Single Congregation Local Ecumenical Partnerships, the Model Governing Document and Charity Registration
The new Constitution (aka Model Governing Document)
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has approved a Model Governing Document for Local Ecumenical Partnerships where two or more Churches have formed a single congregation. Existing SCLEPs need to change their constitution to the Model Governing Document if
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 and must not be amended except as indicated by the text in red. 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 constitution.
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. (This is why it must not be amended.) 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 your Denominational Ecumenical Officer for advice.
The County Ecumenical Officer, or his/her delegate, has a key role in the approval process and should be kept fully informed at all times.
The Ecumenical Vision Statement takes the place of a Declaration of Intent in previous LEP constitutions but is now 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 Ecumenical Vision Statement as this will be distinct to each LEP but an agenda of questions to ask when framing one can be found here.
Nuts and bolts
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 the whole of a Church of England parish participates in the LEP, it will need to continue to have a PCC. A Memorandum of Understanding between the LEP Trustees and the PCC (downloadable below) may also need to be adopted.
(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.)
Registering as a charity
If you need to register as a charity, please consult the OLAR (On-Line Registration Application) document below as it will take you through the process. Due to staff changes we are struggling to find the document from which this pdf was produced, so please note:
John Bradley no longer works for CTE and instead of consulting him, you should make a specific LEP query. Please do NOT contact CTE staff with LEP enquires but please do use that dedicated LEP enquiry route so that all NEOs are kept informed of queries.
Methodist queries should not be sent to Jean Hayes but to the Methodist National Ecumenical Officer.