Human Rights and Investment Ethics Task Force Releases Draft Report and Recommendations for UMC-wide Comment
M. Colette Nies
Managing Director, Communications
General Board of Pension and Health Benefits
Director, Public Information
General Board of Global Ministries
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2014
Glenview, IL—The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) and the General Board of Global Ministries today released the Human Rights and Investment Ethics Task Force (HRIE TF) draft report for UMC-wide comment. The task force was convened last year “to identify resources, principles, and procedures that express our commitment to human rights, taking into account fiduciary responsibility and ministry priorities, consistent with the global mission and ethical standards of The United Methodist Church.”
Over the course of five meetings, the task force gathered information about Human Rights protocols; studied United Methodist teachings and policies related to human rights and investments; discussed case studies on Palestine/Israel, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tibet; shared strategies for socially responsible investment; and engaged theologians in conversation about readings related to theology and human rights.
In a letter to United Methodist Church Members, the head of GBPHB, Barbara Boigegrain, and the head of Global Ministries, Thomas Kemper, wrote, “As the top executives [of our respective agencies] within our United Methodist connection, we are both committed to honing a synergy between finance and mission.” They continued, “We believe it is vitally important to find congruency between meeting the needs of our constituents and responding to the call to be faithful Christians.”
In the preamble to the draft report, the task force noted that, “The human rights-related resolutions that fill our Book of Discipline reflect a profound theological commitment to share God’s grace in the world by protecting and enhancing the well-being of all persons. This document reflects the efforts of the HRIE TF to respond to this calling by working constructively with our internal diversity and maintaining a focus on our common mission.”
The draft report was presented to the boards of directors of GBPHB (February) and Global Ministries (April) and was approved by both for general UMC release for comment before June 1, 2014. The final report will be presented for approval at the fall board meetings of both general agencies.
About the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits
The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 91,000 clergy and lay employees of the Church.
GBPHB invests over $20 billion as the largest faith-based pension fund in the United States and ranks among the top 100 pension funds in the country. As a socially responsible investor, GBPHB is actively involved in shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, portfolio screening and community investing.
About the General Board of Global Ministries
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. Its purpose is to connect the Church in mission; its vision is to equip and transform people and places for God's mission around the world.
Global Ministries has Four Mission Goals:
Make disciples of Jesus Christ;
Strengthen, develop, and renew Christian congregations and communities;
Alleviate human suffering; and
Seek justice, freedom and peace.