Petitions to the 2021 Annual Conference

April 29, 2021

Petition 1

Submitted by: Donnie Wilkinson
Subject: A Resolution on Committing to the Work of Anti-Racism in The Louisiana Conference
Local Church: Louisiana Conference Anti-Racism Team

Reasons for the Petition:

Whereas, Article V of the constitution of The United Methodist Church reads in part, “The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large ”(1); and

Whereas, on June 19, 2020, in response to the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Aubury, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and numerous other people of color through the years who have had their lives extinguished in extra-judicial killings, the bishops of The United Methodist Church announced the launch of “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom,” a multi-level effort to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice through collective action to work toward social justice (2); and

Whereas, as part of this denomination-wide initiative the Louisiana Conference formed a conference AntiRacism Team and commissioned its members to discern strategic next steps for our Conference to take in our effort “to confront and seek to eliminate racism” in our connection; and

Whereas, the members of the Louisiana Conference Anti-Racism Team have discerned through prayer, study, and holy conferencing a strategic next steps for our connection in this holy work; and

Whereas, the overwhelming majority of Louisiana United Methodist are novices in regards to doing the often awkward and sometimes painful work of anti-racism but are inspired and filled with hope by the beatific vision of Revelation 7:9-10 in which a countless crowd of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language are united in worship of Jesus Christ (3);

Proposed Action:

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Louisiana Annual Conference, in fidelity to our baptismal promise to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves in,” recommit ourselves to the spirit and vision of Article V of our constitution by adopting the following policy for all Conference councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees

• The Chair of all conference councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees shall designate a member to serve as an anti-racism advocate to help the members of the council, board, agency, commission, or committee do their work in an intentionally anti-racist manner.

Be It Further Resolved, that the members of the Louisiana Conference Anti-Racism Team provide training for the chairs, and anti-racism advocates, and members of all councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees to equip them for this work; and

Be It Further Resolved that this policy go into effect upon adoption; and

Be It Further Resolved that upon adoption the Conference Committee on Rules be directed to bring a proposal formally enshrining this policy in the Conference rules to the 2022 Louisiana Annual Conference and to update this policy when needed as a result of General Conference action.

footnotes

(1) ¶ 5. Article V. Racial Justice—The United Methodist Church proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commits itself to the healing and wholeness of all persons. The United Methodist Church recognizes that the sin of racism has been destructive to its unity throughout its history. Racism continues to cause painful division and marginalization. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of racial justice at all times and in all places.

(2) http://umc.org/endracism

(3) After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” –Revelation 7:9-1

Signature: Signed by Donnie Wilkinson on Apr-07-2021
 

Petition 2

Submitted by: Donnie Wilkinson
Subject: A Resolution of Open Meetings
Local Church: Broadmoor UMC, Baton Rouge

Reason for the Petition:

Whereas clear, consistent, and correction communication is of paramount importance for any organization; and

Whereas ¶722 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline promotes a “spirit of openness and accountability” by requiring that “all meetings of councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees of the Church at all levels of the church, including subunit meetings and teleconferences, shall be open” while making reasonable accommodations for those limited occasions in which closed discussions are prudent; and

Whereas online meeting platforms such as Zoom make it possible for all interested parties to participate in or review the proceedings of Conference meetings;

Proposed Action:

Now, Therefore Be It Resolved that the Louisiana Annual Conference adopt the following policies in keeping with the spirit of openness and accountability described in ¶722

1) The Chair of all councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees of the Conference shall ensure that notification of the time, date, and location of all meetings be published via The Louisiana Now and Conference website not less than fourteen days prior to the scheduled meeting.

2) All meetings of Conference councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees, including those scheduled to meet in person, shall also be streamed via an online meeting platform.

3) All meetings of Conference councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees shall be recorded and made available via the Conference website for not less than 90 Days.

4) The Chair of all councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees shall ensure that accurate minutes of all meetings be published on the Conference web page in a timely manner.

Be It Further Resolved that this policy go into effect upon adoption; and

Be It Further Resolved that upon adoption the Conference Committee on Rules be directed to bring a proposal formally enshrining this policy in the Conference rules to the 2022 Louisiana Annual Conference and to update this policy when needed as a result of General Conference action.

Rationale: The communication of clear, consistent, and correct information is a crucial component of organizational health and vitality. By adopting this policy the Louisiana Conference increase transparency, lower mistrust, and reduce the anxiety affecting our connection. As can be seen below ¶722 promotes radical transparency while making reasonable accommodations for those limited occasions in which wisdom dictates the need for closed conversations.

Book of Discipline: ¶ 722. Restrictions on Closed Meetings The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church -- 2016 In the spirit of openness and accountability, all meetings of councils, boards, agencies, commissions, and committees of the Church at all levels of the church, including subunit meetings and teleconferences, shall be open. Regardless of local laws or customs, all participants shall be notified at the beginning of 16 any meeting, including telephone or video conference calls, if the meeting is being recorded electronically and the intended use of such recording. Portions of a meeting may be closed for consideration of specific subjects if such a closed session is authorized by an affirmative public vote of at least three-fourths of the voting members present. The vote shall be taken in public session and recorded in the minutes. Documents distributed in open meetings shall be considered public. Great restraint should be used in closing meetings; closed sessions should be used as seldom as possible. Subjects that may be considered in closed session are limited to real estate matters; negotiations, when general knowledge could be harmful to the negotiation process; personnel matters;12 issues related to the accreditation or approval of institutions; discussions relating to pending or potential litigation or collective bargaining; communications with attorneys or accountants; deployment of security personnel or devices and negotiations involving confidential third-party information. Meetings of the committee on pastor-parish or staff-parish relations are to be closed meetings pursuant to ¶ 258.2e. While it is expected that the General Conference, the Judicial Council, and the Council of Bishops will live by the spirit of this paragraph, each of these constitutional bodies is governed by its own rules of procedure. A report on the results of a closed session shall be made immediately upon its conclusion or as soon thereafter as is practicable.

Signature: Signed by Donnie Wilkinson on Apr-07-2021
 

 

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