National Plans, Ministries Continue
Tampa, Florida, May 4, 2012—The 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church ratified the continuation of national plans for specific constituencies and of three health-related ministries.
During a 10-day meeting in Tampa, General Conference approved the continuation of the Korean National Plan. The plan was established in the year 2000 and has been approved to continue at subsequent General Conferences every four years since then.
The goal of the plan, which was renamed Korean Ministry Plan, is to strengthen Korean ministries within and beyond the church with the vision “to integrate Wesleyan tradition and Korean spirituality to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
The Asian American Language Ministry Plan is also slated to continue for another four years to provide “important resources for developing new ministries as well as strengthening existing ones in the Asian American community.”
Also approved to continue was the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, which reported that 49 United Methodist annual conferences of a total of 61 were advancing the goals of the plan. These include the advancing of conference strategies for engaging Hispanic/Latino ministry.
A new national plan was ratified by General Conference for Pacific Islander Ministry in the United States. The plan was four years in development.
The Native American Comprehensive Plan will continue to be directed by a task force and lodged at the General Board of Discipleship. The church affirmed its support for the plan “in its efforts to offer Christ to Native American individuals, families, communities, and nations.”
Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, or SBC 21, is another program that is housed within the General Board of Discipleship and that also received the support of the 2012 General Conference to continue another four years.
According to the petition, this approval will strengthen existing programs and enable new program development around the church’s Four Areas of Focus: Leadership development, church growth and development, global health, and ministry with the poor.
The General Conference 2012 also approved the continuation of the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries for another four years, and changed its name to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry (DHM).
Through DHM the church connects with the greater deaf community. The ministry provides prayers, resources, and funding that help local churches effectively contemplate and reach out to deaf and hard of hearing members of their communities and congregations.
It also is engaged in training new leaders and encouraging those with deafness to choose a seminary career.
The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund will also continue for another four years. In its petition, the fund said that “to date, the response of Christians, including United Methodists, has been minimal.” It seeks to encourage greater support for the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Another health-related ministry, the Special Program on Substance abuse and Related Violence (SPARV), was affirmed by the 2012 General Conference.
SPARV’s mission is to “diminish stigma associated with the disease of addiction; foster ministry responses of prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and/or public policy; nurture networks of committed United Methodists engaged in addiction ministry; celebrate wholeness, the recovery from brokenness.”
All of these ministries, with the exception of the Native American Comprehensive Plan and SBC 21 are housed within the General Board of Global Ministries.