Do we still need to review LEPs?

Is a review still mandatory if an existing constitution requires them?

The jury is still out on that question! As Church Leaders and Denominational Ecumenical Officer (DEOs) grapple with that issue, the following points may usefully be kept in mind:

  • Originally reviews were for the benefit of the partner Churches, not for the LEP itself, so that they learned from the experience of the LEP. That view has largely changed, though perhaps the requirement for regular reviews stemmed from that idea.
  • Nevertheless, reviewing is important. It helps to keep the original vision relevant, and the church responsive to changes in its context.
  • Hold firm to one of the principles of A Flexible Framework – do only what’s needed and is helpful and avoid unnecessary burdens. Keep a focus on the purpose of what you put in place and don’t just do something because it’s always been done in the past.
  • No-one has ever defined what a review has to consist of despite the overwhelming amount of material on the CTE website. It may be that a simple conversation between the senior Church Leaders of the participating denominations is enough?
  • If a review is needed or wanted, it is pastorally sensitive to piggyback on a denominational review or a review by an organisation like the Baptist Home Mission if it’s needing to visit to check out a grant or something. Make one review do the job of several to ensure that the LEP isn’t subject to serial reviews.
  • Therefore, if a denomination decides to review one of its LEPs, it should first consult with the other partner denominations in the LEP, to provide the opportunity of being involved in the review process. At the very least, all the denominations in the LEP should be aware that a review is being proposed.
  • Reviews are not mentioned in the new 2021 constitutions for Single Congregation LEPs which, instead, speak of the LEP ‘looking for the support of the Participating Denominations in developing its work and witness’.