Tips and reminders offered as the deadlines for Synod decisions approach

Anyone submitting a resolution to be considered by the 2023 General Synod of the United Church of Christ should be fairly advanced in the process outlined last spring.

But for those catching up – and for those just wanting to check as deadlines approach – a tip sheet and video are now available.

The video shown below – and a PDF containing roughly the same information in writing – will be available shortly on the synod’s website. They cover the essentials that people need to know, said Deputy National Staffer Kevin Peterson. He and David Anderson, both Seattle-area UCC members, are leading the synod’s resolution and committee process.

Your task before the Synod is to ensure that the proposed resolutions follow the format and content guidelines. To work on these details, they assign the designs to review teams.

The deadlines set out in the Rules of Procedure of the 34th General Synod are fast approaching:

  • Until October 31stthe texts of proposed resolutions and other formal motions must be submitted to Peterson for assignment to a review team. These texts do not have to be “final” yet. “Submitters are encouraged to submit draft resolutions to the Resolution Review Team as early as possible,” the rules state.
  • Until January 2, 2023 — after the review described above — the texts must be submitted to Peterson in final form. The Office of the Minister General and President will in turn distribute these to the delegates of the Synod by April 3rd. The UCC Board, which acts as the Synod’s business committee, will recommend the “disposition” of each motion and report back to the General Synod.

General Synod Committee process facilitator Kevin Peterson moderates this 7 minute video.

The standing rules also describe types of resolutions and motions, who can submit them, how to apply for a rare late business exception, and more.

A dozen in the works

About a dozen potential resolutions are known to be in the works, Peterson said. “Six have been submitted and another six to seven will be submitted shortly.”

He said the process is similar to that used for 2021, which “worked very well”.

The October deadline allows reviewers to “check for policy concerns and retrospective concerns – to ensure the issue has not been addressed by the previous two synods – and to provide submitters with helpful edits and revision suggestions.”

A new rule

Peterson lays out key guidelines for submitting resolutions to the 2023 General Synod in the video.

A new rule for this synod is that anyone, except for a group of individual delegates, who proposes a resolution “must provide a copy of the minutes of the meeting at which the resolution was adopted,” Peterson said. He said this was “to ensure that the resolution was passed by the sending body as a whole, rather than by that body’s board of directors. For example, a resolution of a conference must be passed by an annual meeting of the conference and not just by the conference board.”

In the video, Peterson advised everyone involved in submitting a resolution — even if it’s getting late — to “read the Standing Rules carefully and communicate with us early and frequently throughout the process.” People can reach Peterson at [email protected] and Anderson [email protected]

The requirements and procedures “can sound complicated,” he said. “But it’s all spelled out in the standing rules and we’re here to help and guide you through the process.”

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