Discipline ¶642

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  ¶ 642. 1. There shall be in each annual conference a conference commission on religion and race or other structure to provide for these functions and maintain the connectional relationships. It shall follow the general guidelines and structure of the General Commission on Religion and Race as outlined in ¶¶ 2002 and 2008, where applicable.
2. The basic membership of the annual conference commission shall be nominated and elected by established procedure of the respective annual conferences. Each annual conference shall determine the number and composition of the total membership, which shall consist of a minimum of twelve. The commission membership shall include representation from each district. One of the district representatives shall be the district director of religion and race. Care shall be taken to ensure that the total membership represents an equitable balance in the number of laymen, laywomen, and clergypersons. It is strongly urged that the annual conference commissions be constituted so that the majority of the membership be represented by racial and ethnic persons (Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans) reflecting the racial and ethnic constituency of the annual conference. Selection of commission members shall ensure adequate representation of women, youth, young adults, older adults, and people with disabilities. Members of the General Commission on Religion and Race residing in the annual conference shall be ex officio members of the annual conference commission on religion and race with vote.
3. The annual conference commission will assume responsibility for such matters as:
    a) Providing resources and training to enable the work of the local church ministry area of religion and race as specified in ¶ 252.2b.
b) Examining ethnic representation on all of the conference boards, agencies, commissions, and committees, as well as the governing boards of related institutions. After such an examination, appropriate recommendations for total inclusiveness should be made to the annual conference.
c) Working with annual conference boards and agencies as they seek to develop programs and policies of racial inclusiveness.
d) Providing a channel of assistance to racial and ethnic groups as they seek to develop programs of empowerment and ministry to their communities.
e) Consulting with the board of ordained ministry and the cabinet to determine what provisions are made for the recruitment and itineracy of racial and ethnic clergy. The executive committee of the board of ordained ministry and cabinet are encouraged to meet at least once per year in joint sessions with the conference commission on religion and race.
f) Serving as a resource and support group to promote understanding between pastors appointed to local congregations across racial and ethnic lines and such congregations.
g) Consulting with local churches that are seeking to establish multiracial fellowships, and encouraging and supporting local churches in maintaining a Christian ministry in racially changing neighborhoods.
h) Coordinating the conference support and cooperation with various movements for racial and social justice in consultation with the conference board of church and society, as appropriate.
i) Providing opportunities for multiracial and interethnic dialogue and meetings throughout the conference.
j) Providing programs of sensitization and education at every level of the conference on the nature and meaning of racism-attitudinal, behavioral, and institutional.
k) Coordinating, in consultation with the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, the conference programs of cooperation with African American and other racial and ethnic denominations, especially those of the Methodist family.
l) Evaluating the priorities of the annual conference in light of the needs in the area of race relations. The commission shall develop recommendations to present to the appropriate agencies and report directly to the annual conference session. These recommendations shall lift up the need to deal with the pressing issue of racism, racial and ethnic group empowerment, and reconciliation among the races.
m) Evaluating the effects of merger and making appropriate recommendations to the annual conference session.
n) Reviewing the annual conference practices of employment, of annual conference program, business and administration, and office personnel, and reporting and recommending to the annual conference steps to be taken to actualize racial and ethnic inclusiveness; reviewing the annual conference-related institutions such as colleges, hospitals, homes for the aged, childcare agencies, and so forth concerning their practices of racial and ethnic inclusiveness in clientele and employment, and reporting to the annual conference session.
o) Serving in consultation with the bishop and other appropriate conference leadership to investigate and assist in resolution of complaints of racial discrimination made by clergy or laity.
p) Maintaining a close relationship with the General Commission on Religion and Race, seeking its guidance, utilizing its training and resources, and interpreting to the annual conference the programs, plans, and policies of the General Commission on Religion and Race.
  4. The annual conference commission on religion and race shall develop an adequate budget for its operation as a commission for inclusion in the annual conference budget.
5. The annual conference commission on religion and race, or other structure to provide for its function and connectional relationship, shall have vote and voice in the decision-making unit of the conference such as the annual conference council on ministries, or equivalent structure.