Following the meeting with the NCJ College of Bishops, participants in that discussion (Ryan Russell, Jim Searls, Laura Witkowski, Paul White, Lonnie Chafin and Gail Burgess) met at 10:40 a.m. to review what we need to do next.
Some Bishops had shared information on Regionalization, eg creating US Regional Conferences. The question: If there is no General Conference can we still begin looking at Regional Conferences? Bishop Bard said a meeting between College Presidents, Episcopacy Committee chairs and others would be happening and would address a variety of concerns, including “Are jurisdictions relevant?” No Task Force on this at this time, but we need to follow developments. It was noted that we will need to empower jurisdictions to eliminate jurisdictions.
There is concern that Anti-Racism, White Supremacy and White Christian Nationalism seem to be seen as one thing – but they are not at all the same thing. Ryan will contact Pamela from NCJ CORR about working on this area with the Bishops. He and Pamela will draft a letter for the Bishops in which they include a job description for members of this Task Force. Bishops will be asked to submit names of two persons within the next 4-6 weeks so the group can begin meeting. Mission Council’s talks here are 1) Contact Pamela (Ryan), 2) Make contact with the persons named by the Bishops, 3) Launch the first meeting, 4) Bishops Bard and Trimble will work with this group to design the exercise/conversation on this at the next Jurisdictional currently scheduled for November. In a motion made by Laura and seconded by Gail, $5,000 was approved for data collection and other expenses incurred by this group. Motion carried, 6/0.
Ryan, with help from others on Mission Council, will be developing the exercise regarding LGBTQIA+. This could include testimonies, etc. He will be asking for others to work with him.
During the meeting with the Bishops, Jim had offered to use the NCJ website to host anti-racist and pro LGBTQIA+ series videos being used in conferences. He will contact Conference Communicators to advise them about this. The website will be used to network, resource local congregations and share best practices.
No date was set for our next meeting. Ryan will contact us as the next meeting is needed.