The NALC Executive Council met online on April 28-29 and voted to propose to the 2020 Convocation amendments to the NALC Constitution in three areas: 1) move from an annual to a biennial convocation; 2) name regional subdivisions of the NALC as Mission Districts; and 3) clarify the process by which the Executive Council apportions more lay delegates to the convocation so there is approximately an equal number of lay and clergy delegates.
Process: Constitutional amendments proposed by the Executive Council require a two-thirds vote of delegates present at the convocation to approve the amendments for consideration by the congregations. Ratification will require at least 50% of NALC congregations to vote and at least 2/3 of those voting to favor the amendments within six months.
Purpose: The main reason the council is proposing a shift to biennial convocations is the substantial costs for having annual convocations. Congregations incur expenses to send delegates each year to a convocation. Registration fees cover only about 60% of the expenses of a convocation. The 40% not covered by registration averages more than $110,000 per year. This is a subsidy from the entire NALC to help make the convocation more affordable for smaller congregations. The subsidy is worth doing but is financially hard to maintain every year. Please note that Article 7.06 remains: “special Convocations may be called for specified reasons.”
Proposed Amendment I (in two parts):
1-A. The constitution refers to the “annual” convocations in 22 places. In each of these cases it is proposed that “annual” will be replaced by “biennial.” See Articles 6, 7, 9, 10, 15, 17.
1-B. Since the election cycle of Executive Council and Court of Adjudication members is tied to “annual” convocations, it is proposed that Articles 7.02 and 15.01 be changed to accommodate elections biennially with flexibility during the transition concerning the timing of elections.
Proposed Amendment 2:
At Article 7.02, the Constitution specifies 750 baptized members as the number beyond which the Executive Council apportions additional lay delegates from congregations to achieve an equal balance of lay and clergy delegates. The number was based on the number and size of congregations expected to be in the NALC in the first couple years after its formation.
The NALC now has a far greater number of congregations with a very different mix of sizes. With those changes, the number 750 does not work. In recent years, the Executive Council has apportioned additional delegates using a lower number of baptized members. Rather than set a specific number in the Constitution, the proposed amendment would allow for the Executive Council to use a number based on the current congregational membership leading up to a convocation.
Proposed Amendment 3:
Finally, it is proposed that Article 11 and its three sections use the term “Mission District(s)” in the place of “regional group.” The Constitution does not name regional subdivisions as Mission Districts, a term that we have used for almost 10 years.