First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church

Church Bylaws

FIRST JEFFERSON UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH BYLAWS


ARTICLE I (NAME)

The name of this religious fellowship shall be First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church.

ARTICLE II (PURPOSE)

In the discipline of truth, irrespective of its source, we unite to strengthen our convictions in the value and need for liberal religion, and through the strength of unity, to give such expression to these convictions as the membership decides.

Our ideals and principles shall include: individual freedom of belief; discipleship to advancing truth; the democratic process in human relations; undivided by nation, sex, race, or creed; and allegiance to the cause of a peacefully united world community of nations.

Based upon the preceding statement of values, it shall be our purpose to maintain a religious program for the benefit and welfare of all our members, and to encourage individual growth in maturity and effectiveness so that we can better serve the needs of one another and all humanity. Furthermore, it shall be our express purpose to extend Unitarian Universalism, and toward this end to strive for a full church program.

ARTICLE III (DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION)

This Church shall maintain membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association and shall cooperate with it and its affiliate organizations and shall encourage the establishment of other Unitarian Universalist churches.

ARTICLE IV (MEMBERSHIP)

Section 1. There shall be three classes of affiliation with this church, Voting Members, Non-voting Members and Friends.

A. Voting members are those persons who are fourteen years of age or older who, being in sympathy with the stated purposes of this congregation and the Unitarian Universalist Association, have signed the membership roll and who have made an identifiable contribution of money or service with the previous fiscal year.

B. Membership status of those who do not fulfill these requirements will be changed to non-voting. Non-voting members will restore their voting status by making an identifiable contribution of money or service to the church during the fiscal year. Any member who remains on the non-voting list for one year shall be removed from the membership roll unless the Board of Trustees decides otherwise

C. Friends are those persons who are in sympathy with the purposes of this congregation and the Unitarian-Universalist Association, but who, for whatever reason, do not wish to sign the membership roll.

Section 2. To be eligible to vote in a congregational meeting, a member must attend the meeting and have signed the membership roll at least 30 days in advance of such meeting.

Voting members who have not attained the age of eighteen years, or the age of majority as defined in the laws of the State of Texas or the United Sates, as those laws are or may be constituted, may not vote on any matter on which by law they are not entitled to vote; otherwise such members have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of active membership.

ARTICLE V (OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES)

Section 1. The management of all of the affairs, property, business and operations of the Church shall be vested in the Board of Trustees, including the hiring and dismissal of staff (except for the minister(s) and employees. It shall have the power to delegate and assign duties and responsibilities to committees, staff, employees, and others as it deems necessary and proper, including the evaluation of staff and employees. The Board of Trustees shall be composed of a President, Vice-president or President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, four Area Coordinators, and one Member-at-large: all to be elected from the voting members as hereinafter prescribed. A majority of the trustees shall constitute a quorum. The Board of Trustees shall maintain a set of Standing Rules of the Church which shall outline important policies and implement these by laws.

Section 2. The Trustees shall be nominated and elected in the following manner:

A. The Leadership Identification Committee, at least 15 days before each Annual Meeting, shall submit to all voting members, nominations for President, Vice-president or President-elect, Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, whose term of office shall be for one year or until their successors have been elected and duly qualified.

B. The Leadership Identification Committee, at the same time, shall also submit to the voting members nominations for four Area Coordinators and one Member-at-large. The Board shall designate which number shall serve an initial one-year term and thereafter all Area Coordinators and the Member-at-large shall serve two year terms. The Member-at-large shall convene the Leadership Identification Committee. No Member-at-large shall convene the Leadership Identification Committee for a second consecutive year.

C. The President shall call for any other nominations from voting members present at the annual meeting. Election shall be by ballot and those nominees for each position receiving a majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected to the Board of Trustees.

D. Officers and Board Members shall assume office on January 1, immediately following the election.

E. The President and Vice-President shall not be eligible for election to the same office for more than two full consecutive terms of office. The Vice-president shall not be eligible for election to the same office for more than two consecutive terms. The immediate Past-president shall automatically become an ex-officio non-voting member of the Board of Trustees for a term of one year. No Area Coordinator or Member-at-large of the Board shall serve in that capacity for more than four consecutive years.

F. In any year that the person nominated for President is not eligible for an additional term, the Leadership Identification Committee shall nominate a President-elect instead of a Vice-President.

Section 3. Vacancies on the Board of Trustees during the year may be filled until the next mid-year congregational meeting by a majority vote of the trustees present and voting at any regular meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Section 4. The Board of Trustees shall hold monthly meetings after notification of each trustee unless the Board agrees that no meeting is necessary. Special meetings of the Board of Trustees may be called at any time by the President, or by any three trustees after notification of each trustee.

Section 5. Three consecutive absences from regularly scheduled--not special--Board meetings by a trustee shall, unless the Board votes otherwise, create a vacancy to be filled by the usual appointment procedures as prescribed in Section 3 of this article.

Section 6. The Board shall have the power to buy and sell property of the Church and to enter into loan or credit agreements respecting such property. It is provided, however, that the Board shall not have the power to buy or sell real property valued in excess of ten percent (10%) of the then current church budget without approval of the congregation by a two-third vote of those present at a meeting called for the purpose of considering such purchase or sale.

ARTICLE VI (CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS)

Section 1. The annual meeting shall be held each year in November and the mid-year meeting shall be held in the month of May, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the Board of Trustees. Notice of time, place, and agenda of business shall be sent to all voting members of the Church at least fifteen days before each meeting. Action cannot be taken unless it is on the published agenda concerning purchase or sale of real property value in excess of ten percent (10%) of the current annual church budget, the amendment of the by laws, or the employment or dismissal of the minister(s).

Section 2. The approval of buying and selling of real property valued in excess of ten percent (10%) of the current annual church budget shall require a two-thirds majority of voting members present at a regular or special meeting.

Section 3. Special meetings may be called by the President, a majority of the Board of Trustees, or upon written request of twenty percent of the voting members of the Church as shown on the last voting list. Notice of the time, place, and the agenda of such meeting shall be given by the Board to all voting members at least five days before the meeting. Only such business as is stated upon the notice of the call shall be considered at a special meeting.

Section 4. To constitute a quorum throughout the meeting, twenty-five percent (25%) of membership in Tarrant County entitled to vote shall be present at the beginning of the meeting. Unless otherwise stated herein, decision of the membership shall be by majority vote of those present.

ARTICLE VII (DUTIES AND POWERS OF OFFICERS)

Section 1. The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Church and of the Board of Trustees. The President shall give the Church and the Board of Trustees positive plans for direction and growth and shall have all the powers necessary to carry out the duties usually associated with that office. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees with the exception of the nominating committee. The President shall make a written report on the work of the Board of Trustees to be submitted to the members of the Church at the mid-year and annual meetings. In meetings of the Board of Trustees the President shall vote only in the case of a tie.

Section 2. The Vice-president or President-elect shall perform the duties of the President when the President is unable to act for any reason. The Vice-president or President-elect shall convene the Church Council at least two times a year. The Vice-president or President-elect shall oversee any ad hoc committee appointed during the Vice-president's or President-elect's term on the Board of Trustees. The Vice-president or President-elect shall

develop, with congregational input, a plan for direction and growth that will be implemented during the President-elect's term as President. The plan shall be presented to the Board of Trustees and the Congregation prior to the President-elect's installation as President.

Section 3. The Secretary shall be responsible for making and preserving all official records of the Church and the Board of Trustees; for conducting the official correspondence; and for maintaining a current list of voting and non-voting members; and all other duties usually assigned to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. The Secretary shall be responsible for the Corporate Seal and for deeds and evidences of Church property. All records shall remain the property of the Church.

Section 4. The Treasurer shall have custody and responsibility of all Church Funds, except those assigned to other persons as established in the standing rules by the Board of Trustees; shall be a member of the finance committee; shall keep accurate records of all matters pertaining to this office, and shall make monthly reports to the Board of Trustees, in addition to annual and semi-annual reports to the Church. The Treasurer shall make no disbursements of any non-budgeted item of more than $300 without the approval of the Board of Trustees or vote of the Congregation.

Section 5. All meetings shall be conducted under the provisions of the current issue of Roberts Rules of Order.

ARTICLE VIII (COMMITTEES)

Section 1. Leadership Identification and

Comprehensive Plan Committees

The Leadership Identification Committee shall consist of five voting members of the Church. It will be chaired by the Member-at-large of the Board of Trustees. The Committee shall be nominated and elected at the Annual Meeting. The Board shall designate which of the remaining four members of the committee shall serve an initial one-year term and thereafter, all members shall serve for two years. The duties of the Committee are prescribed in Article V, Section 2. In addition, the Leadership Identification Committee shall assist the Board of Trustees in the identification of committee chairs and in the recruitment of committee members. The Leadership Identification Committee shall solicit recommendations from the membership through the newsletter and other appropriate means.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee shall consist of seven voting members of the Church. The Education Coordinator of the Board of Trustees will serve as a (voting) member ex-officio. The Committee shall be nominated and elected at the Annual Meeting. The Board shall designate which of the remaining six members of the Committee shall serve an initial one-year term and thereafter, all members shall serve two years. The Committee will elect its own chairperson.

With the exception of the Leadership Identification Committee, the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Committee on Ministries, the President shall appoint all committee chairs. Committee chairs and members shall be appointed in April and assume office on May 1.

Section 2. Committees of the Church may include: (A) Adult Education; (B) Children's Education; (C) Finance; (D) Building (E) Grounds; (F) Leadership Identification; (G) Membership; (H) Sunday Service; (I) Committee on Ministries; (J) Personnel; (K) Caring and Sharing; (L) Social Justice; (M) Social Activities; (N) Public Relations; (O) Community Service; (P) Denominational Affairs; (Q) Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Section 3. Special committees may be appointed as the Board of Trustees may deem necessary or desirable.

Section 4. Only voting members shall be committee chairs.

Section 5. Duties of committees shall include:

A. The Adult Education Committee shall be responsible for adult educational activities within the general purpose of promoting personal growth and liberal religion.

B. The Children's Education Committee, in consultation with the R.E. Director/R.E. Minister, shall set policy and define the program for religious education in the church. The decisions of the Committee will be executed by the R.E. Director/R.E. Minister, who will be appointed by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the Committee. It will be the purpose of the R.E. Program to educate children and adults in the philosophy and applications of liberal religion. It is also its acknowledged intent to introduce the young people into the full responsibilities and prerogatives of Church membership as early as possible.

C. The Finance Committee shall prepare an annual budget and sponsor fund raising activities as required to assure financial support of the Church programs. It shall solicit and receive pledges from members and friends and shall make contacts as necessary to discourage delinquent commitments. It shall conduct a yearly audit of all Church financial records.

D. The Building Committee will be responsible for improvements to and maintenance of the church building.

E. The Grounds Committee will be responsible for improvements to and maintenance of the grounds.

F. The Leadership Identification Committee duties are prescribed in Article V, Section 2 and in Article VIII, Section 1.

G. The Membership Committee shall integrate new members and potential members into the congregation.

H. The Sunday Service Committee shall work with the minister toward meeting the diverse religious needs of the congregation. The Committee will be responsible for music and esthetics of each service, and provide ushers and greeters for each service. The Committee shall be responsible for Sunday morning services in the absence of the minister.

I. The Committee on Ministry shall The Committee on Ministries shall serve to promote all the ministries of the church. It shall be a resource for the resolution of conflicts between different church members or groups, including conflicts involving the minister. This may at times include informally speaking with principals in such conflicts. If the Committee on Ministries is unable to resolve a conflict informally, it will, if the nature of the conflict warrants, refer to the matter to the Board of Trustees. The Committee shall hold periodic meetings without the minister. Members of the congregation shall be invited to present concerns at committee meetings.

The Committee shall consist of five members. All members shall serve for three years. Each year the minister and the Board shall exchange a list of names totaling the number of vacancies to be filled that year plus one. The minister and the Board shall each select from the list received the names of persons totaling one less than the number of vacancies to b filled. From the combined lists, the Board shall choose the persons to fill the existing vacancies. Should a member of the committee resign, the place will be filled by the Board in consultation with the minister. The Committee shall choose its own chairperson.

J. The Personnel Committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding the hiring and firing of paid church staff. The committee will be responsible for staff goal setting and performance evaluations. The personnel Committee shall serve as a communication channel for and between the Board of Trustees and the paid staff. The Personnel Committee shall consist of four members. Committee members shall be approved by the Board of Trustees.

K. The Caring and Sharing Committee will be aware of and meet the needs of those individuals ill, infirm, or in need of comfort and care. It will foster the ongoing expression of care, concern, and compassion between members and friends.

L. The Social Justice Committee shall be responsible for educating and encouraging the participation of members in social and political issues that impact the ability of society to meet the basic needs of every individual.

M. The Social Activities Committee shall be responsible for planning social functions of the church toward the goal of building and maintaining a sense of community.

N. The Public Relations Committee shall gather and communicate to the membership and the interested community noteworthy items through newsletter, public news media, telephone, letter, Wayside Pulpit and direct contact.

O. The Community Service Committee shall be responsible for educating members regarding worthy community service and charitable programs and organizations and to encourage and to facilitate the involvement of members and friends in community activities.

P. The Denominational Affairs Committee shall be responsible for educating members and friends and promoting involvement in denominational issues at the district, regional and national levels.

Q. The Comprehensive Plan Committee shall develop a new fifth-year plan each year, as well as administer and make necessary revision to the established Comprehensive Plan. The term "Comprehensive" subsumes all aspects of the Church, including its mission and goals, program, finance and facilities. The Comprehensive Plan Committee shall seek input from the congregation, including and especially the Church Council and the Committees. The Committee will present the Comprehensive Plan to the congregation each year for approval at its Annual Meeting.

Section 6. All active members of the Church are entitled and welcome to attend any meeting of the Board of Trustees or of any committee of the Church except the Leadership Identification Committee, whose deliberations shall be closed. Members may attend Personnel Committee meetings and the Committee on Ministries meetings at the discretion of the chair. Board meetings may be closed for executive session by a majority vote of the board.

Section 7. The Church Council is chaired by the Vice-president or President-elect and includes the chairpersons of all church committees. The Council shall assist the Board of Trustees in recruiting members for standing committees and shall review committee activities at least twice yearly.

ARTICLE IX (FISCAL YEAR)

The fiscal year of the Church shall be from July 1 to June 30.

The annual budget shall be adopted at the Mid-Year Congregational Meeting in May. The Annual Canvas shall be held each year prior to May 1.

ARTICLE X (AMENDMENTS)

Amendments to these By laws may be proposed by the Board of trustees or by petition of twenty percent of voting members. These By Laws may be amended or repealed at any legal meeting of the Church, provided that the proposed changes have been stated in the call of such a meeting. At the meeting, both the wording and the intent of the amendments thus proposed may be changed by the congregation. A two-thirds vote of the voting members present at the meeting shall be necessary for the adoption of amendments to these By Laws.

ARTICLE XI (MINISTER)

Section 1. The decision to employ and select a minister shall be made by a majority of voting members present at any meeting duly authorized by Article VI. The decision to invite a minister to "candidate" shall be made by a majority vote of voting members present at any meeting duly authorized by Article VI. Selection and employment of a particular person to serve as minister shall be made by a two-third (2/3)d majority vote of the voting members present at a regular or special meeting of the church; the time, place and agenda of which shall have been sent to all voting members of the Church at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting.

Section 2. Upon decision by the congregation to select a minister, the presiding officer of the meeting shall thereupon call for nominations from the floor for the purpose of selecting a Search Committee consisting of nine (9) voting members of the Church. After nominations have ceased, voting shall be by written ballot, and those nine nominees receiving the highest number of votes (which need not be a majority of votes) shall form the Search Committee.

The members of the Search Committee shall select their own Chair Person by majority vote. Vacancies on the Committee may be filled through appointment by the Board at its discretion.

It shall be the duty of the Search Committee to locate potential candidates and recommend them to the congregation. The Search Committee shall also prepare a contract between the Church and minister which must be approved by the Board of Trustees and the minister. This contract may be reviewed at any time and must include as a minimum: (1) term of contract; (2) salary; (3) nature and method of increments; (4) fringe benefits; (5) vacation schedule or provisions for determining same; (6) moving and settling-in expenses; and (7) general pulpit schedule or frequency.

The Search Committee shall be responsible for settling a new minister.

Section 3. The minister shall have freedom to express personal views and convictions from the pulpit; shall attend and participate in deliberations of the Board at its invitation; shall conduct Sunday Services subject to the terms of the contract; shall perform those ceremonies usually and traditionally the prerogative of ministers; shall serve as personal counselor to members and friends of the Church when so invited; shall advise, encourage and support the purposes, operations and activities of the church school; and shall generally show concern and interest in the church family through participation in the overall church program. The minister shall also participate in denominational affairs on the national, regional and local levels. The minister shall participate in affairs of the community so as to promote the interest of Unitarian Universalism.

Section 4. Special meetings for consideration of dismissal or continuance of a minister's service may be called pursuant to Article VI, with the exception that the notice of said meeting shall be given at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting. Continuance of employment shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of voting members present.

Section 5. The congregation may decide to employ one or more assistant ministers. The decision to seek an assistant minister and the method of doing so shall be by a majority vote of voting members present at any meeting called pursuant to Article VI. The selection of a particular person to serve as an assistant minister and the terms of employment shall be made by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of voting members present at any meeting called for that purpose pursuant to Article VI.

Continuation of any assistant minister's service shall be governed by Section 4 of this Article.

Section 6. The Church may, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members present at a meeting, make arrangements for part-time ministerial service. The engagement of part-time ministerial service shall not require the election of a Search Committee. Such service may be part-time for the First Jefferson Church only, shared with other Unitarian Universalist churches, or such other arrangements as may be approved by the congregation.

Before a final vote on part-time ministerial services is taken, the congregation shall be informed of the following: (a) the budget cost for such part-time service for the next twelve months; (b) the amount of time the minister will devote to the First Jefferson Church; and (c) who the part-time minister is. Each of such items must be approved by affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members present, and each item may be voted on separately.

Continuation of any part-time ministerial service shall be governed by Section 4 of this article.

ARTICLE XII (DISSOLUTION)

Should this church cease to function, the membership may vote to disband by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of voting members present.

In the event of the dissolution of the congregation, all outstanding debts shall be paid and the remaining assets, both real and personal, and including all property heretofore and hereinafter donated to said congregation, shall become the property of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 25 Beacon Street, Boston Massachusetts, or its successor, subject to all applicable laws.

Revised: May 26, 1969; March 22, 1970; May 21, 1972; May 13, 1973; October 30, 1977; May 18, 1980; May 16, 1982; May 20, 1984; November 4, 1984; May 5, 1991; May 17, 1992; November 15, 1992; May 1995; May 1996; December 1997; November 1998; November 2001; June 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

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