Courtesy of UMC Plan B
Comparison of a portion of UMC Plan B with the Connectional Table restructure proposal.
After about two weeks of urging by other United Methodist leaders, the proponents of the UMC Plan B structure alternative have disclosed the names of a dozen of its discussion leaders.
Plan B had attempted to offer its alternative without identifying the drafters for fear of political prejudice, according to statements on the group's website. However, the strategy apparently had the opposite effect, causing those who read the plan to mistrust its creation because of a lack of transparency.
Finally, in response to many public and private urgings to disclose its leadership, Plan B issued a press release March 21 announcing the names of some of those involved. The release acknowledges that its list is not exhaustive, but includes those who were willing to be publicly associated with Plan B.
In addition, the Plan B announcement includes an analysis of its design by the Rev. Thomas Frank, Wake Forest religion scholar who has critiqued the Connectional Table plan. The press release also includes an endorsement by the Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, dean of Drew University Theological School and the first Asian American to lead a United Methodist-related seminary.
The full release follows:
There have been requests that persons participating in the development of UMC Plan B be identified. Although our earnest hope and prayer is that the plan be considered on its own merits, we understand that curiosity and a seeming lack of trust make this difficult.
Here are some of the dedicated United Methodists who have been participating in the development of UMC Plan B. This is not an exhaustive listing. We have also gathered and gratefully received input from many persons throughout the church. Please understand that all of our meeting and communication costs have been paid through personal contributions from those working in our group. We are not aligned or affiliated with any group! We are experienced laity and clergy, delegates, non-delegates; some are members of the General Administration Legislative Committee. We are extremely comfortable in our work and association with one another.
Jane Finley Don Ladd
Christine Dodson Robert Sparkman
Forbes Matonga Karen Millar
Joe Whittemore John Redmond
Lonnie Brooks Cashar Evans
Ed Tomlinson Tim Rogers
Our sincere prayer is that we can put aside these questions and get about the serious work of General Conference – which was our purpose in developing UMC Plan B as an alternative to the IOT Plan and CT legislation.
Statement regarding Plan B by Dr. Thomas Frank
Plan B preserves the legal firewalls and financial practices of a distinct GCFA, protecting the church from liability and enhancing trust in our denomination’s financial management. CTA legislation appears to merge GCFA into a single centralized entity with all other agencies.
Plan B maintains the mandates that authorize the general agencies to do their essential work, while also challenging them to continue identifying their most critical and productive functions on behalf of the connection. CTA legislation appears to transfer to a single Council and its executive board all board and agency mandates without clarity as to their continuing status, leaving future powers and duties to the discretion of one central body.
Plan B understands the work of our general agencies not simply as executive functions to be managed, but as expressions of the work of the diverse, worldwide constituencies represented in our conferences.
Thomas E. Frank
University Professor, Wake Forest University
Endorsement for Plan B by Dr. Jeffrey Kuan
As one who is invested in and engaged with The United Methodist Church at all levels, I understand the need for changes within our denomination so that it might use its resources more responsibly and become more relevant for the 21st century. As we think about change, we cannot lose sight of the good that our denomination has done for the last two and a quarter centuries. For example, our contribution in higher education is recognized world-wide, not least of which is the establishing of Africa University. In many parts of the world, Methodist education is symbolic of academic excellence. Such impressive work is easily traced back to the ministries of our general agencies.
I have been waiting for an alternative proposal to the Connectional Table/Interim Operations Team restructure plan legislation. I endorse Plan B because it recognizes the need for change without throwing the baby out with the bath water. It helps to preserve our United Methodist values and ethos. It is grounded in our polity of representation and shared governance, providing room for the diverse people of God to participate in the decision making of our denomination.
Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Ph.D.
Dean of Drew University Theological School
Vice President, GBHEM Board of Directors
General Conference Delegate, California-Nevada Annual Conference