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  • Copyright Policy

    Congregations need to follow copyright laws and ensure their leaders and staff are aware of these laws.
  • Fiduciary Policies

    The board, as "trustees," have specific responsibilities to the congregation that should be articulated in fiduciary policies. Along with the governance policies that guide the board's work , the board also needs to set policies around safety, finance, capital assets, and...
  • Governance Policies

    Governance policies augment the bylaws by giving more detail and guidance. Policies defining board member roles and conduct, meetings for both the board and congregation.
  • Communicating Changes to Bylaws

    Bylaws changes require approval by the congregation in a meeting of the whole. Like any significant change, changes to bylaws should be communicated as clearly as possible with lots of opportunity for questions and comments.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 9/11/2019
  • Social Media Policy

    A congregation's web presence is often its first chance to make a good impression. Design policies that balance accountability with creativity and engagement.
  • Sample Photo and Video Permission Form

    Congregations and other Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations should adopt a permissions policy for photos and video. Here is a sample.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/13/2019
  • Photo and Video Permissions Policy

    Even with the wide sharing of photos and video on social social media, congregations still need policies that enable them to follow copyright law, protect the vulnerable and follow the core value of consent.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/13/2019
  • Website Policies

    In most cases, a communications vehicle that represents a congregation should be owned and operated by the congregation as a whole, and be used to further the mission and values of the congregation. Along those lines, here are some specific areas that might be helpful for...
  • Personnel Committee Charter Policy

    Personnel Committees operate like Human Resources departments in that they don't hire, manage or supervise staff. Instead they advise on best practices.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/12/2019
  • The Unity Consulting Approach to Congregational Governance

    Unity offers deep questions and commitments for governance within a progressive religious, covenantal context: Whose Are We? What Do We Value? What Are Our Commitments?
    By Laura Park | 5/2/2019
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 (In-Person and Virtual)

    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
  • Governance Manual for Congregational Boards

    What are the basic documents that every board member should have at their fingertips? Here is a handy list to construct your own board manual.
    By Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe, David Pyle, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 1/22/2019
  • Who should be the Congregation's Executive in Policy Governance?

    Congregational Life Staff are often asked who performs executive functions in UU Congregations under policy governance. Here are some considerations.
    By David Pyle | 9/27/2018
  • Congregation Participation in Ends Development Process

    For congregations using Carver Policy Governance, it's important to have congregational involvement and engagement with "Ends Statements." Using a "World ​Café" process like this one is a recommended method.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/19/2018
  • Whole Congregation Decisions

    Which decisions should be made by the "congregation in meeting" via a congregational vote according to congregational polity, and which decisions can be made by the governing board?
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/4/2018
  • How to “Right Size” a Governing Board

    Congregational Governing Boards have different structures, cultures, assumptions, and responsibilities in different congregations. The size and structure of a governing board is dependent upon the roles and responsibilities of the board itself. Here are a series of factors that...
    By David Pyle | 2/9/2018
  • 6 Styles of Congregational Governing Boards

    Every Unitarian Universalist Congregation is designed differently. How each congregation functions is a blend of congregational experience, culture, and history. Congregational structures are also affected by whether and which other congregations members have attended or been a...
    By David Pyle | 1/17/2018
  • Duties of a Board—3 Key Concepts

    Larry Ladd shares his wisdom from years of consulting with not-for-profit boards.
    By Larry Ladd, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 9/15/2017
  • Duties of a Board

    Congregational boards hold the authority and responsibility for the congregation as an institution, as designated in the bylaws. Though comprised of individuals, the board must operate as a single entity in service of the mission of the congregation. In other words, individual...
    By Renee Ruchotzke, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 9/15/2017
  • Congregational Policies and Procedures - An Overview

    Congregational bylaws, which lay the foundation for the congregation as a legal entity, are augmented by other documents that guide the day-to-day operations and decisions of the leaders and members of the congregation. Policies Policies are voted on by the board of trustees...
  • Congregational Bylaws - An Overview

    Bylaws are important in laying the groundwork for any organization. Although written in legal language to satisfy governmental requirements, bylaws also tell the story of a congregation. They encapsulate the vision, hopes, and dreams of the congregation and are also a last...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 9/12/2017
  • 3 Parts of Effective Governance

    When you understand the purpose of governance and what it needs to be effective, your work as a board becomes much clearer.
    By Dan Hotchkiss, UU Leadership Institute | 3/16/2017
  • Are Your Church's Retirement Benefits "Legal?"

    Congregations are legal entities required to comply with all sorts of legal requirements. While religious institutions might be exempt from a FEW legal requirements, churches are NOT exempt from most. This includes many requirements stemming from being an employer. This post...
    By Richard Nugent, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 1/21/2016
  • Website Policies and Procedures

    This video discusses the various policies and procedures congregations need to consider when creating and managing a website.
    By Beth Casebolt | 11/4/2012
  • A Guide to Creating a Board Policy Book

    To help your congregation be nimble and effective, consider putting only the essentials in your congregation's bylaws, and put the rest into board policies. No matter the size of your congregation, policies can help to build institutional memory and structure, but can have the...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/24/1999

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