(Indianapolis – Nov. 1, 2010 – DNS) – The Administrative Committee has unanimously agreed to accept the Review/Search and Call Committee’s recommendation that the name of General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins be forwarded to the General Board as the next step in the GMP re-election process. Affirmative votes at both the General Board and General Assembly, would allow the General Minister and President to serve an additional six-year term, running from July 2011 to July 2017.
The Administrative Committee held its fall meeting in Indianapolis Oct. 29-30 and as part of its agenda, received a report from the Review/Search and Call Committee (RSCC). The 11-person RSCC was named by the General Board following the board’s spring 2010 meeting where GMP Watkins indicated her sense of call to serve another six-year term. The Review/Search and Call Committee followed a revised re-election/search process that was first approved in 1998, and updated in 2009. As part of its work, the RSCC spent several months communicating with a wide array of Disciples organizations and ministries about the re-election process.
Among other things, the RSCC implemented an online survey entitled, "Listening to the People – A Review Questionnaire for Rev. Dr. Watkins" which was completed by more than 600 people from throughout the church. In addition, written surveys were mailed to numerous congregations, ecumenical peers, all Disciples regional ministers and General Ministry presidents, racial/ethnic ministry leaders, college and university presidents, and other church-leaders including the presidents of International Disciples Women and the General Youth Council. The mailings were conducted as outlined in the Standing Rules of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Based on a review of that data, the RSCC presented its findings to GMP Watkins in September. Members of the RSCC also made a presentation about the survey findings to the Administrative Committee in executive session over the weekend.
The General Board, at its February 2011 meeting, will now vote to confirm or not confirm the recommendation of the Administrative Committee about Watkins. If the General Board does confirm her name, that recommendation will be forwarded to the General Assembly meeting in Nashville, Tenn., July 9-13, where a final decision will be made to call a General Minister and President. If for some reason, the General Minister and President’s name would not be approved at the General Board, the Review/Search and Call Committee would switch to the role of a search and call committee.
Regina Morton, a lay leader from Tennessee, chaired the Review/Search and Call Committee. The committee also included Moderator Larry Brown (lay, Oklahoma region), Vice-Moderators Juan Rodriguez (clergy, Indiana region) and Marilyn Williams (clergy, North Carolina region); as well as Rick Ikeda (lay, Oregon region); Mark Anderson (lay, Greater Kansas City region); Don Gillett (clergy, Kentucky region); Laura Jennison Reed (lay, Northwest region); Sara Laroche (lay, Southwest region); Janet Moore (clergy, Pennsylvania. region), and Susan Diamond (clergy, Alabama/Northwest region).
In other action, General Minister and President Sharon Watkins gave a report to the Administrative Committee, which, among things, emphasized ways that general and regional ministries are starting to live into principles of mission alignment related to our imperative to strengthen congregational life for mission. As an example, she pointed to the collaborative work of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM), Church Extension (CE) and Disciples Home Missions (DHM). The three groups worked together for nearly two years to identify ways in which their respective ministries can collaborate to better focus on good stewardship, being mission driven, priority focused and having empowered partnerships, all of which are principles of mission alignment.
"We are in a new time and a different place," she stressed. "We’re starting to see that networking, partnering, and sharing information is part of the way to be church in our time."
The Administrative Committee also approved balanced budgets for 2011 for the Office of General Minister and President. Those budgets include OGMP Administration, Promotion, Treasury Services, Week of Compassion, Reconciliation Ministries, Communication Ministries, General Assembly and the Center for Faith and Giving.