Dissolution Clause for Bylaws

Milkweek with seeds ready to disperse

The Bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) require that to be affiliated with the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association), all congregations must have a dissolution clause in their bylaws:

Admission Rule 3.3.5(f) A congregation shall include in its articles of incorporation or other organizing documents a clause providing that the assets of the congregation will be transferred upon dissolution to the Association. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a congregation obtains the prior written consent of the Association's Board of Trustees, the congregation may name an organization that is affiliated with the Association (such as a district, camp, conference center or other congregation) as the recipient of the congregation's assets upon dissolution.

In some jurisdictions, legal statutes require that the dissolution provision be in the Articles of Incorporation. In such cases, the provision may also be included in the bylaws. If you are choosing, as a successor organization, another congregation or an associated or affiliate organization rather than the UUA, take care to ensure that this other congregation or organization maintains its status with the UUA. This status should be reviewed on a regular basis, as should other major components of the bylaws.

Bylaws also can set forth the manner in which the decision to dissolve should be made. If the bylaws are mute on this point, then the decision to dissolve would be made in the same manner as all other nonspecified decisions are made, frequently by a simple majority of the quorum present. If the congregation requires a plurality or supermajority in such decision making, this requirement should be specified in the bylaws.

Sample Provisions

  • Any action to dissolve the Church must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of eligible Voting Members of the Church present at a meeting called to specifically consider such action, for which meeting written notice has been issued to all Members eligible to vote in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws. If the Church at its own option shall cease to exist, all property real or personal shall be transferred to the Unitarian Universalist Association or its successors.
  • In the case of dissolution of the society, all of its property, real and personal, after paying all just claims upon it, shall be conveyed to and vested in the Unitarian Universalist Association or its legal successor, and the Board of Trustees of the society shall perform all actions necessary to effect such conveyance.

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UUA Congregational Life

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the...

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