THE BYLAWS OF ST. JAMES UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE 2015
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP
- Membership in this church shall be open to any person who has been baptized, and has been confirmed or has made public confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Members shall pledge themselves to worship regularly; to live the Christian life; to share in the life and work of the congregation; to contribute their tithes and offerings toward its local and wider ministry and mission; to seek diligently the spiritual welfare of the membership and the community; and to work for justice and peace in our world.
- Any member may, on his or her own request, be granted a letter of transfer to another congregation or may be dismissed with a certificate of church membership.
- For a period of two years an active member must attend the congregation’s worship services at least once, partake of the Lord’s Supper, and contribute to the support of the church. If, in spite of spiritual care, the member has not done the above they shall, by recommendation of the Spiritual Council, be removed from the active list and placed on the inactive list. Inactive members will not have a vote in congregational meetings or be eligible to hold office. If, after faithful efforts have been made by visitation, counsel, etc., the relationship remains unchanged after one year on the inactive list, the name may be dropped from the membership roll by a further vote of the Spiritual Council.
ARTICLE II. GOVERNANCE
The governing body of this church shall be the membership assembled in church meeting. Public notice, by email, bulletin, or direct mail must be given to the membership at least two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date. The vote of a majority of members present at the meeting shall be the action of the church. A quorum shall consist of _15_ percent of the members.
ARTICLE III. CONSISTORY
- The Consistory shall be invested with fiduciary and spiritual responsibility for the ongoing governance of the church between meetings of the membership. It shall be composed of Elders and Deacons and the Pastor. A majority of its voting members shall constitute a quorum. It shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings. All acts and deliberations of the Council are subject to the will of and revision by the governing body.
- The Consistory shall organize itself each year, electing a President, Vice-president and Secretary. These officers also shall serve as the duly-elected officers of the Church.
- The Congregation shall elect each year a Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and members of the Endowment Fund Committee whose offices are open.
- Four (4) Elders and four (4) Deacons shall be elected by majority vote cast at a congregational meeting. The Elders and Deacons shall be elected for two (2) years. They may serve three consecutive terms. After having served three (3) consecutive terms, the member may become eligible for nomination only after the expiration of a one (1) year interim period. The appointment of another member is not considered a term of office. Voting shall be by ballot. In order to provide continuity, one-half of each office shall be elected each year.
- Elders are persons who are active members having previously served as Deacons. They are elected by the congregation. Elders shall take heed to the high calling of their office. They shall assist and support the Pastor in the spiritual affairs of the congregation. They shall guard faithfully all the spiritual interests of the congregation, maintain order in the house of God, visit the sick and minister to the edification and comfort of all. They shall have jurisdiction in matters of discipline except in the case of the Pastor.
- Spiritual Council: The Pastor and all Elders shall constitute the Spiritual Council, whose duty it shall be to administer the spiritual affairs and promote the peace of the congregation.
- Deacons are persons who are active members of the congregation. They are elected by the congregation. It shall be the duty of the Deacons to cooperate with the other officers of the congregation in promoting its general interests. They shall aid in securing the funds necessary for the support of the Church in its various activities, to foster the principles of stewardship, and to dispense the charity of the congregation as a sacred trust, whether real or personal.
- Nominations shall be made for the offices of Elders, Deacons, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Endowment Fund Committee by a committee appointed each year by the Consistory. Public notice of such nominations shall be given at a worship service and by letter at least two weeks before the election. Other nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting at which the election is held.
- When elected, the members of Consistory, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and the Endowment Fund Committee shall be ordained to or installed in their respective offices.
- A member of the Consistory who misses more than three (3) meetings during a calendar year without cause shall by his/her action have that office declared vacant.
- Any vacancy occurring in the respective offices shall be filled by appointment by the Consistory. Such appointment shall be made within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of such vacancy.
- Every officer, whether elected or appointed, on leaving office, shall turn over to his/her successor any and all monies, books, ledgers, papers or records in his/her possession within ten (10) days.
- The Consistory shall provide for the preparation of an annual budget for the church which shall be approved by the congregation, arrange for the promotion of Christian stewardship among the members, and shall manage the financial assets of the congregation. The Consistory may authorize any extraordinary expense if funds are available; but if the expenditure exceeds $5000, it must receive the approval of the congregation. All transactions involving the purchase or sale of real estate property must approved by the congregation.
- In addition to the stated boards or committees, the Consistory shall appoint such other committees or task groups as it may deem necessary.
- The Consistory shall meet at least once every month for the transaction of such business as may properly come before it and be the policy-making body of the Congregation. Meetings normally should include prayer and study. The July and August meetings may be combined. Special meetings are subject to the President’s call.ARTICLE IV. PASTOR (S)
- Any Pastor serving this congregation shall have ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ, dual standing or ordained ministerial partner standing in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.
- The authorization and discipline of Pastors of this church shall be accomplished by the procedures of the United Church of Christ and carried out by the duly-authorized bodies of the Ursinus Association and/or Pennsylvania Southeast Conference.
- The Pastor(s) shall be elected by the membership at a duly-called meeting of the congregation for an indefinite period in accordance with the procedures of the United Church of Christ, the Association, and Pennsylvania Southeast Conference. In order to terminate the relationship, 60 days notice shall be given by either party in accordance with the procedures of the United Church of Christ, the Ursinus Association and Pennsylvania Southeast Conference. The termination shall be by action of the Consistory and notice of such termination shall be given by the President to the Conference Minister and to the Ursinus Association for appropriate action.
- When a vacancy in the pastoral office occurs, or when an additional pastor is to be called, it shall be the responsibility of a Search Committee, appointed by the Consistory to seek a candidate. The Search Committee shall appoint a chair of the Search Committee who will inform the Conference Minister and seek the guidance of the Conference staff in the search and call process which shall be conducted according to the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ and any policies of the Ursinus Association and/or Pennsylvania Southeast Conference. A favorable vote of 80% of members present at an election shall be necessary to confirm a new pastor. ARTICLE V. MEETINGS
- The Annual Meeting of the Congregation shall be held in the month of January. This meeting may include a review of noteworthy events of the past year as well as plans and goals for the new year.
- The Business Meeting of the Congregation shall be held in the month of November. The election of new Consistory members, financial secretary, Treasurer, and Endowment committee members described in Article III, #7 and the proposed budget shall be among the items to be voted upon.
- Special Congregational Meetings may be called by the Consistory; or by petition to the Consistory signed by 10 percent of the active members. The Consistory shall arrange for such meetings to be held within thirty (30) days.
- Notice of all congregational meetings must be given to all members at least two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting.
ARTICLE VI. RULES OF ORDER
- Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these bylaws.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS
- Amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws may be made at any duly called congregational meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the members present. Public announcement of the text of the current and proposed amendment(s) having been made two weeks prior to the meeting.