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A Message from the Board President

Ann C.

Dear NACSW Colleagues,

Although the weather this summer has posed some unusual challenges for many of us by way of sustained heat and drought as well as storms and fires, I do hope that each of you will have some time for physical and spiritual renewal as we look forward to the fall and to our Annual NACSW Convention.  Importantly, I want to bring you up to date on our Board Activities during the past weeks.  A key focus has been on reviewing the feedback on the proposed criteria for membership that we received through the NACSW blog and the listservs as well as personal communications to Board members.

During our recent Board conference call, we reflected on the feedback we received during the small group discussion during the Membership Meeting at the Pittsburgh Convention when the original referendum was introduced.  We also gave considerable attention to the subsequent feedback.  Our view as Board members was that for the most part, this input has been enormously helpful, since a primary goal continues to be a search to find ways in which membership in NACSW can be meaningful to all those who choose to walk with us.  After much discussion, we agreed on an accommodation to the original referendum.  We also noted that there had been instances on the blog and listservs where the tone or language of the dialogue seemed to veer away from a respectful Christian discourse toward that which is sometimes characteristic of contemporary secular society.  You will recall that this was noted by some of the bloggers as well.

After much discussion and consideration of various options with respect to the wording of the referendum, we came to an agreement that was characterized by an overall willingness to put personal preferences aside for the good of our organization and its membership.  As promised, we want to make this change available for your review and reflection well before the membership vote in October/November.   Below is the text of the original referendum we had previously proposed to the membership, followed by the accommodation that we plan to present to the membership for a vote in its place. The accommodation is not a change in the basic proposal itself, but rather represents a change in the linked explanatory material.

NACSW Board Membership Requirements: Final Proposal with Accommodations Based on Member Feedback

Original Proposal:

As a Christian, I affirm that I understand and support the mission of NACSW, which is to equip its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice.

Christian faith in the above sentence would link to a page with the following language: “The members of NACSW represent a rich diversity of Christian denominations and traditions. The mission of NACSW is to equip its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice. By Christian faith we mean historic Christian faith as expressed, for example in statements such as the following: The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, and NACSW’s Statement of Faith and Practice.” The full text of these three statements would follow this paragraph.

Proposal with Accommodation

As a Christian, I affirm that I understand and support the mission of NACSW, which is to equip its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice.

Christian in the above sentence would link to a page which includes the following language: “The members of NACSW represent a rich diversity of Christian denominations and traditions. NACSW recognizes that different Christian denominations and traditions use different language to express the heart of historic Christian faith, and supports the use of expressions such as the following examples for this purpose: a) “Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior” – stemming from passages such as Romans 10:9-10; b) “In Christ, God reconciled the world to Himself” – stemming from Scriptural passages such as II  Corinthians 5:19; and c) “We believe in One God, the Father who created us and all things, the Son who redeems us from sin and death, and the Holy Spirit who renews and sanctifies us.” After this statement will appear the full text of the Scriptural passages referred to in this paragraph.

Christian faith in the above sentence would link to a page which includes the following language: “By Christian faith we mean historic Christian faith as expressed, for example in statements such as the following: The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, and NACSW’s Statement of Faith and Practice.” The full text of these three statements would follow this paragraph.

In closing, we hope that the above accommodation is responsive to your interests and concerns and will serve the greater good of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.  Be assured of my thoughts and prayers for each of us as we move forward.

Ann Conrad, NACSW’s current Board president, is an associate professor at the Catholic University of America and has been a member of NACSW since 2008.

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