Written by Gregg Brekke
Following a year of deliberation, including discernment and dialog from congregations, Conferences and interest groups, a "Proposal for Unified Governance of the National Setting of the United Church of Christ" was delivered by the Unified Governance (UGov) Working Group and has received approval to proceed from the UCC's Executive Council and the boards of the four Covenanted Ministries.
The 2009 General Synod requested that the proposal, and subsequent constitution and bylaw changes, be presented to the 2011 Synod after a preliminary "single governance" proposal failed to gain unanimous board approval in early 2009.
A unified board size of 51 members, decreased from the current total of 300 members serving on four boards and the Executive Council, has been suggested "based on competencies needed for good governance while maintaining commitments to diversity." The UGov Working group asserts the smaller board will "support putting mission forward, emphasize best practices of good governance, and streamline informed and integrated decision making and ministry actions" within the UCC.
Executive Council members approved an action calling for two "minority reports" to be carried forward with the proposal. A request to change the proposal, altering the composition of the unified board's nominating committee – those responsible for recommending new board members, was rejected by Executive Council members.
The UGOV Working Group will consider comments currently being received from the Executive Council and members of the Covenanted Ministries boards prior to working with their legal counsel to formulate constitution and bylaw changes.
These constitution and bylaw changes will be considered by the Organizational Life committee of the Executive Council at its March 2011 meeting and, as instructed by the General Synod, the proposal and proposed constitution and bylaws changes will be forwarded to General Synod 28 in Tampa. If the General Synod votes to adopt the constitution and bylaw changes, further voting will take place in Conferences, where two-thirds – 26 of 38 – must approve of the constitutional changes prior to adoption.