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Community Church By-Laws

02.02.16 | Faith | by Bruce Van Blair

    CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
    CORONA DEL MAR COMMUNITY CHURCH, CONGREGATIONAL

    (Adopted January 24, 2005, Revised and Adopted April 2006,
    Revised and Adopted November 2010, Revised and Adopted October 2016)

    ARTICLE 1.   THE CHURCH.

                1.1       Name.  The name of this Church shall be “Corona del Mar Community Church, Congregational.”

                1.2       Denomination.  The Church shall be affiliated with the United Church of Christ, and shall follow the generally accepted plans of government and worship as followed by other Churches of this denomination except as may be modified herein or by suitable action of the Congregation. While this Church is completely autonomous, it accepts the obligations of covenant relationship in the free fellowship of the United Church of Christ, and pledges itself to share in its aims and work.

                1.3       Purpose.  The purpose of this Church shall be to bind together followers of Jesus Christ for the purpose of sharing in the worship of God and in making God’s will dominant in the lives of all its members, individually and collectively, especially as that will is set forth in the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

                1.4       Polity.  This Church acknowledges Jesus Christ as its head and finds its guidance in matters of faith and discipline in the Holy Scriptures, interpreted by the Divine Spirit through reason, faith, and conscience.

                The government of this Church is vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all its affairs. The Church is organized as a nonprofit religious corporation under the laws of the State of California and in legal matters is subject to the California Corporations Code.

    ARTICLE 2.   THE UNDERLYING FAITH OF THE CHURCH.

                2.1       Overview.  This Church claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to understand, express, renew, and make this faith its own.

                This Church recognizes the Bible as the major source of information concerning the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. Each member shall have the undisputed right to follow the Word of God according to the dictates of his or her conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

                2.2     Scripture:  Our Beginnings.  It is the responsibility of Christians, both as individuals and together, to study the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is the highest overt authority available in matters of faith, purpose, and the lifestyle of the Church. We are not constrained by literal, orthodox, or final interpretations of any passage. We seek the major themes of Gods message and revelation to us. We hunger to find and understand the living dialogue and confrontation that God wishes to have with us through the events, persons, and proclamations in the Bible. Most of all we seek the meaning of salvation and of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as it is presented in the Scriptures and as it applies to us.

                2.3     History:  Our Heritage.  The history of our forebears, the Church, and this denomination reflects the struggle of people to come to terms with God’s revelations and to honor the revealed Word in their own lives. We laud their courage, faith, and inspiration, and we want to learn from them.

                Our denomination traces its roots from the Reformation through to the Pilgrims, who came to this continent seeking religious freedom, believing it was their destiny to become the New Israel under God. In our time, the United Church of Christ has evolved from the union of the Congregational Christian and Evangelical and Reformed Churches.

                The call to gather this Congregation came in 1942 to a group of women who started with a one-room Sunday School. The founders focused on providing Christian Education to children, with the understanding that this was the best way for our Church to grow into existence.

                We humbly accept the fact that our time is becoming history too, and we trust that our efforts will also reflect in some way a portion of the existence and growth of Gods impact on human life.

                2.4     Theology:  Our Response to God.  We are bound by no formal creed. No single set of words shall be used as a test of any persons faith. Each person is responsible for his or her own beliefs, and for the formation and shaping of a life to go with those beliefs.

                This is not to imply that we take our faith or our beliefs lightly. We take them too seriously to limit any persons spiritual path to any other persons language or experience. We seek unanimity of spirit in matters of belief and purpose through the sharing of every members authentic search for and experience with the Holy Spirit.

                2.5     The Holy Spirit and Prayer:  Our Faith.  We are of the conviction that God has a specific plan for each persons life which can be found and followed, however haltingly and imperfectly, in obedience to the guidance and insights which come in prayer. We hold this conviction to be true of the Church as well as each of its members. Therefore it is our purpose to attempt to find and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading both individually and together. The Holy Spirit outranks Scripture, even as the Holy Spirit has always preceded and inspired it.

                2.6       A Grateful Community.

                            2.6.1    We make a conscious effort to support and care for each other on the spiritual journey.

                            2.6.2    As we have a continued devotion to the Holy Spirit, we also have a great sense of gratitude for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, teachings, and love.

                2.7       Government:  Our Life Together.  In all our meetings, we mean to keep clearly in mind that we seek the will of God more than human opinion, worldly success, or the dominance of our own ideas or desires.

                2.8       The World:  Our Life With Others.

                            2.8.1    We seek to express in actions the love God has shown for us.

                            2.8.2    We have no desire to claim now, or in the future, that we know the totality of Gods truth. We wish to be faithful to that which God reveals to us without conclusions one way or another about what God may be asking of or revealing to others.

                            2.8.3    We respect and affirm all other groups that profess and try to act in the light of the Christian Faith, and we will cooperate with them whenever that seems in accord with Gods guidance for us.

                            2.8.4    We further respect and affirm the convictions of those who sincerely believe in other religious faiths and who conscientiously search for and/or experience some portion of Gods truth. We will seek friendly dialogue, for mutual understanding and enrichment. We will share that which is true in our experience, and ask others to do the same for us as we seek to grow in love for all people, as God through Jesus asks us to do.

                            2.8.5    We seek to minister to, to witness to, and to convert all persons who are hungry for or open to the revelation, love, and salvation of God in Christ. We do not seek members already active in other churches. We do not seek to convert those who are convinced and content in other religions.

                            2.8.6    We shall be obedient and responsible to the civil authorities of our country, and participate in its structures and processes according to the dictates of our Christian conscience. We recognize that the inherent rights of free people before God and the granted rights and privileges of our citizenship entail a responsibility for us as long as we live here. We will endeavor to relate our lives as Christians to our lives as citizens in our community and in our country.

    ARTICLE 3.   THE COVENANT – MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHURCH.

    • The Process:  Our Intentions as Followers of Christ.  The purpose of the Covenant system is to allow us to function as an intentional community of people who are serious about following Christ. Like the Covenants that have guided the lives of faithful communities from Abraham to Moses, down to the Puritans, and to us, the power of the Covenant is both in the individual commitment as a faithful response to God, and in the gathering of individuals who have thought about and prayed about their own spiritual growth and their commitment to this faith community and to our Lord. This system is particularly dedicated to individual freedom, in that each individual determines the exact nature of his or her own C After it has been submitted, no one will be permitted to comment on the Covenant’s suitability. However, we affirm that a meaningful Covenant includes consideration of the following areas of Christian life:
    • Tithe, or a financial pledge to the Church;
    • Service to the life of the Church, which may include service as an officer, on boards and committees, or in any other aspect of Church life where a member feels called to serve;
    • Evangelism, or the responsibility to extend Christ’s invitation to those currently outside the fellowship of Christians;
    • Personal growth and continued awakening to the Presence of God; and
    • Participation in worship services, disciple bands, retreats, and workshops and in other gatherings of the Church community.

                We believe it is necessary for us as Christians to consider these basic areas of commitment, to pray about them, and to incorporate the essence of our understanding of how we will perform them in our Covenant to the Church, under God. We delight in the realization that all of our brothers and sisters in this faith family are wrestling with the same issues and making the best commitments they can live up to, even as we are making the best commitments we believe we can live up to.

                3.2       Membership Qualifications.

                            3.2.1    The Congregation shall be comprised of persons who are 13 years of age or older and who have expressed through a written Covenant a desire to join in the faith, work, or fellowship of this Church, and who share the understanding that it is the purpose of this Church to be a community of intentional, committed Christian seekers and believers.

                            3.2.2    The process of submitting a Covenant shall be the only basis for membership in this Church. All Covenants must be submitted in writing. If writing is a hardship, a person may dictate his or her Covenant. People choosing to join our Congregation from another church shall become members when they submit their Covenant. Letters of Transfer will be honored when they accompany this submitted Covenant.

                3.3       The Covenant.

                            3.3.1    Each members Covenant shall be a statement of their desire to be a member of the Church, expressed in written form. Each member, each year, shall prayerfully consider his or her part in the life of this Church. A Covenant may be as long or as short as a member desires. Members may write in their Covenants declarations of intention concerning participation, service, financial contributions, exclusionary clauses, faith concerns, spiritual disciplines, areas of special interest, and anything else they wish to note and remember. No person need include in a Covenant anything they do not wish to include. Members may revise or amend their Covenants at any time.

                            3.3.2    No person shall have the right to challenge or discredit another member’s Covenant. New Covenants shall take effect two weeks from the time they are submitted, together with all rights and privileges of membership. Existing members renewing or changing their Covenants may also move to the new duties and provisions of their Covenant within two weeks of submitting them. However, unless otherwise instructed, we will assume that Covenants written after the second week of November in any given year are intended to take effect after the following Annual Meeting.

                            3.3.3    Any person making a Covenant request to serve on any standing board or committee shall be placed in nomination for that position by the Nominating Committee at the next Annual Meeting. A person may additionally express in their Covenant a willingness to serve as chair of a board or committee or as an officer of the Church, and the Nominating Committee shall give the request careful and prayerful consideration. The Nominating Committee is responsible for nominating to the Congregation at the Annual Meeting the chairpersons of each board and committee, and the officers of the church.

                            3.3.4    Members revising their Covenants during the year shall move immediately to serve on a board or committee they name in their new Covenant, with the consent of the chair of that board or committee.

                            3.3.5    At the discretion of the Diaconate, any person in physical or mental distress may be retained as a member of the church without writing a covenant. These members will be defined as exempt members.

                            3.3.6    The intention of these by-laws is to make it easy for our people to serve where they want to serve and believe they are called by God to serve.

                3.4       Submitting the Covenant.  Members are expected to submit renewed or revised Covenants between Covenant Sunday and November 30 of each year. Covenant Sunday shall be designated by the Diaconate and announced no later than September 15th. The contents of individual Covenants shall be confidential and shall be read by the Ministers/Pastors and one designated member of the Diaconate. Appropriate information from the Covenant shall be shared with the Treasurer and the Nominating Committee.

                3.5       Membership Rolls.  Each person is responsible for his or her own Covenant. Our goal is to be an intentional, Christian community of responsible, accountable persons, so there will be no effort organized by church members serving in any official capacity to canvass or coerce members in regard to submitting their Covenants. All persons who have covenanted to be members for the coming year shall have their names placed on the membership roll as it is constituted on January 4th of each year. This number shall be reported as our membership to the Southern California/Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.

                3.6       New Members.  Whenever new members submit their Covenants, their names shall be added to the membership roll of the Church.

    ARTICLE 4.   HOW WE GOVERN OURSELVES.

                4.1 The Congregation.  The Congregation shall exercise the final authority in all Church affairs.

                            4.1.1    All annual and regular meetings will be held at the church unless otherwise designated in the notice of the meeting.

                4.2  The Annual Meeting and Celebration.

                            4.2.1    The Annual Meeting and Celebration of the Church shall take place no later than February 15th of each year. The date shall be announced to the Congregation by publication in the Sunday Bulletins for a minimum of two Sundays prior to the close of the year.

                            4.2.2 The purpose of the Annual Meeting shall be to discuss and adopt the proposed budget for the coming year; to elect officers, chairpersons, and members of all boards and committees; and to transact such other business as may come before the meeting. The purpose of the Celebration is to acknowledge with gratitude and rejoicing all that God has done within this faith community in the past year, and to look forward in hope and joy to the coming year in the life of our Church.

                              4.2.3    To be eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting, a person must be a member by virtue of having submitted a Covenant at least two weeks prior to the date of the meeting.

                4.3  Special Meetings.

                            4.3.1    Notification of a Congregational Meeting, other than an Annual Meeting, shall be made in two consecutive Sunday bulletins or by special letter mailed to the membership no less than ten calendar days prior to the meeting. Notice shall include the date, time, place, and purpose of the meeting.

                            4.3.2    Notification of a Congregational Meeting to amend the constitution and/or by‑laws of the Church shall be mailed to the members no less than fourteen calendar days prior to the meeting. A copy of the proposed changes shall be included in the mailing, along with the date, time, and place of the meeting.

                            4.3.3    Place of Meeting.  Unless otherwise designated in the notice of meeting, all regular or special meetings shall be held at the Church.

                            4.3.4    Voting.  Members may vote only in person at a meeting and may not vote by proxy. To be eligible to vote at any Special Meeting of the Congregation, a person must be a member by virtue of having submitted a Covenant at least two weeks prior to the date of the meeting.

                            4.3.5    Quorum.  A quorum for a Congregational Meeting shall be twenty percent (20%) of the non-exempt membership. If a quorum is present, the affirmative vote of the majority of votes cast shall be considered the will of the membership. The members present at a duly called meeting at which a quorum is present may continue to do business until adjournment, notwithstanding the withdrawal of enough members to leave less than a quorum. If any action taken is approved by at least a majority of the members casting a vote, it passes.

                            4.3.6    Rules of Order.  The latest version of “Robert’s Rules of Order” shall be used to conduct the orderly transaction of business in both the Church Council and all Congregational Meetings.

                4.4     The Church Council.

                            4.4.1  Membership.  The Church Council shall consist of the Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Historian, Youth Representative, and Minister(s); chairs of the Diaconate, Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Education, and Board of Christian Mission; and chairs of the Music Committee, Personnel Committee, Fellowship Committee, Vocatio Committee, Publicity Committee, Memorial Committee, Denominational Affairs Committee, Wedding Committee, and Nominating Committee.

                            4.4.2  Responsibilities.  The Church Council, when the Church is not assembled in Church meeting, shall be the policy-making body and shall transact the business of the Church. It shall have the full life of the Congregation as its concern, and shall implement decisions of the Congregation as well as provide leadership, coordination, and direction for the Church.

                                   a.  It shall hear proposals from the various boards and committees of the Church, approve or disapprove of them, and assist in implementing or in redirecting these proposals.

                                   b.  It may, at its discretion, review, rescind, or amend any decision of any board or committee of the Church.

                                   c.  It shall report to the Church after its regular or special meetings any items or decisions that may be of interest or concern to the welfare or detriment of the life of the Church.

                                  d.  It shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings and be the custodian of Church records.

                                  e.  It shall, with the assistance of the Nominating Committee, fill any vacancies in elected positions until the next regular election.

                                   f.  It shall submit a proposed operating budget to the Annual Meeting each year.

                                  g.  It shall, with a two-thirds majority vote of its Council members, have the authority to remove an individual from any board or committee of the Church.

                                  h.  It may authorize task forces to fulfill various The Moderator will appoint and charge task forces, subject to the approval of the Church Council, and make replacements as necessary. Task forces shall be dismissed as soon as their objectives have been met. Task forces shall be reviewed, recharged, reconstituted, or terminated at the end of a 12-month period.

                                 i. It shall provide for official representation of the Church at any meetings where it deems official representation important.

                                j. All acts and deliberations of the Church Council are subject to the will and revision of the Congregation.

                            4.4.3  Meetings and Notice of Meetings.  Meetings shall be held as necessary at the call of the Moderator, the Minister(s), or any three members of the Church Council upon five days notice by first-class mail or upon forty-eight hours notice given personally or by telephone.

                            4.4.4  Quorum.  A quorum shall be seven of the total members of the Church Council. A meeting at which a quorum is initially present may continue to transact business notwithstanding the withdrawal of members, if any action taken is approved by at least a majority of those casting a vote. The majority must include no less than five members of the Church Council.

                4.5 Church Officers and Chairs of Boards and Committees.

                            4.5.1  Elections.  Elections shall be held at the Annual Meeting to fill the offices of Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Historian, Youth Representative, and the chairs of each of the boards and committees. Candidates for these positions shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee, or they can be nominated from the floor at the Annual Meeting, provided consent of the candidate has been previously obtained. Election shall be by a majority votes cast at the Annual Meeting.

                            4.5.2  Terms.  The term of office for Church officers and the chairs of boards and committees shall be one year. Officers and chairs may be reelected to successive terms.

                            4.5.3    Closed Meeting.  The chairperson of any board or committee of the Church shall have the authority to declare a duly called meeting a “closed meeting,” open only to members of that board or committee.

                            4.5.4    Moderator.  The Moderator shall:

                                       a.  Preside at all meetings of the Church Council and at all duly called meetings of the Congregation.
                                       b.  Be an ex officio member of all boards, committees, and task forces of the Church.
                                      c.  Coordinate the efforts of boards and committees.
                                      d.  Meet regularly with the Minister(s) to share common concerns.
                                      e.  By the October Church Council meeting, propose names for a Nominating Committee for Church Council approval.
                                      f.  The Chair of the Diaconate shall perform the responsibilities of the Moderator in the Moderators absence.

                            4.5.5  Church Clerk (Secretary).  The Church Clerk shall:

                                     a.  Keep a record of the proceedings of the Church and of the Church Council.

                                     b.  Keep on file all communications and written official reports.
                                     c.  Notify all persons elected to Church offices.
                                     d.  Give legal notices of all meetings when such notices are necessary.
                                    e.  Conduct all correspondence so far as this is not otherwise provided.
                                    f.  Summarize the decisions and activities of the Church Council for inclusion in the Church newsletter.
                                   g.  Maintain the records of the Church, recording additions and deletions to the membership, baptisms, confirmations, and weddings.

                            4.5.6  Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall:

                                     a.  Be responsible for all expenditures of the Church, including payment of bills on order of the Church Council or its properly appointed agents.
                                    b.  Maintain an accurate accounting system for all matters pertaining to Church income and disbursements.
                                    c.  Make a detailed financial report annually to the Church and at other times as deemed necessary.
                                    d.  Have custody of all records relating to the real and personal property of the Church.
                                    e.  Be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.
                                    f. Receive and be responsible for all payments to the Church for whatever reason.
                                    g. Maintain an accurate record of all pledges and provide each pledger with at least a twice-yearly statement of account.
                                    h. Deposit all moneys received by the Church in a banking institution as designated by the Board of Trustees, recording all such deposits with the Treasurer.

                             4.5.7  Historian.  The Historian shall:

                                    a.  Be responsible for maintaining and adding to the Church archives, including keeping copies of Church bulletins, newsletters, special mailings, annual reports, annual meeting minutes, and any other minutes of meetings deemed important to the history of Community Church, Congregational.
                                   b.  Maintain an archival record about the Church and its members.

                                   c.  Arrange for written, photographic, or taped records of special celebrations and significant events in the life of the Church.

                4.6     Boards and Committees.

                            4.6.1  Administration and Program.  The administration and program of the Church shall be carried out by the following standing boards and committees: The Diaconate, the Board of Trustees, the Board of Christian Education, the Board of Christian Mission, the Music Committee, the Personnel Committee, the Fellowship Committee, the Vocatio Committee, the Publicity Committee, the Memorial Committee, the Denominational Affairs Committee, Wedding Committee, and the Nominating Committee. Each shall be responsible to the Church Council, which may review, rescind, or amend decisions made by any board or committee.

                            4.6.2  Membership.

                                   a.  All boards and committees shall be made up of members of this Church. Covenant requests will supersede recommended terms and the number of people serving on all boards and committees. These by-laws encourage all members to serve where they are most excited and feel most committed, and to remain at that task for as long as this commitment stays strong and feels in tune with their prayers. Nevertheless, the Nominating Committee will attempt to keep all boards and committees filled to at least their minimum number of members.

                                   b.  The Diaconate, Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Education, and Board of Christian Mission shall each consist of at least six members plus a chair. All other committees shall have at least three members plus a chair.

                                   c.  Vacancies within any board or committee may be filled by the Church Council, and each new member so appointed shall hold office until the expiration of the term of the replaced member or until a successor has been elected.

                                   d.  Persons may be reelected to successive terms. Covenant statements and requests shall supersede other considerations when it comes to length of term or the area in which a member wishes to serve.

                            4.6.3  The Diaconate (Deacons).  The Diaconate in cooperation with the Minister(s) shall have responsibility for the spiritual life of the Church, and for the nurture of those within the Congregation. Its duties shall include:

                                    a.  If the Senior Pastor is on sick leave or that position has been left vacant for any reason, responsibility for filling the pulpit and planning the worship services of the Church; the Deacons shall retain this responsibility even if an Interim Pastor has been called and is present.

                                    b. Provision for the worship services of the Church, including care for the altar, preparation of the Communion Table, assistance in the celebration of Holy Communion and Baptism, provision for pulpit supply, greeting, and ushering.

                                   c. Devising and maintaining structures for the care and visitation of the members of the Church, giving special attention to those with identifiable needs.

                                  d. Developing and maintaining ways of integrating new and existing members into the life and mission of the Church, with particular care and concern during the first years of membership.

                                 e. Responsibility for programs which nurture the women of the Church.

                                 f. Responsibility for programs which nurture the men of the Church.

                                g. Responsibility for following up with visitors who sign in the guest book.

                                h.  Responsibility for inviting new members within sixty days after submitting a Covenant to come before the Congregation at a regular service of worship to be welcomed into the Church community.

                            4.6.4  The Board of Trustees.  The Board of Trustees shall have responsibility for the finances of the Church and for the care and maintenance of the facilities and properties of the Church. Its duties shall include:

                                    a.  Overview of the finances of the Church, including an annual review of the financial records.
                                    b.  In September of each year, soliciting from each board and committee a request budget to be submitted at the October meeting of the Church Council.
                                    c.  By early January of each year, preparing a proposed operating budget for the Church Council to review, modify if necessary, and present to the Annual Meeting.
                                     d.  Maintaining and improving the Churchs buildings and grounds.
                                     e.  Maintaining, securing, and improving church software, hardware, and intellectual properties.
                                      f. Providing for insurance, including liability, casualty, property and any other types of coverage to protect Church assets as the Board members deem necessary.
                                     g. Providing and caring for the equipment for the total Church program.
                                    h. Informing the Congregation, at least annually, of the financial condition of the Church.
                                    i. Borrowing money on such terms, rates of interest, and conditions as seem
                                    j. Administering any endowment and trust funds.
                                    k. Encouraging and receiving bequests and determining their disposition.
                                    l. Selecting depositories for funds and valuables of the Church.

                            4.6.5  Board of Christian Education.  The Board of Christian Education shall have responsibility for the supervision and direction of the religious education program of the Church. Its duties shall include:

                                   a.  Planning and implementing a program of Christian Education for all ages.
                                   b.  Designing and supporting a program for youth fellowship groups.
                                  c.  Enlisting and training teachers and leaders for the educational programs of the Church.
                                  d.  Providing curricula and resources for the educational program of the Church.
                                  e.  Being responsible for the Church Library and appointing the Librarian.
                                  f.  Reviewing and evaluating the work being done in the area of Christian Education.
                                  g.  Providing child care for all Church needs and functions. Child care not related to Christian Education programs shall not come out of the Christian Education budget, but shall be paid from a separate line item in the budget provided by the Trustees.

                            4.6.6  Board of Christian Mission.  The Board of Christian Mission shall be responsible for the participation of the Church in organizations and ideas that lie beyond immediate Congregational needs. Its duties shall include:

                                   a.  Coordinating programs and projects which involve the Church in service to the larger community.
                                   b.  Providing channels for individual members to become involved in denominational and ecumenical agencies.
                                   c.  Providing opportunities for members to become better educated or more involved with current issues that may require Christian witness.
                                  d.  Working with the Denominational Affairs Committee to inform the Church about the work of the Conference and the Association to which we belong.
                                e.  In October, submitting a request budget for the Church’s mission-giving for the coming year, except Conference-related missions and projects.
                                f.  Tracking the disbursement of all mission funds.

                            4.6.7  Music Committee.  The Music Committee shall be responsible for the Music Ministry of the Church. Its duties shall include:

                                  a.  Selecting and assisting the Director of Music in establishing and meeting goals for the role of music within the ministry of the Church.
                                 b.  Being responsible for choir robes and vestments and for their care.
                                c.  Being responsible for the Perpetual Music Fund.
                                d.  At the request of the Music Director, assisting in the interviewing and hiring of Section Leaders.

                            4.6.8  Personnel Committee.  The Personnel Committee shall be responsible for the policy and review of Church employees. Its duties shall include:

                                   a.  At the request of the Church Council, seeking and interviewing candidates for any paid position in the Church other than the Minister(s). More frequently, staff and other paid helpers will be sought by whatever board or committee is responsible for the area of the Church’s life which the paid person will serve. In that case, the Personnel Committee will work with that board or committee to make sure a clear contract is drawn up with the person being hired, and that the chain of command and the areas of authority and responsibility are clear to all those involved.
                                  b.  Upon a favorable vote by the Church Council, negotiating a written job description for each employee of the Church at the time that employee is hired, together with a written contract of salary, vacation, and other benefits. This contract shall be subject to the Church Councils final approval.
                                c.  Reviewing the Minister(s) salary package annually and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees, and reviewing the salary packages of all other Church employees annually and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
                               d.  Hearing grievances of members or staff or between staff persons when they arise and, at the request of the Church Council or upon the request of 12 or more Church members, seeking to ameliorate these grievances or disputes. On such occasions, the Personnel Committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the Church Council.
                             e.  If members are convinced that a Minister or any staff person is no longer adequate or beneficial to the life of the Church, they shall go first to the Personnel Committee with their reasons and concerns. The Personnel Committee shall then attempt to learn the depth and extent of the problems. If convinced that the situation is sufficiently serious, the Personnel Committee shall recommend appropriate action to the Church Council.

                            4.6.9    Fellowship Committee.  The Fellowship Committee shall develop and coordinate all events which have as a goal the enrichment of the communal life of the Church. Its duties shall include:

                               a.  Designing events and programs of a recreational or fellowship nature for the benefit and pleasure of the Congregation.
                               b.  Organizing all-Church dinners and desserts in conjunction with Congregational meetings.
                               c.  Recruiting members to help with refreshments after the Church services, and planning receptions for new members.

                            4.6.10  Vocatio Committee.  The Vocatio Committee shall be responsible for encouraging every member to seek, discern, train for, and live out their vocatio. Its duties shall include coordinating the Congregation’s efforts to support one another in finding, training for, and/or implementing each member’s vocatio. This committee shall also encourage and support young people to seek and discern a “calling”.

                            4.6.11            Publicity Committee.  The Publicity Committee shall be responsible for the Church’s image in the community around us. It is the Publicity Committee’s chief task to find ways to put before the public who we are and what we are about. Its duties shall include:

                        a.  Responsibility for informing the community about Church functions.
                       b.  Placing ads in appropriate places at appropriate times.
                       c.  Working with committees to publicize events within the Church.
                       d.  Creating and maintaining an attractive website for the Church.
                       e.  Responsibility for oversight of church publications.

                            4.6.12            Memorial Committee.  The Memorial Committee shall be responsible for the supervision of memorial funds. Its duties shall include:

                         a.  Supervising memorial funds, and disbursing memorial funds for the purposes designated by the donors, with the approval, if appropriate, of the Church board or committee concerned with the memorial’s purpose.
                         b.  Arranging for flowers in the sanctuary at all regular and special Church services.
                         c.  Act as a liaison and provide coordination between the church and individuals or families who use the church and church grounds for memorial services.

                            4.6.13            Denominational Affairs Committee.  The Denominational Affairs Committee shall have responsibility for coordinating our participation in the Southern California/Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. Its duties shall include:

                       a.  Receiving and responding to communications from the denomination.
                       b.  Providing appropriate representation at meetings and gatherings of the denomination.
                       c.  Representing our Church at ordinations, installations, and similar celebrations.
                       d.  Studying and interpreting to our Church critical issues of the denomination.
                       e.  Nominating Church members for responsibilities in the greater Church as suits their talents and expressed interests.
                        f.  Recommending a budget request for our Conference and Association support.

                            4.4.14  Wedding Committee. The Wedding Committee shall have responsibility for the supervision of weddings, rehearsals and receptions. Its duties shall include:

                         a.  Act as a liaison and provide coordination between the church and individuals or families who use the church and church grounds for wedding services.
                         b.  Coordinating and scheduling the use of the church and grounds for weddings, rehearsals, and receptions as contracted by the wedding party.
                         c.  Coordinating and scheduling a Pastor to reside over the wedding as contracted by the wedding party.
                        d.  Coordinating and scheduling a Minister of Music for the wedding as contracted by the wedding party.
                       e.  Supervising wedding funds, and coordinating disbursement of wedding funds for the purposes designated by the wedding contract.
                       f.  Maintaining wedding supplies, wedding contracts, and wedding booklets.

                            4.6.15        Nominating Committee.  The Nominating Committee shall consist of five members of the Congregation proposed by the Moderator and approved by the Church Council. Its duties shall include:

                              a.  Before the Annual Meeting, preparing a ballot nominating members of the Church to fill offices, chairs, and the boards and committees of the Church. Nominees must have agreed to serve. This slate shall constitute the official ballot to be submitted to the Congregation at the Annual Meeting. Additions to the ballot may be made by any member of the Congregation by a nomination from the floor, provided that the nominee has agreed to serve. Nominations shall include the proposed chairpersons of all boards and committees.
                            b.  At the request of the Church Council, seeking persons to fill important vacancies prior to the Annual Meeting.
                            c.  At certain times and seasons in the life of the Church, the membership may not support or fill all of the boards and committees, and we will live with a “hole” in our operations and programs. After reasonable diligence, the Nominating Committee will leave these vacancies and wait for the members to feel called to fill them.

                            4.6.16        Subcommittees / Task Forces.  The Church Council or any board or committee may at any time form subcommittees and/or task forces directly responsible to it. A person need not be a member of this Church to serve on a task force or subcommittee. A task force shall be called into existence for a special purpose and shall continue for one 12-month period. At the end of the 12-month period, the board or committee which appointed it shall review its work and decide whether it shall continue for another year or disband. A task force which does not receive an official board or committee mandate to continue shall automatically disband at the end of 12 months.

    ARTICLE 5. MINISTER(S).

                5.1     Minister(s) Responsibilities.  The Minister(s) shall:

                            5.1.1  Preach the Word, with both freedom and responsibility for what comes from the pulpit.

                            5.1.2  Exercise the privileges of teacher and counselor.

                            5.1.3  If the Minister is the Senior Pastor, and with the advice and support of the Deacons, be responsible for filling the pulpit and planning the worship services of the Church.

                            5.1.4  Administer the sacraments.

                            5.1.5  Be a member of the Church Council and an ex officio member of all boards, committees, and task forces of the Church.

                            5.1.6  If the Minister is the Senior Pastor, be the Chief Administrator of the staff and the programs of the church, subject to the advice and consent of the Church Council and ultimately to the will of the Congregation. Along with such overt responsibilities, the Senior Pastor and any Minister under the Senior Pastor shall be primarily focused on the spiritual growth and development of the members of the Church. The Ministers shall remind themselves, and all of us, that our primary allegiance is to Jesus, and that our first and highest concern is to listen to and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We do not work under or for each other. We work under and for Jesus, the Christ.

                            5.1.7  Shall disburse, without justification, contributions to the Pastor’s Fund. The Treasurer of the Church may at any time request and receive an account of moneys expended, being under obligation to keep all confidences of specific names but being free to inform the Board of Trustees whether the Pastor’s Fund is or is not being properly managed.

                5.2     Agreement With Minister(s).  The Church through the Church Council shall enter into a written agreement with the Minister(s) specifying the terms of the relationship between them. This agreement shall include the responsibilities and duties of the Minister, provisions for resignation/termination, Church participation in the pension fund and the health insurance program of the United Church of Christ (if desired), the salary package and vacation and study-leave agreements, and such other terms as agreed to between the candidate and the Ministerial Search Committee. The Minister and the Church shall each be given a copy of this agreement.

                5.3     Ministerial Vacancy.

                            5.3.1    Ministerial Search Committee.  There will be a Ministerial Search Committee active and seeking an appropriate candidate for a Ministerial position in our Church at all times.

                            This committee shall consist of seven members chosen by the Church Council and approved by the Congregation. Each year, one member of this committee shall retire and one new member shall be appointed to take their place for the next seven years.

                            This committee will work toward having a group of 8 to 10 strong candidates for the position of Minister of our Church. Once identified, the committee will continue to research and track the career of each of these candidates in any manner they deem effective, but considerate of the need for privacy on the part of the candidates themselves.

                            When a vacancy occurs in the Ministerial position, the Church Council shall request the Ministerial Search Committee to shift from search mode into an active consideration of which candidate to pursue to fill this position. Once a candidate has been chosen and as soon as this candidate has agreed to accept a “call,” the Ministerial Search Committee shall announce the date of a worship service in which this candidate will preach and be introduced to the Congregation, together with its rationale supporting the selection of this candidate.

                            The Ministerial Search Committee shall have previously worked with the Personnel Committee and the Board of Trustees to design the basic terms of the contract to be agreed upon between the candidate and this Church.

                            5.3.2  Ministerial Calling.  A Congregational meeting shall be called with the specific notice of purpose, to be held immediately following the worship service in which the candidate shall be presented. A favorable vote of three-fourths of the votes cast shall constitute a call.

                5.3.3           Departure of Minister.  While the term of the Minister(s) shall be indefinite, the membership may at any time, by a majority vote at a meeting called for the purpose, request a Minister’s resignation effective immediately. The Church shall pay the Minister for sixty days beyond this resignation date. A Minister may resign from a ministerial position by giving sixty days’ notice in writing to the Church Council.

    ARTICLE 6. FINANCES.

                6.1     The Covenants will show what the members desire to give to the life and work of this Church, and the Church’s budget shall be made up accordingly. Fund-raising drives and member canvassing to support the general budget shall be avoided.

                6.2     Special appeals for money or goods for special causes beyond the Church’s regular operating budget shall be determined by the Board of Christian Mission and shall be limited to three or fewer special appeals per year. For required capital improvements which have not been funded by the general budget, the Board of Trustees may initiate fund-raising projects of a character that involves member participation and fellowship.

                6.3     If the Church Council agrees that there is an unusual or emergency need for special funds for the Church, they may call a Congregational Meeting to explain that need and, if the Congregation agrees, inform all the members by letter, but the membership shall not be canvassed and fund-raisers shall not be hired.

    ARTICLE 7. FISCAL YEAR AND ELECTION YEAR.

                7.1     The fiscal year shall be January 1st to December 31st.

                7.2     Terms of office shall begin at the close of the Annual Meeting each year.

    ARTICLE 8. DISSOLUTION.  Upon dissolution of the Church and satisfaction of all indebtedness, the Church’s assets and all property and interests of which it shall then be possessed, including any devise, bequest, gift, or grant contained in any will or other instrument, in trust or otherwise, made before or after such dissolution, shall be transferred to the Southern California/Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, or to whatever instrument or agency of the Christian Church shall be designated at the time and require the majority of the congregation to approve.

    ARTICLE 9.           AMENDMENT.  A two-thirds majority of the votes cast is required to amend the constitution and by-laws of the Church.

    ARTICLE 10.         EFFECTIVE DATE.  The existing constitution and by-laws shall be repealed in their entirety with the adoption of this constitution and by-laws, which shall take effect upon a favorable vote of the Congregation.

    THE LATEST REVISION OF THESE BY-LAWS IS:  OCTOBER 2016