Newsletter – 5/1/2012

General Conference Approves New Relationship with UMA

Yesterday, Petition 20340 was approved by General Conference and becomes effective January 1, 2013. You can read more about the legislation by clicking here. This opens a door of cooperation many UMA members have longed for since the Pacific Homes case led to our separation from the Church more than 30 years ago.

Efforts to preserve our faith heritage and connection to the UMC began decades ago with Howard Washburn and others. Unfortunately, Howard passed away in February and never got to see his dream become reality. Former President/CEO Mearle Griffith, committee chair Steve Dahl and other UMA leaders followed in Washburn’s footsteps. They began a dialog with denominational attorneys at the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). Since Mearle’s retirement, John Lawson, Chairman Dahl, new UMA President/CEO Steve Vinson, and other members of UMA have worked tirelessly to draft language acceptable to all parties. During this process, we have forged strong bonds with the attorneys, and a high level of mutual respect. Says Vinson, “I believe we have created a true partnership!”


What will the legislation do?

This is a historic day! For the first time since Pacific Homes, we have an open invitation and a seat at the table to work with the Church for our mutual interests. Instead of a ruptured relationship, we have a warm embrace. None of us wants to create a new Pacific Homes-type situation that could further damage or even destroy the Church or our relationship with her.

We now have a collaborative vehicle to discuss our dreams, concerns, and new opportunities for shared ministry. We have a way to discuss our members’ relationship with the United Methodist Church, and how we can best express the nature of that relationship. There is now a clear definition of what it means to be related. This was a dream voiced by a number of our older adult ministry executives at a UMA LeadingAge meeting in 2010, and echoed last year in Milwaukee.

This legislation opens the door to create a library of model resources —  relationship statements, guidelines for language we can safely use, etc. It also provides guidance on who can use the trademarked Cross and Flame logo, as well as the name “United Methodist.”

Annual conferences are required to establish relationship statements with our organizations. If conferences take no action, the Conference Trustees are automatically tasked with the responsibility. Consequently, it behooves our members to begin a dialog with their annual conference to find the best place to connect, whether it’s the trustees, Health and Welfare Committee, Conference Council on Ministries, or some other body. Until new models are developed, EAGLE accredited organizations already have a relationship statement, and just need to make sure it has been reviewed with the Conference within the past four years.

The legislation requires that changes in requirements by GCFA be developed in consultation with UMA. This is an unprecedented level of cooperation, input and voice afforded to your Association!


Hyatt Regency Selected for August Chicago Meetings

Three UMA Meetings will be held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago this summer:

  • EAGLE Commission meeting:  Monday, August 20
  • CYF Summer Meeting: Tuesday & Wednesday, 8/21-22
  • UMA Board Retreat:  Wednesday & Thursday, 8/22-23

The Hyatt is centrally located on the Riverwalk at:

151 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois, 60601

Our room rate–good three days before and after our event–is an incredible $139 and includes free in-room internet. Located a short walk from the Magnificent Mile, the Hyatt Regency Chicago is a AAA Four Diamond property. Chicago is home to some of the best jazz and blues in the country. You can enjoy the Navy Pier, shop til you drop on Michigan Avenue, or visit world class museums and amazing city parks. Plan to attend as we continue to shape the future of your Association!

Details will follow in the next issue of Member News.


And a Warm UMA Welcome to…

Ron Jennette and Methodist Retirement Communities of The Woodlands, Texas. If you were in Milwaukee for last summer’s UMA Summit, you probably met Ron. MRC operates facilities throughout the Texas Conference. Learn more about them by clicking here.

Dr. Blake Horne, new CEO at the United Methodist Children’s Home, Montgomery, Alabama. Blake assumes his new position on May 16. You can read the announcement of his hiring here.