Petition 80275

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Ecumenical Relationships and Organizations (80275-IC-¶2401)

Amend the title of Section XVIII, and add two new sub-paragraphs under ¶2401 as follows:

Section XVIII. Ecumenical Relationships and Organizations
¶ 2401. Liaison Role of the Council of Bishops
    1. In formal relations with other churches and/or ecclesial bodies, the Council of Bishops shall be the primary liaison for The United Methodist Church. The ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops shall be responsible for these relationships and shall work in cooperation with the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns in the fulfillment of these functions.
   2.a.  The Council of Bishops shall have the authority to enter into interim and provisional ecumenical agreements with other Christian bodies. However, all agreements of Full Communion and permanent membership in ecumenical organizations shall be ratified by General Conference.  
  2.b. “Full Communion” describes the relationship between two or more Christian churches that have affirmed each other’s baptism by water and the Spirit, agreed to shared celebration of the Eucharist, recognized each other’s ordained ministries, and entered partnership in mission. Full Communion does not presume that there are no differences in rites or doctrines, but that these differences provide no barrier to affirming each other as full expressions of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
    2.  3. The General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns shall consult with the Council of Bishops in establishing the guidelines for the administration of the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund (see ¶¶ 814 and 1903.15).
    3 . 4. The United Methodist representatives to ecumenical organizations in the following paragraphs shall be selected by the Council of Bishops from nominations reviewed by the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. Such representatives shall be inclusive in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, age, persons with disabilities, and region. Representatives shall reflect consideration of balances required both by The United Methodist Church and the respective ecumenical organization. Consideration shall be given to persons named to jurisdictional and central conference pools (See ¶ 705.1.b, c).
    When proxies are needed to substitute for United Methodist representatives to a specific ecumenical organization, the general secretary of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, in consultation with the ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops, is authorized to name such proxies. Consideration shall be given to United Methodists residing in the area of the  
ecumenical organization's meeting, and to the inclusivity of the delegation. The names of proxies shall be reported at the next meeting of the Council of Bishops.
    Representatives and proxies from The United Methodist Church to various working groups of any of the ecumenical organizations in the following paragraphs shall be named by the general secretary of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, in consultation with the ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops.
    4.  5. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, should structural changes be voted between sessions of the General Conference by any of the ecumenical organizations in the following paragraphs, necessitating election of a new group of United Methodist delegates, the Council of Bishops is authorized to elect, based on recommendations from the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, such delegates as may be required.