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» Governance » Congregational Bylaws » The Minister » Calling
Establishing a process that will provide the best structure for this important work has two parts. One part is the selection of the Ministerial Search Committee, and the other concerns the vote to call the minister. Questions about the committee include whether the committee is appointed by the governing board, by the congregation, or through a combination; whether representation from specific subgroups in the congregation is needed or not; whether the committee should intentionally be formed to be as inclusive as possible of members of historically marginalized groups (groups based on race, affectional preference, sexual identity, class, physical challenges, and so forth); and who is eligible to run for the positions. In drafting this section of the bylaws, you may wish to consult The Settlement Handbook (available from the Unitarian Universalist Association's Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership) for suggestions on composition and size of the committee. The main question surrounding the vote is the plurality that is required to call the minister. Generally, congregations choose a higher quorum and higher affirmative vote for call than for most other issues coming for decision.
Example 1: Upon notification of an immediate or future vacancy of the ministerial office, the Board shall call a Special Congregational Meeting for the purpose of electing a Ministerial Search Committee. The Board shall present a slate of seven (7) nominees and two (2) alternates. Additional nominations may be made from the floor. Elections shall be held in accordance with these bylaws. Subject to the approval of the Ministerial Candidate by the Congregation, the Committee shall negotiate an initial job description and employment contract with the candidate and present both to the Board for approval.
Example 2: In the event of a vacancy in the position of minister, a Search Committee shall be established as a Special Committee in accordance with these bylaws for the purpose of identifying, screening and bringing to the Church for consideration candidates for the position of Minister. The Search Committee shall consist of one (1) Board member and four (4) voting members. The Nominating Committee shall submit the nominees to be voted upon at a Congregational Meeting called for such purpose.
Example 3: A Ministerial Search Committee shall be elected by the Congregation when necessary. Rules and procedures concerning the committee's composition and operation shall be approved by the Congregation at a Meeting with election of the Committee in its call, with the only restriction being that employees of the Church shall not serve on the committee.
Additional examples of Ministerial Search Committee provisions >
Example 1: The minister shall be called upon recommendation of the Ministerial Search Committee by a four-fifths (4/5) majority of the qualified members of the society present at any meeting legally called for the purpose; quorum for such a meeting is to be constituted by forty percent (40%) of the voting members rather than twenty percent (20%) of the voting members as called for other congregational meetings.
Example 2: Election of a new Minister shall be at a Congregational Meeting called for that purpose. Election shall be by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of those voting members present and voting.
Example 3: The Minister of the Church shall be selected by ninety percent (90%) of those members voting in person or by absentee ballot at a Congregational Meeting called for such purpose. Half (1/2) of the Voting Members and Associate Members eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum at such Congregational Meeting. Any candidate considered for selection shall first have been recommended for consideration by the Congregation by affirmative approval of the Steering Committee. If a consensus of the Steering Committee cannot be reached, the President shall call for a vote of eighty percent (80%) of the Steering Committee.
Additional examples of quorum provisions when calling a minister >
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Last updated on Monday, June 20, 2011.
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