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UNION OF CHURCHES An alternative organizational model for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Presentation on theme: "UNION OF CHURCHES An alternative organizational model for the Seventh-day Adventist Church."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNION OF CHURCHES An alternative organizational model for the Seventh-day Adventist Church

2 introduction  Policy discourages the organization of a union of churches  Sub-committee assigned to study whether policy should be changed to encourage a union of churches  Sub- committee decided to include a union of churches-mission to complete the picture

3 introduction  Nomenclature- Union of Churches-conference Union of Churches-mission  Definition of a Union of Churches: A united organized body of local churches within a territory, having similar status to a union conference or union mission, and a direct relationship with the division.

4 introduction  Irregular and diverse circumstances around the world: Geographical hurdles, language issues, financial challenges, ethnic concerns, cultural norms, geopolitical hurdles, traditions.

5 introduction  No one model fits all these situations  Flexibility is needed

6 history  1967-first union of churches-Austria  1981-General Conference approved recommendation of Euro-Africa Division to set up unions of churches  1983-policy approved  1985 General Conference Session approved representation

7 history  Reasons given- small membership difficult evangelistic environment  Interim structure to be used until the church grew into a more viable stature, requiring mission or conference status

8 history  1981-Italy, Spain and Portugal became unions of churches  General Conference action, “The tithe percentage will be paid as though they were unions,” but the organization would be an exception rather than a model for new church structures.

9 history  General Conference Annual Council action, 1983, approved new policy stating, “The Church does not encourage the organizational arrangements termed union of churches.”  Only an action of the General Conference Committee can authorize the establishment of a union of churches.

10 history  Sri Lanka was listed as a union of churches

11 current status  Unions of churches in Euro-Africa and Trans- European Divisions  5 countries in EUD and 1 in TED  Netherlands and Sweden have adopted union of churches structure but have union conference status

12 current status  SIX UNIONS OF CHURCHES RANGE:  Population million to million  Membership-2649 to 11,742 (Average 6961 per union)  Churches-47 to 114 (Average 81 per union)  Institutions-3 to 6 (Average 4.8 per union)  Ordained ministers- 17 to 63 (Average 38 per union)

13 current status STATISTICS:  An average of.46 ordained pastors per church  An average of 84 members per church  Church membership is approximately.003% of population

14 rationale for change Jan Paulsen stated:  Globality of Church  Rapid growth in some areas  Sluggish growth in some areas (which historically have been resource providers)  Changed expectations from members  Government regulations  Predominance of non Christian religions Force the church to re-examine organizational structure

15 rationale for change  BIG CONCERNS:  1. Global unity  2. Global mission  3. Best use of resources

16 rationale for change  ISSUES WHICH AFFECT UNITY: Organization, structure, communication, policies, theology, identity, values, beliefs, committees, prophetic gift, Church Manual  ISSUES WHICH AFFECT MISSION: Preaching, teaching, healing, responding to poverty and disasters

17 rationale for change  ISSUES WHICH AFFECT RESOURCES: Examine what and how we are doing things now as opposed to what we did when the Church was established; Are we meeting the needs of the global community and the global Church?

18 rationale for change WHY UNION OF CHURCHES? 1. Reduce number of levels of organization 2. Enable redistribution of financial resources 3. Enable redistribution of personnel 4. Enhance mission in specific areas 5. Facilitate access to country authorities 6. Faster communication and more appropriate decision making

19 changes needed Making a union of churches a desirable option:  Change policy-a positive option  Adequate representation at all levels  Fair financial arrangements  Remove special wage scale provisions  Define clear criteria and process for new status

20 changes needed  Policy for union of churches-conference, similar to union conference, with a blend of local conference elements  Policy for union of churches-mission, similar to union mission, with a blend of local mission elements

21 changes needed  Union of churches-conference, self- supporting, approve its own constitution based on new model  Union of churches-mission, guided by operating policy, approved by division, based on General Conference model policy

22 changes needed NEW NOMENCLATURE: Union Conference of Churches Union Mission of Churches OR Union of Churches-Conference Union of Churches-Mission OR Another

23 changes needed  New policy to govern distribution of institutions  New policy to govern discontinuation, dissolution, and mergers

24 philosophy  Changing and diverse world  Dominant religious organizations  Faster and effective means of communication  Possibility of centralized financial management to large geographical areas  Tighter immigration laws  Difficulty transferring funds

25 philosophy  Expansion of education  Rapid growth of Church in some areas  Negative growth of Church in some areas  Increased threat of war  Ability to travel long distances quickly and cheaply Some factors are a blessing; others are challenge to the Church

26 philosophy WE NEED TO ASK QUESTIONS:  What are the advantages and disadvantages of the new model?  Does it respond to the realities of the Church and the world we now live in?  Can we or should we amend a structure that is almost 160 years old?

27 philosophy  Is the Church over-governed? The answer could be-yes, in some parts, no, in others  Will new structures threaten unity or enhance it?  Does the new model fairly provide for representation?

28 philosophy  Local churches struggling financially  Perception is that too much money is being passed to higher organizations  Not enough money for evangelism locally  Should we alter structure just to redistribute money?  We need a better reason than just financial

29 philosophy  Restructuring must foster unity  We must avoid congregationalism at all costs  Be careful to avoid isolation  Restructuring must release more personnel into the field  Country structures can respond to political realities far more readily  New structures must not result in additional units

30 philosophy  We must bring the Church into 21 st century  Change can be painful  If it is imposed it becomes objectionable-must be seen as an option  Must include features that address relevant needs  Must assist the mission of the Church, provide essential resources, both financial and personnel

31 constitution  Changes will be needed in the General Conference constitution and bylaws to accommodate new models  Union of churches-conference and union of churches-mission need to be identified as well recognized units, not Cinderella organizations

32 constitution  ARTICLE IV-MEMBERSHIP Membership of the General Conference includes unions of churches-conference and union of churches- mission  ARTICLE V-General Conference SESSIONS Regular delegates to GC Session from unions of churches Union of churches-mission: one delegate as well as president (same as union mission) Union of churches-conference: two delegates as well as president (same as union conference)

33 constitution  ARTICLE VIII-EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Presidents of union of churches-conference and mission serve as ex-officio members of General Conference Executive Committee

34 bylaws  ARTICLE VIII-AUDITING SERVICE AND AUDITS GCAS is the preferred provider for auditing services for unions of churches  ARTICLE XIII-EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE This article will need to be deleted. It states that presidents of unions of churches are only invitees to General Conference Executive Committee

35 bylaws  ARTICLE XIV-DIVISION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES Presidents of unions of churches to be ex-officio of their respective division committees  ARTICLE XVII-FUNDS An extra percentage of funds (2-3%) may need to be remitted to the division for extra services rendered to unions of churches, e.g. depts.

36 bylaws Unions of churches will have access to a larger pool of funds than union conferences/missions. Unions of churches will receive 100% of the tithe from the local churches while union conferences/missions usually only receive 10% of this amount. If unions of churches are required to remit an extra 2-3% to the division they will still receive 70-80% more than union conferences/missions.

37 policy amendments B Organization and Administration  Constituency based units  No longer an exceptional unit of organization  Units required to abide by teachings and policies of the Church  A building block of the church  Remove the special wage scale provision

38 policy B 60 ESTABLISHING NEW CONSTITUENCY- BASED UNITS  Nomenclature  Process for organizing new unions of churches  Reorganizing unions of churches-better to organize two unions of churches rather than a union conference or union mission-which puts back another level of structure

39 policy B ESTABLISHING NEW CONSTITUENCY-BASED UNITS  General criteria for establishing new unions of churches  Process for dividing a union of churches

40 policy B 85 UNION OF CHURCHES  Negativity removed  Preferred organizational arrangement  New set of criteria -contiguous boundaries -no more than one union in any geographical area -similar language groups -population, 10 mill.-150 mill. -membership, ,000 -no sub units -must advance mission of the Church

41 policy B 85 UNION OF CHURCHES  Authorization by General Conference  Union of churches-conference, model constitution  Union of churches-mission, operating policy

42 policy B 90 DISCONTINUATION OF ORGANIZATIONS  Discontinuation of organizations  Mergers  Dissolution  Expulsion

43 policy D 11 MODEL UNION OF CHURCHES- CONFERENCE CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS  Patterned after union conference and conference constitution and bylaws

44 policy D 17 MODEL UNION OF CHURCHES-MISSION OPERATING POLICY  An entirely new policy  The model needs to be added to the GC Working Policy  Needs to be approved by the relevant division executive committee for each union of churches- mission  Includes elements from local mission and union mission model operating policies

45 policy Financial policies  Policies have yet to be written  It is recommended that unions of churches remit to the division an extra 2-3% more than union conferences/missions  This is to cover extra services provided by the division to unions of churches, e.g. departments  Divisions may return this money to unions of churches if extra services are not needed and /or provided

46 policy Remember that unions of churches will have access to a larger pool of funds than union conferences/missions. Unions of churches will receive 100% of the tithe from the local churches while union conferences/missions only receive 10% of this amount. If unions of churches are required to remit an extra 2-3% to the division they will still receive 70-80% more than union conferences/missions.

47 recommendations We recommend:  the redistribution of finances and personnel to meet the needs of an irregular world and a rapidly changing church  that the total number of administrative units be reduced and that one level of structure be eliminated where deemed valuable for mission of the Church  the adoption of unions of churches, both conference and mission to address the issues identified above

48 recommendations We recommend:  That unions of churches, conference and mission be normalized in General Conference Constitution and Bylaws as well as in Working Policy  That a special study be initiated to determine how best to communicate this proposal to church members

49 recommendations We recommend:  The development of models to show impact on number of delegates to GC Session, additional members on GC and Division Executive Committees  The development of models that will demonstrate the impact of this proposal on both financial and personnel resources.

50 appendices  Appendix A General Consultation on Church Polity and Theology in Europe  Appendix B Robert Pierson Letter  Appendix C Austrian Union Conference Reorganization  Appendix D Robert Pierson Telegram

51 appendices  Appendix E Robert Pierson Letter to Marius Fridlin  Appendix F Edwin Ludescher Letter to Neal Wilson and other items  Appendix G Observations and responses to questionnaires sent to union of churches-conference presidents  Appendix H Adventist Review, July 14-28, 2005


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