We want to start a Local Ecumenical Partnership
What is an LEP?
LEPs come in a variety of forms, but each is a situation where more than one Christian denomination is working together under a formal agreement. These formal agreements are 'sponsored' by an Intermediate Body which has responsibility for supporting, encouraging and monitoring them.
LEPs include places where local churches share their congregational life or share buildings or covenant with each other within chaplaincies and other situations.
We want to start an LEP
Why Local Ecumenical Partnerships? (PDF version here) is a basic, user-friendly, introduction to LEPs.
Together in Ministry (PDF version here) is another brief leaflet for those considering or starting ministry in Local Ecumenical Partnerships.
Much more detail is in Constitutional Guidelines (see below) but one of the first things you must do is write an Ecumenical Vision Statement to state your aim. Click the link and the agenda which pops up will help you.
We need some information
Travelling Together is an amazingly comprehensive and informative handbook by Elizabeth Welch and Flora Winfield (PDF version here). The links enable you to download the complete book.
Sponsoring Bodies are responsible for reviewing LEPs. Click the link for all the help and advice you need -- and more! In particular, you may find the Art of Review collection helpful.
A comprehensive overview of LEPs, explaining what they are, the different kinds, how they are formed etc is found in the unimaginatively-titled document Constitutional Guidelines. This is a very helpful, practical document containing most of the overall information you might ever need. It has been approved by CTE's Member Churches. All new and revised Single Congregation LEP constitutions need to be based on the new Model Governing Document which can be found at the bottom of this page.
Finance in LEPs can be a minefield! A Harmony of Church Finance attempts to chart a safe way through the maze.
If your LEP has a shared building, then this page is the gateway to more documents, friendly and technical.
Finally, there is a miscellancy of documentation about LEPs in general, most of which have arisen out of questions raised by LEPs themselves.
Constitutions and Charity Registration
Whether or not an LEP plans to become a registered charity, all new and revised constitutions for Single Congregation LEPs must use the new, standard, Model Governing Document. Keep reading to find the link...
Many churches operate as unregistered charities as permitted by the Exception Order. The current Exception Order 2007 makes it clear that this includes partnerships of those churches, including LEPs. However, those with an annual income over £100,000 are now required to register. This has led to a standard Model Governing Document for Single Congregation LEPs which should be used for all new or revised constitutions, whether or not they need charity registration now.
The Model Governing Document and other resources are available at the bottom of the page here. This needs to be completed and approved by the partner Churches (not just by the congregations involved). After that has been done, those LEPs which need to apply to the Charity Commission for registration can do so on-line through their website.
Paper is fine but we want a person!
In the first instance, contact the Ecumenical Officer in the Synod, Diocese, District or Association (etc) of your own denomination. If you don't know who s/he is, your County Ecumenical Officer will be able to put you in touch, though LEPs are not primarily resourced by the CEO.
If you need further help, contact the National Ecumenical Officers of the Churches. If you have a query about LEPs, please use the dedicated email address.