This union of churches idea is interesting to me. It appears as though it simply eliminates the conference level and with it a lot of expense. There definitely seems to be an upside with what looks like a lot of cost savings.
However, I wonder about the ramifications of such a move. Will such a move effectively eliminate the voice of the layperson from directing the church. I mean now, the conference is elected by lay people and the workers in a conference. However, will eliminating the conference level leave those lay people, and workers who are not politically powerful, from the table of decision making? Is such a move the best?
It is true that the discussions and decisions have to be made on how this will work, but I do wonder about whether the average pastor and average lay person will have as much say in the leading of these Union of Churches and in the leading of their local conference.
For that reason alone, I wonder if the elimination of the Union level might be brought to the table as a cost saving device as well. How many of us even interact with out union officials. We do see the conference officials often, but the union? Division, GC?
I’m all for monetary savings and am not philosophically against restructure, but I do think we need to be very careful about how we consolidate power. If done in the wrong way, we will never be able to get it back.