OEP Board of Directors Meet - Oct 10th, 2017

This is a reflection on the OEP Board of Director's meeting shared by Jordan Bles, a member of the board and finance committee. 

The On Earth Peace Board of Directors met October 4th-6th in Harrisburg, PA, at the First Church of the Brethren as part of its commitment to meet in global majority spaces. During their very full time together, the board celebrated the 10 years of service of Don Mitchell, sending him forth in song. During his time on the board, Don made significant contributions through the nominating committee, representing On Earth Peace throughout the denomination, and continually bringing the board together with his gift of music.

The board also considered and adopted a budget for 2018, took steps toward a more just and equitable personnel policy, affirmed their commitment as a Sponsoring Agency of Christian Peacemaker Teams, had discussion around their place on the Spectrum of Allies, and continued work on anti-racism within On Earth Peace, through time in caucus groups and in the adoption of an interim board leadership proposal.

The Finance Committee of the board began their report celebrating the rise in individual giving, driven by Development Director Lamar Gibson. The committee then brought a proposal for a budget that continued drawing on the reserves and endowment of On Earth Peace, while committing to taking “significant strides” toward a balanced budget within the next 3 years.

The board also affirmed adding 10 Wellness Days for expecting mothers to the parental leave policy, recognizing the need expecting mothers have for these days, and adopted a Grievance Policy for the Internship Manual, focusing on the needs of interns in that situation. This was also an opportunity to celebrate the Internship Program, which continues to grow.

The Church of the Brethren and On Earth Peace have long shared being a Sponsoring Agency of Christian Peacemaker Teams, and their work transforming violence and oppression. As part of that, the board reaffirmed this commitment, and agreed to seek a representative to serve on the CPT Steering Committee – to be either a staff member, or a friend of On Earth Peace outside of the board.

On Earth Peace continues to learn and work toward becoming an anti-racist organization. As part of this ongoing work, the board spent time in caucus groups, discussing questions around Internalized Racial Superiority and Inferiority and the way these manifest on the board, as well as questions around resiliency in the face of racism and other forms of oppression.

The On Earth Peace board is exploring board leadership structures that may better support the ongoing work of the staff and board. The Leadership Design Team (formed at the Spring 2017 meeting), wasn’t ready to bring a full proposal to this meeting, and asked the People of Color caucus to suggest next steps. With this guiding, the board adopted a proposal naming Pastor Irv Heishman to continue as board chair, while holding off on naming a vice-chair until the spring meeting in order to give time to re-imagine this position.

Finally, the board and staff spent time in discussion around where it falls on the Spectrum of Allies – affirming that it feels called to be a stronger ally to groups experiencing oppression both within the board, throughout the church, and in the world. Thankfulness was expressed for this desire – even while it was acknowledged that there is much work to be done before this desire is a full reality.

The board of On Earth Peace will next meet April 5-7, in Chicago.

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