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Other Legal and Public Relations Provisions: Writing Congregational Bylaws

Sample Provisions

Example 1: Expectations of Members and Affiliates. Members and Affiliates are expected to participate actively in the Society's activities and to make a recordable financial pledge to the Society each fiscal year. The financial contribution should represent an amount judged by the member or affiliate to be a fair share of the Society's needs, in light of the member's or affiliate's income and means, and the fact that generous contributions from others in the past have sustained and built the Society we enjoy today.

Example 2: Open Records. All records of the Church other than those of a personal nature shall be made available for inspection by any member during reasonable office hours.

Example 3: Interpretation. These bylaws shall be liberally interpreted in order to accomplish their basic intent, which is hereby stated to be the efficient operation and management of the Church in order to accomplish the purposes stated in the Church's mission statement.

Example 4: Bonding. The President, President-Elect, Treasurer and other authorized signatories may be bonded at the expense of the Church in an amount determined by the Board.

Example 5: Protection of Non-Profit Status. Neither the Church, the Board, nor any officer or employee of the Church shall take any action or allow any activity or use of Church property which shall endanger the non-profit corporate status or charitable, tax-exempt status of the Church or its property. Nothing in these bylaws shall be construed to allow a violation of this section.

Example 6: Representation. The President, or any other member of the Fellowship, who is specifically authorized by the Fellowship, the Board of Directors, or the Executive Committee, may represent the entire Fellowship in any public or private meeting. The Social Action Committee may, with general notice to the Fellowship or with approval of the Executive Committee, act or speak on a social action issue that has not been addressed by the Fellowship provided the action is consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles. Such speech or action will represent the views of the committee, and not necessarily the entire Fellowship.

Example 7: Public Statements in the Name of the Society. Public statements in the name of the Society on social or other public issues will be made only after a vote of the Parish, and must include the vote of individuals within the Society for and against. This does not limit the right of individuals or groups within the Society to make statements in their own name.

Example 8: Authority. The ultimate authority to act in the Society resides in its members, here called the Parish.

Example 9: Authority of Congregation. The ultimate authority of the church is vested in the congregation as expressed in Annual and Special Meetings. The following powers may not be delegated, but may only be exercised by the congregation: (1) the employment or release of the Minister and the amount of the Minister's annual salary and benefits; (2) the location of any church buildings and grounds and their purchase or sale; (3) the requirements of membership; (4) approval of the annual budget for the operating fund; (5) ratification or amendment of the bylaws.

Example 10: Deacons. There shall be such number of Deacons, not less than twelve (12), as may be fixed by the Board from time to time, to assist the Minister at the Communion Service and to perform such other functions as may be assigned to them by the Society or the Board. Deacons shall be elected by the Society at its Annual Meeting and shall hold office until the next Annual Meeting following their election.

For more information contact growthresources@uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

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