A Matter of Transition

Looking at the “Act and Bylaws” that the the CCMS spent so much time and effort on and that the BOD decided to circular file, I found this little gem:

15.1 Repeal, Replacement, and Amendments of Constitution and Bylaws
1. Repeal and Replacement of Bylaws
The Statutory and Synodical Bylaws made under the Constitution of Lutheran Church Canada are repealed and replaced. 
Cleared by the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure this 21st day of June, 2017.
2. Force and Effect
This Article shall be of no force and effect in the event the necessary approval to the amendments of the Constitution as required by Article XIV Amendments to the Constitution are not given within the time specified.

What this means is that – under the proposed Acts and Bylaws – if the amendments to the Constitution were lost, the whole process stops cold – no harm, no foul, and Synod continues on like it had before while the CCMS considers what to do next.

Then there’s the next section which addresses a matter almost completely absent from the restructuring documents the delegates adopted at convention:

15.2 Transitional Provisions

  1. The member congregations shall conduct an electronic vote in the second quarter of 2018 to elect persons to all positions required by these Bylaws.
  2. Member congregations shall elect one lay person and appoint a called pastor or  vacancy pastor as their delegates to participate in the electronic vote.
  3. In preparation for this electronic vote the Commission on Nominations and  Elections shall direct the nomination and vetting processes as documented in these Bylaws.
  4. The CNE shall also provide electronic ballots to the member congregations in each proposed region with instructions on the election process.
  5. If the approval of the member congregations is confirmed in the time specified in the Constitution, the electronic vote shall commence after April 16, 2018 and be completed by June 30, 2018, following the same voting process documented in Article 3 of these Bylaws.
  6. These transitional provisions shall become effective immediately following the approval of the repeal, replacement, and amendments to the Constitution as required by the Constitution.
  7. Subject to the approval of the repeal, replacement, and amendments of the Constitution, as required by the Constitution, these Bylaws, which repeal, replace and amend the Constitution, Statutory Bylaws and Synodical Bylaws shall become effective on September 1, 2018.
  8. Effective immediately prior to September 1, 2018, all those holding Directorships, positions, and appointments, except the President and the Vice President, shall terminate their positions regardless of the term specified when they assumed such positions.
  9. Following September 1, 2018, terms of office and the holding of conventions shall revert to a four-year cycle commencing in 2021.
  10. Following the approval of the repeal, replacement and amendment of the Constitution and the completion of the transitional provisions, the Convention may remove Article 15 Repeal, Replacement, Amendments of Constitution and Bylaws and Transitional Provisions.

It’s almost as if this was put together by someone that’s done this before or something.

  • If the amendments fail – the process stops and none of the changes are adopted,
  • If the amendments pass and restructuring is adopted, then all the changes are adopted similar to throwing a switch
  • The transition process is clearly laid out,
  • Synod has time to plan how to implement the transition,
  • Synod has a note on what and how to clean things up once the transition is complete.

And this transition plan even allows for the use of electronic voting to enable the member congregations to elect people into offices in the new structure without having to expend time and resources traveling to attend an expensive convention!

This stands in stark contrast to the restructuring process as proposed and implemented which mandates that

  • the new Statutory and Synodical Bylaws take immediate effect before the Constitution is amended,
  • there is no provision for what to do if amendments to the Constitution are lost,
  • there is little provision for a transition process to move from one structure to another.

I have to wonder – why wasn’t this transition plan copied by the Working Group when it developed its “Plan B” document?

Image Credit: Craig Finnestad “Four Ways to Navigate Transition

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