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The United Church of Canada prides itself on its democratic and participatory systems of governance. At every level of the church people are invited to participate on committees, boards and executives. The manner in which these committees, boards and executives operate is primarily a matter of history, tradition, and wise advice from previous members. If asked, most participants would not be able to identify what “model” of governance they were following. Participants learn by immersion.
These historic approaches have much strength. In recent years, however, some frustrations have emerged as many committee members find they:
- spend too much time on trivial details,
- react to problems rather than proactively move forward,
- problem solve for the moment rather than look to the long-term,
- get bogged down in reports about past actions rather than plan future ones,
- have difficulty holding any individual accountable for getting things done, and
- have overlapping areas of authority and accountability.
For these reasons and others the BC Conference has chosen to use a policy governance approach.
The Conference Executive Governance policies (November 2012)