UCC board to gather feedback on constitution and bylaws change
The United Church of Christ Board of Directors is beginning a 21-month process to gather as much feedback as possible and review potential changes to the denomination’s Constitution and Bylaws before the next General Synod in 2017.
One of the main concerns board members heard after General Synod in Cleveland in June was related to the process of how a set of changes to the Constitution and Bylaws were brought before the UCC governing body — specifically, the need for more dialogue and conversation among the settings of the church. The proposed changes failed to gain two-thirds approval from voting delegates in 2015.
As the board looks ahead, members will begin engaging the church in that conversation now.
“The board has laid out a process to take feedback and use that to craft what is presented to General Synod,” Geoff Brace said. “We will continue to keep the wider church engaged in process along the way, and they’ll be able to hold us accountable to our timeline.”
Brace is the chair of the board’s Governance Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and recommending changes to the UCC Constitution and Bylaws.
“At this point, we’ve asked board members to actively participate and provide feedback on the content,” Brace said. “The board endorsed the [timeline], and now we are working with the content of the bylaws presented at the previous General Synod, but not passed. We are also working with the officers to get their feedback on content.”
Brace said by the March board meeting in 2016, “we’ll have an idea from conference ministers, the officers and the board on what is the feedback to the content [of the proposed changes]. If it warrants revisions we’ll take that on and relay that to the various bodies.”
Brace said the committee is using the amendments to the constitution and bylaws that were brought to General Synod 2015, dealing with the leadership structure of the national setting of the UCC, as a starting point.
By beginning now, the Governance Committee and the UCC Board have 21 months to collect information before presenting a set of changes to delegates for a vote during General Synod 2017 in Baltimore.
“Compared to the process used in the last biennium, we added an entire year to this process, which I think gives the church the opportunity to be more fully engaged,” Brace said.
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