A Statement from the Governing Board
of Metropolitan Community Churches
The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) was founded as an organic, spirit-called and spirit-led body of Christ to welcome the excluded and create a church for all people. Our history, which embodies the ebb and flow of a movement, has faced many challenges - both external and internal.
We have come to each challenge with our full humanity and our call on the Divine to inspire us and guide us into the path of transformation.
We write today as your Governing Board to fully discuss where we are, why we are here, and how we propose to move forward. This moment requires a spirit of authenticity, honesty, integrity, and wisdom from all of us.
The Role and Responsibilities of the Governing Board
In recent days, information has been distributed calling into question our authority and leadership as a Governing Board. Our bylaws are clear regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Governing Board:
GOVERNING BOARD: The Governing Board is that body authorized by the General Conference to carry on the governance of the UFMCC between General Conferences in an orderly manner. The Governing Board is composed of nine (9) persons, four (4) of whom shall be lay persons and four (4) of whom shall be clergy persons plus the Moderator, elected by the General Conference to be responsible for the governance of UFMCC finances and operations and to serve as the corporation’s Board of Directors, having charge of all matters pertaining to Articles of Incorporation, all documents of legal organization, property, and finances of the UFMCC. The Governing Board shall exercise all corporate powers subject to the provisions and limitations of these bylaws and any other applicable laws. -
UFMCC Bylaws, Article V, Section 4
Composition of the Governing Board
The Governing Board is currently comprised of five people: Rev. Joe Cobb (clergy), elected at the 2016 General Conference in Victoria, Canada; Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown (clergy), who became Interim Moderator by action of the Governing Board, effective October 2016; Rev. Victoria Burson (clergy), Dr. David Williams (lay), Rev. Miak Siew (clergy), appointed to fill vacancies created by resignations, effective January 2018.
When there is a vacancy on the Governing Board, the current Governing Board is tasked with identifying and appointing persons with the gifts, skills, and spiritual maturity to provide leadership as Governors. This process was applied when the Governing Board was tasked with naming three new board members in late 2017. As a full board, we identified potential applicants who met the criteria of qualifications and good standing, and contacted the potential applicants inviting them to prayerfully discern whether to apply. Once we received confirmation of their desire to apply, each candidate submitted an application and participated in an interview process. Following this process, the Governing Board evaluated the applications, reviewed recorded interviews, and approved the selected candidates as Governors to serve until the next General Conference.
All members of the Governing Board are duly elected or appointed to fill vacancies according to the guidelines set forth in MCC’s bylaws and in our Governing Board policy manual. All members of the Governing Board are “in good standing with the Fellowship who, in the sole discretion of UFMCC, have spiritual quality and leadership, are mature, have sound judgment, and have a proven record of accomplishment.” - UFMCC Bylaws, Article V, Section 4.a.
We are currently working to identify qualified persons (three lay and one clergy) to appoint to the board following the resignations of Kimberly Brown (lay), Dr. Mark Dalgleish (lay), Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw (clergy) and Angel Collie (lay).
Financial and Fiduciary Responsibilities
The Governing Board receives monthly financial reports generated by staff and reviewed by our Finance Committee, which is comprised of our Treasurer, Dr. David Williams, and three qualified laity from MCC churches including a CPA. The Finance Committee is assisted by Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown and MCC staff dedicated to financial oversight. In addition to this, we are seeking out people with financial expertise to assist us in both reviewing our financial realities and developing a strategy for financial stability.
We are apprised of monthly and year-to-date data on revenue and expenses. We also take time to consider revenue and expense trends and how these, along with current realities, impact cash flow and how to best forecast and plan for financial stability.
For over a decade we have been monitoring a steady decline in revenue, including reduction in development funds and reduced assessment income from churches. We are grateful for churches, who especially in these difficult times, continue to pay the assessment rate agreed upon by the General Conference. For churches who are struggling to do so, we have worked diligently to reach agreements that both honor their desire and commitment to pay assessments at rates that best align with their current revenue. When appropriate, we have also forgiven past assessment debt to allow churches to start anew. We are disappointed by a number of churches who are withholding assessments. This practice does not uphold the agreed upon assessment rate or policies adopted by the General Conference and does not honor our mutual ministry as part of the body called MCC.
We have wrestled mightily with our desire to sustain viable staff and programs, while simply not having the financial support required to do so. This reality has led us to make difficult decisions to more closely align our expenditures with real income. The recent decision to reduce $450,000 USD from our payroll is a result of this analysis. We have also faced significant challenges regarding cash flow and as a result have had to transfer funds from our investment account to meet operating expenses.
In addition, we acknowledge that in September 2017, a decision was made, due to emergency cash flow problems, to utilize designated funds for operating expenses with the specific intention of restoring these funds through repayment.
According to California non-profit law (California Government Code No. 12599.8), this is appropriate when deemed necessary to pay non-designated operating expenses, when a reasonable repayment plan is considered and repaid within the fiscal year. MCC faced a similar situation in 2010 under our then Board of Administration structure in which designated funds were repaid. We are working to complete this process.
We are currently working on a thorough review of our financial realities, including questions that have been received from many of you, to present a plan for financial stability.
Complaint Review Process
We are confirming that we have received a complaint in accordance with UFMCC Bylaws. In response to a formal complaint about the moderator, the Governing Board Policy 21 applies.
For the process to be fair, the receipt of a complaint including its details must be kept confidential for due process review.
As this confidentiality has been compromised by parties outside of the Governing Board, we believe it critical to inform you of the process through which we review complaints regarding the Moderator. This is the first time in MCC history that the procedures outlined in Policy 21 have been used. This policy assumes that certain timelines in it are feasible. In reality, they are not feasible for a full and unbiased investigation of all the issues raised by the complaint.
We assure you that we are doing all that we can to address the complaint as soon as possible within the stated process and ask that the complainants and all concerned allow us the grace to do a thorough and unbiased investigation.
There are some items not addressed by this policy that have impacted this process, and we sought consultation as the bylaws and policy allow. After consultation, we appointed an independent Review Team who are in the process of conducting the complaint investigation which is
a complex and confidential process.
We will address this investigation when, and only when it is complete. We expect the process to take less than a month, but it is heavily dependent on many people involved and their level of cooperation.
Please keep this Review Team and their important work in your prayers.
On Thursday, 23 August 2018, at 6:00 pm ET / 22:00 UTC (GMT), the Governing Board will present a one-hour webinar to update you on the matters discussed in this letter and offer personal perspectives on the work ahead.
Please remember that we are dedicated Governors. Like you, we believe God called us into being, and we are committed to the health and viability of MCC. We are also volunteers, adding between 20-30 hours of work per week regarding Governing Board and MCC matters to our already full workloads and lives.
We not only need your prayers. We need your encouragement and your offer to work with us, not against us.
If you have a particular area of skill and desire to serve in financial health and well-being, governance, or development, please contact us at:
With gratitude for our shared ministry and future,
Rev. Joe Cobb
Rev. Victoria Burson
Rev. Miak Siew
Dr. David Williams
Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown