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COSROW declines to re-nominate top staff

9/29/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York

Photographs of the Rev. Raponzil Drake and the Rev. Soomee Kim are available.

By Linda Bloom*

HOUSTON (UMNS) - The two top staff executives of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women will not continue with the agency.

Commission members, meeting Sept. 25-28 in Houston, decided during an executive session not to re-nominate the Rev. Raponzil "Ra" Drake and the Rev. Soomee Kim as co-general secretaries for 2004.

Top staff executives of United Methodist commissions and agencies must be re-nominated by their boards of directors each year, with final approval coming from the General Council on Ministries.

Drake and Kim had only been in office a year, succeeding the Rev. Stephanie Anna Hixon and Cecelia Long, both of whom had reached the denomination's 12-year term limit for general secretaries.

"It was a sad, difficult decision," the Rev. Gail Murphy-Geiss, COSROW's president, told United Methodist News Service. "We appreciate Ra and Soomee's willingness to come work for us as long as they did. We felt this was what had to be done."

The commission declined to give any explanation for the decision to not re-nominate the pair but said its personnel committee would recommend an interim general secretary for 2004. In budget discussions, commission members approved additional 2003 expenses that would include $15,000 if an interim would start Nov. 1 and $18,000 for moving expenses to relocate Drake and Kim.

Commission members also expect to hire only one person to fill the permanent position of general secretary in 2005. Currently, the Evanston, Ill.,-based commission is the only churchwide agency with two general secretaries.

Kim, who was born in South Korea, previously was pastor of First United Methodist Church in San Fernando, Calif., and had been on the agency's commission since 2000. Drake, an African American and former pastor of Newman United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Neb., had worked with Memphis and Nebraska conference commissions on the status and role of women.
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*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

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