Southern New England Board Takes Historic Steps

Southern New England Board Takes Historic Steps

The Southern New England Conference Board of Directors took a series of votes on Saturday, Dec. 7, to approve the founding documents and policies that will govern the new Conference being formed by the unification of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences.

On the surface, it was dry stuff. And not controversial - there were no dissenting votes, and most of the documents had only been slightly tweaked since being approved by Annual Meeting voters.

But Elizabeth Reinhardt, the attorney who has been consulting with the Board on the transition process for a number of years, pointed out that it was anything but boring.

"These are historic votes," she said. "It's been such an honor to work with you."

Reinhardt praised the Board and previous planning committees, as well as the Annual Meeting delegates from the three Conferences, for being able to move through the unification with such a high level of "collaboration and consensus" and said the whole process has been an "exercise in alignment."

The meeting, at the First Congregational Church in Woodstock, CT, also began in an unusual way - with a greeting via video from UCC General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer.

"This feels like an historic moment to me," he said. "I'm hoping the rest of the denomination is paying attention to what you have done. To how you've carefully approached the work of giving shape to this."

He also said he hoped others will pay attention over the next few years as the churches of Southern New England "gain vitality" through their new vision and purpose.

"I'm paying attention and I hope others will as well," he said.

The votes taken were to ratify and adopt the Covenant and Affiliation Agreement, Articles of Organization and Bylaws of the new Conference, and to authorize incorporation as of Jan. 1st; to ratify the election of the Board of Directors and officers; to approve an Administrative Services Agreement and an Indemnification Policy; to authorize the President, Treasurer and/or three Bridge Conference Ministers to finalize and execute all documents in final form to effect the previous votes; and to open a bank account and authorize check signers.

The Board members and officers are listed here. 
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