Statement of Purpose for Bylaws

The word "why" in a yellow bubble

The purpose provision of the bylaws distinguishes the congregation from other institutions in the community and sets out the basic parameters for all the activity of the congregation. Each and every program should be able to be justified by, and encompassed within, the purpose section of the bylaws. Therefore, the purpose section should be drawn broadly enough to incorporate the dreams and visions of the congregation, while also being tight enough to provide focus for the work of the congregation.

Ensure that the language of the congregation's purpose complies with whatever legal restrictions are necessary to protect the congregation's status as both a religious institution and a nonprofit organization at the state and local levels. Likewise, as congregations enter into strategic or long-term planning, add new programmatic elements, or reduce major initiatives, they should take care to amend the bylaws accordingly.

Some congregations refer to the Purpose section in the UUA Bylaws.

Sample Provisions

  • The purpose of this (church/congregation/fellowship/etc.) is to _____________________.
  • We gather to ___________________________.
  • We are a (church/congregation/fellowship/etc.) who _______________________________.

About the Author

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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