Health and Relief
¶ 1326. 1. General Provisions-a) Purpose-The Health and Relief Unit exists to assist United Methodists and churches to become involved globally in health and welfare ministries and in direct ministry to persons in need through programs of relief, rehabilitation, and service, including issues of refugees, hunger and poverty, and disaster response; and to assist organizations, institutions, and programs related to annual conferences and other units of The United Methodist Church in their involvement in direct service to persons in need through both residential and nonresidential ministries.
b) Authority-The Health and Relief Unit, a single administrative unit with two functional areas-United Methodist Committee
on Relief, and Health and Welfare Ministries-shall operate under policies set by the General Board of Global Ministries.
c) Membership-The membership of Health and Relief shall be constituted in accord with the bylaws of the General Board of Global Ministries.
2. United Methodist Committee on Relief-a) Responsibilities-The responsibilities of the United Methodist Committee on Relief shall be:
(1) To provide immediate relief of acute human need and to respond to the suffering of persons in the world caused by natural, ecological, political turmoil and civil disaster.
(2) To work cooperatively with the appropriate conference units, ecumenical bodies, and interdenominational agencies in the identification of, advocacy for, and assistance with ministries with refugees, hunger and poverty, and disaster response.
(3) To administer these ministries in the spirit of Jesus Christ, preserving the dignity of persons without regard to religion, race, nationality, or gender, and shall seek to enhance the quality of life in the human community.
(4) To work cooperatively with The General Commission on Communication in promotion of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
(5) To initiate printed, audiovisual, electronic, and other resources to interpret, support, and communicate with conferences and churches concerning appeals for help and information related to ministries with refugees, hunger and poverty, and disaster response.
(6) To assist and train conference coordinators to address emerging and ongoing issues related to refugee ministries, root causes of hunger and poverty, disaster relief, and rehabilitation.
b) Financial Support-Sources of funds shall include: voluntary gifts, One Great Hour of Sharing offering, Advance Special Gifts, supplementary gifts of United Methodist Women, churchwide appeals made by authority of the Council of Bishops and the General Council on Finance and Administration, and designated benevolence funds. Sources of funds for administrative functions of the General Board of Global Ministries shall be other than designated funds to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
c) Consultation-The response of United Methodist Committee on Relief growing out of natural or civil disaster shall be made at the request of the appropriate body related to The United Methodist Church. Repair and reconstruction of local church property and other church-related property shall be included in the funding response of the United Methodist Committee on Relief only when such response has been included in the appeal made for funds or the Advance Special Gifts made for this purpose. When this condition has been met, the United Methodist Committee on Relief shall respond in cooperation with the General Board of Global Ministries as follows:
(1) UMCOR, in consultation with conference disaster response coordinators, bishops, and district superintendents, shall identify specific locations where local church property and church-related properties have suffered damage.
(2) This information shall be relayed to the General Board of Global Ministries, which shall contact the conference disaster response coordinator to arrange an on-site visit to evaluate damages and initiate an ongoing consultative process.
3. Health and Welfare Ministries-a) Responsibilities-The responsibilities of Health and Welfare Ministries shall be:
(1) To assist conference units in addressing emerging and ongoing global health issues, including comprehensive community-based primary health care, HIV/AIDS, ministries with persons with physically and mentally challenging conditions, environmental health, and particularly the health needs of women, children, youth, the communities of color in the United States, and racial and ethnic communities globally.
(2) To provide upon request of the appropriate conference unit consultation services to existing and emerging health and welfare institutions and programs, and to jurisdictional, conference, district, and local church units.
(3) To assist local churches, districts, and annual conferences to develop ministries of health, healing, and wholeness.
(4) To provide help to conferences and health and welfare institutions to clarify their relationship with one another, including matters of legal and financial responsibility, and to help health and welfare institutions to become involved in outreach ministry globally.
(5) To provide programs for annual conferences, districts, and local churches that encourage awareness of the gifts and needs of persons with disabilities and to promote the leadership and employment throughout the connectional system of persons with disabilities.
(6) To initiate printed, audiovisual, electronic, and other resources to interpret, support, and communicate with conferences and churches concerning development of health and welfare ministries and promotion of Golden Cross and similar offerings.
b) Financial Support-Sources of funds shall include financial support from World Service and other funds designated for the program of health and welfare ministries, including such proportion of undesignated gifts as may be determined by the board, and from gifts, wills, and trust funds given especially to Health and Welfare Ministries. Health and Welfare Ministries is authorized to receive financial grants and trusts from private foundations and funds from public agencies and is empowered to act as trustee for the administration of bequests.
c) Relationship with the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries-Health and Welfare Ministries shall work with the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries in leadership development and may make services available to the association.
d) Limitation of Responsibility-Health and Welfare Ministries shall not be responsible, legally or morally, for the debts, contracts, or obligations or for any other financial commitments of any character or description created, undertaken, or assumed by any institution or interest related to a unit of The United Methodist Church, whether or not such institution or interest shall be approved, accepted, or recognized by Health and Welfare Ministries or shall be affiliated with Health and Welfare Ministries, or whether or not the promotion or establishment of the same shall be approved by the constitution of Health and Welfare Ministries. No such institution or interest related to a unit of The United Methodist Church and no officer or member of Health and Welfare Ministries shall have any authority whatsoever to take any action directly or by implication at variance with, or deviating from, the limitation contained in the preceding sentence hereof, except as Health and Welfare Ministries may directly own and manage an institution in its own name.