BY LAWS of the Unitarian Christian Emerging Church (UCEC)
The Church and ministries by-laws were established on August 14, 2012; revised and approved on April 7, 2013. The Policy, operations, and procedures (POP) manual is available for inspection upon request.
THE UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN EMERGING CHURCH
Article 1 – Objective of By-laws:
1.1 - It is the intentions of these “By-laws” to set forth; structure, rules, and regulations, to delegate authorities and responsibilities so that all those choosing to unite with UCEC might do so with full knowledge of these By-laws that are herein set forth to establish this Organization.
1.2 - Let it be known to all that these By-laws are in no way to be used to infringe on the congregational polity or internal self-governance of any member churches or other such member groups. All such Members shall be independent of this Organization except as may be established by these By-laws for the purpose of fulfilling our common goals.
Article 2 – Name and Organization:
2.1 – The name of this religious organization shall be “The Unitarian Christian Emerging Church” (UCEC): hereafter herein referred to as ‘UCEC” or “The Church”.
2.2 – This Church shall be organized as a Non-Profit Corporation within the State of Massachusetts, USA and shall operate as a 501c3 organization per statute. The incorporated name as listed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall be the
Unitarian Christian Emerging Church & Ministries.
2.3 – The Church may also affirm and endorse various faith based mission programs and other related projects, these shall operate as The Unitarian Christian Ministries and are an extension of the work of The Church. All legal filings for such work are under the name of
the UCEC and its ministries.
Article 3 – Policy, Operations and Procedures Manual:
3.1 – The Church Council shall direct the Executive Office and staff to develop, establish and maintain an Official “UCEC- Policy, Operations and Procedures Manual” (POP Manual).
3.2 – The POP Manual shall be used by the Church, Officers, Council and Members to guide the overall “day to day” management and direction of the Church. The content and extent of the Manual shall be as deemed necessary and required under the direction of the Church Executive Officer and as ratified by the Church Council.
3.3 – The Church Council shall be the final authority and interpreter of the POP Manual with total and complete oversight of its content and use.
3.4 – The entire “Policy, Operations and Procedures Manual” shall be reviewed and ratified no less than twice each year, the “year” beginning with the ratification of the first edition.
3.5 – After review and reaching a consensus, the Council shall vote to ratify the Manual by no less than a two thirds (2/3) majority vote.
3.6 – The E.O. may call for a general modification review, discussion and vote for the on-going maintenance of the POP Manual in whole or part at any regular or called meeting of the Council.
Article 4 – Purpose and Principles of the Church:
4.1 – Purpose of the Church:
4.1.A – The purpose of this Church shall be;
4.1.A (i) - to promote the Unitarian Christian faith; to provide a platform for the education of anyone interested in the faith;
4.1.A (ii) - to provide a source of support for the establishment of various types of groups that might choose to assemble with the intentions of promoting the Unitarian Christian faith;
4.1.A (iii) - to provide a source of Ordination/Licenses for those seeking such credentials for Unitarian Christian Ministries;
4.1.A (iv) - to promote and certify the establishment of Unitarian Christian churches and other such groups;
4.1.A (v) - to provide a source for various types of literature and other media relative to the work of UCEC and the faith and foster education within the faith.
4.1.A (vi) - to promote charitable acts and causes;
4.1.A (vii) - to foster fellowship, goodwill, moral, ethical and responsible conduct among all peoples respecting the freewill of all;
4.1.A (viii) - and to further such other purposes as might be established by the Church Council.
4.2 – Principles of this Church:
4.2.A – Religious Principles:
4.2.A (i) – To empower people to live better lives, as they serve God & humanity;
4.2.A (ii) – To minister to the less fortunate:
4.2.A (iii) – To encourage truth seeking;
4.2.A (iv) – To be a ministry of compassion in times of both joy and sorrow;
4.2.A (v) - To establish an organization to promote the Unitarian Christian Faith without bounds;
4.2.A (vi) – To provide and promote such helps as might be necessary toward the education of all seeking to further their knowledge of Unitarian Christianity and especially as that might relate to the 21st Century world we live in.
4.2.A (vii) – To provide an avenue for the establishment of Unitarian Christian clergy in their various forms.
4.2.A (viii) – To promote the establishment of various types of local Unitarian Christian organizations such as: meet-up groups, home churches and formal churches.
4.2.B – Governance Principles:
4.2.B (i) - The UCEC shall be governed by the highest principles reachable by man as directed toward service to God and our fellow humankind and to all of God’s creation.
4.2.B (ii) – This Church shall be governed by a Church Council as a seated body, established as a quorum (simple majority) of Members required to conduct office business, using the principles of just Parliamentary Procedures as they might relate to religious institutions. The Church Council shall be Chaired by the seating
Executive Director of UCEC, unless over-ridden by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council, and shall include; the Administrative Officer of UCEC, and a maximum of seven (7) Council Representatives with at least one (1) of these Representatives being a Lay Member of the Church with the remainder being Clergy Members. The minimum number of Council representatives shall be (3) three. The Qualifications and duties for each of these Council Members shall be as defined within these By-Laws, unless amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Council.
4.3 – Congregational Polity: Nothing in these By-Laws or Amendments shall be construed as infringing on the congregational polity or internal self-government of member congregations, groups or others joined with or affiliated to UCEC.
Article 5 – Membership of the Church:
This Church shall be open to receive Members. These Members shall come of their own freewill and with full understanding of the work and beliefs of this Church. All Members shall remain in good standing with this Church as long as they shall reside with the Body in peace and choose to do so. A Member may be removed only for just cause after a vote of the Church Council with a two-thirds (2/3) majority ruling. The Members of this Church shall be classified as follows: Clergy Members, Lay Member, Church Members, Group Members and Friend Members, the description of each shall be as stated within these By-Laws unless amended by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Council. All those seeking membership with UCEC shall submit a statement that they have read these “By-Laws” and understand their content. The Council reserves the right to establish the guidelines and procedures for clergy recognition and ordination, and also the awareness of lay membership categories within the church. Current criteria for memberships are published in the UCEC Policy, Operations and Procedures Manual.
Article 6 – The Church Council:
6.1 - General Authority: There shall be a UCEC/Church Council as referenced in Section 4.2.B (ii) herein. This Council shall have general oversight and governance of the business and other affairs of the Church unless delegated to another entity or as provide by these By-Laws or their amendments.
6.2 – Council Members:
6.2.A – The Council shall be structured such that it will grow as members of the organization increase (see other Sections of these By-Laws). The Council Members defined in this Section are the base Council structure and shall govern until such time as growth shall be warranted per these By-laws, and/or as prescribed by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the UCEC Council.
6.2.B – The Chair of the Council shall be the Executive Director of UCEC unless over-ridden by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council, to which the ruling of the Council vote shall stand as final.
6.2.C – The Church Administrative Officer shall be a member of this Council, and shall “stand in” in the absence of the Executive Director at the Majority will of the Council.
6.2.D – There shall be seven (7) Council Representatives:
6.2.D (i) – Director of Communications & Public Relations/General Operations Coordinator
6.2.D (ii) – Director of Programming & Development/Ministries Coordinator
6.2.D (iii) – Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Europe/International Relations Coordinator
6.2.D (iv) – Community Outreach Coordinator
6.2.D (v) – Interfaith Liaison
6.2.D (vi) – Youth Fellowship Liaison
6.2.D (vii) – Lay Member Representative
6.2.E – The Executive Director shall cause to be developed a “Description of Duties” document, to be reviewed and approved by majority vote of the Church Council, the document shall be reviewed and modified as necessary on a timely basis, but no less than annually. The Church Council may vote to suspend or modify this clause as they might desire. This document shall not be part of these “By-Laws” unless so moved by a (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of the Church Council, as an “Amendment” to this provision.
6.2.F – Vacancies that occur on the Church Council, whether by resignation, death, incapacity, removal or otherwise, shall be filled by nomination, review and majority vote of the remaining Council Members.
6.2.G – Resignation of Council Members may proceed at any time by giving written notice to the Executive Director, who shall bring such resignation to the attention of the remaining Council Members and officers of the Church in a timely manner. Such resignation shall take effect at the time specified therein, or as approved by vote of the Council.
6.2.H – Removal of any Council Member for cause shall be by (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of a quorum of the remaining Council Members. A Member may be removed for: (1) violation of these By-Laws; or (2) engaging in any other conduct prejudicial to the best interest of UCEC as might be determined by the Church Council. The Council Member being reviewed shall be notified in writing by the Executive Director of said action, stating in sufficient detail the “charges” and stating a specific time frame for the Reviewed to respond and the date and time the Church Council will review the “charges”. The time frames for each step in this process shall be reasonable enough to allow response from the Member being reviewed, in no case less than (10) ten calendar days. The Member being reviewed may choose to address the Council at the designated meeting and shall be given reasonable time to present their views/defense, as appropriate and as they may choose. The final decision of the Council shall be recorded in the Minutes of the Meeting and a copy of said decision shall be forwarded to the reviewed. The Church Council shall act on the basis of reasonable and consistent criteria, always with the objective of advancing the best interests of UCEC.
6.2.I – The Chairperson of the Church Council shall be the Executive Officer unless so moved by a (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of the remaining members of the Council. This clause may be modified by amendment. The duties of the Executive Director shall be as described within the “Description of Duties” document of Section 6.2.E herein, and/or as approved by the Council.
6.2.J – An Executive Committee may be seated at the will of the Church Council by simple majority vote from their members. The powers of the Executive Committee shall be determined by the Council within the motion to create and such Committee and their duties shall be recorded in the official minutes of the Council meeting and published in the “Description of Duties” document of Section 6.2.E herein. The Executive Committee shall work in concert and cooperation with the Executive Director and as instructed by the Council. All recommendations of the Executive Committee shall be subject to a majority vote of the Council. In the interim period between the promulgation of the recommendations of the Executive Committee and said meeting of the Council, the recommendations of the Executive Committee shall be followed/enforced. The Executive Director nor the Administrative Officer may be members of the Executive Committee, but shall interact with said Committee as necessary to facilitate the work of the Church. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to appoint such “advisors” as might be Deemed necessary, however, such “advisors” shall not have a “vote” on any matter.
6.2.K – Other committees, task forces or such sub-groups, may be created by (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of the Church Council. The name of the entity, the members and the specific duties for the entity shall be stated within the motion to create and recorded within the minutes of said meeting.
6.2.L – Meetings of the Church Council shall be held upon notice of the Executive Director, such notice shall be provided in writing to each Council Member and such others subject to agenda items as might be appropriate and in sufficient time as to allow reasonable response. This shall mean both “regular” and “special” meetings. Regular meetings of the Council shall be held not less than once in any three (3) month period beginning with the date of the first Council meeting. The date and time of said meetings shall be set at the end of the preceding meeting and notice shall be made to all Council Members.
6.2.M – A Quorum shall be required for the conduct of official business by the Church Council. A quorum shall consist of a simple majority number of members present of the total number of Council Members. Should a quorum not be available for any given meeting the Council may not vote or otherwise act on any item, but simple address of any item is allowed, and recommendations may be made to a future Council meeting. Minutes of all meetings shall be kept and maintained by the Church.
6.2.N – Meetings of the Church Council may be in person or by electronic media (phone, etc.).The conduct of all Council Meetings shall follow the articles of these “By-Laws” and shall be conducted in peace and cooperation by all present with the good of the Church the goal of all.
6.2.O – No compensation shall be made to any ‘Officer”, “Council Member” or other individuals whomever, except by amendment to this article by a (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of a seated Church Council. Any documented expenses incurred by such individuals may be reimbursed with Council approval, it is recommended that such approval be issued prior to the expenditure but not mandatory, however the individual assumes all responsibility.
6.2.P - UCEC shall indemnify its Officers and Church Council Members to the fullest extent of applicable law. This shall include, but not limited to; the defense of civil or criminal actions or proceedings, from and against any and all judgments, fines, amounts paid in settlement, and reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees, actually and necessarily incurred or imposed as a result of such action or proceeding or any appeal therein, imposed upon or asserted against him or her by reason of their acting within the scope of their official duties, but only when such actions were in good faith for a purpose which they reasonably believed to be in the best interests of UCEC. This indemnification does not apply to willful and/or intentional unlawful acts that may be committed by any Officer or Church Council Member in the commission of any felony or misdemeanor as defined by applicable law.
Article 7 – Principal Office and Registered Agent of the UCEC will be listed in the Policy, Operations and Procedures Manual of this church. The offices and registered agent may from time to time be changed or relocated as per Council Administrative Action.
Article 8 – Final Articles:
8.1 – Use of funds: No part of the net earnings of the Church shall be used to the direct or indirect benefit of any of the Officers, Council Members, other members of the Church or other private person, except that the Church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for goods provided and services rendered and make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes of the Church and the Articles of these By-Laws.
8.2 – Political activities by or on behalf of the UCEC shall be prohibited in all its forms. UCEC is a religious organization not a political entity of any kind. Anyone violating this article shall be subject to discipline and/or dismissal within the Articles of these By-Laws.
8.3 – Legal status: Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the UCEC shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or other applicable tax code or (b) by a corporation contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or other applicable tax code.
8.4 – Dissolution: Should cause and reason for the dissolution of UCEC be required for any reason, the Church Council shall convene and make the following decisions;
8.4.A – Is dissolution of UCEC required and if so why.
8.4.B – Should the vote to dissolve be by unanimous or (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of the Church Council and should such action be ratified by a majority vote of existing UCEC members. With these decisions being made the Council shall follow through with the actions approved.
8. 4.C – On dissolution the Council shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all lawful debts and liabilities of UCEC, distribute all the assets of UCEC as approved by a (2/3) two-thirds majority vote of the Council. If the Council elects to donate the remaining funds of UCEC, such donation shall be to another 501(c)(3) entity friendly to the Unitarian Christian Faith.
8.5 – Amendments to By-Laws: These By-Laws may be amended by a (2/3) two-thirds majority vote at any meeting of the Church Council. An amendment to be proposed at a meeting shall be published in writing to each Council Member at least (10) ten calendar days prior to the date of the meeting. An amendment so made shall be effective immediately after adoption unless and effective date is specifically adopted at the time the amendment is enacted.
A Unitarian Christian Covenant
We affirm our faith and belief in One True God who is called by many names.
The Christ Jesus, a truly beloved son of God, who was born unto humanity to teach us the guiding principles of His beloved Father.
And the Holy Spirit of God, as the guiding force for which we are named after in Baptism.
A Unitarian Christian Belief
"All are Welcomed at My Fathers Table, where no one is a stranger to another."
A Unitarian Christian Prayer
May the God of Light and Wisdom be with us always, may the Christ Jesus
keep us centered in faith, and may the Spirit of Life grant us peace all our days. Amen.