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Race agency creates new positions

Erin Hawkins 

By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Oct. 30, 2009 | WASHINGTON (UMNS)

The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will hire three new team leaders and add at least four other staff positions in a reorganization plan that will focus on the global mission of the agency.

On Oct. 12, the agency announced it would be eliminating five associate general secretary positions at the agency. Erin Hawkins, top executive, said new positions at lower salaries with greater emphasis on programming are being created.

“Essentially salaries are being lowered and then reallocated to produce cost savings,” she said, adding the team leaders’ salaries are about 12 percent lower than the previous executive positions. “We are more changing our tactics … but it is in service to the same vision and mission that we’ve always had.”

The agency’s budget is based on remittances to the World Service Fund. Those remittances have been less than anticipated, resulting in a shortfall of $100,000 to $125,000. Other church agencies, including United Methodist Communications and the boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries, also have restructured in the past year.

The three new team leaders will oversee monitoring and advocacy, program ministries and communications. The other positions have been created to help annual conferences, to lead advocacy ministries and coordinate monitoring activities, including reviews of annual conferences, seminaries and general agencies.

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“The fundamental mission and purpose of the General Commission on Religion and Race has not changed. Monitoring, advocacy, and facilitating resolution to racial ethnic discrimination claims will continue to be the predominant way we will carry out our ministry,” said the commission president, Bishop Linda Lee of the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference.

The closing date for all job positions will be Dec. 7. Layoffs of the current staff are effective Dec. 10. Hawkins said employees whose jobs were eliminated will be eligible to apply for the new positions. More information, and applications for the positions, are available at www.gcorr.org/joblistings.

The commission was established in 1968 to challenge the denomination’s agencies, institutions, regional conferences and congregations to achieve full participation of racial and ethnic minority people.

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

 News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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