Written by Anthony Moujaes
Just as the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) share in their overseas work as Global Ministries, the upcoming Common Global Ministries Board meeting will give board and staff members a chance to share in the continuous aligning of the vision of the ministry with the advocacy and relief work that is done around the world.
Almost immediately after he was installed as executive minister of Wider Church Ministries in 2011, the Rev. Jim Moos began working with the Rev. Julia Marie Brown Karimu, president of the Disciples' Division of Overseas Ministries, on refining the strategic direction of Global Ministries. Four directions have emerged from that work: nurturing community, working for peace with justice, sharing the story, and developing resources.
The board meeting, which is Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6, in Indianapolis, will focus on the Congo Initiative and bringing the board up to date on Global Ministries work in those four strategic directions. Many of the reports prepared for the meeting will outline what has been done toward those "directions" for each team and office within Global Ministries since the last board gathering in November 2013.
"We're trying to align the work of Global Ministries with our global plan," Moos said. "The Congo Initiative is one way to do that."
Launched during General Synod 2013, the Congo Initiative is an 18-month project to focus attention, resources and mission work on the Congo, which is stricken by human rights violations, mass genocide, and millions of preventable deaths caused by disease. Global Ministries and its partners have worked to improve opportunities around education, advocacy, relief aid and worship, and this weekend's meeting is an opportunity to update the ministry staff and board members on the progress.
"Justice is a core value we're focusing on," Moos said. "We've invited two partners from overseas for this meeting who are reporting on justice in their work."
The partners are Mira Rizeq, the national general secretary for the YWCA of Palestine, and the Rev. Cristobal Lird, treasurer of the Committee of Churches for Emergency Aid in Paraguay.
Moos will also bring the board up to date on what has transpired so far in the UCC in terms of financial stability. The four officers of the church have made about $1.38 million in cuts from the national setting's 2014 budget, which still has about a $900,000 shortfall.
"Being joined in covenant, the choices we make on our side for the UCC will affect what happens in Global Ministries," Moos said. He also added that as the United Church of Christ Board works to identify the missional priorities for the national setting, Global Ministries would likely be impacted by those in some way.
Even with those changes, the UCC national setting remains dedicated in its Global Ministries efforts and its collaboration with the Disciples.
"Without doubt there will continue to be shifts in the mission and ministry of the national setting of the United Church of Christ, but it will continue to be relevant, faithful and exciting," Moos said. "In the midst of a myriad of changes, the commitment to the Global Ministries partnership has been strongly affirmed."