On Sunday 29 January, immediately after the service, the members of the Killearnan congregation will be voting on whether or not to move from our current constitution (know as a Model Deed constitution) to a Unitary Constitution. Please, make every effort to be there as the Killearnan members make this important decision.
In order to help with this decision please read the following. As always, if you have any other questions, please ask one of the elders or Susan.
Frequently asked questions about the Unitary Constitution
Everything must be done in a proper and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14.40)
It used to be that every Church of Scotland congregation was encouraged to have a way of working using a Kirk Session and a Congregational Board. This was called the Model Deed of Constitution. We have operated with the ‘Model Constitution’ for many years. Recognising this model did not always suit congregations a different model introduced at the General Assembly in 2003. Under a Unitary Constitution, everything is governed by the Kirk Session. It is up to us to find the best way of managing ourselves to enable us to fulfil our mission.
Q. What are we being asked to decide?
A. The Kirk Session at their December meeting voted unanimously to change our congregation’s constitution from our current ‘Model Constitution’ to a new ‘Unitary Constitution’. This requires a vote of the congregation, which will take place immediately after the service on 29th January. The vote will be on whether to abolish the Board and allow the Session to take over its responsibilities. If passed at that meeting, the new Unitary Constitution would come into effect after being approved by Ross Presbytery.
Q. Why would we want to do this?
A. Currently the responsibility for running the Church is split between the Board and the Session. The Kirk Session believes that ending that division of responsibilities will make for more effective decision making, and allow us to move forward positively as a congregation. The Session considered whether to adopt the new constitution in great detail, voted unanimously in favour of it, and strongly recommend that the congregation votes in favour of it.
Q. What are the main differences between the Model Constitution and the Unitary Constitution?
A. Under current arrangements, Killearnan operates under the Model Constitution whereby spiritual matters are the responsibility of the Kirk Session and temporal matters (finance and property) are the responsibility of the Congregational Board. In the case of Killearnan, all Elders are members of the Kirk Session and the Congregational Board is made up of some elders (not all) and non-elders elected by the congregation. If the congregation of Killearnan decides to adopt a Unitary Constitution, then the Kirk Session will have responsibility for spiritual and temporal matters, and there will not be a Congregational Board. The Kirk Session will operate with various groups or committees in order to ensure that all appropriate business and activity is conducted. It’s planned that the present work of the Congregational Board will be handled by a Property and Finance Committee.
Q. Will there be opportunities for non-Elders to participate in the running of Killearnan?
A. Definitely yes. All current non-Elder members of the Congregational Board will be invited to join at least one Kirk Session group or committee. In addition, other members of the congregation will be encouraged to join the groups or committees. It will be essential to maintain the very high level of volunteering from the congregation in the future work of Killearnan.
Q. Will there still be an Annual Business Meeting?
A. Yes. Annual Business Meetings will be held to consider the Annual Financial Accounts, and report on the life and work of the congregation and its various organisations and activities.
Q. Will the Unitary Constitution help to strengthen our congregation’s life and work?
A. The Kirk Session very much believe that will be the case. The unitary constitution gives more flexibility on how matters are dealt with, as there will no longer be a division of temporal and spiritual matters in our meetings. The Kirk Session also believes there are those in the congregation who wish to be more involved in the life and work of the congregation, but for a variety of reasons do not wish to be charity trustees (i.e. board members or elders). They can be co-opted onto one of the committees that will be set up and have their voice heard and skills used for the glory of God and the life and work of the church, without the responsibility of being a charity trustee
Q. Where can I find more information?
A. Please feel free to ask your elder, the Minister or any of the elders.