Policy updates at British Unitarian General Assembly

The annual meeting of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian churches isn’t over yet, but they did pass (or seem to pass, if I read tweets correctly) two measures I think are noteworthy.

The first gives the vote to the class of small congregations, (see measure 4) of which there are exactly two. Until now, a church with at least 8 but fewer than 12 members could could be recognized, with voice but no vote. What might have been called a mission church in another setting. Because there are full members of the denomination that have fallen below 12 members, members of the Bangor church — one of the two “small congregations” — sensed unfairness and petitioned the executive committee for a bylaws change. Eight and twelve members may not seem so different, but in a denomination with so many very small churches, it may mean the difference of encouraging more groups to organize, or not.

The other measure shortens the annual meeting from 72 hours over four days to 48 hours over three days. Cost is the main stated reason, but I imagine time away from home or work is also a practical concern. The sample schedule is tightly packed, but seems feasible when it’s hosted at an all-inclusive conference center, as it is this year. It also means tightening up the legislative process, which we’ve also seen (to the good) on this side of the Atlantic. If I read correctly, the plan will be reviewed in three years.

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