In May, our church in Minnesota came together for its every-four-year Constituency session whose “purpose is to elect the officers of the Conference; the members of the Board of Trustees, Board of Education, Maplewood Academy Board, the Articles and Bylaws Committee, Finance Committee, and the Plans Committee, who are not ex-officio members; and to hear reports; to plan for the future of the Conference; and to conduct any other business that may come before the constituency.”[i]
During the session, the delegates elected the Board of Trustees and the standing Committees as stipulated by our Articles and Bylaws.
Board of Trustees
Twenty members were elected to serve on the Board of Trustees: Three officers and seventeen members were elected from the churches of the Conference. (Ten non-Conference-credentialed members, three delegates-at-large, three pastors, and one teacher.) The members of the Board of Trustees are elected to manage the affairs of the Conference. They may exercise all powers assigned them by the Articles and Bylaws for the good of the church and the organization between sessions. These powers include, among others, the power to remove and/or elect officers, fill vacancies, employ workers, review status of a trustee, approve budgets, etc.
Board of Education
The Board of Education was elected and empowered with the responsibility to develop policies for the Conference education system and operations in accordance with the MAUC educational code. The Session elected twelve non-Conference-credentialed board members, two of which are chairpersons of elementary operating committees and one a member of the Conference Board of Trustees; four members who either are teachers or principals in Conference schools and two pastors, plus those who sit on the board by virtue of position.
Maplewood Academy Board
Ten members were elected from the ten areas of the Conference, one member from the Conference Board of Trustees and one from the Conference Board of Education; three pastors, plus those that sit on the board by virtue of position. This Board is responsible for developing and implementing rules and regulations in keeping with the guidelines and policies adopted by the Conference Board of Education.
Three Other Committees
The Articles and Bylaws Committee, empowered to consider all proposed amendments to the Conference Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The Finance Committee, to regularly review Conference financial statement; budgets, Maplewood Academy budgets, church school budgets, and report to the appropriate boards. The Plans Committee was elected to plan for the development and growth of the ministries and or create new ministries in the Conference when necessary.
When you are a delegate to the Constituency Session, you realize that the Seventh-day Adventist form of governance is representative.[ii] We as a church recognize that the local church is the foundational structure in this worldwide church. The authority in the global church rests in the membership of the local church. We also recognize that authority is expressed through the elected members at each level of the church organization. This means that elected members or officers function under delegated authority.
The Conference Articles and Bylaws state that each organized church is entitled to elect one delegate just for the fact that they are an organized church and one additional delegate for each thirty-five (35) members or major fraction thereof based on the official membership record, as maintained by the Conference, six months prior to the date of the session.[iii] These elected delegates to the session are the collective voice of the 73 churches in the Conference, what they vote in session is binding for the whole church in Minnesota Conference territory. By this representative arrangement “every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election . . .”— Ellen G White, 8T 237.
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