WMC woman new advocacy director
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Rev. Amee Paparella, a provisional elder in the West Michigan Conference, has been hired as Director and Organizer for Women’s Advocacy at the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS).
Beginning Aug. 27, Paparella will fill a position that became available at the retirement of Linda Bales Todd, who spent more than a decade addressing women’s, children’s and other population issues on behalf of The United Methodist Church.
The opening is part of the board’s Louise & Hugh Moore Population Project, whose mission is to work with and on behalf of women around the globe, particularly those most marginalized, by advocating for the passage of just policies by the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.
“Our national grassroots organizing initiative this year convinced us we have to do more of this local-community work,” said Jim Winkler, GBCS chief executive who announced Paparella’s hiring. “We decided to fill this position with someone capable of high-quality work on Capitol Hill, but who could also effectively undertake community organizing at the local-church level.”
Winkler said the agency received about 50 applications to fill the position. "We interviewed a dozen applicants," he said. "Amee stood out as a person who had the core competencies we were seeking."
A graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Paparella has served local churches in Illinois and Michigan. She also provided individual and couples counseling at the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, and has experience as a community organizer for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. She has worked as a resource specialist at the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, and is pursuing her Masters of Social Work at Michigan State University.
A native of Ohio, Paparella was baptized and raised within The United Methodist Church. She said the GBCS position is the marriage of two of her greatest loves: Christ’s church and women’s advocacy. “I developed a strong commitment to the principles of John Wesley, including personal and social holiness,” she said.
Work for marginalized
Paparella said that in response to Christ’s teachings, her life’s calling has been to work on behalf of the most marginalized persons in society. “I look forward to using the gifts God’s given me to ignite and equip local churches and annual conferences and to advocate on behalf of just policies that strengthen women, our families, and our communities,” she said.
The director’s primary role is to assist United Methodists in understanding and advocating for issues related to women, population and development based on the denomination’s strong biblical foundation plus social-justice positions in the Book of Resolutions and the Social Principles in the Book of Discipline.
Among the director’s responsibilities are the following:
- Strengthen relationships and establish new contacts with United Methodists in conferences working on issues such as domestic violence, violence against women and education.
- Establish relationships with U.S. Congressional offices for advocacy work on women.
- Participate in United Nations conferences focusing on women’s and population issues, and interpret and organize internationally with Central Conferences around these initiatives.
The director also participates in interagency work for the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee and the General Board of Discipleship Committee on Older Adults.
Located in D.C.
Advocacy will be accomplished through supervision of networks on AIDS and women’s issues, release of call-to-action alerts, public speaking, articles in GBCS’s e-newsletter Faith in Action, development of resources, and coordinating and participating in training events.
The director reports to GBCS’s chief executive and will work at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill here.
Paparella said this is an exciting time to be active in the church. “The world is getting smaller,” she said. “New technologies are not only strengthening our connection, they are increasing the capacity of our local churches toward acts of practical divinity.”
~reported by Wayne Rhodes, Communications Director General Board of Church and Society