The vote had been proposed by the three Boards of Directors, who on January 21, 2017, following a year of discernment, unanimously approved a Resolution to form a new Conference.
Below is background information on what led up to the vote.
Voices Speak about the Proposal
Watch a video showing excerpts from five online forums hosted by the Conference Ministers and Board members of the Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut conferences to discuss and answer questions about the proposal.
A Prayer Calendar related to the proposal, with new entries each week between March and the Annual Meeting, was made available. Read more.
Be it resolved that the __________ Board of the ______________ Conference of the UCC adopts the following statement of intent:
Grateful for the 2015-2016 time of discernment, we believe that God is calling our Conference to live into increased interdependence with the other two UCC Conferences of southern New England, that we make an impact by ministering and witnessing together, and that we live in a time when God is calling us to do a new thing.
As of today, we commit our Conference Board, staff and designated representatives to work with our counterparts from the other two UCC Conferences of southern New England to engage in a visioning process that includes (among other things) reasonable sharing of records and information, due diligence in sharing financial information as well as cultural and operational practices, encouragement of our members, churches and Associations to participate in each other’s’ programs and initiatives, and responding to each other’s’ inquiries – all focusing on the creation of a proposal that would be brought to a joint annual meeting of the three southern New England Conferences of the UCC in June 2018.
Our time of discernment has led us to imagine that this proposal will be to create a new Conference:
i) with a single Board of Directors made up of diverse members coming from the three Conferences.
ii) This single Board would also act, as necessary, as the Board of Directors for each of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences.
iii) The proposal would allow for the three historic and legal Conference entities of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to remain in place;
iv) The proposal may also recommend a transition to a unified budget and a new staffing structure.
v) The proposal recognizes that Conference boundaries – including changes in Conference boundaries – are determined by vote of synod and we anticipate that if this proposal is approved by the joint annual meeting of the RI, CT and MA Conferences in June 2018, we will appeal to synod in 2019 for recognition.
vi) The proposal may also provide a common table for other faith communities, both historic and those coming into being, to share in common vision.
We also recognize that the planning process we now begin may lead us to respond to God’s call and increase our interdependence through other means.