Constitutional changes approved

Before an en bloc vote of several changes to the synod constitution, Secretary Doug Ramsey offered concise summaries of those changes.

  • Many changes are to wording so we can be aligned with the churchwide constitution. For example, moving to language of ministers of word and sacrament and ministers word and service allows us to do that.
  • Our current constitution allows for an every other year assembly. We are going to exercise that option moving forward. The changes in the constitution allow us to complete all business in odd years and host a missional leaders event similar to Bold Like Jesus on the even years. The missional leaders gathering is scheduled to happen at Lenoir-Rhyne University, the same time of year, and will allow for times of fellowship, learning, and worship.
  • Another change to the business assembly is eliminating nominations for the floor at the time of the actual business assembly. People will still be able to be nominated outside of the nominating committee, but in a different way. We will solicit nominations through our e-news and social media. Additionally, we will open time for nominations at our spring cluster gatherings.
  • We are proposing a reduction in the number of synod council members. In the past we have traditionally used 10% of congregations as the number of council members. Ten years ago, we had 240 congregations and 24 members on council. The proposal is to reduce that number from 24 to 15. The change allows the Bishop and synod council to appoint up to 4 people to reflect diversity goals in our synod and/or critical but non-represented gifts like legal or financial expertise, making it possible for 19 persons serving. We currently have 197 congregations and will be right around that 10% threshold.
  • In addition, we propose the expansion of non-synod council members to serve on synod council committees, which is currently not permitted. This allows us to add expertise to committees that need it like legal, financial, and audit.
  • We currently have 13 deans that are elected by their conferences. We are proposing a change from election to appointment by the bishop. As the dean serves as an extension of the ministry of the bishop, it allows the bishop to appoint these persons.
  • The final change is a move away from the traditional spring conference meetings and move to a spring cluster meeting. The gathering will be a time when lay and rostered ministers will join with the bishop and their staff. The time will include worship, fellowship, learning, and nominations for assembly. So there would be three big spring meetings: Western, Central, and Eastern.

After a brief time of discussion, the constitutional changes were approved.
An additional legal matter was also approved; a bylaw correction for S7.22.01 which now reads:  All rostered ministers on the roster of the synod, in attendance and appropriately registered at the business assembly, shall be voting members of the business assembly.

Photo: Ray Sipe–pastor, chaplain, and techno-geek.