CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
CENTRAL SQUARE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Article I. Name
The name of this church is Central Square Congregational Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, as provided by Chapter 187 of the Acts of the General Court of Massachusetts of 1904. In 1961 the church became a member of the denomination known as the United Church of Christ.
Article II. Structure
This church is composed of its members, whose organization includes a Cabinet, officers, boards of administration, committees and other groupings as determined by the agreement of the members, subject to the General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 67, relating to the incorporation of churches.
Article III. Convenantal Relationships
Section 1. As a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC), Central Square Congregational Church will relate to the various expressions of the church in a convenantal manner. It will seek God's will and be faithful to God's mission, attending to its responsibilities in relation to all expressions of the church. Its decisions are made in consultation and collaboration with other parts of the structure, including its Association, Conference and the General Synod. As a member of the Body of Christ, Central Square Congregational Church is called to honor and respect the work and ministry of each other part. It listens, hears and carefully considers the advice, counsel and requests of others. In this covenant, Central Square Congregational Church joins the various expressions of the UCC to seek to walk together in all God's ways.
Section 2. Central Square Congregational Church has, in fellowship, a God-given responsibility for the UCC, its labors and its extensions, even as the UCC has, in fellowship, a God-given responsibility for the well-being and needs and aspirations of its local churches. In mutual Christian concern and in dedication to Jesus Christ, the sole Head of the Church, Central Square Congregational Church shares with the entire UCC in common Christian experience and responsibility.
Section 3. Actions by, or decisions or advice emanating from the General Synod, the Massachusetts Conference or Pilgrim Association will be held in the highest regard by Central Square Congregational Church. This regard will be evidenced by prayerful consideration and discernment, always seeking to understand the intent and always using respectful language in any communication which expresses disagreement.
Article IV. Officers
The Officers of the Church shall be as follows: Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Financial Secretary and Assistant Financial Secretary. They shall be responsible to and called by the election of the membership of the church.
Article V. Membership
Section 1. Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, is composed of persons who, believing in God as the heavenly Father, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are organized for Christian worship.
Section 2. Membership at Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, is a privilege and a process of preparation. Every member of the church takes on the mission of the church individually and in community with other members. The ministry and mission of Jesus Christ becomes the ministry and mission of every church member.
Section 3. Persons become members of Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, by: a.) baptism and either confirmation or profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; b.) re-affirmation or re-profession of faith; or c.) letter of transfer or certification from other Christian churches. Persons wishing to become members shall so inform and then consult with the pastor.
Section 4. All persons who are or shall become members of Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, are thereby members of the United Church of Christ.
Article VI. The Ministry
Section 1. Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, recognizes that God calls the whole Church and every member to participate in and extend the ministry of Jesus Christ by witnessing to the Gospel in church and society. Central Square Congregational Church, UCC seeks to support the ministry of its members by nurturing faith, calling forth gifts and equipping members for Christian service.
Section 2. Central Square Congregational Church, UCC recognizes that God calls certain individuals to forms of ministry in and on behalf of the church for which ecclesiastical authorization is required. The Call of an Ordained, Licensed or Commissioned Minister to Central Square Congregational Church, UCC establishes a covenantal relationship with both the authorized minister and the UCC as represented by the Pilgrim Association.
Section 3. In the event of pastoral vacancy, a Search Committee will be authorized to seek and present candidates for approval.
Article VII. Officers of the Church
Section 1 - Terms of Office
All officers shall be members of the church and at least 18 years of age. They shall begin their service at the end of the June Cabinet Meeting and shall serve terms of 2 years. After serving 3 consecutive full terms in an office, they shall not be eligible for re-election to that office until after the lapse of one year. No person shall serve more than one elective office at the same time. No officer shall serve on a board or permanent committee, with the exception that the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer are ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees. Neither the spouse nor adult children of ordained staff shall serve as an officer. Each outgoing officer shall provide orientation to the incoming officer.
Section 2 – Moderator
The Moderator shall preside at the Annual Meeting and at all other regular and special meetings of the church, and at all meetings of the Cabinet. He/she shall also perform other duties as specified in the By-laws section.
Section 3 – Vice Moderator
Shall perform all the duties of the Moderator whenever the Moderator is absent or unable to serve.
Section 4 Clerk
A) Shall keep a faithful record of proceedings at church meetings, providing the Moderator with one copy and keeping another on file at the church office,
B) Shall keep a register of the names of all members of the church, and the dates and modes of their reception and removal,
C) Shall keep records of all baptisms, marriages and funerals performed in the church or parish by any Pastor representing this church,
D) Shall co-operate with the Office Coordinator in maintaining files in the church office for all important correspondence and the reports of all officers, boards, and committees
E) Shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the minister(s) or the Moderator. In case the Clerk is absent from any meeting, a Clerk pro-tem shall be appointed by the Moderator
F) Shall maintain a up-to-date record of all policies, job descriptions, the Constitution and Bylaws.
Section 5 Treasurer
A) Shall receive, record, hold, and disburse all church money, under the direction of the Board of Trustees, and shall keep complete and accurate books of account
B) Shall have custody of all valuable papers relating to the property of the church and a copy of all employee contracts
C) Shall prepare regular financial statements and give reports at the direction of the Board of Trustees
D) Shall be bonded, the cost of which shall be born by the church.
E) Shall keep the church funds in such banking institutions as shall be approved by the Board of Trustees
F) Shall be an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees.
Section 6 Assistant Treasurer
A) Shall have the same duties as the Treasurer
B) Shall work closely with the Treasurer and be familiar with all the books and financial operations of the church
C) Shall perform all the duties of the Treasurer whenever the latter is absent or unable to serve
Section 7 Financial Secretary
A) Shall keep a full and correct account between the church and each person contributing
toward the current expenses and benevolences or other funds of the church
B) Shall receive all contributions to the church, whether by mail, electronic funds transfer or in the regular church offerings and in accordance with the directives of the Board of Stewardship, shall record them and deposit them in the proper bank accounts as promptly as possible, immediately notifying the Treasurer of the amounts and dates of such deposits
C) Shall periodically render statements of account to all persons who have pledged or contributed financially to the support of the church
D) Shall promptly acknowledge all unpledged identified gifts to the church other than memorial gifts
E) Shall be bonded, the cost of which shall be born by the church
Section 8 Assistant Financial Secretary
Shall have the same duties as the Financial Secretary and shall perform these duties whenever the Financial Secretary is unavailable or absent. The Assistant Financial Secretary shall work closely with the Financial Secretary so as to be familiar with all procedures and software applications.
Article VIII. Organization and Governance
Section 1. The ministry of Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, is organized into standing boards of administration and committees which are elected and authorized by, and are responsible to, the congregation. The standing boards of administration and committees may organize and delegate to other groups, as needed, to complete their work, under their supervision. The overseeing governing body is the Cabinet, which is accountable directly to the membership.
Section 2. The Cabinet
The Church Cabinet shall consist of the Pastor(s), the officers of the church (with the exception of the Financial Secretary and the Assistant Financial Secretary), the chairpersons of the boards of administration and of all permanent committees (with the exception of the Nominating Committee), and the presidents (or other executives) of all Church Organizations. All Cabinet members must be members of the church; thus if the President of an Organization is not a church member another person shall be appointed to represent that organization in the Cabinet.
The Cabinet shall hear and act upon reports of the Pastor(s), boards, committees, church organizations and officers, and maintain general oversight of the work of the church. However, decisions and actions of the Cabinet shall be subject to review by all members of the church assembled in Annual or Special Meetings, and may be modified or rescinded by a majority vote of such meetings.
The Cabinet shall meet monthly (with July and August optional) and as often as it deems necessary to accomplish its tasks. Special Meetings may be called at any time by the Moderator, the Vice Moderator, the Pastor(s) or any five members of the Cabinet. A majority of the membership of the Cabinet shall constitute a quorum. Any person may attend Cabinet as a guest but without vote. Such attendance is encouraged, especially by newer members.
D. Special Committees
The Cabinet shall have the power to appoint Special Committees for special purposes
whenever it may consider them necessary, and to supervise the work of such committees and receive reports from them. Any additional permanent committees shall be established only by amendment of this Constitution and By-Law.
E. The Budget
The Cabinet shall receive and consider the proposed Annual Budget submitted by the Board of Trustees for the operation of the church for the following year. Upon approving this proposed budget, the Cabinet shall instruct the Trustees to present and recommend it to the Church at the Budget Review Meeting; however, if the Cabinet does not approve, it shall request the Trustees to consider appropriate revisions. The Cabinet shall have emergency powers to authorize the Board of Trustees to spend or borrow up to $5,000 to meet urgent demands not anticipated in the budget. Whenever income fails to meet the budgeted expenses, the Board of Trustees shall have authority to decide where necessary cuts shall be made, or additional income secured, however, the approval of the Cabinet shall be required if any item in the budget is to be cut by more than 20%.
Section 3: Boards of Administration
A. The Board of Deacons:
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 6 members.
2. Shall be responsible, in close coordination with the pastor(s), for the spiritual, pastoral and worship needs of the members of the church and community.
3. Shall be responsible, in consultation with the pastor(s), for the Order of Worship in the church services, the preparation and distribution of the elements in the observance of the Lord's Supper, policies regarding baptisms, weddings, and funerals, and for special programs of worshipsuch as Installations, Ordinations and Pilgrim Association events.
4. Shall counsel with the pastor(s) regarding the performance of pastoral duties and shall assist and support the pastor(s), in tandem with the PPRC, in all the spiritual affairs of the church.
5. Prior to the June Cabinet Meeting, the Board shall conduct a performance evaluation with the pastor(s). The review shall be based on the goals and objectives that were established at the beginning of the annual review period. The board shall report the completion of the evaluation to the Cabinet.
6. Before October 15 of each year they shall carefully review the Pastor's salary and allowances and make an appropriate recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding those items along with budget requests to cover all the financial needs of their work for the coming year.
7. Shall establish an independent Pastor Parish Relations Committee (PPRC) with and for each pastor. The PPRC has no decision making authority, rather it is advisory in nature. Its main purpose is to monitor the quality of the relationship between the pastor(s) and congregation. It shall not be construed as a personnel or salary review committee, an evaluation committee or a channel for complaints from the congregation. The content of the meetings shall remain in confidence; only dates of meetings will be made public. Permission to share contents/recommendations requires a unanimous vote of the pastor(s) and PPRC members. Situations that are brought to the attention of the PPRC that have the potential of impacting the spiritual will being of the congregation as a whole, should be carefully considered for further consultation with the Board of Deacons. PPRC meetings shall be held on a frequency as desired by the pastor and the PPRC members, but not less than quarterly.
Whenever a new pastor is called, a new PPRC shall be established as follows. It shall consist of 5 members, 4 of whom shall be from that pastor’s search committee and one member of the congregation at large. Three of the search committee members shall have a one year term, one shall have a two year term and the at large member shall have a two year term. After that first year, the three one year term members will be replaced by three members of the congregation at large, each with a three year term. For each upcoming replacement of a member of the PPRC, the pastor shall submit a list of at least three names of members of the congregation to the Deacons for consideration. After due consideration, the pastor will chose which person of the three will be asked to serve.
8. Shall annually appoint a three person Altar Committee for the purpose of providing flowers and other appropriate items for the liturgical calendar.
B. The Board of Trustees
1. Shall consist of 6 members serving as Trustees. The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer are also members of the Board of Trustees, but without vote.
2. Shall be responsible for the maintenance and care of the church and all the physical properties of the church and church holdings. They shall inspect periodically both the church and its holdings and report to the Cabinet any conditions requiring repair or renovation.
3.Shall hire, direct and supervise the work of the Office Coordinator and the custodian and shall arrange for an annual performance review for both, prior to the June Cabinet meeting.
4.Shall supervise the use of valuable properties, such as silver service and similar portable equipment and supplies.
5.Shall maintain a book of rules and policies governing the use of the church building and its properties and equipment by members, non-members, outside organizations. They shall also be responsible for their enforcement.
6. Shall be responsible for all the business affairs of the church, including the purchase of necessary supplies.
7. Shall execute all contracts for all personnel and for leased property, furnishings, and equipment.
8. Shall annually appoint and oversee a manager of the Endowment Funds.
9. Shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, or transfer real estate, stocks, bonds, or other intangibles, nor to sell any furnishings or equipment owned by the church without specific approval by Cabinet for values up to $5000 and with vote of the church for higher values.
10. Shall project long-range financial plans by which the physical facilities of the church shall be kept in good repair and all financial obligations met, and shall keep the Board of Stewardship informed concerning the financial requirements of such plans.
11. Shall be responsible for preparing and administering the Annual Budget:
- Prior to the October Cabinet meeting, boards and committees shall present to the Trustees their budget requests
- The Trustees shall consider all of these budget requests, along with all the other funding needs of the church and then prepare a proposed annual budget for the following year which reflects predicted available income
- The proposed budget shall then be presented to Cabinet no later than the December meeting
- If the Cabinet accepts the proposed budget, Trustees will be directed to present and recommend it to the Annual Budget Meeting
- If the Cabinet rejects the proposed budget, it will direct the Trustees to make revisions as necessary
- If at any time during the year income fails to meet budgeted expenses, the Trustees shall determine where necessary cuts in expenses shall be made, or how additional funds shall be secured; but the approval of the Cabinet shall be required if any item in the budget is to be cut more than 20%
- If at any time during the year any Officer, Board or Committee finds that essential or desirable activities or programs are being hampered by the limitations of the Annual Budget, they may petition the Board of Trustees for a revision of the budget or a special allotment of funds to meet emergency needs. Such petitions shall be considered at the next regular or special meeting of the Board, and their decision shall be final.
12. When Cabinet deems necessary, they shall provide for a complete audit of all the financial records of the church to be performed and reported to the Cabinet promptly.
C. The Board of Stewardship
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 6 members
2. Shall be responsible, working closely with the pastor(s) and the Treasurer, using special programs and the annual fall financial drive, for raising adequate funds to meet the Annual Budget requirements for the church.
3. Shall create and maintain a year round program of Stewardship Education, keeping the members of the church informed of the financial needs of all phases of work of the church and of progress in meeting the needs.
4. Shall be responsible for contacting new members to secure their pledges, and for working with the pastor to establish methods of communicating with members who are seriously in arrears.
D. The Board of Christian Education:
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 6 members,
2. Shall be responsible for creating and maintaining a program of Christian Education for persons of all ages within the church, always working in close co-operation with the Pastor(s).
3. Shall be responsible for maintaining and enforcing the Safe Church Policy.
4. Shall recruit and arrange for the training of the necessary personnel to staff and operate a competent Church School. On or before July 1 of each year they shall select and appoint a Church School Superintendent who shall be responsible to the Board for carrying out its policies and plans.
5. Shall be responsible for selecting and providing, in consultation with the Superintendent, the necessary curriculum materials and supplies for the School.
6. Shall be responsible for maintaining a Youth Program in addition to the Church School. They shall recruit adult advisers and work closely with them and the Pastor(s) in creating well-balanced programs of religious, social, and recreational activities suited to the needs of young people. If an employed staff person (such as a Seminarian, Student Assistant, Youth Minister or Director of Christian Education is required for carrying out any of these responsibilities, the Board shall find and recommend such a person to the Cabinet, and shall supervise his or her work in consultation with the Pastor(s).
7. Shall establish and maintain the church library as a resource for the congregation.
E. The Board of Christian Outreach:
1.Shall consist of a minimum of 6 members.
2. Shall be informed, and shall keep the members of the congregation informed of the needs of the local community and the wider settings of the church and shall be responsible for developing a general annual outline of allocation and distribution of available funds to help meet these needs. The annual outline shall be presented to the Cabinet for approval.
3. Shall be responsible for maintaining a program of social awareness and action, seeking to involve the people of the church in Christian concern and effective action regarding the problems of the local community and of society in general.
Section 4: Permanent Committees
A. The Music Committee
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 3 persons with the Choir Director and Accompanist serving as ex-officio members.
2. Shall be responsible for all the music for the church services and for special programs and occasions, in coordination with the pastor(s) and deacons.
3. Shall consult regularly with the organist and choir director regarding all phases of church music, including the recruiting and training of all the church choirs.
4. Shall form a search committee, in consultation with the moderator, whenever a new accompanist or choir director is to be hired. The search committee shall consist of three members of the Music Committee, a deacon, a trustee and one member of the congregation appointed at large by the moderator.
5. Annually, prior to the June Cabinet meeting, shall review the performance of the Choir Director and Accompanist. Annually, before October 15, shall review the salaries of both and make a recommendation to the Trustees.
6. Shall update the contract of the Choir Director and Accompanist annually based on any salary change or other change, based on Annual Meeting approval.
7. Shall be responsible for securing substitutes whenever the Accompanist or Choir Director is absent or unable to serve.
8. Shall be responsible for determining the needs of the musical program of the Church – such as instruments, music, equipment, and robes.
9. Shall be responsible for the maintenance, cleaning, repair, and proper storage of all equipment and supplies used in the musical program.
B. The Nominating Committee
1. Shall consist of one member from each of the five Boards of Administration and two members-at-large as appointed by the Moderator.
2. The Moderator shall convene the first meeting, no later than the last week of January, and preside until a Chairperson and Secretary are elected.
3. Shall make a careful study of the requirements of each office to be filled and make an earnest effort to select candidates who are well qualified. This includes the provision of two Delegates to represent the church at Association meetings and at the Massachusetts Conference Annual Meeting and one delegate to the Bridgewater Council of Churches.
4. Shall present to the Cabinet on or before the April Cabinet meeting a list of nominees for the various offices of the Church for the following year. The Committee shall make clear to each candidate the duties and requirements of the office he or she is being asked to fill, and shall secure his or her agreement to serve if elected.
5. Shall submit the list of the nominees to the Moderator for the purpose of calling the Annual Election Meeting to elect the nominees. The Annual Election meeting shall be no later than the third Sunday of May.
6. The Nominating Committee shall be dismissed by the Moderator once their report is submitted for the Annual Election Meeting.
C. The History and Memorials Committee
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 3 persons.
2. Shall be responsible for receiving, aggregating and spending undesignated/unrestricted memorial monies. Typically, these monies are received in amounts less than $200.
Larger bequeaths and especially those with spending restrictions are administered by the Board of Trustees.
3. Shall promptly acknowledge all gifts. Acknowledgment should be made to the donor and to a member of the family of the person in whose memory the gift is made.
4. Shall enter all gifts in the Memorials Book in addition to the wording on any plaques that may be attached to any memorial articles.
5. Monies managed by the committee shall never be used for defraying current operating expenses of the Church unless specified by the donor.
6. A donor or group of donors who wish to contribute a specific article as a Memorial shall first consult and secure the approval of the Memorials Committee before proceeding with the purchase and/or installation of the memorial article; and the Committee shall make sure that the article under consideration will be a suitable and appropriate addition to the present furnishings and equipment of the Church.
7. Shall use a variety of communications methods to annually solicit donations and suggestions for the spending of monies under their control. Once a suggestion is received, an acknowledgment and proposed path forward should be given to the suggester.
8. In every case, the Memorials Committee shall secure approval for the spending of undesignated memorial monies at Cabinet and, if Cabinet so directs, approval of the church members at a church meeting.
9. Shall maintain and preserve all the historical records for the church, keep a diary of principal events, and be responsible for the custody of all articles of special historical interest and value.
10. Shall arrange for storage of all historical records and articles of special historical interest in a manner that is safe from fire and safe from natural disasters (e.g. windstorm, flood). If stored in a wood frame or other type of combustible structure, these materials shall be kept in a fire proof container(s). If stored below grade, the container(s) shall also be water tight.
D. The Growth Committee
1. Shall consist of a minimum of 3 persons.
2. Shall promote the church in the community using a variety of methods.
3. Shall educate the congregation in recruiting new members. The central theme of this education shall be in providing an extravagant welcome to each stranger who enters our midst.
4. Shall provide for the orientation of inquirers into the faith and life of the church, in close coordination with the pastor..
5. Shall help asssimilate, in close coordination with the pastor, new members into the congregation and shall plan and provide special programs and activities that will help all members get to know one another.
6. Shall provide Super Welcomers, greeters, ushers and coffee hosts for each worship service and provide a list of those serving to the office prior to the printing of the weekly bulletin for each service.
Section 5 Church Organizations
1. All organizations that may be formed within the church for the purpose of advancing the fellowship or mission of the church, and using the facilities of the church, shall be considered integral parts of the church, and their activities shall be subject to the approval of Cabinet.
2. All organizations that operate under the auspices of the church shall abide by the same basic guidelines as other boards and committees.
Article IX. Property
Section 1: Corporate Responsibility
The church may, in its corporate name, sue or be sued, acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, or otherwise and own, hold, invest, reinvest, borrow against, mortgage or dispose of property, real or personal, for such work as the church may undertake; and may purchase, own, receive, hold, manage, care for, and transfer or convey such property for the general purposes of the church; and it may receive and hold in trust both real and personal property and invest and reinvest the same, and make any contracts for promoting the objects and purposes of the church.
Section 2: Disposition in Case of Dissolution
In case of eventual dissolution of the church, its 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, may be transferred to another religious society by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at a regularly called church meeting, but, lacking such a vote, shall be transferred to the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC.
Article X. Church Meetings
Section 1: The Budget Review Meeting shall be held on the third Sunday in January, for the express purpose of approving the recommended budget, as presented by the Trustees for that year.
Section 2: The Annual Meeting of the Church shall be held on the second Sunday of February for the purpose of receiving/hearing reports of all Officers, Boards, Committees and Organizations and to transact any other business that may legally come before it.
Section 3: The Annual Election Meeting shall be held no later than the third Sunday in May for the express purpose of receiving and voting on the report of the Nominating Committee.
Section 4: Each Board and Committee shall meet in joint session in June (new members and outgoing members) to allow for orientation and reorganization.
Section 4: Special Meetings of the church may be called by the Cabinet, pastor(s) or the moderator whenever pending business may require, or upon written request signed by not less than 15 members of the church, in which case the moderator shall call the meeting within three weeks after receipt of the request.
Section 5: Notice of Meetings shall be posted in prominent locations in the church at least seven days before each meeting and announced from the pulpit at the earliest opportunity. Notice of meetings shall also be given by means of other available media. If the purpose of the meeting is to consider financial matters involving sums of over $5,000 or an amendment to the Constitution or By-Laws, a special notification shall be made to all members. All notices of the meetings shall include the warrant listing the articles to be acted upon. No other matters may be presented for action except upon presentation of the subject matter in written form to the moderator before the meeting and approved by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.
Section 6: Quorum - Fifteen percent (15%) of the members of the church that are eligible to vote, as reported in the Annual Report, shall constitute a quorum.
Article XI. Rules of Order
Roberts Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure at church meetings.
Article XII. Amendments
This Constitution and By-Law may be amended at any duly called church meeting by a two-thirds vote of the members with voting status present and voting, providing a draft of the proposed amendment is included in the warrant for the meeting. Following such action the clerk shall cause copies of the amended pages to be sent to the moderator, the pastor(s), the officers, and to the chairpersons of all boards, committees, and organizations of the church.
These Bylaws, consistent with the Constitution of Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, further define and/or regulate the officers, boards, committees and membership. They also describe its free and voluntary relationship with the Pilgrim Association and the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC, and with the General Synod of the UCC, its Executive Council and the Covenanted, Affiliated and Associated Ministries.
Article 1. The Ministry
Section 1: In the event of a settled pastoral vacancy, a Search Committee shall be appointed by the Cabinet. The Search Committee shall consist of not less than seven nor more than eleven members. At least one member shall be chosen from each of the five Boards of Administration. The Cabinet’s appointments shall be approved by the church. The moderator shall call the first meeting of the Search Committee. It shall then elect its own chairperson and determine its own organizational procedures and the criteria and methods it will employ in its search. It shall consult with the various boards regarding financial, stewardship or other matters as necessary for carrying out its duties.
Section 2: During the settled pastor vacancy, the church will report the vacancy to the Associate Conference Minister for our area and will utilize the process (and ordained personnel) known in the UCC as the Intentional Interim Program and also known as Transiton Ministry Specialist.
Section 3: The Board of Deacons in its entirety will serve as the Search Committee for an Interim Pastor.
Section 4: The Search Committee will request that the Associate Conference Minister secure relevant information about any candidate whom it wishes to consider for the vacancy.
Section 5: The Search Committee will recommend a candidate to the congregation and shall arrange for the congregation to hear the candidate at a regular Sunday morning service followed by a Special Church Meeting for voting on the committee's recommendation. Approval of the candidate by a two-thirds majority shall constitute a Call.
Section 6: The Board of Deacons is responsible for drafting the Call. The terms of the Call will be presented to the Pilgrim Association Committee on the Ministry for review and comment. The contents of the Call will include participation in the UCC Pension Fund. A copy of the Call agreement will be given to the Cabinet, the Associate Conference Minister and the minister called.
Section 7: When an ordained minister accepts the Call, the minister and the church will join in requesting the Pilgrim Association to arrange for a service of installation.
Section 8: If the church selects a ministerial leader who does not have standing in the UCC, the minister will be required to seek Dual Standing from the Pilgrim Association.
Section 9: The pastoral relationship may be terminated by either party: the pastor, by giving notice in writing to the Cabinet; or by the church, through a two-thirds vote of the members with voting status present at a Special Meeting called for the purpose. When either party decides to terminate the relationship, the official termination shall be by action of the church, either in accordance with the vote of the church meeting, or in acceptance of the pastor’s resignation. Written notice of such termination shall be sent by the Clerk to the Pilgrim Association. The Call shall contain an agreed upon notice period.
Section 10: If serious issues or divisiveness arise between the members of church and its ministerial leadership, the Board of Deacons will seek the assistance of the Pilgrim Association Committee on the Ministry.
Section 11: Should the Pilgrim Association have reason to question the fitness for ministry of any of the pastors of Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, every effort will be made to cooperate fully in the investigation, to remain in covenant with all parties and to provide appropriate leadership and nurture for the congregation during and after the fitness review.
Article II. Membership
Section 1. Members shall pledge themselves to attend the regular worship of the church and the celebration of the Lord's Supper; to live the Christian life; to share in the life and work of the church; to contribute to the financial support and benevolences; and to seek diligently the spiritual welfare of the membership of the community. Active membership is fundamentally defined as being regularly present and involved in the life of the church and supporting the church financially.
Section 2. To vote on any financial matter, a member must be at least 18 years old.
Section 3. A member whose address has been unknown for two years or who for a period of two years, in spite of spiritual care, has not attended the church's worship or been involved in the life of the church or contributed to its financial support, may be removed from the active membership roll and be placed on a non-voting member list. This shall be done by vote of the Cabinet after receiving the recommendation from the Board of Deacons. If, after the passage of another year, the relationship remains unchanged, the name may be dropped from the non-voting member list by further vote of the Cabinet.
Exception: A young adult confirmed in the church shall automatically be placed on the non-voting member list upon graduation from high school and taking up residence at a college away from home or upon entering the armed services of the United States of America.
Section 4. To be re-instated as a voting member, the person shall present their wishes to the Board of Deacons, who will consider all of the facts, consult with the pastor(s) and then inform the person of the decision.
Section 5. Any member may, on request, be granted a letter of transfer. If wishing to join a body not in fellowship with Central Square Congregational, UCC, a member may be dismissed with a certificate of church membership.
Section 6. If, because of change of faith or for other reasons not involving unchristian conduct, a member requests in writing to be released from membership obligations, the church shall patiently endeavor to secure his or her continuance in its fellowship; but failing in such effort, the church may grant the request and terminate membership. The pastor and the Board of Deacons shall approve such a request. The clerk shall issue the appropriate letter of release.
Section 7. If a member persistently breaches covenant vows, Cabinet may censure the member or suspend or terminate membership. This may be done only after due notice has been given to the member, hearings before Cabinet and faithful efforts have been made to bring the member to reconciliation in accordance with Christ's teachings.
Article III. Boards of Administration and Permanent Committees
Section 1. All persons serving on the 5 Boards of Administration shall be members of the church and shall be elected for terms of three years, their terms arranged in such a manner that one-third of them shall be elected each year. Board members shall be eligible to serve a second consecutive term. After serving a second term, they shall not be eligible for re-election to the same Board until after the lapse of one year. The spouse or adult children of ordained staff may serve on any board or committee unless a conflict of interest exists.
Section 2. On or before June 15 of each year of the boards shall elect a chairperson and secretary to serve through the following May, and shall include the name of the newly elected chairperson and secretary in the Annual Report of the board.
Section 3. On or before the October Cabinet meeting of each year, each of the boards shall present to the Board of Trustees an itemized budget request to cover the expense of the work charged to it for the coming year.
Section 4. The chairperson of each board (or an appointed representative) shall be present at every meeting of Cabinet and be prepared to report all activities and plans of the Board affecting the life of the church.
Section 5. The secretary of each board shall file a copy of the minutes of each meeting with the Moderator and another copy with the Office Coordinator prior to holding the next meeting of the Board.
Section 6. The Chairperson of each board shall submit an Annual Report to the Office Coordinator, not later than January 15 of each year, to be included in the Annual Report of the Church.
Section 7. Chairpersons of each board shall provide orientation for all others at the first meeting of the new term. Newly elected members shall be invited to attend the next scheduled meeting (usually the June meeting) after being elected for the purposes of orientation and elections of officers.
Section 8: The outgoing chair of each board and permanent committee shall provide for reorganization at the June meeting. It should be accomplished by the simple procedure laid out in Roberts Rules of Order for reorganization of small groups.
Section 8: Each board shall meet monthly, with July and August optional. Special meetings may be called at the direction of the chairperson.
Section 9: The boards may appoint sub-committees to carry out specific aspects of their work. The chairperson of such sub-committees shall be a member of the board.
Section 10: Each board shall create and maintain job descriptions, policies and procedures as appropriate. Job descriptions, policies and procedures shall be brought before Cabinet for review and upon approval shall be placed on file with the church office for future reference.
Section 11: Regular attendance by officers and board/committee members at their regularly scheduled meetings is of critical importance to the ongoing vitality and mission of the church. Thus, if an officer or a board/committee member finds that circumstances have changed to the point that regular attendance is no longer possible, the Moderator (for Officers) or the Board or Committee chair should be informed. This allows for an orderly appointment of a replacement.
Section 12: Should an officer miss three consecutive Cabinet meetings or a board/committee member miss three meetings in a row, with no contact to the Cabinet, board or committee chair, and in keeping with the covenants, said member shall be dismissed from the board or committee by majority vote of the Cabinet (in the case of an officer), board or committee at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Section 13: Vacancies on boards and committees, or of an officer, that occur between June and the following May will be filled by the Cabinet.