I want to update readers on a story UM & Global has been following and correct some of our previous coverage: the process of development more globally-relevant Social Principles. An important step in that process has been the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) hosting a series of seven consultations on the current Social Principles around the world. After two consultations in Washington, DC, at the beginning of this year, I had erroneously reported that this marked the end of the seven consultations. That was incorrect, and I apologize for the mistake. While the consultation in Nigeria has originally been scheduled in November, before the consultations in Washington, it was rescheduled due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It was held at the end of March, and you can read UMNS coverage of it here.
One of the things that I think bears mentioning about the Nigerian discussion of the Social Principles is the strong sense that they can serve to shape the UMC's ministry in that context and can help the UMC project a needed voice that can address important social and political issues in the country. I think many Americans see the Social Principles as falling into one of three categories: irrelevant, antiquated, or controversial. We can learn from the Nigerians that the Social Principles can still be an important tool of United Methodist ministry.