Image via WikipediaAbout a year ago, a new model constitution was launched for single congregation Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs). This was as a response to the need for churches with an annual turnover in excess of £100 000 to register with the Charity Commission. The churches also took the opportunity to reduce the complexity of the system for approval of LEPs. Details of this new arrangement can be found on the Churches Together in England (CTE) website.
This new arrangement is a much simpler, less time consuming approach because there is now a standard set of model governing documents and very little work needs to be done to adapt them to local circumstances. This seems to be have been a reasonably popular move.
Whereas in the past, LEPs would invest many hours of work into their constitutions, the suggestion is they now focus their effort onto an Ecumenical Vision Statement (EVS). CTE has recently published a leaflet on its website to assist churches planning an EVS.
One of the strengths of this leaflet, Together Instead of Separately, is that it places LEPs in context as one possible response to an EVS. In other words, the advice is to write your EVS early in a relationship and then use it to assist with planning your next step. Below I've reproduced the subheadings from the leaflet:
- In the light of the prayer of Christ ‘may they all be one… that the world may believe that you sent me…’ (John 17.21) and the injunction to ‘spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives’ (Ephesians 4:3) what do we now have a vision to do together instead of separately?
- How does this venture relate to the local community beyond the Church and the Church beyond the local community?
- What is the added value of this ecumenical commitment to the whole Church offering the whole Gospel to the whole Earth?
- What is the next step in acting on this vision?
b) Should we make a Declaration of Ecumenical Welcome and Commitment?
c) A time-limited project for the next x years?