First Christian Church of Edmond’s Board Appoints
Sense of the Assembly Resolutions Task Force
FCC Edmond Sense of the Assembly Resolutions Task Force members:
Paul Gaines, Scott Kinnaird, Bernie McNickle (Moderator), Brenda Peterson and Karla Rowley
The goal of the FCC Edmond Task Force is to eliminate voting on Sense of the Assembly Resolutions (SOTARs) at the biennial General Assembly meetings of our denomination. The rationale for this change is outlined below.
In order to effect change, we will be collaborating with the officers of the General Assembly, the officers of the Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church, their administrative staffs, the officers of the Regional Church of Oklahoma and Disciple congregations throughout the United States and Canada who are willing to work with us in this effort.
The Design of the Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church (our denomination), under which we operate is rather long and complex.
A brief summary as to who we are and how we function is:
FCC Edmond is one of over 168 Disciple churches in Oklahoma and one of over 3500 in the US and Canada who work through several Disciple organizations – through Covenant and Cooperation – to do many things in the name of Christ that we cannot do alone. We, FCC of Edmond, as well as all Disciple congregations, have our own constitution and bylaws, own our property, and are governed by members of each congregation, but are collectively joined in covenant to work cooperatively with all members of our denomination.
Our denomination in General Assembly meets in major cities in the US biennially to receive reports from associated organizations as well as to transact business as defined in the Design of our Denomination. All congregations are encouraged to send their minsters and designated members to vote on the business items, including SOTARs.
The Design spells out how a SOTAR is to be presented to the General Assembly and is to be voted on by those designated voters sent from the various congregations. Since the 2001 assembly, the number of registered voters attending assemblies has been in the range of 4000 to 7500. This range represents less than one percent (1%) of the total membership of our denomination.
The Resolutions Task Force of FCC Edmond has researched the SOTARs presented at several recent General Assembly meetings. Some SOTARs voted on and passed by narrow margins have centered on controversial social issues and are worded in language that can be and is interpreted as the position of our entire denomination in both print and electronic media. Most of the media and many long-time Disciples are not aware that Disciple churches are not required to accept or adopt any of the SOTARs voted on and passed at the General Assembly.
The major concern of the Resolutions Task force of FCC Edmond is the voting process. Our focus is procedure-driven rather than issue-driven.
When there is a vote on a SOTAR that deals with a controversial issue at General Assembly, there are winners (my position is right) and there are losers (your position is wrong), which can cause separation in families and loss of membership in churches.
There were SOTARs at the 2007and 2013 General Assemblies – voted on and passed – which proved to be divisive and controversial for FCC Edmond, resulting in loss of membership as well as loss in financial pledges. As a result, we are seeking other congregations to join our efforts to ask the General Assembly to discontinue voting on SOTARs.
There must be a better way to consider controversial subjects at our General Assemblies. One possible solution would be to have a panel of persons versed in the issue to take questions from the audience. We would further recommend no debate of or vote on the subject; however, a transcript would be forwarded to all ministers of Disciple congregations to be presented to their leadership for consideration, study and reflection.
If you have questions and or comments, please contact:
Moderator, Resolutions Task Force
FCC Edmond, OK
Paul Gaines, 405.341.5884
Scott Kinnaird , 405.340.2427
Brenda Peterson, 405.642.9344
Karla Rowley, 405.210.4177