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  • A Comprehensive Guide to Congregational Covenants

    Covenant is the silk that joins Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection. The practice of promising to walk together is the precious core of our creedless faith.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/23/2019
  • Governance in Small Congregations

    Small congregations need a governance system that is "right sized" for the unique needs and challenges generated by their size. ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
  • Indemnification Policy

    Some congregations may wish to create a policy that indemnifies (i.e. defends or holds harmless) members, leaders and staff of the congregation when they are acting in good faith in their roles.
    4/22/2019
  • Real Estate Policy

    Because of the high value of real estate, the board will want to articulate a process where there is a high bar for selling, buying or mortgaging real estate.
    4/22/2019
  • Board Officer Policy

    The responsibilities are held in common by all officers and directors can be included in a general policy for board officers.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
  • Ends and Means in Carter Policy Governance

    Nurturing the relationship between a congregation and its governing body.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
  • Carver Policy Governance in a Nutshell

    Leadership is an important, yet elusive concept. It takes on different forms in different settings. The intent of Policy Governance® is to give operational definition to "leadership" as it applies in the specific context of a governing Board. It addresses the questions: "How can...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
  • Carver Model of Policy Governance

    Policy Governance is a fundamental redesign of the role of a Board, emphasizing values, vision and the empowerment of both Board and staff through policies, limitations and monitoring reports.
    By Margaret A Keip | 4/22/2019
  • Dan Hotchkiss's Governance and Ministry Model

    A congregation has to organize to make its big decisions in its best and deepest frame of mind: that’s governance. It needs to organize to focus limited resources on its most important goals: that’s ministry.
    By Dan Hotchkiss | 4/22/2019
  • Thinking About Congregational Procedures

    Procedures should have the flexibility to change as the organization changes size, staff, technologies and other situational factors.
    By Kathy McGowan, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/19/2019
  • Initial Adoption of Bylaws

    If you are proposing bylaws for a new congregation, you may wish to include a provision dealing with their initial adoption.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Dissolution Clause for Bylaws

    The Bylaws of the UUA require that to be affiliated with the UUA all congregations must have a dissolution clause in their bylaws.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Dismissal of a Minister in Bylaws

    Congregations should include bylaws provisions that enable the congregation to terminate the covenantal relationship when the trust and confidence in the minister has been compromised or eroded.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Calling a Minister in Bylaws

    Very few things that a congregation does affect it as greatly, or are as important, as the choice of a minister. Wonderful ministerial-congregational matches provide new life and purpose to an institution and help lead both parties well into the future. Therefore, congregations...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Role of the Minister in Bylaws

    Defining the role of the minister is one of the most unique aspects of congregational bylaws. Ministry being a covenantal relationship between called minister and congregation, the details are organic and evolving.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Ministerial Relations Committees

    Many congregations have a committee to assist and work with the professional minister or ministers. An older model is the Ministerial Relations Committee.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
  • Committees (of the Congregation) in Bylaws

    The only committees that need to be articulated in the bylaws are committees that are accountable to the congregation as a whole. These are usually limited to nominating committees, sometimes endowment committees, and the Settled Minister Search Committee.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/17/2019
  • Meetings of the Governing Board for Bylaws

    Transparency and communication are essential for board meetings. Determine quorum, voting provisions and how to communicate decisions.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/17/2019
  • Election and Composition of the Governing Board for Bylaws

    The governing board is the fiduciary agent for the congregation, operating as a single unit in service of the congregation's mission.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/16/2019
  • Conducting Congregational Meetings in Bylaws

    How meetings are conducted--quorum, voting percentages, and model of group deliberation--reflects your theology, expectations of membership, and commitment to welcome and inclusion.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/12/2019
  • Congregational Meetings for Bylaws

    A decision by vote in a congregational meeting is the highest expression of the congregation's authority. UU congregations generally reserve only major decisions for the membershipas a whole
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/12/2019
  • Removal from Membership in Bylaws

    Bylaws should include two different provisions for removing people from membership. One is for people who have drifted away. The other is for removing a member for cause.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • Categories of Membership in Bylaws

    Some congregations want more flexibility in how they approach membership. For the purpose of the bylaws, it's important to clarify who has voting rights.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • Membership Requirements for Bylaws

    The minimum requirements for congregational membership should be included in the bylaws. Specific details about these requirements can be articulated in policies and updated as needed.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • Statement of UUA Membership in Bylaws

    Spelling out membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in a congregation's bylaws clearly defines the congregation as a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • Statement of Purpose for Bylaws

    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.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • Deciding A Congregation's Name for the Bylaws

    Choosing or changing the name of the congregation is an important decision, for it will help shape the congregation's vision and image.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Congregational Bylaws

    Bylaws exist to support and enhance the functioning of the congregation. Good bylaws provide good process.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Amending Bylaws

    All bylaws need to be amended from time to time. Ideas and thoughts change, and new situations arise that need to be addressed in the bylaws. Bylaws should include provisions on how they can be amended.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Bylaws Task Forces

    Working on Bylaws means learning together, designing a transparent process with input, and building consent before congregational voting.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Writing Effective Bylaws: Emerging Practices

    The Bylaws provide the formal structure of your congregation and allow for maintaining and changing that structure. Bylaws hold the highest level of authority of congregational guiding documents and are the hardest to change.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Sample Core Values Exercise: The Experience of the Holy

    This exercise helps the governing body of religious institutions answer the question: What timeless, transcendent qualities of our religious community will we embody in all we do?
    By Robert L. Eller-Isaacs, Laura Park | 4/4/2019
  • Stewardship: Leaps of Faith and Risky Business

    Taking a leap of faith can be a risky business. A hundred "what if's" can stop an idea before it starts. But if we aren't finding ways to make leaps of faith together, we will not grow, we cannot thrive. To leap may not feel safe at first, but the status quo is often less safe,...
    By Karen Bellavance-Grace | 4/2/2019
  • Living Your Purpose III: Making Mission & Vision Stick

    How do we design and support congregational systems that help us live into our mission and vision? Using guiding "ministry action statements," goal-setting, and assessment to keep its mission and vision vital and effective.
    By Kathy McGowan, Renee Ruchotzke, UU Congregation of Binghamton, Binghamton, NY | 6/26/2014
  • World Café: An Exercise for Vision Discernment

    A wonderful exercise to elicit emerging ideas and to discover where the energy resides in a large group.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 6/26/2014
  • Congregational Polity for the Over-Extended Lay Leader

    Even without a clear shared theology, Unitarian Universalists have a clear shared polity, or governance structure, that helps to inform our theology. This overview summarizes why our polity is essential to who we are.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/15/2008

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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