Petition 80175

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Cooperative Parish Ministry Forms (80175-LC-¶206.3)

Delete current ¶ 206.3 and substitute the following:
¶ 206.   3. Cooperative ministries may be expressed in one or more of the forms contained in the following categories.
    a) Beginning and Exploratory Forms:  1. Cluster Groups  –a group of churches located in the same geographic area with a loosely knit organization that allows the participating congregations and pastoral charges to engage in cooperative programs in varying degrees.  A district may be divided into cluster groups for administrative purposes.   2. Probe Staff – composed of the pastors and other staff assigned to a geographic area to explore possibilities for cooperation and developing strategies for improving ministry.   3. Group Ministry – a loosely organized group of two or more pastoral charges in which pastors are appointed or assigned to charges.  The pastors and/or lay council representing all churches may designate a coordinator.  
b) Structured Forms:  1. Multiple Charge Parishes – intentionally organized group of two or more pastoral charges in which each church continues to relate to its charge conference on the organizational level and also participates in a parish-wide council.  The pastors are appointed or assigned to the charges and also to the parish, and a director or coordinator is appointed or assigned by the bishop.  2. Larger Parish – a number of congregations working together using a parish-wide council and other committees and work groups, as the parish may determine which provides representation on boards and committees from all churches; guided by a constitution or covenant and served by a staff appointed or assigned by the bishop and involving a director.   3. Blended Ministry – the merging of the organizations and memberships of churches spread throughout a defined geographical area into one congregation that intentionally develops two or more worship/program centers, and for which there is one charge conference and one set of committees and other groups, guided by a covenant and served by a staff and a director appointed or assigned to the parish by the bishop.
c) Specialized Forms:  1. Enlarged Charge – two or more congregations, usually on the same charge and of relatively equal size that work as a unit with the leadership of one or more pastors.  There may be a charge council and appropriate committees.  2. Extended or Shared Ministry – a larger membership church sharing ministry with a smaller membership church, usually served by the pastor(s) of the larger church.      3. Cooperative Ecumenical Parish – two or more local churches of different Christian traditions including a United Methodist congregation, working together.  Either of the above forms may be utilized.  4. Shared Facilities – two or more congregations, one of which shall be United Methodist, sharing a building, office equipment, etc., such as congregations which use different languages or which are of different racial/ethnic/cultural groups.  The congregations may enter into a covenant that ensures representation and preserves the autonomy of each congregation on such bodies as church councils, boards of trustees and other committees and work groups.  The congregations shall negotiate a financial agreement about the use of the facility in order to provide  appropriate financial support.

Rationale

This proposed substitution reorganizes current ¶206.3 to reflect cooperative parish ministry as it has evolved over the past 20 years and is currently practiced.  In addition it lays out the same information in an easier to follow progression.