¶ 1806. Responsibilities-Specific responsibilities and functions of the General Commission on Communication and its staff are as follows:
1. It shall be the official newsgathering and distributing agency for The United Methodist Church and its general agencies. In discharging its responsibilities, in keeping with the historic freedom of the press, it shall operate with editorial freedom as an independent news bureau serving all segments of church life and society, making available to both religious and public news media information concerning the Church at large.
2. It shall have major responsibility on behalf of The United Methodist Church in the United States to relate to the public media in presenting the Christian faith and work of the Church to the general public through broadcast, the press, and multimedia. It may develop such structures for broadcast and multimedia communication purposes as are deemed helpful to the Church in its witness through the media. It shall unify and coordinate public media messages and programs of United Methodist general agencies.
3. It shall give special attention to television, including broadcast television, cable, videotape, videodisc, and satellite. It shall provide counsel and resources to annual conferences-and through conferences, to districts and local churches-to develop and strengthen their television ministries. Responsibilities of the commission shall include program production and placement, and relationships to commercial broadcasters at the national level in the United States.
4. It shall represent The United Methodist Church in the Department of Communication of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and in other national and international interdenominational agencies working in mass communications. Budget allocations and other funds granted to these ecumenical agencies shall be administered in accordance with ¶ 814.
5. It shall have responsibility to work toward promotion and protection of the historic freedoms of religion and the press, and it shall seek to increase the ethical, moral, and human values of media structures and programs.
6. It shall have general supervision over the conduct of public relations activities for The United Methodist Church in the United States, planning and doing public relations work at the denomination-wide level, and counseling the various units of the Church in regard to their public relations needs. It shall interpret to the constituency of the Church the significance of the denomination and its various programs.
7. It shall develop and oversee a unified and comprehensive program of multimedia materials for the Church. It shall plan, create, produce or cause to be produced, and distribute or cause to be distributed multimedia materials that are informative and vital to the religious life of all United Methodists. It shall unify and coordinate the multimedia programs of all United Methodist agencies dealing with projected pictures, recordings, videotape, and other multimedia or electronic materials.
8. It shall oversee a comprehensive communication system for the Church, providing a total view of communication structure and practices, including telecommunications. It shall create networks of communicators at all levels, including local church, district, conference, jurisdiction, and general church. These networks may include periodic consultations for such purposes as idea exchange, information sharing, joint planning, and monitoring and evaluating the total Church’s communication enterprises. With respect to the use of computers for communication purposes, the agency shall cooperate with the General Council on Finance and Administration (see ¶ 807.9).
9. It shall provide guidance, resources, and training for the local church coordinator of communications (¶ 255), provided that training at the local level shall be through and in cooperation with annual conferences.
10. It shall educate and train in communication principles and skills, including the following: (a) national workshops and training experiences in communication skills related to various media; (b) consultation with and assistance to annual conferences, districts, and racial and ethnic groups in training local church persons, especially the local church coordinator of communications; (c) training experiences for bishops, personnel of general Church agencies, and other groups on request; (d) providing and facilitating apprenticeship, internship, and scholarship programs for church communicators; and (e) counseling schools of theology and other institutions of higher education about the training of faculty, candidates for the ordained ministry, and laypersons in the principles and skills of communication, media resource development, and media evaluation.
11. It shall determine and implement, after consultation with the General Council on Finance and Administration, policy for the marketing of all financial causes demanding churchwide promotion or publicity.
12. It shall be the central agency marketing throughout the Church the following general Church funds: World Service Fund
(¶ 812.1), Africa University Fund (¶ 806.2), Black College Fund
(¶ 815), Episcopal Fund (¶ 817.1), General Administration Fund
(¶ 813), Interdenominational Cooperation Fund (¶ 818), Ministerial Education Fund (¶ 816), Human Relations Day (¶¶ 822.1 and 264.1), One Great Hour of Sharing (¶¶ 821, 822.2 and 264.2), Native American Ministries Sunday (¶¶ 822.6 and 264.6), Peace with Justice Sunday (¶¶ 822.5 and 264.5), World Communion Sunday (¶¶ 822.4 and 264.3), United Methodist Student Day (¶¶ 822.3 and 264.4), the Advance for Christ and His Church (¶¶ 820 and 821), World Service Special Gifts (¶ 819), Christian Education Sunday (¶ 266.1), Golden Cross Sunday (¶ 266.2), Rural Life Sunday (¶ 266.3), Disability Awareness Sunday (¶ 266.4), Youth Service Fund (¶ 1208), and all other general Church funds approved by the General Conference, as well as any emergency appeals authorized by the Council of Bishops and the General Council on Finance and Administration (¶ 818). In the marketing of these causes, this agency shall consult with and is encouraged to use content material provided by the program agency responsible for the area and with the agency responsible for the administration of the funds. Budgets for the above funds shall be developed in cooperation with the General Council on Finance and Administration. In cases where the General Conference assigns a portion of the marketing responsibility to some other agency, such marketing work shall be subject to coordination by the General Commission on Communication. The cost of marketing the funds, as set in the approved marketing budget, shall be a charge against receipts, except that the cost of marketing general Advance Specials shall be billed to the recipient agencies in proportion to the amount of general Advance Special funds received by each (¶ 821.3), and the cost of marketing World Service Special Gifts shall be borne by administering agencies (¶ 819.6). The administration of the money thus set aside for marketing shall be the responsibility of the General Commission on Communication.
13. It shall undertake the marketing of any cause or undertaking, financial or otherwise, not herein mentioned demanding churchwide promotion or publicity; provided such action is approved by the Council of Bishops and the General Council on Finance and Administration, or their respective executive committees. The General Council on Finance and Administration shall determine the source of the funding for any such authorized promotions.
14. Appeals for giving that are made to United Methodists shall be consistent with the aims of Christian stewardship. The General Commission on Communication and the General Board of Discipleship will cooperate in order that programs and resource materials of the two agencies may be in harmony in their presentation of Christian stewardship.
15. It shall publish a program journal for pastors and other church leaders that shall present the program and promotional materials of the general agencies in a coordinated manner and shall be in lieu of general agency promotional periodicals. This agency shall determine the manner of selecting the principal editors, who shall be responsible for the content of the journal. This agency shall obtain from the churches or district superintendents the names of church officials entitled to receive the journal so as to compile a subscription list compatible with U.S. Postal Service regulations.
16. It shall lead in communication study and research, applying findings from the professional and academic communities to the work of the Church, and in evaluative communication research. It shall cooperate with other agencies and other levels of the Church in communication research and development work and share the findings of study and research.
17. It shall represent United Methodist interests in new technological developments in the field of communication, including research, the evaluation of new devices and methods, and the application of technological developments to the communication services of the Church.
18. It may develop information and other services that provide channels of communication to and from all levels of the Church.
19. It shall provide resources, counsel, and staff training for area, conference, and district communication programs and develop guidelines in consultation with persons working in areas, conferences, and districts.
20. It shall produce materials for program interpretation in cooperation with the Connectional Table and the general program boards, including the official program calendar of the denomination.
21. The General Commission on Communication shall be charged with planning and implementation of the official United Methodist presence on and use of the Internet, the World Wide Web, or other computer services that can connect United Methodist conferences, agencies, and local churches with one another and with the larger world.