Bylaws

Stratham Community Church

Bylaws

 

 

 

Adoption Date: January 27, 2013

Amended: January 15, 2015


Table of Contents

Article                             Title                                                   Page

I                                     Name                                                 3

II                                    Statement of Faith                              3

III                                   Covenant                                           3

IV                                   Relationship and Government             3

V                                    Membership                                       4-5

VI                                   Governing Body and Structure            5-7

VII                                 Officers                                             7-8

VIII                                Church Council                                  8-10

IX                                   Boards                                               10-12

X                                    Committees and Organizations            12-15

XI                                   Pastor                                                15-16

XII                                 Meetings                                            16-17

XIII                                Parliamentary Procedures                    17

XIV                                Bylaws Amendments                          17

XV                                 Conformance with Applicable Law      17

Organization Structure                        18

 

 


Article I Name

The name of this Church shall be Stratham Community Church, of the United Church of Christ, located in Stratham, New Hampshire.

Article II Statement of Faith

We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:

God calls the world into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.

God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the whole creation to its Creator.

God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God.

Article III Covenant

We covenant with the Lord and with one another; and bind ourselves in the presence of God, to walk together in all of God’s ways and in the life of this Church, as God is revealed to us.

Article IV Relationship and Government

  1. This Church, while holding to the autonomy of the local church and its independence of all ecclesiastical control, shall hold itself in fellowship and communion with all Christian Churches for purposes of benevolences and mutual encouragement.
  2. We acknowledge our membership in the Rockingham Association of the United Church of Christ and our affiliation with the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ. As successor organization to the Stratham Baptist Church, we acknowledge our relationship with the American Baptist Churches of New Hampshire.
  3. The Church is composed of its members. Members pledge to live a Christian life, to attend worship services and share in the life and work of the Church as regularly as they are able, to contribute to its support and benevolences, and to abide by the Covenant and Bylaws. Only Members, Associate Members, and Members Emeritus may act and vote in transactions of Church business.
  4. Reception of Members. Any person may unite with this Church as a Member, upon recommendation of the Pastor and approval of the Diaconate, by a) declaration of faith, b) reaffirmation of faith, or c) letter of transfer from another Christian church. Baptism, instruction, and confirmation shall be prerequisites for membership when uniting upon declaration of faith.
  5. Reception of Associate Members. Any person who is, and wishes to remain, a member of another church may unite with this Church as an Associate Member, upon recommendation of the Pastor and approval of the Diaconate, by a) declaration of faith or b) reaffirmation of faith. Associate Members shall have the same rights and privileges as full members with respect to participation in Church activities, serving on Boards and Committees, and voting at the Annual Meeting and Special Meetings.
  6. Members Emeritus. By mutual agreement, members who have made significant contributions to and/or have a long history with the Church but who are no longer active participants may be granted Member Emeritus status, effective for life. Members Emeritus may vote in transactions of Church business.
  7. Inactive Members. Inactive Members may not vote on business brought before the Church, hold an office, or serve on a Board or Committee.
    1. Members may request a change to Inactive Member status; for example, if they have moved away but have not yet chosen to join another Church.
    2. Each year, the Clerk shall send a letter to the last known address of any member who is believed not to have attended or communicated with the Church or contributed to its support in two years, asking for confirmation of intent to continue membership. This letter shall be sent sufficiently early to allow for a reply by thirty (30) days before the Annual Meeting. Proposed membership status changes will be presented for the Church’s authorization or amendment at the Annual Meeting.
    3. Inactive Members may be reinstated to the active roll at any time, upon their written request.
  8. Termination of Membership
    1. Upon request, any Member may receive a letter of transfer to another Church that will accept the membership transfer, thus ending membership in this Church.
    2. A member may resign from the Church by written request.
    3. It is the Church’s intent and practice to be a people of love, kindness, forgiveness, and grace, guided by concern for redemption rather than punishment; however, in exceptional circumstances and after faithful efforts at reconciliation, the Church may terminate membership for cause.
  9. Membership Count and Register. The Clerk shall keep or verify a register of the members of the Church. Membership counts reported to the United Church of Christ shall not include Associate Members, Inactive Members, or Members Emeritus. The Membership Register shall include the name of each member and the date and reason for each membership status change. The Annual Report shall list details of all completed membership changes in the preceding year—member name, type of change, and reason for the change—as well as all proposed changes to inactive status.
  10. The Governing Body of this Church shall be the membership, assembled in meetings.
  11. Boards, Committees, and Organizations authorized by and accountable to the membership, enable the Church’s ministry.
  12. The Church Council shall have overall responsibility for conducting Church business between meetings of the Church. Voting members of the Church Council include the Officers and representatives from Boards, Committees, and Organizations as detailed below.
  13. The Church Council’s authority shall not extend to matters that must be acted upon by the Church alone. Authority shall reside in the Church alone to call or dismiss a Pastor, terminate membership in the Church except by the member’s request, adopt or alter Church budgets, incur indebtedness, buy or sell Church real property, or make capital improvements to Church property.
    1. At the Annual Meeting, the Church body shall elect Officers and Board and Committee members to achieve the target numbers. Non-members of the Church should be encouraged and actively sought for service on select Committees and task forces; however, for Boards and Committees involved in hiring and evaluating Church employees (Board of Christian Education, Music Committee, Property Committee), at least half should be members.

Article V Membership

Article VI Governing Body and Structure

Officers

Name Number Council Vote Member/Non-member Term (Years)
Moderator 1 Tie breaker Member 3
Clerk 1 1 Member 3
Treasurer 1 1 Member 5
Assistant Treasurer 1   Member 5

Boards

Name Target Number Council Vote Includes Term (Years)
Board of Deacons 12 1 Members 3
Board of Trustees 7 1 Members 3
Board of Christian Education 5 1 Members/Non-members 3

Committees

Name Target Number Council Vote Includes Term (Years)
Delegates 3 Members 3
Historical Committee 2 1 Members/Non-members 5
Human Resources Committee 3 1 Members 3
Mission and Justice Committee 6 1 Members/Non-members 3
Music Committee 5 1 Members/Non-members 3
Nominating Committee 3 Members 1
Pastoral Relations Committee 3 1 Members 3
Property Committee 4 1 Members/Non-members 3
Publicity Committee 4 1 Members/Non-members 3
Stewardship Committee 6 1 Members/Non-members 3

Organizations

Name Council Vote Includes
Women’s Guild 1 Members/Non-members
Stratham Circle Learning Center 1 Members/Non-members
Clothes Attic 1 Members/Non-members

The following characteristics and parameters guide how Boards, Committees, and Organizations function:

  1. Boards and Committees should use Task Forces to accomplish work that occurs infrequently, to minimize the formation of standing groups.
  2. Affiliate groups that exist from time to time in support of the mission of the Church are solely responsible for securing their own resources. Any funds required from the Church or revenues generated for the Church shall be identified and the plans for such communicated, in advance, to the Board of Trustees. Representation in Church Council meetings is encouraged.
  3. The terms of all elected positions shall commence immediately following the Annual Meeting.
  4. The Chairperson of each Board and Committee shall be a member of the Church.
  5. The Chairperson of each Board and Committee holding office at the end of the fiscal year shall convene said Board or Committee within one month following each Annual Meeting for the purpose of organization.
  6. The Chairperson of each Board and Committee shall be elected by his or her peers within the organization, at the first meeting of the new fiscal year.
  7. Members of all Boards and Committees shall be elected on a rotating basis. For example, if the term of office is for three years, as nearly as possible, one-third of the Board or Committee shall be elected each year. If needed Boards and Committees may adjust the length of terms of office or add members in order to achieve this three year rotation.
  8. Any Board or Committee member shall be eligible to serve for a maximum of two complete, consecutive terms. Said member shall not be eligible for re-election to the same Board or Committee until the lapse of one year.
  9. No member will be Chairperson of more than one Board or Committee at a time and no member may be on more than three Boards or Committees at one time. The three elected members of the Board of Trustees shall not be on any other Board or Committee.
  10. Any individual resigning from an elective or appointive office shall submit a letter of resignation to the Clerk.
  11. Vacancies resulting from death, resignation, or other causes shall be filled by appointment of the Church Council from a list of one or more candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee. Such appointments shall be effective until the next Annual Meeting.
  12. Any elective or appointive office/individual may be displaced, by majority vote of the Church Council or Church Meeting.
  13. Any member of the Church may attend any meeting of the elected Boards or Committees, except when in executive session.
  14. Persons in the employ of the Church shall not hold any elective office.
  15. Members of any Board or Committee who are in the immediate family of any paid staff member, including the Pastor, shall excuse themselves from any and all discussions regarding performance evaluation and/or compensation matters of the paid staff member or Pastor.
  16. Action of any Board, Committee, Organization, Officer, Church Delegate, or Staff Member, may be rescinded by a vote of the members of the Church.
  17. All Boards, Committees, and Organizations shall maintain an up to date written description of the purpose, roles, and duties of its group. Mission statements, examples of activities, and any other information available should also be included.
  18. All members of Boards, Committees, Organizations, and Affiliates will abide by the Church’s conflict of interest policy.

Article VII Officers

Officers of the Church shall be members of the Stratham Community Church and elected at the Annual Meeting. The duties of the Officers listed below shall include, but not be limited to, the following primary duties.

  • Moderator – The Moderator shall be elected for a three-year term, alternating with the Clerk’s term. The Moderator shall:
  1. Preside at all Annual and Special Meetings of the Church;
  2. Serve as Chairperson of the Church Council and ex officio member of all other Boards;
  3. Call together for organization any Board or Committee, elected or appointed, which has not been organized within four weeks or a reasonable time after election; and
  4. Call regular and special meetings of the Church Council.
  5. Have signature authority for the Church.

To allow for a smooth transition, the outgoing Moderator may serve as an ex officio, non-voting member of the Church Council for up to one year.

  • Clerk – The Clerk shall be elected for a three-year term, alternating with the Moderator’s term. The Clerk shall:
  1. Keep, in an official public, register, minutes of all business meetings of the Church, which shall be read for approval at the next following business meeting and made available to the congregation;
  2. Keep or verify a register of the members of the Church, with the date of their reception and removal;
  3. Make a full report of the previous year to the Church at the Annual Meeting, including a report from each Board, Committee, and Organization, and details of all completed membership changes in the preceding year—member name, type of change, and reason for the change—as well as all proposed changes to inactive status;
  4. Issue letters of transfer;
  5. Preserve on file communications and written official reports, including but not limited to Church Council meetings, Annual and Special Meetings, baptisms, deaths, transfers and membership registry;
  6. Issue legal notices of all meetings when such notices are necessary or requested by the Moderator; and
  7. Temporarily fill the role of Moderator if required due to the Moderator’s incapacity or absence.
    • Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be elected for a five-year term, alternating with the Assistant Treasurer’s term. The Treasurer shall be a member of the Board of Trustees and Church Council. The Treasurer shall:
  8. Keep accounts of the monies received for Church support and benevolence;
  9. Disburse funds in accordance with the approved Church budget and policies;
  10. Prepare appropriate income tax forms, e.g. l099s, assure payment of taxes, and make all checks in the name of the Church;
  11. Manage all insurance policies for the Church and seek approval of the Board of Trustees for any changes in policies and premiums;
  12. Present at the Annual Meeting a properly audited written report of receipts and expenditures;
  13. Present at each Church Council Meeting a financial report and work through the Board of Trustees on managing all financial matters; and
  14. Coordinate and cooperate with the audit function.
    • Assistant Treasurer – The Assistant Treasurer shall be elected for a five-year term, alternating with the Treasurer’s term. The Assistant Treasurer shall be a member of the Board of Trustees. The Assistant Treasurer shall:
  15. Collect all Church offerings and deposit in local bank account;
  16. Track hours of paid personnel and file reports for payroll;
  17. Assist the Treasurer;
  18. Perform any and all functions of the Treasurer when the Treasurer is unable to act; and
  19. Assist in providing necessary data for the audit function.
  20. The Church Council shall consist of the Pastor, Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer; the chair or a designated representative from each of the following Boards and Committees: the Board of Deacons, Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Education, Historical Committee, Human Resources Committee, Mission and Justice Committee, Music Committee, Pastoral Relations Committee, Property Committee, Publicity Committee, Stewardship Committee; and representatives from the Women’s Guild, SCLC, and Clothes Attic. All voting members of the Church Council shall be members of the Church.
  21. The Church Council shall oversee, guide, and connect all of the Boards, Committees, and Organizations of the Church and conduct the business and affairs of the Church between meetings of the membership. Boards, Committees, Organizations, and affiliates shall be responsible for appointing or electing representatives to the Church Council. Recognizing the importance of continuity, members of the Church Council are responsible to attend all Church Council meetings, or to provide a substitute in their absence.
  22. An Organization not heretofore so designated in these Bylaws may become a Church-related Organization by:

Article VIII Church Council

  1. Applying in writing to the Church membership at the Annual Meeting;
  2. Supplying in the application the following information:
  • Name of the organization;
  • Purpose of the organization;
  • Funding requirements or revenue generation plans;
  • Building or property use requirements;
    • Relation of the organization to ministries of Stratham Community Church and/or its mission;
    • Proposed or actual organizational governance; and
    • Reason for seeking Church relationship
  1. The membership at the Annual Meeting shall, by two-thirds (2/3) vote, accept or reject the application; and
  2. An Organization so accepted may designate a representative to the Church Council, who need not be a member of Stratham Community Church.
  1. The Church Council shall hold regular meetings to hear reports on the work of the Church, to coordinate the Church program, and to act as advisor to the Pastor in such matters as the Pastor shall present and/or the Board feels should be discussed with the Pastor. The Board may recommend to the Church special offerings for the work of the local Church. Any Organization or Committee may present requests at a Board meeting for consideration and/or action by the Church Council.
  2. Eight (8) members present shall constitute a quorum at all meetings of the Church Council. In the absence of the Chairperson (Moderator), the Clerk shall act as such. Except for reporting on behalf of absent members, each member of the Church Council shall serve in a single role and have a single vote. All votes will be conducted in person. In extenuating circumstances, votes may be via conference call with all members able to hear the entire discussion.
  3. The Church Council shall be responsible to resolve questions of interpretation of these Bylaws and matters of a constitutional nature not specifically covered by them, in consultation with the Rockingham Association of the United Church of Christ and/or the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and involving the Church membership as the situation warrants.
  4. The Church Council shall have the authority to determine the size and composition of the Church administrative staff within budget limits.
  5. The Church Council shall approve all appointments or dismissals of lay staff members.
  6. The Church Council shall attempt to resolve any problems with the Pastor brought to it from the Pastoral Relations Committee through the Board of Deacons, in consultation with the Conference Minister. For good and sufficient reason, the Church Council may initiate action to request the Pastor’s resignation or dismissal.
  7. The general duties of the Church Council shall be:
  • To act as a coordinating group to make the total Church program more effective;
  • To consider problems and plans of mutual interest and concern to all Organizations, Boards, and Committees within the Church;
  • To recommend to the appropriate Boards and Committees actions designed to clarify, strengthen, and enhance the organization, spiritual and social life of the Church;
  • To act as a long-range planning group for the Church; and
  • To perform a review of the Pastor’s performance on an annual basis, providing documented results to the Board of Trustees, and to determine appropriate adjustment in salary, allowances, annuity and other benefits and to the Human Resources committee to be filed with Church records.

Article IX Boards

1. Board of Deacons

  1. It shall be the duty of the Diaconate, twelve (12) Deacons, to cooperate with the Pastor in ministering to the spiritual welfare of the Church and community. The Diaconate shall assist in preparation and administration of the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and all services of worship. It shall supply the pulpit (provide a preacher) in case of the temporary absence of the Pastor. It shall refer to the established United Church of Christ guidelines for the calling of an interim pastorate.
  2. It shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining the Local Emergency Fund, which is administered by the Pastor.
  3. It shall be responsible for organizing greeters, ushers, lectors, and acolytes. It shall coordinate the fellowship hour.
  4. It shall be responsible for identifying new people that come to the Church and provide for the necessary follow up to establish a positive relationship with them.
  5. It shall attempt to resolve any problems relating to the Pastor brought to it by the Pastoral Relations Committee. If the Diaconate cannot resolve the problem, it shall bring it to the Church Council.
  6. It shall maintain a Deacon’s Handbook as a guide and training tool.
  7. The Diaconate shall elect from among its members a Senior Deacon, who serves as their representative to the Church Council and who serves on the Nominating Committee.

2. Board of Trustees

The Board’s duties shall be to properly manage the Church property, funds, general administration, and accounting thereof. It shall have the authority to buy or sell property within budget limits in the name of the Church. Except that the purchase or sale of real property must be authorized by vote of the Church membership. It shall have general supervision over the activities relating to the raising of funds necessary for the support of Church programs. The Board shall be comprised of the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, Chair of the Stewardship Committee, Chair of the Property Committee, Representative of the Stratham Circle Learning Center and at least three elected members of the Church. In the absence of the moderator, the Chair of the Board of Trustees will have signature authority for the church.

The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for:

  1. The custody, preservation and maintenance in good repair of all Church

Property through the Property Committee;

  1. The collection, custody and disbursement of all funds through its fiscal agents, the Church Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer;
  2. The supervision and support of the physical administration function of the

Church including, but not limited to, office equipment, computers, phones,

postal needs, etc., as well as the purchase (or sale) of supplies, services and equipment;

  1. The administration of public use of the Church building and facilities as

documented by the Building Use Policy. The modification of this Policy from time to time as appropriate;

  1. The preparation, in cooperation with the appropriate Boards and Committees, of the Annual Church Budget and its submission to the Church membership for approval;
  2. The establishment and maintenance of an Endowment Fund that will be used to manage funds received by the Church in the form of memorials or special gifts beyond normal annual giving;
  3. The selection, if necessary, of an external fund managing individual or agency to manage the Church investments in a responsible and prudent manner. Review the performance of these funds and the manager on a regular basis;
  4. The supervision and support of the work of the Church Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, ensuring receipts, deposits, payments, signatures, authorities, and approvals are all executed in a consistent and responsible manner;
  5. In conjunction with the Stewardship Committee, provide a projected budget for the upcoming year, as the basis of the annual pledge drive. Make recommendations to the Church Council regarding suggestions for making up any income shortfall that may exist in order to meet annual operating costs;
  6. The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for the oversight of the Preschool and Afterschool care programs (currently named the Stratham Circle Learning Center [SCLC]). This oversight shall be accomplished through the appointment of an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board shall be responsible for the hiring and performance evaluation of the SCLC Director. The SCLC Director will be responsible for the hiring and performance evaluations of the SCLC staff. The Advisory Board shall give the Board of Trustees periodic reports on the financial status, program quality, staffing requirements, current and projected enrollment and annual budgets for the school.

3. Board of Christian Education

  1. The Committee shall consist of the Christian Education Director and four (4) other members. The purpose of the Board of Christian Education is to provide support and implement programs/opportunities for the formation and growth of Christian faith to people of all age groups of the Church and the community. It will strive to bring new life, insight, and the spirit of continual improvement into the programs.
  2. The duties shall be to secure the Christian Education Director, to be aware of modern trends in Christian Education, to evaluate the curriculum, local education programs, to oversee the programs of the Youth and Adult Groups, to be responsible for the nursery during the worship hour, and to develop and oversee any other programs in the area of Christian Ed
  1. The Board shall review the performance of the Christian Education Director annually and communicate the documented results to the Human Resources Committee.
  2. The Board shall conduct appropriate background checks for people directly involved with the youth of the Church.

Article X Committees and Organizations

A. Delegates

SCC’s delegates shall be elected to represent the Church at all meetings of the Rockingham Association and the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ and shall be prepared to report to the Church Council on these meetings.

B. Historical Committee

The Historical Committee oversees historical material relating to the Church, makes recommendations concerning the preservation of these materials, and also makes recommendations regarding events concerning historical celebrations. This Committee meets on special occasions and serves as a consultant when historical facts are needed to help guide decisions.

C. Human Resources Committee

The Human Resources Committee shall provide assistance to the committees that oversee all employees of Stratham Community Church, except the Pastor and the Stratham Circle Learning Center staff.

The Committee shall ensure accurate, timely annual performance evaluations are written for all Church staff, working with the Board of Christian Education for the Christian Education Director’s, the Music Committee for the Music Director’s, the Property Committee for the Sexton’s, and the Pastor and Stratham Circle Learning Center Director for the Administrative Assistant, if applicable, for any other staff.

The Committee shall respect employees’ privacy and work with them in an effort to alleviate any of their cares and concerns. The Committee shall, at all times, work to provide employees with all tools necessary to most efficiently perform their tasks.

The Committee shall assist the respective responsible hiring committees in finding qualified and trustworthy employees, encourage training, and maintain an open dialogue with such employees. The Committee will aid in drafting employment contracts, but the hiring committee specifies the terms of employment.

The Committee will ensure all contracts and performance evaluations are in writing and made part of the Church records. The Committee will have signature authority in Church staff contracts with the exception of the Pastor’s.

D. Mission and Justice Committee

Grounded in United Church of Christ principles of peace, justice, compassion, and caring, the Mission and Justice Committee will work toward making our Church a positive force for social change in our local community, as well as in national and global communities. It shall seek to collaborate with other churches and organizations. It shall encourage all Church members to become engaged in activities that will enrich these communities through their works and generosity.

E. Music Committee

The Music Committee shall have general oversight of the music of the Church, the vocal and instrumental choirs, the purchasing of necessary equipment, the repair of instruments, and the selection of an organist and/or choir directors. The chairperson of the Music Committee shall be responsible for coordinating the music program with the Music Director, Pastor, Diaconate, and the Church Council. Its charter is to provide music for worship, opportunities for participation in the Church through the ministry of music, and encouragement of fellowship through music. The Committee shall evaluate the performance of the Music Director annually and communicate the documented results to the Human Resources Committee.

F. Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee shall oversee recruitment of and support those serving the Church as Officers, Board or Committee members, and in other voluntary capacities not otherwise overseen. It shall have the discriminating authority to select those for nomination who have demonstrated capabilities, desires, and traits appropriate for such positions. The Committee will actively encourage Church Boards and Committees to suggest candidates for membership. The Committee will also encourage all members and friends of the church to volunteer for a Board or Committee of interest to them. The Committee shall present a list of nominees at the Annual Meeting. Opportunity will be given for nominations from the floor. Vacancies occurring during the year should be filled as soon as practical with the close cooperation of the organization needing the vacancy filled. The Committee shall ensure descriptions of the roles and duties of all the Officers, Boards and Committees of the Church are available for prospective nominees and others as necessary.

G. Pastoral Relations Committee

The Pastoral Relations Committee supports and maintains an open relationship between the minister and the congregation. It is a place where a pastor can have confidences and trust its members for support and advice. These committee members will assist the pastor and the members of the church to share ideas, hopes, dreams, and interpretations of our mission. The Pastor shall have final approval of the members of the Pastoral Relations Committee.

The Pastoral Relations Committee shall provide a forum for the pastor and the church congregation to share concerns, comments, and questions concerning the dimensions of the Church ministries.  This committee shall be a support mechanism for effective communication between the pastor and the Church congregation. It shall observe due process and may enlist the help and support of the Deacons, Church Council, or any appropriate church Members with unresolved issues. This committee will take seriously the responsibility it holds. There may be occasion to hear information that is confidential in nature.

The Pastoral Relations Committee will demonstrate concern and support for the pastor’s needs in all areas. This group will participate in an annual review of the pastor, as well as share the pastor’s evaluation of the state of the church. This committee will also plan pastoral celebrations of personal and professional milestones.

The committee will set no policy or establish procedures or guidelines, but may provide recommendations to affected committees, the Board of Deacons, or the Church Council. The Committee shall maintain a Pastoral Relations Handbook as a guide and training tool.

H. Property Committee

The Property Committee shall have general oversight of the physical plant of the Church, Manse, and any other physical property owned by the Church. The Committee works through the Board of Trustees and is assigned a budget to manage for the year. The Committee shall direct the activities of the Sexton and be authorized to make necessary routine repairs within budget restraints. Major repairs and/or alterations required, but not budgeted, shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees for action. The Property Committee shall include the Sexton and the Chair will be a member of the Board of Trustees. The Committee shall evaluate the performance of the Sexton annually and communicate the documented results to the Human Resources Committee.

I. Publicity Committee

The Publicity Committee shall have the responsibility to publicize Stratham Community Church and church-related activities and events to the membership and friends of Stratham Community Church and surrounding communities.

J. Stewardship Committee

The Stewardship Committee shall educate the Church about the broad meaning of stewardship: time, talent, and benevolence. The Committee will organize and implement the annual pledging or estimate of giving program. It will organize and implement specific fund drives within the Church as needed and requested by the Board of Trustees or Church Council.

K. Women’s Guild

The Women’s Guild is an organization made up of women of all ages from the Church that meets for the purposes of Christian fellowship, education, and community service. There shall be a representative to the Church Council.

Article XI Pastor

  1. The Pastor shall be a member of the Church and shall have a central place of leadership in all concerns of the Church. The Pastor shall have responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the Church and those whom it serves. The Pastor shall be an ex officio member of all Boards and Committees, shall make a report of the preceding year’s work at the Annual Meeting, and shall advise the Board of Trustees and Church Council of any activity concerning the requested use of Church property.
  2. The Church shall call the Pastor.
  1. The Pastor’s salary, allowances, annuity, and other benefits shall be recommended by the Board of Trustees to the Church membership and voted upon at the Annual Meeting.
  2. The pastoral call shall be by vote at a meeting of the Church convened for this purpose, due notice being given. A two thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of members present and voting shall be necessary for a call to serve.
  3. The Pastor may tender a resignation to the church according to the terms of the call, which shall require sixty (60) days’ notice, unless waived by the Church Council.
  4. The Pastor may be dismissed from service upon sixty (60) days written notice after a two thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of those present and voting at a meeting of the Church convened for this purpose. Before such a meeting, the Conference Minister shall be consulted. Dismissal shall be reported to the Conference Minister and the Rockingham Association Committee on Church and Ministry.
  5. When the Church is in need of a Pastor, it shall, at an Annual or Special Meeting, elect a Pastoral Search Committee of not less than seven (7) nor more than eleven (11) members to act as necessary to secure a new Pastor. Such Committee shall stand until a new Pastor is called. The candidates for Committee members may be selected by the Moderator and/or by the Church Council and/or by nomination from the floor at the meeting. The composition of the elected Committee shall reflect a reasonable cross-section of the demographics and interests of the membership of the Church. The Moderator shall be an ex officio member of the Committee. The Committee shall follow the process outlined by the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ and select a candidate to recommend to the Church membership. The pastoral candidate presented to the Church shall have the unanimous recommendation of the Pastoral Search Committee.
  1. Reflecting on the pastoral call covenant, and at the beginning of each year, the Pastor shall document specific goals for the year ahead, in consultation the Church Council, Board of Deacons, and Pastoral Relations Committee. Goals shall be communicated to the congregation. The Pastor and Church Council shall discuss progress and challenges quarterly, at a regularly scheduled meeting.
  2. The Pastor shall assist the Human Resources Committee in the performance evaluation of the Administrative Assistant.
  3. The Pastor shall administer the Local Emergency Fund.

Article XII Meetings

A. Worship

Public services shall be held on Sundays, and at any other time specified by the Board of Deacons. The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated ordinarily on the first Sunday of the month and at such other times as the Board of Deacons may designate.

B. Business

  1. Quorum: Twenty-five (25) voting members shall constitute a quorum at any official business meeting of the congregation.
  2. Time and Calling: Business meetings of the Church, whether Annual or Special, shall be called by the Moderator. The time of all meetings shall be determined by the Clerk, in conference with the party or parties requesting said meetings. Due notice of the business to be transacted must be given by posting a Warrant near the primary entrances of the Church building, not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the date of the meeting. Whenever possible, the Warrant should also be printed in the Church calendar and attention called to it from the pulpit.
  3. Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting of the Church shall be held on or about the fourth Sunday of January of each year, for the purpose of:
    1. Electing Officers, Boards, Committees, and Delegates as specified in these Bylaws;
    2. Acting upon the annual reports of the Boards, Committees, and Organizations;
    3. Approving money for salaries, expenses, and expenditures necessary to carry out the Church program;
    4. Taking any other action duly brought before it.

Business not included in the posted Warrant may be added to the agenda by a simple majority vote. The reports for the Annual Meeting, including the proposed budget, should be made available to the membership at least seven (7) days prior to the Annual Meeting. All annual reports with the exception of that of the Treasurer shall be submitted to the Clerk at least two (2) weeks prior to the Church’s Annual Meeting.

  1. Special Meetings: Special Meetings shall be called by the Moderator at the request of the Church Council or by written request signed by ten (10) or more active Members of the church and presented to the Moderator and Clerk. Due notice shall be given in the same manner as for the Annual Meeting.
  2. Votes: All items for vote shall pass by simple majority of members present and voting, with the exception of votes to call or dismiss a Pastor, amend the Bylaws, or approve a new Church-related Organization, which require a 2/3 affirmative vote.
  3. Absentee Voting: Provision will be made for absentee ballots for calling or dismissing a Pastor, bylaws amendments, dissolution, and under special circumstances approved by the Church Council.
    1. Members must request absentee ballots by contacting the Church office or Clerk.
    2. Upon a member’s request, an absentee ballot identical to those to be used at the scheduled meeting, along with a self-addressed return envelope, will be mailed.
    3. The member must clearly print his or her name in the return address and sign the sealed envelope across the flap. Return envelopes with illegible names will not be counted. At least two members will verify legibility.
    4. Absentee ballots must arrive in time to be counted with the ballots at the regular meeting.
    5. In full view of the meeting, the Clerk will verify, by reading the return address, that absentee ballots are submitted by members. The Clerk will check the name off the membership list.
    6. In full view of the meeting, the Moderator will open the envelopes and, without looking at the ballots, place them in the ballot box.
    7. All ballots will then be counted.
  4. Fiscal Year: The fiscal year of the Church shall be from January lst to December 31st.

Article XIII Parliamentary Procedures

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Church in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws and any special rules of order the Church may adopt.

Article XIV Bylaws Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Church members present and voting at any Annual Meeting of the Church, or at a Special Meeting specially called for that purpose, the proposed amendment being inserted in the call. The proposed change must be presented to the Church in writing at a business meeting not less than one month before the Meeting.

A complete Bylaws review shall be conducted at least once every five years.

Article XV Conformance with Applicable Law

All provisions of these Bylaws shall conform to the applicable laws of the State of New Hampshire.

 

Organization Structure

 

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