Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, Indiana
ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this religious organization is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, Indiana (UUCCI).
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
The purpose of UUCCI shall be to encourage Unitarian Universalism and liberal religion. With reason and love as our guides, and without dogma or creed, we are a religious community dedicated to the free and responsible search for meaning and interconnectedness. We gather to provide a sanctuary for diversity, to provide education for our children and ourselves, to promote social responsibility and justice, to celebrate life, and to be inspired to be our best selves.
ARTICLE III: DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION
The UUCCI shall foster understanding of and participation in the larger Unitarian Universalist organizations. The UUCCI shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and an affiliate of the Heartland District and their successors. It is the intention of this organization to make annual financial contributions to the Association and the District.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 – Any person in sympathy with the purpose and methods of the organization as described in the statement of purpose may become a member by signing the membership book in the presence of a member of the Board of Trustees or the Minister.
Section 2 – No subscriptions to creed or participation in ceremony are required of members.
Section 3 – Membership in and employment by this congregation and participation in any of its activities, are open to all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, national origins, disability, or age. The only exception to this section is that, as specified in Article IV, Section 4, members must be at least 18 years old to vote on matters of acquisition or disposal of property.
Section 4 – There shall be three categories of membership, as follows:
- Active Member – An Active Member is one who, in the presence of a member of the Board of Trustees or the Minister, has signed the Membership Book and who participates in and takes responsibility for the life of the Congregation.
- Voting Member – A Voting Member is one who is an Active Member and who supports the life of the Congregation by making a financial contribution of record within the current or previous fiscal year. In order to vote at a Congregational Meeting, one must meet this definition of Voting Member at least 8 days prior to the meeting. Only Voting Members age 18 and older
may vote on matters of acquisition and disposal of property.
- Associate Member – An Associate Member is one who has been an Active Member and who maintains a continuing interest in the life of the Congregation, but is unable to attend meetings or otherwise to participate in or be responsible for its activities.
Section 5 – The Secretary shall keep a current record of members
ARTICLE V: CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS
Section 1 – Notice of a Congregational Meeting shall be sent or given to every member at least 8 days before the day of the meeting by mailing a written notice, via the newsletter (which may be via e-mail), or by manual distribution in lieu of mailing. The notice shall include the business to be transacted and the time and place of the meeting. Notices shall be posted on the activity board.
Section 2 – A quorum shall be 20% of the number of Voting Members as of the date of the most recent Annual Congregational Meeting, present in person. Majority vote decides any question, unless otherwise required by these Bylaws. Friends of the organization who are not members shall be welcome at all meetings and may be given the courtesy of the floor.
Section 3 – Voting Members may, in writing prior to the meeting (if by email, a phone call is also required to be received at least 2 days prior to the meeting), inform a UUCCI Board Member, prior to a Congregational Meeting, that because they are unable to attend the meeting, they are assigning a proxy vote to another specified Voting Member. The member must also notify the person to whom they are giving their proxy. This proxy request may be revoked if the same UUCCI Board member receives a revocation request in writing prior to the start of the meeting. Each Voting Member attending the meeting may proxy for only one other Voting Member. The proxy may be cast on any business which is to come before that meeting, except on the vote to call a minister. Proxies will not be utilized in establishing a quorum.
Section 4 – The Annual Congregational Meeting (Annual Meeting) shall be held each year in the month of February or March at such time and place as shall be fixed by the Board of Trustees. The business of the Annual Meeting shall include the following: call to order; acceptance of the minutes of the previous Annual Meeting and of Special Congregational Meetings held during the year; reports of officers, committees, and the Minister; elections; unfinished business; new business; proposed annual budget discussion; and adjournment.
The list of nominees for elected offices, prepared by the Nominating Committee, shall be included with the notice for the Annual Meetings. Additional nominations may be made by the membership at the Annual Meeting.
Section 6 – The rules contained in the current “Democratic Rules of Order” shall govern in all cases unless they are inconsistent with these Bylaws.
Section 7 – Special Congregational Meetings of the membership may be called by the President, or by any two members of the Board of Trustees, or by the Secretary upon receipt of a written petition signed by at least 20% of the number of Voting Members.
Section 8 – On issues of congregational “opinion”, public stands on social issues by the congregation must be voted on by the Voting Members, with a unanimous vote of at least three-fourths of the Voting Members responding. Because of the need to act quickly in many cases, “positive notification” of Voting Members may be made by mail, email or phone, giving the Voting Member three days to respond. Responses may be in person at the voting meeting, by hard copy, signed vote mailed or delivered to a board member prior to the meeting, or by email from the Voting Member.
ARTICLE VI: BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Section 1 – There shall be a Board of Trustees (the Board) composed of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, and three At-Large Trustees. The Minister shall be a non-voting member of the Board of Trustees.
Section 2 – The positions of Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President are one-year terms. Persons are elected at the Annual Congregational Meeting to a three-year Presidential cycle, serving three consecutive one-year terms as Vice President, President and Immediate Past President. The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected at the Annual Congregational Meeting for one-year terms. Only Voting Members may be elected to these positions.
Section 3 – At-Large Trustees shall be elected at the Annual Congregational Meeting for staggered two-year terms with a maximum of three consecutive terms. Only Voting Members shall be eligible for election as Trustees.
Section 4 – The President shall, when present, preside at meetings of the membership and Board of Trustees and represent the organization on appropriate occasions. The President may perform other duties as prescribed by the Board of Trustees.
Section 5 – Vice President shall act as the President in the absence of the President.
Section 6 – The Secretary shall: (a) keep records of the Board of Trustees meetings and congregational meetings; (b) see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law; (c) handle official correspondence of the organization; (d) in conjunction with the treasurer, maintain a roster of the Voting Members; (e) and perform such other duties as may be prescribed.
The Secretary shall post notices to the members by mail, manual distribution, or via the newsletter of all Annual, Budget, and Special Congregational Meetings and the affairs to be voted upon.
Section 7 – The Treasurer shall receive and provide for the safekeeping of all money and other property of the organization entrusted to the Treasurer’s care; disburse payments under the direction of the Board of Trustees; keep complete records of the finances of the organization. The financial books and records are the property of UUCCI and shall be open to inspection at any time by the Board of Trustees. In all other cases, confidentiality of pledges shall be respected.
The Treasurer shall present financial reports on a quarterly basis and as requested by the Board of Trustees.
The Treasurer may appoint one or more assistants with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
Section 8 – The At-Large Trustees, together with the officers, shall be responsible for providing long-term direction for the organization. They shall participate in all meetings and processes of the Board of Trustees. The At-Large Trustees are responsible for providing on-going leadership for the organization.
Section 9 – Members of the Board of Trustees and all other elected persons may be removed from office for nonperformance of duties. A vote of five members of the Board of Trustees is required to remove a person from office.
Section 10 – The Board shall be responsible for the general health and well-being of the organization, and the functioning of UUCCI and its several committees. It shall be responsible for maintaining communication regarding UUCCI matters among members, friends, and committees. It approves or disapproves all proposals for new organizations or programs within UUCCI and works for consensus from the membership when feasible on proposals sensitive to the Purpose (Article II).
The Board shall be responsible for the administration of the UUCCI organization, the operation and maintenance of its facilities, and the conduct of all its business affairs within the guidelines of these Bylaws.
Section 11 – At any official meeting of the Board, five voting Trustees shall constitute a quorum.
Section 12 – A vacancy in an elected position on the Board of Trustees may occur: any person elected or appointed to fill a vacant position shall meet all eligibility requirements for election to that position. The Vice President shall automatically succeed to the position of President. The Board of Trustees shall elect a successor to serve the unexpired term when a vacancy occurs in the office of Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or Trustee until the next Annual Meeting. The most recent Immediate Past President willing and continuing to meet the eligibility requirements may fill a vacancy in the position of Immediate Past President. When a person fills a vacancy in an unexpired term and serves that office for more than half a term, the person is considered to have served a full term.
Section 13 – On issues of “opinion”, public stands on social issues by the Board of Trustees, as our UU Board of Trustees, must have the unanimous vote of the full Board of Trustees.
ARTICLE VII: COMMITTEES
Section 1 – Standing committees for carrying on the work of the organization such as Sunday Services, Finance, Building and Grounds, Religious Education, and Membership or ad hoc committees of the organization may be created and dissolved by the Board of Trustees. Such committees shall be supervised by the Board or its delegate.
Section 2 – The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Immediate Past President and two additional members appointed annually by the Board of Trustees. Appointed committee members may not serve more than three consecutive one-year terms. The Immediate Past President shall serve as chairperson of the committee. The committee’s function is to prepare a slate of nominations for all elective offices to be voted upon at the Annual Meeting. It shall attempt to have nominees represent the breadth of the beliefs within the organization. The slate shall be included with the notice for the Annual Meeting. They will also recommend committee chairs.
ARTICLE VIII: MINISTRY
Section 1 – A new minister shall be recommended by a ministerial search committee, following the Ministerial Search Committee Policy for UUCCI. The committee shall have 7 members, 4 of whom are elected by the congregation, with the remaining 3 appointed by the Board of Trustees. Election of 4 members of the Search Committee will be by secret written ballot from a slate of 12-14 people who have been recommended via a survey of voting members. The board will resolve any results of the vote that may end in a tie. In appointing the remaining 3 members to the committee, the board will make a concerted effort to assure diversity on the committee. The board will publish the makeup of the Search Committee without delineating which members were elected and which were appointed. There will be a Special Congregational Meeting called for the purpose of calling a new minister. Acceptance of the ministerial candidate shall be by a 90% agreement of the voting members present. Voting by proxy will not be accepted in the vote to call a minister.
The Minister shall serve for an indefinite term, but may be dismissed by a 50% vote of the members voting at a meeting called for that purpose. In the event of dismissal, the Minister’s salary shall continue for three months after the vote for dismissal. The Minister may resign by giving three months written notice to the Board of Trustees.
Section 2 – The Minister is an ex-officio member with voting privileges in the membership, and an ex officio member without voting privileges of the Board of Trustees. The Minister shall act as adviser to all other committees and organizations and shall give periodic reports as requested by the Board of Trustees.
Section 3 – On issues of “opinion”, public stands on social issues by the Minister, as our UU Minister, must have the unanimous vote of the full Board of Trustees.
Section 4 – All other professional and support staff responsibilities shall be defined by the Board of Trustees, which shall determine direct lines of reporting as appropriate to a staff member’s job duties.
ARTICLE IX: FISCAL MATTERS
Section 1 – The fiscal year shall commence June 1 and end May 31.
Section 2 – The Board shall recommend a proposed Annual Operation Budget (Annual Budget), based on recommendations from the Finance Committee and present it at the Annual Meeting for discussion, possible amendment, and a vote of approval. The Board shall adjust the budget as needed after the pledge drive.
A Budget Planning Meeting shall be held each year at such time and place as fixed by the Board of Trustees. The business of this meeting shall include action on the annual budget. Budget requests shall be submitted by committee chairs. All members are welcome to attend.
Section 3 – Expenditures exceeding 5% of the Annual Budget, not specifically itemized in the Annual Budget requires authorization at a Special Congregational Meeting, except that, when there is imminent danger to any person or property, the Board of Trustees may authorize the expenditure up to 20% of the Annual Budget.
The Board may reallocate budgeted amounts within the Annual Budget, providing that in each case the cumulative amounts do not exceed 5% of the Annual Budget.
The Board may approve capital expenditures not exceeding the lesser of $15,000 or 50% of the Capital Fund. Capital expenditures above this threshold require authorization at a Special Congregational Meeting.
Section 4 – The Board, on behalf of the membership, shall have ultimate responsibility for the property of UUCCI. Any change of ownership of UUCCI property of historical value, or value in excess of 2% of the Annual Budget, shall be approved at the Annual Meeting or at a Special Congregational Meeting called for that purpose. Exceptions to the 2% rule shall be made for securities or property donated with the intent that they be liquidated for the benefit of the organization.
Section 5 – The President and one other officer may sign any deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts or other instruments approved by the Board of Trustees, and the membership when appropriate, as expressed in these Bylaws.
In the event that the membership authorizes the borrowing of funds, the signatures of at least two of the officers shall be required on any legal documents.
Any investment strategy recommended by the Finance Committee shall be restricted to publicly traded instruments and require the approval of the Board.
Section 6 – Every three years or upon the election of a new Treasurer, whichever is sooner, the Board of Trustees will appoint a person or committee other than the Treasurer to verify cash, investment, and other significant account balances and to verify that all appropriate tax forms have been filed.
ARTICLE X: DISSOLUTION
Should this organization cease to function and the membership votes to disband, any assets will be transferred to the Unitarian Universalist Association for its general purpose after all debts and obligations are paid. This transfer is to be made in full compliance with whatever laws are applicable.
ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may be amended by two-thirds vote of those members present and voting at any Annual or Special Meeting called for that purpose. The substance of the proposed changes shall be included in the notice of the meeting.
Adopted: March 3, 1996
Articles IV, V, VI and VIII revised at Membership Meeting, March 12, 2000.
Articles I, II, IV, VI, and VII revised and Article XII added at Membership Meeting, March 10, 2002.
Article V revised at Membership Meeting, March 28, 2004.
Article V Section 3 revised at Membership Meeting August 15, 2004.
Article V Section 1, Article VI Sections 1, 5, 6, 9, 12, Article VII, and Article XII revised at Membership Meeting, March 13, 2005.
Article VI Section 10, Article VII Section 1 revised and Article VII Section 11 added at Congregational meeting, November 13, 2005.
Article II, Article III, Article IV, Article V, Article VI, Article VII, Article VIII, Article IX revised; Article VII, Sections 2-9, Article XII removed; and Article IV, Section 3, Article VIII, Section 4 added at Congregational Meeting, June 7, 2009.
Article IX, Section 3, Paragraph 3 removed at Congregational Meeting, August 8, 2010.
Article IX, Section 6 revised at Congregational Meeting March 25, 2012.
Article V, Section 4 revised and Article VII, Section 3 removed at Congregational Meeting, April 7, 2013
Article V, Section 4, “March or April” was removed and replaced with “February or March at the Congregational Meeting held January 4, 2015.
Article VIII, Section 1 revised to describe search process at Congregational Meeting held February 28, 2016.
Article V, Section 3 revised for consistency, at Congregational Meeting held February 28, 2016.
Article IV, Section 4 revised to clarifying voting membership, at Congregational Meeting held February 28, 2016.