Constitutions are the documents which underpin all of our activities as a Church. Because we are part of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, our constitutions are based on models provided by the General Conference. This helps to ensure that, wherever you go in the world, our churches do things in a similar way. Those of you who have travelled a lot can probably testify to the remarkable unity of our churches, much of which is down to our shared constitutions. Since the BUC, SEC and NEC became registered charities back in 1995, our constitutions have also had to comply with the requirements of the Charity Commission. In practice this isn't too difficult, as the Charity Commission was set up to guide and assist organisations like ours. It is in their interests for us to succeed as a Church, because we provide a valuable service to the country.
Following their rules stops us from getting sidetracked from our mission and helps us to be more transparent and accountable with our finances and activities. Revising the constitution is an ongoing process. New changes to the model documents are voted every year at the General Conference Annual Council, and it is the job of the Union and Conference standing constitution committees to work these changes into a new document, which is then voted at our Union or Conference sessions. Over the last two years the North England Conference Constitution Committee in particular has done an outstanding job of revising and updating the NEC constitution. There has been correspondence back and forth with the General Conference legal team, as well as extensive dialogue with UK lawyers who specialise in charity documents. The resulting draft document was scrutinised very carefully by the NEC Executive Committee before finally being approved on Sunday 15 November 2020.
This work done by the NEC was extremely helpful to the BUC Constitution Committee, as the two constitutions have many similarities, and the BUC Executive Committee was able to vote its draft constitution on Thursday 10 December 2020. Of course, the new constitutions still have to be voted by the delegates at the BUC and NEC sessions, which are scheduled to take place later this year. Before we get to the sessions, however, we want to give all of our members the opportunity to read, understand, and ask questions about the new draft constitutions. There are still some sections that may be changed slightly, depending on the feedback we get, and we want to discuss these changes now, rather than wait until the session, where time for discussion is very limited.
So, this is where we need your help. You can find the new draft documents, along with lots of background information, on two different websites. For the NEC constitution, please go to: https://nec.adventist.uk/departments/executive-secretary/constitution/.
For the BUC constitution, please go to our dedicated constitution website at: http://bucsession.org.uk/constitution/.
We hope you will like what you see. The new documents are right up to date, and, importantly, they make the provision for virtual sessions in the future.
Please send us any questions that you might have, and we will add these to the websites so that we can share the answers with all of our members.