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Report of the search committee

02 September 2002

World Council of Churches
Geneva, Switzerland
26 August - 3 September 2002

Report of the search committee

I. Introduction

The Search Committee held its first meeting on Saturday afternoon and a second on Monday morning. The committee had a brief, yet full discussion concerning the roles, competencies, areas of responsibility, and qualifications for the next General Secretary. We agreed to a process that is confidential, and in addition, welcomes the nominations of both women and men, lay and ordained from any member church or region of the world.

II. Proposals

A. The Search Committee recommends that the Central Committee adopt the guidelines for the functioning of the search committee (Minutes of Central Committee, January 1987 – Sections F-H: Additional procedures) and the procedure for the election of the General Secretary as detailed in the Central Committee Minutes, August 1992 (Appendix III). The recommendation reads as follows:

(Minutes of Central Committee, January 1987 – Additional procedures)

F. Additional procedures

    The Central Committee shall be fully responsible for reviewing the job description of the General Secretary (adopted by Central Committee 1977) and the qualifications appropriate for the position, and for instructing the Search Committee on procedural matters. Full debate should be encouraged and built into the Central Committee agenda well before actual names are in nomination.
    1. The final date by which nominations of candidates for the office of General Secretary must be received by the Search Committee, and the timetable to fit this deadline, shall be established by the Search Committee well before the anticipated end of term of the incumbent General Secretary, and the Central Committee shall be so informed.
    2. The Search Committee shall report regularly to the Executive Committee and Officers how their work corresponds to the timetable, but not the substance of their work.
    3. The Search Committee shall invite names of possible candidates from as wide a circle as possible, including all member churches, all members of Central Committee, regional conferences and national councils, WCC staff and others as appropriate.
    4. The Search Committee may consult with any persons or groups whom the Committee thinks able to help it in its task.
    5. If a member of the Search Committee becomes a candidate for the position, he/she should be replaced according to point E.7 above.
    6. At an appropriate time, the moderator of the Search Committee will take initiative to invite consultation with existing WCC staff in accordance with a procedure established by the Search Committee.

G. Frequency of meetings

    The Search Committee shall meet as often as it needs to do its work: to establish criteria and timetable and to invite nominations; to establish a short list; to interview candidates and agree on a nomination.

H. Presentation of a nominee

One name only shall be placed before the Central Committee by the Search Committee.

Section H – Presentation of a nominee to be replaced by the following.

Central Committee Minutes, August 1992 (Appendix III)

    In a closed session, the Moderator of the Search Committee will present the Committee's final report to the Central Committee, including information on the Search Committee's process and the qualifications of the candidate(s).
    a) The Search Committee will normally place one name before the Central Committee.
    b) Yet if no one candidate receives a substantial majority of support from the Search Committee, the Committee shall place the names of two nominees before the Central Committee for election. A substantial majority means a candidate receives the approval of at least two-thirds of the Search Committee members present and voting. Abstentions shall not be counted for determining the total number of votes (see Rules of Debate, 5.p).
    c) Whether presenting one or two names, the Search Committee will present to the Central Committee a full dossier of the nominee(s), including a brief statement of their vision of the WCC and the ecumenical movement.
    The Central Committee will be encouraged to ask any questions for clarification and information about the Search Committee's process, work, and the substance of its report.
    After due discussion, the Central Committee will decide, by simple majority of those members and substitutes present, whether to close discussion. If positive, the vote will follow without further discussion. If negative, the moderator will allow further discussion, until the Central Committee agrees to vote.
    In keeping with the practices of the WCC in staff appointments, the Central Committee will then vote to accept or reject the name presented. No nominations from the floor will be accepted.
    The Moderator of Central Committee shall proceed with the election of the General Secretary by secret ballot. A simple majority of Central Committee members present and voting shall constitute an election. The WCC Presidents will count the votes and announce the result in the same session in which the vote is taken.
    In the event of a tied vote, the moderator will not cast a deciding ballot, but will allow time for more discussion. A second ballot will take place when the Central Committee agrees to vote again.
    After the election is announced, the General Secretary-designate will be received by the Central Committee in open session. He or she will then greet the Central Committee.
    In extreme circumstances, if the Central Committee is unable to elect a General Secretary, it may
    a) ask the current Search Committee to work further and bring a report, including nomination(s), to the next meeting of Central Committee, or
    b) proceed to elect a new Search Committee in the manner prescribed in Appendix V of the Minutes of Central Committee, January 1987.
    In the election of the General Secretary, the Rules of Debate for Business Session are applicable (see WCC Rules, XV, 5).

B. The Search Committee recommends that the Central Committee adopt the job description for the position of General Secretary. The description is attached.

C. The Search Committee endorses the recommendation submitted by the representatives of the Pacific Churches to the Central Committee.

D. The Search Committee reports the following timetable for its work.
· Month-end September 2002 – letters from the Moderator of the Central Committee and the Moderator of the Search Committee soliciting prayers and nominations of the General Secretary will be sent to member churches, regional ecumenical organizations, WCC staff, and other affiliates.
· 15 January 2003 – deadline for all nominations to be received by the search committee.
· 28 February 2003 – deadline for al applications to be received by the search committee.
· 3-5 April 2003 – Search committee meets
· June 2003 – Search committee interviews candidates
· 23-24 August 2003 – Search committee conducts second round of interviews, if necessary.
· 26 August 2003 – September – Central Committee receives report of the search committee and elects the General Secretary.

Resolution on the Search Committee

Subject: Election of the search committee: Document GEN 14.1

We, the representatives of the Pacific Churches to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches would like to voice our disappointment and sadness that the Pacific region does not have a representative in the search committee for our new General Secretary. We are disheartened by the fact that the principles of ecumenical solidarity and regional representation were sacrificed.

Whilst not proposing to reopen the procedures for the selection of the Search Committee, and not wanting to derail the process, the Pacific Churches’ representatives to the Central Committee would like to ensure that this unfortunate event will not occur in the future for any region.

Through this proposed resolution, we the Pacific Churches mark our desire to be involved in this important process. In this regard, we would like to propose the following motion:

1. That the mandate is given to the Search Committee to identify ways in which the Pacific Churches can make its contribution to the process.

2. That the Pacific region be given the first preference in the eventuality of a member of the Search Committee not being able to fulfil her/his responsibilities

We would like to express our gratitude to our brothers and sisters who have stood in solidarity with us and who have shared with us their wisdom and experience. They are living examples of the friendship and value of ecumenical solidarity within the World Council of Churches.

With our thanks for your favourable consideration,

CC Members:
Selai Cati (Kiribati Protestant Church)
Titaua Hamblin (Evangelical Church of French Polynesia) proxy
Bishop Philemon Riti (United Church of the Solomon Islands) proxy
Martha Aisi (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea)

Member Churches:
Rev. Ame Tugaue, Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma

Rev. Simote Vea, Tonga National Council of Churches.