A Supplementary Statement to the Basis of Union
Executive Committee, 23-24 February 1950
The Basis of Union is in the nature of a contract and no point in it should be abrogated without the full consent of every party concerned.
It is understood that the task of the Polity Committee in drawing up a Constitution for the United Church of Christ in the Philippines is to elaborate and to implement our basic document, always remembering the inclusive nature of our union, i.e. a union which preserves all of the heritage of faith brought into the union by the constituent Churches, as well as the provision that congregations may follow their customary practices and worship (Basis of Union Articles III and IV). As we face the provisions of Articles IV and V and apparent conflict needs to be resolved in this supplementary statement. The adjustments between Articles IV and V may take time and patience but can, without doubt, be worked out since we have a real test of our Christian brotherhood. We can and will accomplish it because our faith far outreaches our Theology or Polity. Article VI, Section 2 of the Basis of Union provides for regular and affiliated members.
In the light of Article V which states that members in good and regular standing of each of the uniting churches shall be regarded as such by all the others in the union, it is necessary to explain that affiliated membership in local congregations which have always practices immersion is understood to include only those who are full members in good and regular standing of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in some other part of its area. It is also understood that no distinction will be observed in the rights and privileges of any member whether regular or affiliated since all are members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
Likewise, this whole discussion rests upon the basic principle of the autonomy of the local congregation in all matters pertaining to its own life in the community. The phrase in Article VI, Section 4 (A) Subject only to the general laws and regulation of the Church simply refers to such matters as concern the corporate life of the denomination and does not imply any interference by the General Assembly in the life and practices of the individual congregation.
As we consider the fact that the Annual Conference set-up as it now exists has a large measure of homogeneity, the problems discussed above do not have any considerable importance for the Annual Conference administrations. For example, the Northwest Luzon Annual Conference is, with the exception of one congregation, wholly composed of the Former Disciples Church (Ilocano group) and the measure of control by the Annual Conference over the individual congregations can be a matter of easy adjustment within the Annual Conference itself.
The question as to the use of the title Bishop with reference to the Executive Officer of the Jurisdictional Areas of our Church is one that is not peculiar to the former Disciples Churches and since elasticity has been developed in our practice, especially in Mindanao, there is no reason why it may not offer a way for the Northwest Luzon Jurisdictional area may be Bishop of such Conferences as wish to designated him as such. while he may be to the Northwest Luzon Annual Conference, their Executive Officer.
The problem of fair representation in the Church Assemblies and Committees is one that requires careful attention. There is no good reason why, within the provisions of the Basis of Union, each area might not provide representation to all elements within its area. In fact, there should be developed a studied procedure to meet any present deficiency in regard to representation.
Ref.: Detailed Discussion Executive Committee, February 23-24, 1950 p.1.