Wright UCC’s Constitution and By-laws

Article I – Name.  The name of this church shall be: Wright Community Congregational United Church of Christ.

Article II – Purpose.  The purpose of this church shall be the worship of God and the extension of His Kingdom.

Article III – Polity

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

Section 2.  The government of this Church is vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in allits affairs.

Section 3.  While this Church is amenable to no ecclesiastical control, it accepts the obligations of mutual council, comity, and cooperation involved in the free fellowship of the United Church of Christ, and  pledges itself to share the common aims and work of the Idaho Association, the Central Pacific Conference, and the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Church shall sustain that relationship to the United Church of Christ described in those portions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the United Church of Christ adopted July 4, 1961, and as amended, relating to local Churches.

Article IV – Faith

Section 1.  Doctrine. This Church recognizes the Bible as the sufficient rule of faith and practice, and holds that living in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ is the true test of fellowship.  Each member shall have the undisturbed right to follow the Word of God according the dictates of one’s own conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The following Statement of Faith (or Principles),  therefore, is not a test but an expression of the Spirit in which the Church interprets the Word of God.

Section 2. Faith. We believe in God the Father, infinite in wisdom, goodness and love; and in Jesus Christ, His son, our Lord and Savior, who for us and our salvation lived and died and rose again, and lives evermore; and in the Holy Spirit, who takes of the things of Christ and reveals them to us, renewing, comforting, and inspiring the souls of people.

Section 3. Covenant. We are united in striving to know the will of God as taught in the Holy Scriptures, and in our purpose to walk in the way of the Lord, made known or to be made known to us…We hold it to be the mission of the Church of Christ to proclaim the gospel to humankind, exalting the worship of the One True God and laboring for the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and the realization of human brotherhood. Depending, as did our fathers, upon the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, we work and pray for the transformation of the world into the Kingdom of God; and we look with faith for the triumph of righteousness and the life everlasting.

Section 4.  This Church also recognizes and encourages the use of the Statement of Faith of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, as a testimony but not a test of faith.

Article V – Membership

Section 1.  New Members.

New members of this Church shall be received into membership as follows:

(a) On presentation of satisfactory letters of transfer from other churches: or

(b) If letters are not available, by reaffirmation of faith; or

(c) On Confession of Faith and baptism (if not previously baptized or exempt because of conviction).

Section 2. Associate Membership.

College students and others who have reason to maintain their membership elsewhere, upon application, may be enrolled as associate members of Wright Church, and by such membership shall be entitled to the proper privileges of Wright Church and to its pastoral oversight, and to engage in its active service, but they shall be counted and reported only in the membership of their home churches.

Section 3.  Reception.

Members shall be received at a communion service or at some other time as arranged by the Diaconate, by public assent to the Covenant (or after the Covenant has been thoughtfully signed.)

Section 4. Duties.

Members are expected to be loyal to the work and worship of this Church, giving regularly to its support and its benevolences, and sharing so far as possible in its organized activities.

Section 5. Termination of Membership.

(a) A member in good standing, may upon request, by confirmation of minister and church secretary, receive a letter of transfer to another Christian Church. Membership with this church shall cease when this letter has been granted. If desired, instead of a letter of transfer, a certificate of regular standing may be granted upon request and membership terminated.

(b) Members whose addresses have been long unknown or who for a period of one year, in spite of kindly reminders, have not communicated with the Church or contributed to its support may, by vote of the Diaconate, be transferred to the inactive list. The church secretary shall be notified of the action of the Diaconate and shall record such action in the permanent records of the church. From the date of such transfer such persons shall cease to be reported on the active membership roll. If at any time they renew their interest in the Church, they may be restored to the active list. Persons on the inactive roll may be granted letters of transfer to other churches, if they so request.

(c) Should a member become an offense to the Church and continually disregard one’s covenant duties, the Church may terminate one’s membership, but only after due notice and hearing, and by a two-thirds vote of the voting members present, and at a meeting held at least two weeks later than the one at which the motion for his/her dismissal is made. Any person whose membership has been terminated may, for good and sufficient reasons, be restored to membership by vote of the Church.

Section 6. Open Membership.

We affirm our Christian belief in the dignity of humankind and the right of the individual to justice and respect, and therefore we affirm that membership in Wright Congregational United Church of Christ is open to all who accept its covenant.

Article VI – Board of Directors

Section 1.

Membership of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall consist of the Officers of the Church, with the exception of the Historian, and the members of the Diaconate. The Moderator is Chairperson of the Diaconate and will represent its members on the Board of Directors.

Section 2.  Duties and Authority of the Board of Directors.

(a) The Board of Directors shall be the trustees of the Church. It shall administer its business affairs and supervise its program of activities.

(b) The Board of Directors shall have the care, management, and custody of the property of the church and have charge of its financial affairs, always subject to regulations prescribed by the laws of the State.

(c) The Board of Directors shall have no power to buy, sell, lease, mortgage, or transfer property without specific authority by vote of the Church.

(d) Any organization planning changes shall counsel with the Board of Directors on the matter to assure coordination of plans in Church Improvement.

(e) The Board of Directors shall have power to appoint Special Committees from the membership of the Church family, in addition to the regular standing committees, to assist in the discharge of its duties. The Board shall have the power to make rules and ordinances for its own government.

(f) It shall make temporary appointments to fill vacancies until the Church shall have elected new officers to such vacancies.

(g) All new organizations formed within the Church must have the approval of the Board of Directors.

(h) The Board of Directors shall hear, counsel, and approve recommendations and plans of all committees before they can act, except where specific authority to act has been granted.

(i) Authority to engage or discharge employees of the Church (with the exception of the Minister) resides with the Board of Directors.

g) The Board of Directors may arrange for an audit of the accounts of the Church at least once every three years by appointing or hiring an auditor or auditing committee. The Auditor/committee designated shall have access to the books of the Treasurer and Financial Secretary. The Board shall report the results of the audit to the Church.

Section 3.  Meetings and Quorum.

The Board of Directors shall meet at least monthly, the date and hour to be determined by each new Board. A Quorum shall consist of a majority of the members.  When the chairperson of a standing committee is unable to attend a Board of Directors meeting he/she shall be encouraged to delegate an eligible member of the committee to represent the committee.

Article VII – Diaconate

Section 1.  Membership and Term of Office.

The Diaconate shall consist of the Moderator of the Church, six or more Deacons, six or more Deaconesses (as determined by the Board of Directors) and the Deacons and Deaconesses Emeritus.  Deacons and Deaconesses shall be elected for a three year term of office with their terms rotating so that one-third of each will be elected each year.

Section 2.  Duties.

The Diaconate shall provide for the Lord’s Supper and its administration. They, together with the minister, shall be responsible for the spiritual affairs of the Church. They shall stand with the Minister (through a representative) at services of baptism and at the reception of members. In the absence of the Minister they are responsible for supply of the pulpit.  The Diaconate is responsible to the Board of Directors.  The Moderator of the Church shall be Chairperson of the Diaconate.  The Diaconate shall, in cooperation with the Membership Committee, be responsible for an appropriate program of education and reception of new members.

Article VIII – Officers

Section 1.  Officers

The Officers of the Church shall be: Minister, Moderator, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Board of Directors’ Chairperson and Secretary, Chairpersons of all regular Standing Committees, Deacons and Deaconesses, and the Historian.

Section 2.   Deacons and Deaconesses Emeritus.

For long and faithful service on the Diaconate a man or woman may be nominated to become a Deacon or Deaconess Emeritus. Said nomination and election shall be at the time of regular nominations and election. A Deacon or Deaconess Emeritus shall serve on the Diaconate with the power of voice, but not of vote, as long as one remains an active member of the church.

Section 3. Election of Officers.

The officers, with the exception of the Minister shall be elected at the Budget and Election Meeting of the Church held in November. Officers, with the exception of Deacons and Deaconesses whose terms are for three years, shall hold office for a term of one year.

Vacancies occurring during the year shall be filled by the Board of Directors following recommendation by the Ministry of Volunteers Committee; the person elected to serve until the next term of office begins.

Rotation of Officers and Members of the Board of Directors: After serving for eight consecutive years, an officer or member of the Board of Directors shall be, for a period of one year, ineligible for re-election to any office on the Board of Directors. Officers and Members of both the Board of Directors and the Diaconate (with the exception of the Youth Representative) must be active members of the Church.  Association and Conference Lay Delegates: The Church’s delegates to the Annual Meeting of the Idaho Association of the United Church of Christ and the Pilgrim Cove Foundation shall be selected by the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors shall elect delegates from the membership of the Church to the Annual Assembly and Council Meetings of the Central Pacific Conference for the United Church of Christ.

Section 4.

Duties of Officers.

(a) Minister.  The Minister shall be called for an indefinite time by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a properly called meeting.

When a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, the Board of Directors (unless a special committee is appointed for the purpose), after seeking guidance of the Holy Spirit, shall make a canvass of available ministers, settle on one who in their judgment should be called to the pastorate, introduce the candidate to the membership of the Church, and at a properly called meeting, propose election.

At the first opportunity, the Minister shall become a member of the Church and of the Association of which the Church is a member. While the term of the minister shall be indefinite, the Church may at any time, by a majority vote of the members present at a meeting called for that purpose and after written notice is given to all active members at least one week prior to the meeting, request his her resignation with the expectation that it will be presented within 60 days. A Quorum shall be present. On the other hand, the Minister shall give 60 days’ notice in case he/she wishes to leave of his/her own volition:  but in case of loss of ministerial standing on the part of the Minister, his/her relation with the Church shall cease at once.

The Minister, together with the Diaconate, shall be responsible for the spiritual life of the Church: seek to enlist people as followers of Christ, preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, have under one’s care all services of public worship, and administer the activities of the Church in cooperation with the various boards and committees; keep the Church Secretary informed of all marriages, baptisms and deaths; be an ex-officio and advisory member of all boards and committees.

(1) The Church Secretary (who is not an officer of the Church) is responsible to the Minister and in his her absence to the Board of Directors, it shall be the duty of the Church Secretary to:

(a) Keep in permanent form an accurate register of the members of the church, i.e., Active, Absent, and Inactive and Removals. Report shall be made at the Annual Meeting in January and also “yearbook”  report for General Synod.

(b) Keep in permanent form an accurate record of Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths.

(c) Issue letters of transfer and dismissal upon confirmation of the Minister.

(d) Notify Board of Director members of meetings.

(b) Financial Secretary. Shall receive, record and deposit in an approved bank the monies of all regular and special funds of the Church and Church School, and shall give record of same to Church Treasurer.  The Financial Secretary shall be responsible for keeping the individual records of contributions to all regular and special funds of the Church and Church School. The Board of Directors shall provide such assistance as needed.

(c) Treasurer. The Treasurer shall pay, upon proper authority, all bills of the church and Church School. The Treasurer shall send to the Central Pacific Conference Office each month a check for Our Churches Wider Mission and Per Capita dues.  The Treasurer is responsible to the Board of Directors.

(d) Moderator. The Moderator shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the congregation; is Chairperson of the Diaconate; shall, with the Minister and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, arrange the program of the Annual Meetings.

(e) Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the Board; shall, with the Moderator and Minister, arrange for the program at the Annual Meeting; may appoint a vice-chairperson of the Board of Directors to act in-his/her absence; shall preside at any regular or special meetings of the congregation in the event of the absence of the Moderator.

(f) Secretary of the Board of Directors. Shall:

(1) Keep minutes of all regular and special meetings of the Board of Directors and the minutes of the business meetings of the Church.

(2) Care for correspondence arising out of Board action.

(g) Historian. The Historian shall keep in permanent form a record of events, which may be of historical interest in the life of the church; official documents, such as old Clerk’s books, etc., which are of historical interest, and artifacts pertaining to the history of the church. It shall be the duty of the Historian to keep a scrapbook of activities and notices. The Historian may request that the Chairperson of the Board of Directors appoint a special committee to assist in planning anniversary celebrations and commemorative events. The Historian is welcome, but not required, to attend the meetings of the Board of Directors.

Article IX – Standing Committees

Section 1. The Standing Committees of the Church shall be: Stewardship; Welcoming and Membership; Laymen; Laywomen; Youth; Music; Property; Public Relations; Religious Education; Fellowship; Ministry of Volunteers; Ushering; Mission and Outreach; Wedding/Wedding Reception; Memorial; Pastoral Relations and Personnel.

Section 2. Selection of Chairpersons. The Chairpersons of the respective committees are Officers of the Church and by virtue of their office are members of the Board of Directors and Trustees of the Church. They shall be nominated for their office and elected as prescribed in Article VI, Section 3 and Article X, Section 2 (a).

Section 3.  Selection of Committee Members. At the call of the new Chairperson of the Board of Directors, the Committee Chairpersons will meet to select from the complete file of the church family an adequate number of members for the work of the committee. No standing committee shall have less than three members, including the chairperson.

Section 4. A majority of the members of a committee shall be members of the church. The chairpersons ofthe committees must be members of Wright Church. (Youth chairpersons and committee members need not be members of Wright Church.)

Section 5.  Committee Procedure and Scope of Work. To insure continuity from year to year in the work of each committee, the keeping of minutes and a record of work accomplished is recommended. Each committee shall meet as early in the year as possible to determine its program of work for the year. The Chairpersons of each Committee shall bring the recommendations of the Committee to the Board of Directors for its approval before the program is placed in operation, unless it continues obvious and expected policy of the previous Committee.

Section 6. 

Written Reports. Written reports are required from all Chairpersons at time of Annual Meeting in January.

Section 7.

Duties of Committees.

(a) Stewardship. The Stewardship Committee shall be:

(1) Responsible for the preparation of the budget after conferring with the committees that have a direct interest. This budget shall be presented for discussion and approval to the November meeting of the Board of Directors.

(2) Responsible for presenting to the Board of Directors its plan for the raising of the budget. Upon approval of the plans, the Stewardship Committee will proceed to secure the pledges for the underwriting of the budget.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Stewardship Committee to seek additional pledges from new members and new families that the Church may be serving through one of its organizations or activities.

(4) Special Church wide appeals for funds should be cleared with the Stewardship Committee and be approved by the Board of Directors.

(5) Promote Stewardship throughout the year.

(b) Welcoming and Membership. The Welcoming and Membership Committee shall be responsible for the adequate and proper greeting of visitors and members of the church at its regular services of worship. They shall seek to obtain the names, street addresses, mail addresses, and telephone numbers of such guests. A list of such names should be turned over to the Minister following each service.  They shall recruit, reclaim, and assist in assimilation of members of the Church.

(c) Laymen. The Laymen’s Committee shall be responsible for the promotion of an active Laymen’s organization in the church.

(d) Laywomen. (Women’s Fellowship). The Laywomen’s Committee shall seek to provide opportunities for the women of the church and community to organize either in age or interest groups.

(e) Youth. A young person from the age level of the Youth organizations shall represent their viewpoint and vote on the Board of Directors. Church membership of the Youth Representative on the Board of Directors shall be waived.

(f) Music. The Music Committee shall be responsible for appropriate and competently rendered music at all regular and special services of worship.  When a vacancy occurs in the position of organist, assistant organist, or choir director, it will be the duty of the Music Committee to recommend to the Board of Directors the person to fill the vacant position. Board confirmation must be obtained before any such position can be permanently filled.

(g) Property. The Property Committee shall have charge of the maintenance of the Church property. They shall also have the responsibility of recommending needed improvements.  The work of the custodial services shall be supervised by this Committee, and he/she is directly responsible to this  Committee.

(h) Public Relations. It is the responsibility of this committee to keep the programs of the Church before the eyes of the public through the several channels of publicity, i.e. Mail, Newspapers, Newsletter, Church Calendars, Bulletin Boards, Radio, and T.V.

They shall:

(1) Send into the newspapers notice of all regular and special meetings and articles of special interest on the activities of the church.

(2) Edit and send out (monthly), in cooperation with the Church staff, a Newsletter to all Church families when facilities and personnel are available.

(i) Religious Education. It shall be the duty of this committee to formulate programs that shall guide religious education and study groups of the children, members, and friends of the church. The committee shall also be responsible to maintain the church library.

(g) Fellowship. The duty of the Fellowship Committee is to provide throughout the year; special fellowship events e.g. social activities or bereavement receptions. The Fellowship Committee shall provide for hosts and hostesses for fellowship time around worship services.

(k) Ministry of Volunteers. This Committee will encourage all members to express their faith through volunteer ministry and to facilitate the church in fulfilling its mission through the Volunteer ministries of the members.  The Committee shall present a slate of nominees at the November meeting of the Board of Directors for approval and recommendation to the Budget and Election Meeting. The consent of nominees shall be obtained before the names are presented to the Board of Directors. This slate of nominees shall then be posted at least one week in advance of said meeting.  The Committee, in cooperation with the Church Secretary, shall keep a record of all Church Officers and their terms of service.  It shall maintain a file on all members adding to the file as members join the church.  The Committee shall work throughout the year identifying volunteers, matching them to positions and recruiting them. When a vacancy occurs (during the year) it shall recommend a replacement to the Board of Directors. .

(l) Ushering. The Ushering Committee shall be responsible for the orderly and proper ushering at all regular and special services of worship. They shall also see that the place of worship is comfortable, lighted and in order. Members shall be responsible for seeing that the Church building is locked.

(m) Mission and Outreach. This Committee shall be responsible for Mission Interpretation and Education and shall promote giving through Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM). It shall keep the membership informed concerning the Social issues of our day, and they shall seek to enlist the support of church members in Social Action projects, which they deem r.significant and practical.

(n) Wedding and Reception. It shall be the duty of this Committee to be available with adequate help for the arranging, preparing and serving at weddings and wedding receptions when requested. This committee shall be responsible for the collection of all charges for their services and for the nominal charge for the use of the Church and equipment. The net amount for their services and the amount received for use of the Church shall be turned over to the Financial Secretary, after necessary expenses are provided for receptions.

(0) Memorial. This Committee shall maintain the record of memorial gifts, report to and make recommendations to the Board of Directors, and act as a liaison between the Church and the family involved. The Financial Secretary will assist this committee by acknowledging the gift upon its receipt.

(P) Pastoral Relations and Personnel. This committee shall be responsible for overseeing the relationship between the congregation and the Pastor as well as the relationship between paid personnel and the congregation. This committee shall maintain employee and volunteer records such as background checks that may be required. The committee shall maintain annual performance evaluations of all paid staff including the Pastor. Each committee that oversees paid staff shall report the performance of its staff to this committee. This committee will evaluate the performance of the Pastor. A member of this committee shall meet with the minister and spouse at least once a year for an exchange of concerns. The committee shall review salary recommendations for staff and report its recommendations to the Board for consideration. This committee, for recommendation to the Board, will review the hiring and termination of paid staff. The committee shall meet openly at least once annually to allow congregation members and staff to voice praises and concerns of paid staff as well as the Pastor. It may meet whenever necessary to discuss personnel matters.

Article X – Special Committees

The Board of Directors shall establish Special Committees as needs arise.

Section 1.

Special Committees of the Church need not have direct representation on the Board of Directors. They shall report and make recommendations concerning their work as they deem necessary.

Section 2.

The term of office of Special Committees shall be specified for the duration of a specifically assigned task or for the calendar year.

Article XI – Meetings

Section 1.

Public services of worship shall be held on Sunday and at such other times as the Church may determine.

Section 2.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may be celebrated at such times as the Diaconate may determine.

Section 3.

The Baptism of adults and Baptism or Consecration of Children shall be administered at such times as the Minister or, in his/her absence, the Diaconate may appoint. No Sacrament is compulsory on any member.

Section 4.

Other services of worship, inspiration, prayer and study may be held as determined by the Church.

Section 5.

Business Meetings.

(a) Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting shall be held in January, the date being set by the Board of Directors, to hear the yearly reports of the officers, organizations, and committees and to transact business and set up plans for the new year.

(b) Budget and Election Meeting. A meeting of the church for the purpose of adopting a proposed budget and electing officers for the ensuing fiscal year shall be held in November.  At this meeting the Church shall receive proposals through the Stewardship Committee for the budget for the next year.

(c) Special Meetings. The Board of Directors may call special meetings. The nature of the business to be transacted shall be stated in the call. The call may be made by the Board of Directors or by written request stating the objective from any ten members. Notice of the call must be read on the Sunday next preceding the day set for the meeting and posted prior to the announcement.

Section 6.

Rules and Regulations

(a) Voting Age. All members are eligible to vote.

(b) Quorum. A quorum shall consist of 35 voting members of the Church.

(c) Reports. All officers and committees shall give written reports at the Annual Meeting in January and at such other times as may be requested by the Church, and such reports shall be filed with the Church  Secretary.

(d) Order. Roberts Rules of Order shall govern this body.

Article XII – Official Year

The Official Year of the Church shall begin January first, and all Officers, Boards, and Committees shall assume their duties at that time and continue until the next official year, except that previous officers shall serve until properly qualified successors are elected or appointed.

Article XIII – Property

Section 1.

The Church may in its corporate name sue or be sued, acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest or otherwise and own, hold, invest, re-invest or dispose of property; both real and personal, for such work as the Church may undertake and may purchase, own, receive, hold, manage, care for and transfer, rent, lease, mortgage or otherwise encumber, sell, assign, transfer and convey such property for the general purposes of the Church; it may receive and hold in trust both real and personal property and invest and re-invest the same and make any contracts for promoting the objects and purposes of the Church.

Section 2.

If this church is ever dissolved, its assets and all property and interests of which it shall then be possessed, including any devise, bequest, gift of grant contained in any will or other instrument, in trust or otherwise, made before or after such dissolution shall be used entirely for religious and charitable purposes and/or transferred to the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Article XIV – Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Church members present and voting at any Annual Meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose, notice of the nature of the proposed amendments having been given from pulpit on two preceding Sundays.

 

Constitution adopted March 14, 1948

Amended and revised December 11, 1949

Amended November 1950

Reprinted 1955

Amended October 1961

Amended and revised January 12, 1964

Amended January 11, 1970

Amended January 12, 1975

Amended January 11, 1976

Amended November 1980

Amended January 11, 1987

Amended January 15, 1989

Amended November 12, 1989

Amended and revised September 2004