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					UNION OF CHURCHES

An alternative organizational model for the Seventh-day
                   Adventist Church
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
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.
introduction

   Irregular and diverse circumstances around
    the world:

       Geographical hurdles, language issues,
    financial challenges, ethnic concerns, cultural
    norms, geopolitical hurdles, traditions.
introduction

   No one model fits all these situations



   Flexibility is needed
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
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
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.
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.
history


   1984-1995 Sri Lanka was listed as a union of
    churches
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
current status
   SIX UNIONS OF CHURCHES

RANGE:
 Population-5.525 million to 59.178 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)
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
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
rationale for change
   BIG CONCERNS:

   1. Global unity

   2. Global mission

   3. Best use of resources
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
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?
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
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
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
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
changes needed
NEW NOMENCLATURE:
  Union Conference of Churches
  Union Mission of Churches
          OR
  Union of Churches-Conference
  Union of Churches-Mission
          OR
  Another
changes needed



   New policy to govern distribution of
    institutions
   New policy to govern discontinuation,
    dissolution, and mergers
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
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
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?
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?
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
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
philosophy

   We must bring the Church into 21st 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
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
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)
constitution



   ARTICLE VIII-EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Presidents of union of churches-conference and mission
   serve as ex-officio members of General Conference
   Executive Committee
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
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.
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.
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
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
policy


B 75 11 ESTABLISHING NEW
  CONSTITUENCY-BASED UNITS
 General criteria for establishing new unions of
  churches
 Process for dividing a union of churches
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, 4000-150,000
      -no sub units
      -must advance mission of the Church
policy

B 85 UNION OF CHURCHES

   Authorization by General Conference
   Union of churches-conference, model
    constitution
   Union of churches-mission, operating policy
policy
B 90 DISCONTINUATION OF
  ORGANIZATIONS

   Discontinuation of organizations
   Mergers
   Dissolution
   Expulsion
policy
D 11 MODEL UNION OF CHURCHES-
  CONFERENCE CONSTITUTION AND
  BYLAWS

   Patterned after union conference and
    conference constitution and bylaws
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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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posted:9/19/2011
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