Constituency Session in UCC

by Kathy Marson, August 26, 2019

Every four years a constituency session is held to provide counsel and direction for the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inland Northwest.

​What kind of one-day events do you look forward to going to? A reunion, meeting, convention? Anyplace that serves food you might say! Some events defy a simple description because they are rare and don't fit the normal routines. The Upper Columbia Conference Constituency Session is just such an event. It's more than a meeting, smaller than a convention, not exactly a reunion, but a large gathering of delegates who are chosen by individual churches in the UCC territory.

Every four years a constituency session is held to provide counsel and direction for the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inland Northwest. You are the church. The church is not a building or an office in Spokane, but people called by God to share Jesus with the world around us. Each member of each church is what makes up the church.

As a part of the church we have a responsibility to take good care of the church. The intention of the constituency session is for that exact purpose. To be a part of this session, each church appoints delegates based on their church membership. Two delegates are selected for each church. An additional delegate is selected for each 75 members or fraction of that number. For example, a church with 300 members would have 2 delegates plus 1 more for each 75 members. Divide 300 by 75 and you get 4. So this church would have 6 delegates, (2+4=6).

New let's take another look at the intention of the session. What are the delegates to accomplish at the constituency session? They will hear reports from the last four years from the departments, such as church growth, education, ministerial, treasury, trust, youth, Pathfinders, Camp MiVoden, young adults, men's, women's and children's ministry, ITS and Adventist Community Service. They will elect conference leadership which includes the four administrators – president, vice-president's for administration and education, and the treasurer. They  will also elect the department directors, the members of the conference executive committee and the board of education.  The delegates are to give input on the focus of the next four years, approve constitutional changes and vote on agenda items. Wow! You might wonder how they accomplish this in one day!

Some delegates meet before the September 15, 2019 session. Those who are named to the "large committee" meet 60 days in advance to select the nominating and the constitution and bylaws committees.

Delegates on the nominating committee begin their work at least 30 days before the constituency session. This committee submits, for approval to the delegates in session, a list of individuals to serve as officers, departmental directors, executive committee members, board of education members and financial and statistical review committee members.

At the session when the decisions of the committees are brought to the delegates, they may speak to these specific recommendations. All decisions from these committees are brought as recommendations to the delegates for their final consideration. The majority vote of the delegates will constitute the official action of the constituency session.

How does the voting process work? When the delegates arrive on Sunday morning, they will receive their name badge and an electronic voting device. Only delegates selected by a UCC church, and delegates-at-large as provided for in the Upper Columbia Conference constitution, are recognized as official delegates to participate in the business of the conference session. In the morning of the session, the delegates will be officially recognized (seated) by the chair and authorized to participate in the business of the constituency session. When it is time to vote, delegates will use the electronic voting devices to cast their votes. There will be a number of practice questions to answer as well that will be interesting and educational.

All delegates are to represent the best interest of the church as a whole and the work of the Upper Columbia Conference. All delegates are to unite in prayer and commit to transact the business of the church during the constituency session in such a way as to further the work of God in UCC. Thank you in advance, delegates, for your gift of time, prayer and dedication. You are integral to the mission of UCC which is to "equips and empower ministries that reach our communities with the Christ-centered Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness."

To watch a live stream of this event, go to: https://youtu.be/cpISciFQnXo

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