Single Congregation Local Ecumenical Partnerships and Charity Registration
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has approved a standard governing document for Local Ecumenical Partnerships where two or more Churches have formed a single congregation. Existing LEPs do not need to change their constitution unless
they have an annual income normally greater than £100,000
they do not yet have an agreed constitution
their constitution needs amendment.
The standard constitution permits a local church do whatever it needs to do so should not be amended except as indicated on the LEP Approvals form. The creativity and experimentality of the LEP should be expressed in the Ecumenical Vision Statement and the life of the LEP itself and not in the constitution. All new single congregation LEPs, whether or not they need to register now with the Charity Commission, should use this new constitution. The LEP Constitution itself should contain a clause about how it may be amended and this should be followed when adopting this new consitution.
Please note this standard constitution has been agreed by the Charity Commission and also with the following Churches: Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church of England, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the Moravian Church and the United Reformed Church. Other Churches may adopt the standard constitution in due course. If you are preparing a constitution for a Local Ecumenical Partnership that includes one or more Churches not in this list, please contact John Bradley at CTE.
The County Ecumenical Development Officer, or his/her delegate, has a key role in the approval process and should be kept fully informed at all times. Click here for their addresses. There is more help for them here.
The Ecumenical Vision Statement takes the place of a Declaration of Intent in previous LEP constitutions but becomes a self-standing document. LEPs which have a Declaration of Intent may use it as their Ecumenical Vision Statement, provided it still reflects their life together. We do not offer a model text for the EVS as this will be distinct to each LEP but an agenda of questions to ask when framing one can be found here.
Now you can download the Model Governing Document, containing the Constitution and Schedule for a LEP below. Read the help document first! (For those who can't be bothered: save the document with the name of your LEP and keep saving as you go along. Tab through the document for text to be changed and press F1 for help at each stage.)
(If you have been working with the document dated 7.2.12 amended, please note that the only change between that and the current version (downloadable below) is that in the Schedule, section 5, there was a reference to ratification by the ‘Faith and Unity Department of the Baptist Union of Great Britain’. That department no longer exists so the text has been amended to the ‘Faith and Society Team’. If you have been working with any other version you MUST now use the version below as there have been some key changes.)