Caucuses and Lay Involvement
Caucuses were not new to United Methodism; the church has had them easily since the beginning of the 20th century. But with the Merger came a flowering of lay involvement connected to caucuses. Clergy were involved in the caucus, but it was the empowerment of the laity that seemed to give the caucus its energy.
Caucuses developed as adjuncts to the general agencies. In some cases they challenged the agency, while in others they supported the work of the agency. Because of its grass-roots character, the caucus was able to communicate about its work to the general church. While ‘special interest’ groups were not new to United Methodism, the caucuses reached new levels of involvement, contact, and support for a variety of issues in United Methodism.
Caucuses covered a wide range of interests. There were groups focused on doctrinal issues, social issues, ethnic issues, worship issues, and history. While no where near a complete list the following show the flowering of a variety of interests in the newly merged denomination: Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts, Historical Society of The United Methodist Church, MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans), National Federation of Asian American United Methodists, National United Methodist Native American Center, United Methodist Association of Communicators, Affirmation and Good News.