July 8, 2009

Constitutional Changes Expected in Ede

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance
July 8, 2009

A number of significant constitutional changes are slated to be made during the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering in Ede, Netherlands, from July 27 to August 1.

The proposed amendments will be brought before the General Council, which convenes during the Annual Gathering.

The size of the BWA Executive Committee, now numbering more than 60, would be reduced to 25. The number of BWA vice presidents is to be cut from the current figure of 19 to 12 - two nominated by each of the six regions - while, for the first time, one of the vice presidents will be designated first vice president. None of the vice presidents, except for the first vice president, will sit on the Executive Committee.

Chairs of program committees, such as Communications and Promotion & Development, will no longer have a seat on the Executive Committee. However, chairs of standing committees such as Budget & Finance and Personnel will continue to serve as members of the executive. These standing committees will, in effect, be subcommittees of the Executive Committee.

Program committees are expected to become advisory committees, assisting BWA directors in their work, and will no longer have an executive or governance function.

The new Executive Committee, which is to be elected into office during the 20th Baptist World Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2010, is intended to become "more deliberative," and to take on broader responsibilities.

If the expected constitutional amendments are made, a new Nominations Committee will be formed. This committee will replace the Officers Search Committee, which proposes the names of the BWA president and vice presidents, and will play a vital role in naming all persons who serve on BWA committees and commissions.

The proposed constitutional changes came after a long process of meetings and deliberations by the Implementation Task Force (ITF), formed in 2005 to study and implement proposals coming from the 21st Century Committee, which was created in 2000 to study the effectiveness of the ministries of the BWA.

After the ITF report was received and voted on by the General Council in Prague, Czech Republic, in July 2008, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee took on the task of proposing the relevant constitutional and bylaw changes that will be considered in Ede.

A formal notification of the intended constitutional changes, or a notice of motion, has been circulated to all BWA member bodies. This formal notice will be the basis of discussion on the proposed constitutional changes in Ede.


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