Terms of Service Agreement

Welcome to UMC-GBCS.org, the official international public policy and advocacy website of The United Methodist Church. UMC-GBCS.org is managed by the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). UMC-GBCS.org provides advocacy tools, information, resources and organizational material for anyone interested or involved in social justice mission and ministry. When using UMC-GBCS.org, you agree to the terms and conditions listed on this page (the "Terms of Service Agreement"), which may be updated by us from time to time.

UMC-GBCS.org may provide, or third parties may provide, links to other World Wide Web sites or resources. Because UMC-GBCS.org has no control over such sites and resources, you acknowledge and agree that GBCS is not responsible for the availability of such external sites or resources, and does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on or available from such sites or resources. You further acknowledge and agree that GBCS shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such site or resource.

You may not: (1) modify UMC-GBCS.org, (2) publish, display, disclose, rent, lease, modify, loan, distribute, or create derivative works based on UMC-GBCS.org or its Documentation or any part thereof without the express written permission of GBCS, (3) remove, obliterate, or cancel from view any copyright, trademark, confidentiality or other proprietary notice, mark or legend appearing on UMC-GBCS.org, (4) reverse engineer, decompile, translate, adapt or dissemble UMC-GBCS.org, nor shall you attempt to create the source code from the object code for UMC-GBCS.org without the express written permission of GBCS, or (5) assign the license for the Service.

Code of Conduct

As Christians united in love and ministry, the transformation of the world comes through sharing, engaging and growing in faith as a community. Based on resolution #2061, “Being the Church Amid Disagreement” from the 2008 Book of Resolutions, members of this online faith community “will engage each other in love and grace as we deal with issues upon which we agree and disagree.” Utilizing scripture and Wesleyan traditions, members of the community agree to the following codes of conduct:

  1. Participate in discussions for the edification of the Kingdom of God for the transformation of the world.
    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
    (Ephesians 4:29)
  2. Express comments in a civil manner. Respect the opinions of others and reserve judgment on issues of conflict. Be mindful not to attack the messenger when discussing the message.
    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    (Romans 12:17-18, 21)
  3. Honor our relationships to each other as children of God.
    For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
    (Romans 8:14)
  4. Post comments relevant to the topic of discussion.
    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
    (Hebrews 12: 1, 14)

“We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God's grace to the unity of the church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons.” (Resolution #2061) Recognizing we all fall short at times, this faith community will attempt to hold each other accountable to these codes as best as possible. The GBCS staff responsible for maintaining the content within the online community reserves the rights to close discussion threads or remove without notice any comment that does not embody these codes of conduct. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

For questions, please email webservant@umc-gbcs.org.

SMS Text Message Terms and Conditions

  1. In addition to any entry, submission or other fee of which you are notified, your carrier’s standard messaging rates apply to your entry or submission message, our confirmation and all subsequent SMS correspondence and/or transmissions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider.
  2. We will not be liable for any delays in the receipt of any SMS messages as delivery is subject to effective transmission from your mobile service operator. SMS MESSAGE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS, AND WE MAKE NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ARE HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED.
  3. Data obtained from you in connection with this SMS service may include your cell phone number, your carrier’s name, and the date, time and content of your messages, as well as other information that you provide. We may use this information to contact you and to provide the services you request from us.
  4. By using this service you may have access to various content. You should assume that everything to which you have access through this service is subject to copyright and trademark protection, unless noted otherwise. By subscribing or otherwise using the service, you acknowledge and agree that all right, title and interest, including the trademark and copyright rights, in and to such works are our property, and that you will not gain any ownership or other right, title or interest therein or thereto. You may not copy, download or make any other unauthorized uses of such items.
  5. By subscribing, you consent to receiving, from time to time, further text messages from us.
  6. By subscribing or otherwise using the service, you acknowledge and agree that we will have the right to change and/or terminate the service at any time, with or without cause and/or advance notice.
  7. All content is appropriate for ages 13 and older (T13+)

Read Mobile Commons' Privacy Policy.

Personal Information and Interactive Features

Certain features of UMC-GBCS.org may require you to register personal information and obtain a user name and password for UMC-GBCS.org. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account number and/or password. You are responsible for all uses of your account, whether or not actually or expressly authorized by you.
GBCS grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to create an account for and use UMC-GBCS.org in accordance with this Terms of Service Agreement. UMC-GBCS.org and any associated documentation are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of GBCS.

To enable GBCS to protect our customers and respond to customer needs and complaints you consent to GBCS employees being able to access your account and records on a case-by-case basis to investigate complaints or other allegations or abuse. GBCS shall not disclose the existence or occurrence of such an investigation unless required by law.

All interactive communications (email, chat, discussion boards, etc.), even though intended for a private audience, are subject to public access. Although we reserve the right to remove without notice any posting for any reason, we have no obligation to delete content that you may find objectionable or offensive.
Information and opinions expressed in bulletin boards or other interactive communications are not necessarily those of GBCS. Users alone are responsible for the contents of the messages they communicate when using our services as well as the consequences of any such messages.

However, you agree not to use UMC-GBCS.org to:

  • upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable to GBCS.
  • upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available content that violates laws or regulations designed to protect minors.
  • impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, the UMC-GBCS.org webmaster, forum leader, guide or host, of falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity;
  • forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any Content transmitted through UMC-GBCS.org;
  • upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);
  • upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary right ("Rights") of any party;
  • upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, junk mail, spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or any other form of solicitation.
  • Intentionally upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware on telecommunications equipment;
  • disrupt the normal flow of dialogue, cause a screen to scroll faster than other users of UMC-GBCS.org are able to type, or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users’ ability to engage in real time exchanges;
  • interfere with or disrupt UMC-GBCS.org or servers or networks connected to UMC-GBCS.org, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to UMC-GBCS.org;
  • intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national or international law, including, but not limited to, regulations promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, any rules of any national or other securities exchange, including, without limitation, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, and any regulations having the force of law;
  • stalk or otherwise harass another, or
  • collect or store personal data about other users.

GBCS does not condone copyright infringement and will not tolerate such infringement by its users. Accordingly, GBCS may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who may be infringing the intellectual property rights of others.

We may modify or discontinue of services or your account with us, with or without notice, without liability to you, any other user or any third party. We reserve the right to terminate your account if we learn that you have provided us with false or misleading registration information, interfered with other users or the administration of GBCS’ services, or violated these Terms of Service.

You understand and agree that GBCS’ services are provided AS-IS. GBCS assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, deletion, mis-delivery or failure to store any user communications or personalization settings.

YOU UNDERSTAND AND EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT USE OF GBCS’ SERVICES ARE AT YOUR SOLE RISK, THAT ANY MATERIAL AND/OR DATA DOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF GBCS’ SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK AND THAT YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OF SUCH MATERIAL AND/OR DATA.

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH ON OUR SITES, GBCS DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT AND IT MAKES NO WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION REGARDING THE RESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF GBCS’ SERVICES, REGARDING THE ACCURARCY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH GBCS’ SERVICES OR THAT GBCS’ SERVICES WILL MEET ANY USER’S REQUIREMENTS, BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE OR ERROR FREE.

GBCS WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES OF ANY KIND RESULTING FROM THE USE OF OR THE INABILITY TO USE GBCS’ SERVICES, RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED OR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSACTION ENTERED INTO THROUGH GBCS’ SERVICES, RESULTING FROM LOSS OF, UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF A USER’S TRANSMISSIONS OR DATA OR FOR THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, USE, DATA OR OTHER INTANGIBLES, EVEN IF GBCS HAD BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless GBCS, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees, consultants and agents from any and all third party claims, liability, damages and/or costs (including, but not limited to, attorneys fees) arising from your use of our services, your violation of the Terms of Service or your infringement, or infringement by any other user of your account, of any intellectual property or other right of any person or entity. The Terms of Service will inure to the benefit of GBCS’ successors, assigns and licensees.

These Terms of Service will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia. Any action brought to enforce this agreement or matters related to the site shall be brought in either the state or federal courts of the District of Columbia. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision or portion of the Terms of Service to be unenforceable, the remainder to the Terms of Service will continue in full force and effect.

These Terms of Service constitute the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and replace all prior or contemporaneous understandings or agreements, written or oral, regarding such subject matter. Any waiver of any provision of the Terms of Service will be effective only if in writing and signed by GBCS.

Privacy

GBCS respects your privacy, believes personal information should remain private, and will not disclose or sell personal information to any outside organization for any purpose.
For registered Web site users, you may choose whether you want to receive e-mail about products, services or resources. If you do not give permission for us to send e-mail to you, GBCS will not send unsolicited e-mail. In this case, GBCS will communicate with you only for the purpose of maintaining or upgrading your registration with us.

For e-commerce customers, GBCS will use your e-mail address only for the purpose of confirming and processing orders for our products. However, during online ordering, you have the option of indicating your preference of receiving email updates. If you prefer to place your order by fax, the number to use is 202.488.5671.
GBCS will use the e-mail addresses of churches only to communicate denomination-wide breaking or urgent news and information.

What type of information does GBCS collect?

We collect two types of information about visitors: personal information (collected when you order from us or sign up for email updates, which includes personal details such as name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, credit card information) which you have voluntarily submitted to us; and aggregate information (such as information about how many visitors log on to our sites, the pages they access, etc.). We also may receive some information about you from other GBCS sources and may add it to your account information. For example, we might get your updated address from a shipper or information on your preferences from another website conducting a promotion or event with us.

You can visit our Web site without telling us who you are or revealing personal information about yourself, in which case you may, however, be unable to participate in certain promotions or receive product information. We collect, maintain and use personal information you have voluntarily submitted to contact you, including via email, to respond to your comments or requests for information, or to contact you if needed in the course of processing or shipping your order for products or services offered over our Web site.

The General Board of Church and Society will not trade, sell or share your personal information for use by any business, without your consent, unless required by law or as disclosed to you when the information is collected.

Your personal information will generally be stored in our databases located mainly in the United States. For easier processing of e-mail campaigns or other marketing purposes, however, your personal information may be sent, usually on a temporary basis, to a mailing house. Nonetheless, our policy is to ensure that your information is always granted the same level of protection

How Do We Use Your Information?

We use your information in a number of ways, including the following:

  • To improve the content on our web site. For example, we may use cookies to find out which parts of our site or our products are visited most often.
  • To enhance your online shopping experience. For example, we may use it to recognize you and welcome you to the site.
  • For marketing and promotional purposes. For example, we send out e-mails to our customers about services, products or events that we think may be of interest to them. We also may send you offers for discounts or free services (e.g., free gift wrap or shipping) on our site.

You may change your permission statement at any time by going to UMC-GBCS.org and choosing "My GBCS." The option to receive e-mail from GBCS is on the “Network Sign-up” page. The option to change contact information is on the “Edit Profile” page. Simply check/uncheck the options and your mailing options will be updated.

Copyright Permissions

Except as otherwise expressly permitted under copyright law, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, disseminate, sell, distribute, publish, broadcast or circulate the information received through UMC-GBCS.org to anyone, including, but not limited to, others in the same company or organization, without the express prior written consent of GBCS.

Please report any violations of the Terms of Service to webservant@umc-gbcs.org.