Delegate Counts Will Change for Some Churches

Delegate Counts Will Change for Some Churches

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Delegates from all three conferences at the November Annual Meeting.
The formation of the Southern New England Conference is bringing about a lot of changes, and one may be how many delegates churches should be electing to attend Annual Meeting.

According to the bylaws of the new Conference, churches with between 0 and 300 members will have three delegates, with one additional delegate for every additional 200 members or major fraction thereof (101 or more).

This new bylaw will have the biggest impact on Rhode Island Conference churches, which previously were represented by five delegates each, plus one additional delegate for every one hundred members.

In Connecticut, churches were entitled to two delegates for the first 400 members, and another delegate for each additional 400 members; and in Massachusetts, churches with fewer than 300 members had two delegates, with one additional delegate for each additional 300.

“The Governance Committee and Board of Directors thought it best to find a middle ground among the practices of the historic conferences," said Dawn Hammond, the Associate Conference Minister who staffs the Board. "The Connecticut and Massachusetts policies seemed designed for an earlier era when we had many more larger churches. The Rhode Island policy was wonderfully inclusive, but seemed impractical when applied to a significantly larger conference. However, the Board expressed hope that many Rhode Island members and others will continue to come to Annual Meeting as visitors, and determined to try to make Annual Meeting an event worth attending even for those without voting cards."

Although the number of voting delegates per church is limited by the bylaws, anyone is welcome to attend Annual Meetings as a visitor. In addition to elected delegates, authorized ministers are also eligible to vote at Annual Meetings. 

The first Annual Meeting of the new Southern New England Conference will be a one-day meeting on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI.

Author

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Tiffany Vail

Tiffany Vail is the Associate Conference Minister for Communications for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ. 

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