SPECIAL GENERAL CONFERENCE Regarding Assessment Review Commission Report Recommendations

The Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) Governing Board has called a Special General Conference on 20 August 2018 to be held virtually beginning at 8 am EDT/12:00 GMT. The purpose of the Special General Conference is for the UFMCC General Conference to vote on the recommendations within the Assessment Review Commission Report.

Download the Assessment Review Commission Report by clicking button above. If assistance is needed with the document, contact Assistant to the Interim Moderator, Jack Hutter: [email protected]

BACKGROUND
(Excerpt from the Assessment Commission Report)

In late 2015, the Governing Board started to discuss the need to revise the assessments process and potentially the system itself. At General Conference in Victoria, Canada, it was proposed and accepted that an international commission be set up to work collaboratively across the constituencies of the denomination to investigate and consider alternative systems which might be easier to manage and, therefore, more sustainable.

The system of assessments has undergone some revisions over the years, but it is broadly based on a concept of tithing. Deductions have been introduced to encourage churches to develop in certain ways or participate in certain activities.

The understanding of the system as a tithe is not universal, and efforts have been made by successive governing boards to adjust this understanding. However, there remains a significant proportion of the churches whose understanding remains that of a tithe.

The percentage paid has adjusted over the years; however, the rate has not yet reached the promised target of 10%. The reasons for this are many, but principally they relate to the economic challenges faced by the denomination as church finances have suffered since the late 2000s.

THE MOTION

The General Conference shall, in accordance with Bylaw Article IX, Section B, agree that each emerging church and affiliated church shall report all church receipts each month to the UFMCC and with that report shall remit a percentage of the funds reported at the following rate: (Select one option.)
A.   Proposal One: 10% Assessment with Deductions Remaining, to begin 1 January 2019

B.   Proposal Two: 8% Assessment with No Deductions, to begin 1 January 2019

C.   Continue with the assessment rate schedule adopted at General Conference 2013 in Chicago, in which the assessment rate remains at 11.5% for the remaining months of 2018 and reduces to 11% as of 1 January 2019

D.   Abstain


A two-thirds majority vote in the Clergy House and the Lay House is needed for a proposal to pass. If the motion does not carry, the question of assessments will be deferred to General Conference XXVII Business Meeting in Orlando, Florida, USA, in 2019.


IMPACT

Not all churches give at the current 11.5% assessment rate. The reality of local church finances, and the overall denominational financial impact of varied rates over the last decade led to the formation of the Assessment Review Commission. After reviewing the Assessment Commission Report, and basing estimates on 2017 reporting, the Governing Board predicts the following:

Proposal One: 10% Assessment with Deductions Remaining

The financial impact for the denominational budget related to Proposal One is a loss of approximately $77,000 USD to the current assessments received.

Proposal Two: 8% Assessment with No Deductions

Generally, the 8% assessments with no deductions option may provide significant reductions for churches who are currently paying at or near the 11.5% rate and who have minimal reduction in tithable income under the current rules. The few churches who have very significant amounts of deductions will see noteworthy increases under the 8% option. Overall, Proposal Two assessments would go up for about 10 churches, stay approximately the same for about 10 churches, and go down for the majority of churches. The overall financial impact for the denominational budget related to Proposal Two is an approximate loss of $113,000 USD.

VOTING ELIGIBILITY
The Governing Board, in collaboration with the Board of Pensions, have waved voting eligibility restrictions regarding payments and reports to both UFMCC and the Board of Pensions. It is our joint intention to ensure all affiliated churches, lay delegates, and clergy will be eligible to vote on assessment proposals which impact all churches in this important Special General Conference.

Register to Vote

All Clergy and Lay Delegates of Affiliated Churches must register to vote to receive the link to vote.
Registration to vote in the Special General Conference will close on Sunday, 12 August 2018.
VOTING WILL BE on 20 August 2018, beginning at 8 am EST/12:00 GMT. 
Virtual Vote via Survey Monkey
Voting will be open for 48 hours: 20-21 August 2018.


IMPORTANT DATES
Special General Conference Forum Webinars
Offered in English and German
Monday, 6 August at 2:00 pm EDT, 18:00 UTC, 20:00 CEST (Germany)
Offered in Spanish and Portuguese
Wednesday, 8 August at 5:00 pm EDT, 21:00 UTC, 18:00 BRT (Brazil)
Register to Vote
20 July – 12 August 2018.
All eligible Clergy and elected Lay Delegates of Affiliated Churches must register to vote to receive the link to vote.
IMPORTANT LINKS
Combined Voting Registration, Webinar Registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SpecialGeneralConferenceRegistration
Non-Voting Member Virtual Forum Webinar Registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AssessmentWebinarRegistration


REFERENCES TO BYLAWS
UFMCC Bylaws (As of July 5, 2016)
Assessments (Article IX, B)
B.  REPORTING: Each emerging church and affiliated church shall report all church receipts each month to the UFMCC and with that report shall remit a percentage of the funds reported, as determined by General Conference.
Special General Conference (Article VIII Church Meetings, A. 5)
5.  SPECIAL GENERAL CONFERENCE: A special General Conference of the UFMCC can be called by the Governing Board or by a petition submitted to the Governing Board by fifty percent (50%) of all those persons eligible to vote at General Conference. Initiation of this petition may be by either clergy or laity. A special General Conference shall be governed by the same rules as those pertaining to the General Conference except when the purpose of the special General Conference is to consider affirmation of the appointment of an Elder. When the purpose of a special General Conference is to affirm the appointment of an Elder, notice of the time, place, and nature of the special General Conference must be given in writing to all members of the Lay House and of the Clergy House at least thirty (30) days in advance of the special General Conference.
a.   PURPOSE: The purpose of a special General Conference must be stated in the petition. The nature and purpose of a special General Conference must be stated in the notices and written into the agenda of the special General Conference.
b.    NOTICE: The written notice must be sent to all credentialed clergy and to all voting church bodies at least thirty (30) days prior to the special General Conference.