Name: Nora Martinez
Role: Clergy Delegate
Appointment: General Board of Global Ministries
Legislative Committee: Church and Society A
Q: How are your legislative committee meetings going?
A: They are going well. I’m on Church and Society A. Due to the fact that there were so many petitions and legislation for the Church and Society area to deal with, they created two Church and Society Legislative Committees--an A and a B.
Q: Sounds like there is a lot of work for both to do.
A: Yes there is a lot. My committee, Church and Society A will be looking at the elimination of the General Board of Church and Society, the settlement issue of Israel and Palestine, Gambling, and petitions that deal with the environment and some issues that deal with the economy.
Q: How about Church and Society B. What will they deal with?
A: They are dealing with the divestment issue, and all of the legislation that deals with human sexuality.
Q: I understand that you were nominated as secretary of your subcommittee.
A: Yes! What an honor. I keep track of the voting, the details of the petitions, and the amendments that people have. The hard thing is that I really want to participate and talk, but it’s hard because I’m having to really pay attention and take notes.
Q: What is it like for you when words and phrases of some of those petitions are minutely picked over?
A: It can be tedious, yes. But people are very passionate, and I appreciate that. Words are important. In many cases, a lot of petitions come from the U.S. and aren’t applicable to the people outside the U.S. We have to be mindful that we aren’t just a U.S. Church. So for some petitions, we have to re-word some of the U.S.-centric language.
Q: Is there an example?
A: Lending practices. The way that we lend money is different in different cultures. So we have to figure out how to re-word the petitions to be ‘across the board’ to apply to everyone in our worldwide Church. We are called to be cognizant to other cultures.
Q: Are you empathetic with those delegates who are from the Central Conferences?
A: Spanish is my first language, so yes, I am. I’ve lived in the U.S. for a long time, but this process can still be confusing for me. At times, you can get lost in what you’re voting for. Part of our work toward inclusivity is to make sure that people know what is going on and being patient with that.
Q: Is there something that helps ground you while you are here?
A: Worship is really helpful because it grounds me. It reminds me why I am here. The participation and representation of different cultures in a worship setting is a reminder of what our Church looks like. Like I said before, I’ve lived here for a long time. Even I can forget about the rest of the world. I can get caught up in my own little world. So I’m excited to be reminded over and over again of the global nature of our Church.
To read more about Nora, please find her bio here.