FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON DISSOLUTION AND INTEGRATION
What would integrating into GCN look like for ECWR?
· ECWR members would be invited to participate in GCN conferences, outreach projects, message boards, and online communities. We can't transfer ECWR memberships, but individuals may create an online GCN profile, as they choose, to take advantage of the many opportunities GCN offers for connection, fellowship, and mission. Contact information for members and supporters will not be transferred to GCN.
· ECWR donors would be invited to direct their financial support to GCN, a successful, like-minded ministry that is serving the same mission field and receiving substantial support within the gay Christian community.
· ECWR local groups are organized and operated independently of the national ECWR structure. If ECWR is dissolved, local groups may choose to affiliate with other organizations, like GCN, as they think best. See the note below about Local Groups.
· The Board has created an Integration Task Force that would be responsible for creating a detailed timeline and facilitating the dissolution and integration process. At the close of business, ECWR would transfer any remaining funds and physical assets to a like-minded ministry, like GCN. ECWR would not share any historical donor information but maintain these records privately as required by law. ECWR would dissolve its corporate status and cease operations as a charity and national organization. The status of our website would be decided at a later date.
· ECWR would share its ministry expertise with GCN, at their invitation, where our experience would be most helpful. GCN is particularly interested in learning more about ECWR`s experience in organizing local groups, women`s ministry, and peer mentoring. People currently involved in these ECWR functions may find opportunity to continue their ministry within GCN as they develop.
· Several ECWR members have already volunteered to coordinate a final ECWR reunion event for past and present ECWR members and conference attendees to celebrate God`s goodness to ECWR over 30 years of ministry and friendship.
What does it mean that ECWR would 'dissolve'?
Evangelicals Concerned Western Region Inc. is a legally registered, charitable corporation in the State of Washington. If ECWR members vote to approve dissolution, ECWR will legally dissolve our non-profit corporation. This would not affect the legal status of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc., our parent organization founded and run by Dr. Ralph Blair, or EC local groups.
Why doesn't ECWR try to fix some of our issues before deciding to dissolve?
The challenges ECWR currently faces have been mounting for several years. Over the last months the Board has implemented measures to keep the organization afloat financially, including significantly reducing our staffing and already minimal expenses. Although a number of ideas have been explored to reinvigorate our ministries, the Board and many other past and present ECWR leaders have come to believe that we no longer have the financial base, member participation, or momentum to keep the organization vibrant long-term. The Board also believes these realities suggest that God is bringing ECWR`s season of ministry to a close and that it's time for ECWR to pass the mantle of ministry to new leaders.
What is the Gay Christian Network (GCN)?
The Gay Christian Network is a nonprofit ministry supporting Christians worldwide who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Their mission – "sharing Christ's light and love for all" – is primarily expressed through their successful conference ministry, online community support, and many media and outreach projects. Read their mission statement here.
GCN’s founder and executive director, Justin Lee, and GCN`s board members self-identify as evangelical, and their mission is specifically focused on the needs of evangelical Christians. Read GCN’s Statement of Faith here. GCN seeks to be a safe place for GLBT people from conservative evangelical churches, recognizing that liberal and progressive believers are served by other groups. Dr. Blair supports the GCN ministry and has the highest respect for its Executive Director, Justin Lee.
Why would ECWR integrate with GCN rather than another group?
GCN closely mirrors ECWR’s vision, mission, and ministries. GCN is a creative and growing community of over 15,000 people that God is clearly blessing. Many ECWR members already participate in GCN`s online communities and attend GCN conferences, and ECWR has been blessed to have many GCN members participate in our conferences and local groups for many years. Most ECWR members would find in GCN a familiar and supportive spiritual home.
What would happen to ECWR local groups?
EC local groups currently operate independently of the national ECWR Board, though many are affiliated with us and may use ECWR`s charitable status for tax purposes. If ECWR is dissolved, local groups may choose to affiliate with another organization – like The Evangelical Network – or they may coordinate with Evangelicals Concerned, Inc. (New York) or GCN for local events and shared mission. Dr. Blair has also offered to work with EC local groups to co-host an annual EC conference in the west as he did prior to ECWR`s incorporation. On dissolution any local group funds still on account with ECWR would be forwarded to the designated group.
What about my donations to ECWR?
ECWR`s office, website, and peer mentoring ministries are still operating and serving people every day, so we will continue to receive and process donations by mail, online, and pre-authorized credit card as usual.
If members vote to dissolve the organization, our operations would be wound down responsibly, ensuring all financial obligations are met. The Integration Task Force would set a cut-off date for receiving and receipting donations, and donors would be advised. Legally, any leftover funds could only be transferred to another non-profit corporation, most likely GCN or another like-minded organization.
What is the timeframe for this decision and change?
An online forum is now available for ECWR members to discuss the proposed dissolution of ECWR and integration into GCN. Members will receive a ballot by mail in about six weeks, and we`ll have a decision on the proposal by the end of November. If approved, the decision would take six to nine months to implement. The Board has created an Integration Task Force that will be responsible for creating a detailed timeline and facilitating the process.
What does Dr. Blair think of this?
Dr. Blair has been kept informed regarding ECWR`s circumstances, and he agrees that dissolution is our wisest course of action. We are immensely thankful for Dr. Blair`s years of support, for his groundbreaking work among gay Christians, and his courageous and consistent preaching of the good news for God`s GLBT children. Dr. Blair has been a guest on GCN Radio, and he respects Justin`s ministry and the work GCN is doing within the evangelical community.
Will there be another ECWR ConnECtion conference?
At this time we are not planning a conference in 2012. We are very thankful for the ministry of Lou Amey, our former conference coordinator, but ECWR no longer has the funds to pay this part-time position, nor can we afford the financial risk of a large conference. We do not believe that even a significantly scaled-down event would be sustainable in the long-term.
However, should members vote to dissolve the organization, volunteers have offered to coordinate a reunion celebration for past and present ECWR members and conference attendees.
If ECWR is dissolved, how would I stay in touch with my ECWR friends?
· In addition to email, phone, and social networking sites, over 1,000 people have joined ECWR`s facebook group. This site would remain active for a time to allow people to connect personally or transition to other social networking groups.
· ECWR`s reunion event in 2012 would be a great opportunity for EC friends to connect and celebrate.
· Evangelicals Concerned in New York invites ECWR friends to their upcoming events, including the Fall Preaching Festival (October 7-9, 2011), Presidents Day Bible Study weekend (February 18-20, 2012), and summer ConnECtion retreat (June 1-3, 2012).
· GCN offers online message boards where members connect and share prayer requests and organize local meet-ups or informal regional events. EC friends could create an informal affinity group within GCN (similar to GCN`s regional groups) to help maintain their friendships. ECWR friends could also arrange to meet at GCN conferences, like the event in Orlando January 5-8, 2012. An ECWR meet-up in Orlando is in the works.
What percentage of Yes votes is required to pass this proposal?
The State of Washington requires two-third of those members who vote by mail to approve the dissolution of a member-based, non-profit corporation.
What if the measure does not pass?
The Board currently does not have an alternative plan. ECWR`s financial situation does not allow us to continue the ministry we`ve offered in the past, nor do we have the organizational resources to turn back the challenges we currently face. Almost all of the ECWR leaders and members we`re consulted agree that the Lord seems to be bringing our ministry to a natural and (hopefully) graceful close. The Board believes that the proposal presented here provides for the best stewardship of our pastoral care responsibilities and the best investment of the enthusiasm we continue to share for ministry to LGBT Christians.
How can I learn more?
An online forum is now available for ECWR members to discuss the proposed dissolution / integration of our organization with GCN, and to ask questions or post their thoughts. For more personal questions, please contact us at email@example.com.