The SNEUCC Board of Directors has approved an updated Annual Meeting Behavioral Covenant and Rules of Procedure to include a Resolutions process, and provisionally adopted the process for the 2023 Annual Meeting. The new Resolutions process was developed by a task group of the Annual Meeting Business Committee, based on open hearings held last spring. Delegates will be asked to approve the new process at the Annual Meeting in June.
A Resolution is a written motion that seeks to influence the Conference, local churches, the communities served throughout the region, the national setting of the UCC, and/or national and international social and political agendas.
“The statements and convictions expressed through resolutions help define who we are as the United Church of Christ in the particular setting that adopts a resolution.” said Rev. Mark Seifried, a member of the task group. “At their best, Resolutions help make the love and justice of Jesus real and help facilitate the unfolding reign of God.”
Recent resolutions called upon a Conference-wide response to bullying, affirmation regarding citizenship of certain foreign-born children adopted by American citizens, an end to the practice of prolonged solitary confinement in prisons and jails, and a call for anti-Racism and Racial Justice training for clergy.
Resolutions have long been a part of UCC life and practice, both in the national setting (at General Synod) and in all three historic Conferences that make up the SNEUCC. Over the past several years, Board members received many questions as to how proposed Resolutions might be brought to the SNEUCC Annual Meeting.
Research and Consideration
The task group, chaired by Rev. Adam Isbitsky of the Annual Meeting Business Committee, was formed of member volunteers* who expressed interest during open hearings held before and during last year's Annual Meeting. The group was staffed by Dawn Hammond, Executive Minister for Policy and Finance, and by Rev. Emma Brewer-Wallin, Minister for Environmental & Economic Justice for the Conference, who also serves on the Governance Committee of the National UCC Board of Directors.
The full group met four times between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, with additional meetings by sub-teams. They reviewed the Resolutions processes used by the UCC General Synod, the historic MA and CT Conferences, and the General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ. They also envisioned other potential models very different from past practice.
With a goal of having something voted upon by the Board in October, the group chose a procedure that will look familiar to many, and one which will synchronize easily with General Synod practice.
The Proposed Resolutions Rules of Procedure
On October 22, 2022, the Board approved text to be added to the SNEUCC Annual Meeting “Behavioral Covenant and Rules of Procedure,” provisionally adopted for the 2023 Annual Meeting. The 2020 Annual Meeting adopted the covenant and rules, which remain in effect until superseded by a subsequent vote.
The new text notes that per the bylaws of the SNEUCC, its Board of Directors may submit proposed votes directly to the Annual Meeting. Proposed resolutions from other sources are to be submitted to the Business Committee at least 90 days before the Annual Meeting.
If the Business Committee deems a proposed resolution appropriate to the goals of the Annual Meeting, the resolution will be placed on the agenda and sent to the churches in a Call to the Annual Meeting at least 30 days before the meeting.
The Proposed Resolutions Rules of Procedure document outlines the definition and context of resolutions, answers the questions of who may propose a resolution, notes deadlines for proposals, defines structure and format of the resolution, and explains the role of the Business Committee.
The task group also developed guidelines for proposing a resolution: Proposed SNEUCC Notes on Resolution Format and Best Practices.
People interested in bringing forward Resolutions should note that they will need to collaborate with others from several churches or Associations in order to do so. The task group’s assumption is that Resolutions are likely to have more impact if the organizers have built coalitions of interested people prior to the Annual Meeting.
The policy also includes a new provision for the proposers to convene an Implementation Meeting of interested persons following the Annual Meeting. An Implementation Meeting may be held whether or not the Resolution was approved by the meeting.
The deadline for submitting a proposed resolution for the Annual Meeting on June 17, 2023, is MONDAY MARCH 20th at 8 AM. However, people interested in submitting resolutions are encouraged to reach out to the Business Committee as soon as possible, both for guidance and to assist the Committee to plan the meeting.
"This task team was passionate about the potential power of resolutions to help transform our lives, congregations and society,” said Hammond. “They brought theological depth as well as policy expertise to every conversation. Changes will doubtless be needed to the procedure as we live into it over time, but I think it is a great place to start. And the whole team is excited to welcome Resolutions as part of SNEUCC Annual Meetings for the first time!"
- Deadline for submitting a proposed resolution for the Annual Meeting on June 17, 2023 is MONDAY MARCH 20th at 8 AM.
- Current draft of Rules of Procedure with new language
- Guidelines to assist would-be writers of resolutions
- Christopher Jenkins, Tewksbury Congregational Church
- Rev. George Peters
- Rev. Fran Bogle, founding member of the Just Peace Players
- Rev. Mark Seifried, intentional interim minister of First Congregational Church Williamstown
- Rev. Matt Carriker, Pastor at Agape Spiritual Community
- Rev. Corey Sanderson, Interim Pastor of Union Congregational Church of Groton, MA.
Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane writes news articles for the SNEUCC website. She is also the editor of the Starting With Scripture newsletter. Contact her if: Your church has a great story to tell about an innovative ministry. You have a prayer request to ...