Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Mission Agency Makes Administrative and Staff Decisions

By Elliott Wright*

The election of a senior staff member for a newly created Mission Engagement Unit and formal approval of a change in state corporate registration were among the administrative decisions made by directors of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries at their 2017 annual fall meeting in Atlanta on October 12–14. 

The Rev. Russell Pierce, a clergy member of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, was elected as executive director for Mission Engagement, a new unit that combines the work of communications; marketing and fundraising, including The Advance, the designated mission giving channel; and the Center for Mission Innovation. Pierce came to the Global Ministries staff last April in a fundraising position and has helped to shape the unit he now leads.

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Russ Pierce and Allison Lindsey during the Mission Engagement session at Global Ministries. PHOTO: CYNTHIA MACK

Last year’s relocation of Global Ministries’ headquarters from New York City to Atlanta necessitated a change in the state registration of the incorporations of both Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the latter being a subsidiary with its own directors and by-laws. The process involved the creation in Georgia of mirror corporations of those existing in New York, followed by the merger of the duplicate entities, which is the action taken at the recent board meeting.

Pierce came to Global Ministries from Church World Service/CROP where he was senior director of funds development for the international ecumenical relief and development agency. He earlier held pastorates in Western North Carolina, including executive pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in High Point. For two years early in the century he was director of development at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. His theology degree is from the Duke University Divinity School, Durham, N.C., and he earned a master’s degree in nonprofit management from the University of Notre Dame.

The directors welcomed the Rev. Amy Valdez-Baker, executive director of Global Mission Connections, the unit that links the church’s worldwide ministries. The former chief executive of the church’s Connectional Table had been elected earlier through an electronic voting process and her selection was reported at the time.

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Amy Valdez-Barker speaks during the Annual Board Meeting at Global Ministries. PHOTO: CYNTHIA MACK

Directors also approved a 2018 core budget of $54.5 million for the international mission agency of the denomination with 12.5 million members worldwide; a $12 million operating budget for its disaster relief unit (the UMCOR) next year, and another $5.6 million for its Global Health operation. The core budget projection is contingent on Global Ministries receiving 90 percent of the sum appropriated to local congregation (World Service) for general church support.

In other administrative actions, the directors organized an Evaluation Committee to provide advice on the spending plans and reports to denominational finance agencies.

*Elliott Wright is information consultant for Global Ministries.