principles leads on to General Conference 2016, so by watching the videos and reflecting on Rev. Girrell’s words, you can still prepare yourself to be part of this denominational discussion.