At our recent CEM conference, the body adopted a resolution with specific requirements for a committee to consider Articles 2 and 3 of CEM conference bylaws. The motion stated, “that the committee is to consist of one member of the CEM Presidential Team and one member from each CEM congregation”.
As we have been unsuccessful in attaining a committee with one member from every congregation as clearly defined in the motion, the Presidency team in consultation with our Apostle Art Smith and Parliamentarian Darrel Kennedy, have deemed the motion unimplementable. At this point there are two options—as the motion has failed, we could let the matter drop so that we can concentrate on other priorities, or the presidency team could strike an ad-hoc committee to accomplish the consultation and dialogue about the current CEM Conference Bylaws that the motion hoped to achieve.
The presidency team has opted to take the latter approach and engage the representatives who have already been identified for a committee in discussions with their congregation to ensure the intent of the motion is honoured. To avoid disproportionate representation, as half of the congregations did not identify a representative, an ad-hoc committee constituted by the Mission Centre Presidency team would be comprised to ensure age and gender diversity, persons who would have ex-officio status, persons from emerging or new expressions congregations, persons from small, medium and large congregations, persons from southwest, central, eastern, Niagara, GTA and northern Ontario. We would entrust this committee to fulfill the mandate to explore the bylaws, engage members in dialogue, collate the feedback from the congregational discussions, and ultimately reach a recommendation for consideration at our next conference. Where possible those committee members would be drawn from the names already submitted but in a manner of representation that reflects the diversity of the mission center.
Engaging All Who Wish To
We feel it is important that all membership who choose, have opportunity to participate in this process. We are incredibly grateful to the persons who have offered to participate as a representative and hope that, whether your role is focused on the congregational dialogue feedback process or in the ad-hoc committee, you feel you have had voice in this process. We want to affirm that all individuals whose names were forwarded to represent a congregation, will still be involved in the dialogue and feedback within their congregation on the specific topic of member or delegate conferences. Some of you will further be asked to be part of the smaller ad-hoc committee constituted to represent the diversity within the mission center, have further dialogue and develop consensus statements from the feedback to disseminate back to the congregations. Ultimately we hope this process fosters dialogue that culminates in a recommendation regarding the type of conference that reflects the will of the body. We know each of us have life challenges, time constraints and priorities and we do not want to prolong this process but also do not want to move forward too quickly. We hope you are willing to journey with us as we navigate this important issue.
Moving forward on this matter of concern regarding our conference organization, may we encourage all to follow the guide to good dialogue to ensure the discussion process is equitable. To that end, where no representative has been forwarded, we will do our best to ensure opportunity for dialogue and feedback. If your congregation did not identify a representative but you would like to provide feedback, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guide to Good Dialogue
▪ Suspend the urge to decide "right now"
▪ Listen carefully for points of agreement
▪ Speak respectfully, using care in your language
▪ Speak for yourself. Offer your perspective concisely
▪ Respect confidentiality
▪ "More" perspectives are better than "few"
▪ Expect a better outcome than if you had not had the dialogue; trust the process
▪ Turn cell phones off or put them on silent
Mission Centre Presidency Team
Vonda DenBoer, Mary Jean Belrose, Dawn Dawson
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537