Our Church Constitution

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The Constitution of First Congregational Church

United Church of Christ
in Port Washington, WI 

Adopted: May 5, 2002

Preamble

As a Christian body reflecting the flexible and inclusive spirit of the Congregational tradition of the universal church, we acknowledge and worship the one God who creates, sustains and fulfills the aspirations of all life as revealed to us through Jesus Christ.

We acknowledge and encourage each person to actively pursue and determine his or her own relationship to the one God, to the world, and to each other, within the context and perspective of the Christian community.

We acknowledge our need to call upon all physical and spiritual resources to deal with the present and our charge to press forward to participate in the fulfillment of God's purpose.

We therefore establish this Constitution to assist in unifying our efforts.

Article I - Name and Affiliation

The name of this congregation shall be First Congregational Church, and it shall hold active membership in the United Church of Christ.

Article II - Purpose

The purpose of this congregation shall be to witness to God through public worship, to develop in the minds and hearts of people a Christian perspective of life and death, and to encourage Christian acts of living, both personal and corporate, as taught by Jesus Christ.

Article III - Covenant of Church Membership

The Covenant of Membership in this congregation shall be: "Depending upon the teachings and life of Jesus for inspiration and guidance, I promise to seek to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with all my mind, and to love my neighbor as myself."

Article IV – Sacraments

The congregation recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. Holy Communion and Baptism are open to all who seek to know Christ and follow in Christ’s way, both children and adults alike.

Article V - Membership

Section A: Responsible Membership
1. Active participation in the program life and activities of the congregation and/or

2. Active participation in the financial support of the congregation according to ability.

Section B: Approaches to Membership
1. Persons may become members of this congregation after a public acceptance of the Covenant of Church Membership (see Article III) or by the act of Confirmation.

2. Former members of this congregation may be reinstated to membership upon their request .

Section C: Removal from Membership
1. Membership in this congregation will be removed by personal request or death of a member.

2. Members who are able and who choose not to respond to the guidelines for responsible membership (see Article V, Section A) may, after due notice, be removed from membership.

3. All removals from membership shall be brought to the attention of the Church Council.

Article VI – Government

Section A: The government of this congregation is vested solely in its members, and is to be in general agreement with the faith, polity and fellowship of the United Church of Christ.

Section B: The congregation shall elect a Church Council consisting of the officers and one representative of each of the teams established by the Council. All Council members shall be members of the congregation. Paid employees of the church shall not serve on the Church Council. The minister shall be an ex-officio member of the Council. One half of the members of the Council constitutes a quorum.

1. Council Members
a. Officers of the Church shall be
1. MODERATOR: The Moderator shall be the chief lay officer of the congregation and shall preside at congregational meetings and at meetings of the Church Council.

2. ASSOCIATE MODERATOR: The Associate Moderator shall serve in the absence of the Moderator.

3. CLERK: The Clerk shall record and publish the minutes of the meetings of the congregation and of the Church Council.

4. TREASURER: The Treasurer shall be the team representative of the Finance Team. The Treasurer shall be responsible for regular financial reports to the Council.

b. Team Representatives to Council
Each team established by the Council shall have a Council representative. The Council representative may be a team member other than the chair of the team. Immediate relatives of paid employees of the church shall not serve on any team that reviews the performance of paid employees.

2. Duties of the Church Council
a. Act as the over-all administrative body of the church having power over program, finance and property. However, the Church Council shall not have the power to buy, sell, mortgage or transfer the real property of the church except by vote of the congregation.

b. Appoint such committees of the church as are deemed necessary. Including but not limited to:
Nominating Committee
Audit Committee
Ministerial Search Committee

c. Conduct annual evaluating and planning session(s).

d. Authorize the acceptance and timely acknowledgement of all gifts, the collection of all regular and special funds, and their disbursement.

e. Recommend an annual budget to the congregation.

f. Request approval of the congregation for expenditures beyond the grand total of the approved budget prior to expenditure.

g. Prepare and submit to the congregation an Annual Program Report.

h. Approve the establishment of all teams and assign and approve the duties of each team.

i. Approve the hiring of all paid staff.

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3. Duties of Teams

The duties of the teams shall be those assigned to each team by the Council, and any other duties as shall be designated by the teams themselves, with the approval of the Council.

Section C: Elections
1. Terms for Council members
a. One term shall be two year beginning on the July 1 following the election.

b. No member shall serve more than 5 years in the same position. After a minimum period of one term out of a given position, a person may again serve in the position previously held.

c. The terms of Moderator and Associate Moderator shall coincide with each other.

d. The terms of Clerk and Treasurer shall coincide with each other and shall alternate with the term of the Moderator.

e. Terms for other Council positions shall alternate so that approximately half the terms shall expire each year.

2. Nominations
a. Nominations for Council Officers and Team Representatives shall be announced to the congregation at least two weeks prior to the election.

b. Additional nominations may be made from the floor at the congregational meeting, with the consent of the nominee.

3. Election
a. Election shall be by majority vote of the members present at the congregational meeting.

Section D: Vacancies
Vacancies in Church Council positions shall be filled by appointment by the Moderator subject to confirmation by the Council. If a vacancy occurs in the position of Moderator, the Council shall appoint a Moderator. Appointees will serve the remainder of the elected term.

Article VII - Meetings of the Congregation

Section A: Fall Congregational Meeting
A meeting of the congregation shall be held no later than the last Sunday in November. The main item of business shall be the presentation of the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

Section B: Winter Congregational Meeting
A meeting of the congregation shall be held no later than the last Sunday in January to review the finances of the congregation and adopt a budget. The main item of business shall be a vote to approve the budget for the current fiscal year.

Section C: Spring Congregational Meeting
A meeting of the congregation shall be held no later than the last Sunday in June to elect officers and team representatives to the Council. An Annual Program Report shall be presented at this meeting. The main item of business shall be the election of Council Officers and Team Representatives.

Section D: Special Meetings
Special meetings of the congregation shall be held at the request of the Council or the written request of five members addressing their request to the
Moderator indicating the purpose. Information regarding such special meetings will be mailed to the congregation at least two weeks before the meeting.

Article VIII - Minister

Section A: Election & Term
The Minister shall be elected for an indefinite term by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the members present at a regular meeting or a special meeting of the congregation called for that purpose.

The term shall end upon resignation or death or by a majority vote of the members present at a regular meeting or a special meeting of the congregation called for that purpose.

Section B: Duties
1. Conduct Services of Worship.

2. Provide leadership for the spiritual and physical well-being of the congregation with the assistance and approval of the Council. As long as a Minister is employed by this congregation, no other minister shall perform any religious ceremony in the church without his/her consent.

3. Act as a non-voting, exofficio member of the Council, Teams, and Committees.

4. Perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Council.

Article IX - Program and Fiscal Year

The program year of this congregation shall be July I through June 30. The fiscal year of this congregation shall be January 1 through December 31.

Article X – Congregational Tithe

An amount equal to at least 10% of the church operating budget shall be included in the annual budget to support mission programs and activities.

Article XI - Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of "Roberts Rules of Order" shall govern meetings of the Congregation and of the Council in all cases where they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this Constitution and any special rules of order, which the congregation may adopt.

Article XII – Amendments to Constitution

This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the congregation, provided that the members shall have been notified by mail, at least two weeks prior to the meeting, as to the date and time of the meeting and the substance of the proposed amendment(s).

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