There is a beautiful thread running through The Book of Discipline (BoD) and the history and practice of the United Methodist Church. Much of this thread is woven between the lines of the BoD, but it shows boldly in the paragraphs concerning the Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A).
The thread is this: Church work is collaborative in developing, maintaining and administrating the Annual Conference (Paragraphs 611-619, BoD). The CF&A is responsible directly to the Annual Conference. Ex-officio membership includes the Conference Treasurer/Director of Administration, any members of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) who reside within the bounds of the conference, the presiding Bishop, a District Superintendent, the Director of Connectional Ministries and the President of the Conference Foundation (all with voice but no vote). There are 11 voting members--six lay and five clergy--none of whom can be part of an organization receiving funding from the Annual Conference. Consideration is made for a diverse membership representing gender, ethnicity, age, geography and size of church. All are expected to have a background in finance and/or administration.
Our collaboration is guided by three principles:
- Clarity and Transparency;
- Fairness and Justice; and
The Council asks the questions of whether the functions of the Annual Conference are understood and the records are public, whether the organizational processes are devised in an open way and are just to all, and whether practices of accountability are built into our church system and are being followed.
The thread of collaboration is the beautiful strength of our church.
*The three principles are my personal guides for work with CF&A and have been since I was elected President in 2016.
Article by the Rev. Jack Stubbs, President of CFA