Pastor Will Burhans and Bill McCarter attended the first ever Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island conferences of the UCC on June 16 & 17 in Hartford, Connecticut. Approximately 1,000 people attended the joint meeting. Each of the three states, in separate plenary sessions, voted decisively to form a new combined conference to provide a stronger voice speaking for justice and to more effectively carry out mission and ministry together.
The June 17 vote was proposed by the Boards of Directors of the three state conferences. Following a year of discernment, the conferences unanimously adopted a Resolution on January 21, 2017, to form a new Conference consisting of the three states. The Resolution provides that the Conference leaders will proceed to develop a formal proposal for a new Conference. Organizational details will be brought before a second joint annual meeting in Springfield, Massachusetts in June 2018. If approved, the new Conference and its new boundaries will be presented to the General Synod in 2019 for recognition.
Under the Resolution, the three existing conferences will remain in place, but a single Board of Directors for the new Conference consisting of members from the three existing conferences will be created. This new Board will also act, as necessary, as the Board of Directors for each of the three existing conferences. The proposal may also recommend a transition to a unified budget and a new staffing structure.
Any questions or comments regarding the new proposal may be directed to Will or Bill McCarter. We urge discussion of this proposal by our Leadership Group and any other commissions and members of our Church.