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About Using This Guide to Writing Congregational Bylaws
Welcome to this new version of the bylaws guide. We have expanded it to include information that will be useful to congregations of all sizes and stages of congregational life and development. Many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations contributed bylaw articles to provide real-life examples. These examples may not always cover all the important points mentioned in the discussion text of this guide, but the discussion text and the examples together may enable you to craft your own further improved versions. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information that will help you write, change, or expand your bylaws. We strongly encourage you to consult an attorney and use local and state resources as you write or revise your bylaws.
As you read this guide you may have suggestions or wish to share examples from your congregation. We welcome your questions, suggestions, and examples for future updates of this resource. We are particularly interested in examples that make explicit a congregation's commitment to, and transition into, being an antiracist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural religious institution. We see this guide as a living and evolving resource. Please share what you feel would be helpful by sending it to New Congregation and Growth Resources at the office address given on the previous page.
Electronic and Web Versions
Please note that this document is also available as a PDF (89 pages) and as a Microsoft Word document to enable you to cut and paste any useful text into the draft of your own congregation's bylaws. Please open and download the Word document for your use; if you have trouble downloading it, please contact the Growth Services Program Manager for an electronic copy to be sent to you by email or on disk in the mail. If requesting it on disk, please specify whether you prefer a CD data disk or a floppy disk. This Web/ HTML (HyperText Markup Language) version includes links to extra examples of articles, in case you find that you need further examples to meet your congregation's needs. Thus, this guide is produced in three electronic formats and one print format. The following suggestions should help you determine which format will best suit your needs:
- Use the PDF file if you want to read the document in a more concise form and you find that the up to four examples given will generally suit your congregation's needs.
- Use the Word document if you would like to save time typing your congregation's bylaws and you plan to use some of the examples provided as the basis for your draft. For most types of articles, this document includes examples beyond the ones given in the PDF file version described above.
- Use the HTML document if you are searching for appropriate bylaws text on the Web and would like the short, less cluttered document, but with the option to view more indexed examples for each type of article. Like the PDF file, the HTML document has up to four examples of each concept in the main body of the document, but you can click on links to view extra examples. The HTML version links to the same examples found in the Word document.
We hope that you find this document a useful guide as you undertake Use the HTML document if you are searching for appropriate bylaws text on the Web and would like the short, less cluttered document, but with the option to view more indexed examples for each type of article. Like the PDF file, the HTML document has up to four examples of each concept in the main body of the document, but you can click on links to view extra examples. The HTML version links to the same examples found in the Word document. the important work of writing or revising your congregation's bylaws.