Memorandum from congregational meeting on 28 April 2016

Present: 5 members

Information and discussion meeting about the Church conference of the Uniting church 5-7 May 2016

Memorandum. No binding decisions were made.

The change of statutes of the Swedish Covenant church. The participants agreed on the proposal that the Board of the Uniting church shall make up the Annual Meeting in the future, until all the administration has been transferred to the Uniting church.

The ministry plan of the Uniting Church was discussed. The participants felt that a clearer focus on diaconal work is needed. The participants in the meeting, who were all elected delegates to the Church conference, will emphasize this at the discussion forum of the conference.

Motions received to the Church conference:

14.1. The future of small congregations

14.2. Levy of fees based on number of members

14.3. Training initiative on the basic texts of Islam

14.4. Create regional posts for church workers who speak other languages than Swedish

14.5. No nuclear weapons in Sweden

14.6. Act for peace in the Holy land

14.7. Education and training of co-workers of the Uniting church

14.8. Common administration of salaries

The eight motions were discussed and the answers of the Church Board were commented on. Possibilities to influence mainly exist at the discussion forum of the conference.

The answer to motion 14.1 should contain a clear area of responsibility for regional church leaders to watch over and communicate with small congregations with weak resources and few members. The delegates at the meeting supported the answer of the Church Board with regard to motion 14.2 but found that the Board, instead of rejecting the motion, should regard it as answered.

With regard to motion 14.3 on translating Islamic basic texts and starting education about Islam, the delegates fully agreed with the Church Board’s rejection of the motion.

Regarding motion 14.4 about regional posts for speakers of other languages than Swedish, the delegates thought the Board’s answer was good.

The Church Board’s proposals for statements (motions 14.5 and 14.6) were considered good by the delegates.

There were no direct points of view regarding motion 14.7, on training.

Regarding motion 14.8, the delegates thought that the Church Board could recommend it, and possibly procure an external resource for the purpose.

The overall budget was discussed and there was a concern that the item “Financial revenues/funds” of 20 Mkr could be uncertain.

Then the delegates discussed the Church Board’s investigation and proposal for decisions by consensus which was presented in the documents. The delegates found the proposal to be complicated and had several hesitations where they considered that those who say no, even if they would be a small minority, would get a large and disproportionate power, and that people with other strong possibilities of influence (for instance spiritual influence, dependence) can make people vote against their own will in order not to go against “spiritual unity” and thus prevent consensus. The feeling of consensus will be stronger than factual arguments. But the delegates think that the possibilities to influence before decisions should be strengthened, for instance by an even better discussion forum. The process up to a decision was approved, but the decision itself should be taken by majority, as usual.

Marco Helles