Prepared by Rev. Dr. William L. Land
Received in electronic form March 2, 2010
This Suggestions of discernment in the development of a plan for Unified Governance, calls for all to take part in the painful need for restructure and re-visioning within the United Church of Christ. Four parts of this plan will be offered/outlined for consideration by the newly formed unified governance committee.
a) Each covenanted ministry would reduce their respective board of directors by two thirds. The exception to this point would be that the covenanted ministry named General Ministries would be abolished and its various mandates and work would be directed by the Executive Council of the UCC. Each board would meet twice in person and as needed by conference call. One joint board session would continue to happen on off Synod years or at the discretion of the Executive committee of the respective board of Directors, the executive minister of the board or the GMP.
b) The size of the executive council would be reduced by one third. CCM, Conferences, and HUGs groups would all contribute to the reduction of numbers to reach this goal.
C) That one half of the covenanted ministry boards and the Executive Council members being HUGS people.
d) Each covenanted ministry would contribute one half of their portion of OCWM receipts toward the work of the Executive Council with emphasis and mandate of EC upon dollars being available for the General Synod and the work of the administrative office of the General Minister and President. As the office of General Ministries is abolished, the pot of money would be somewhat larger and thus lessening the burden upon each covenanted ministry in this action. The office of General Minister would become a staff position hired by the GMP and lodged in the GMP office. Also with the eliminated of OGM, one third of the budgetary dollars could be use to employ a person in the GMP office to supervise and be the day to day Administrator of it staff. (Not covenanted staff)
e) That the General Synod be held every third year to save significant dollars for mission and ministry through the national setting.
f) That each other existing Covenanted Ministry would reduce staff by whatever level needed to live within the new and current financial reality. This will mean that some several staff members would by laid-off with a liberal severance package.
(The saving outlined above will be well over the $250,000 in prior plans before the General Synod)
a) That the conferences find ways immediately to coalesce into regional entities rather than the current state by state or 38 conference structure. The result of this work would be that the United Church of Christ would be divided into no more than 10 regional areas, rather than the current 38 configuration. All saving from this bold action will be divided between the new regional structure and the work of national and for its work.
b) That all the financial bookkeeping to the United Church of Christ nationally be farmed out to the UCC Pension Boards. They have the capacity and ability to easily handle this work on our behalf and at a much reduced
c) If we are to have a single financial coordinated piece to this governance. We must have the new governance structure adopt a policy of not utilizing any funds that are sole restricted for specific usage. That means that the new governance would adopt a policy that wouldn’t allow for new structure/governance to change restricted funds to non-restricted fund. (Ohio law will let a corporations change restricted funds to non- restricted fund with a 2/3 vote of their governing broads.)
a) That Racial Ethnic groups in the United Church of Christ continue to be funded in this new structure at a level that will allow greater participation in the life of the church and opportunity to meet across racial ethnic lines and divisions. Current financial levels for these groups should be increase by at least 10 percent at the time of commencement of this plan.
a) The Collegium’s and or the Executives of the Covenanted Ministry role shall be the administrator of their Covenanted Ministry. The Collegium model ought to be eliminated and that the Executive Ministers’ ought to become program ministers answerable to the GMP and to the EC in policy issues. It would once and for all, give us a GMP with strength and authority. (Something new and interesting!)
b) The Executive Ministers should act as the Mission Council that never really was operable in the new structure. This will give cross ministry cooperation of staffs and ministries (programs) and thus cutting costs and be able to address issues faster
c) The other question that must be answered in any structure is: "Who speaks for the denomination in a crisis situation?" Does the GMP have to wait for the five, one-among equals to meet and come to some conclusion before the denomination can speak to an emergency or can the GMP just speak as the head of staff ?
d) Eliminating the OGM and the Associate General Minister’s position or at least making the Associate General Minister accountable to the GMP in following policy that is set by Synod and the EC.