CONSTITUTION THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST IOWA CITY, IOWA Article I – Name The name of this church shall be The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Iowa City, Iowa located in Iowa City, Iowa.
Article II. Purpose and Mission Statement
The avowed purpose of The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ shall be to worship God, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate the sacraments; to realize Christian fellowship and unity within this church and the Church Universal; to render loving service toward humankind; and to strive for righteousness, justice and peace.
Mission Statement We, as people of God joined together in The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, strive to be faithful to the call of Jesus Christ as we minister in love through worship, education, fellowship, service, and daily living. The defining center of our faith community is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, we welcome all people into our community of faith. We respect each person’s search for an understanding of the Christian faith and its meaning for our lives and for the issues of today. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we work and pray for peace and justice and fullness of life for all people.
We declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming all persons into full membership and participation in the body of Christ. We joyously pledge ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation providing a safe welcome for a diverse people.
Article III. Covenant and Faith
Covenant. We covenant one with another to seek and respond to the Word and the will of God. We purpose to walk together in the ways of Jesus Christ, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the church to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, while worshiping God, and striving for truth justice and peace. As did our forbearers, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the reign of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.
Faith. The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior. It acknowledges as brothers and sisters in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own. In accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.
- 2 –
Our expression of faith, which was approved by the Second General Synod of the United Church of Christ held in Oberlin, Ohio, July 5‐9, 1959, and submitted to the Synod’s Conferences, Associations and Churches for their approval and use, is as follows:
STATEMENT OF FAITH We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify: You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image and set before each one the ways of life and death. You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself. You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the Church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races. You call us into your Church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, 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. You promise to all who trust him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end. Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you. Amen.
- 3 –
Article IV ‐ Officers The officers shall consist of the Moderator, Vice Moderator, Church Clerk and the Treasurer.
Article V ‐ Membership The church welcomes into its membership any person who accepts its covenant, has received the sacrament of baptism and makes confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, re‐affirmation of faith, or provides a letter of transfer from another church. Each member shall have one vote on all matters acted upon at congregational meetings. All members of this church are expected to strive to follow the principles set forth in the Covenant, and to seek meaningful ways to support the principles which this church upholds, to attend the regular worship of the church and celebration of Holy Communion; to live the Christian life. They are specifically asked to share in the life and work of the church, to contribute to its support and benevolences, and to seek diligently the spiritual welfare of the membership and the community.
Article VI ‐ Government
The ultimate governing body of this church shall be the membership assembled in a duly called congregational meeting, where a majority vote of the members present at the meeting shall express the will of the church, except for issues where a two‐thirds vote (2/3) is required by this Constitution or the by‐laws of The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. (See By‐Laws for details).
The Church Council shall be the primary executive body of this church. It shall maintain general oversight of all the activities of the church, plan prayerfully for the church’s future, provide a forum for communication among the various committees and officers, and resolve differences of opinion among them.
Permanent boards and committees created to manage and conduct the ministry and mission of the church are described in the By‐laws. Temporary committees to serve special purposes may be appointed by the Church Council or chosen at a congregational meeting.
All officers, board members, committee chairs, and delegates shall be members of the church. In selecting members to serve on the various offices, boards and committees of the church, diverse representation reflecting the total membership shall be sought.
All meetings of the congregation, the Church Council, and the various boards and committees shall stress thoughtful deliberation of church policy and appropriate study to keep the church mindful of its essential purpose, even throughout its temporal transactions. All meetings of the Church Council and the various boards and committees shall be open to all members, except as noted in the By‐laws.
Separate by‐laws shall describe details of the church’s operation consistent with the general provisions of this Constitution.
The fiscal year of the church shall be the calendar year.
- 4 –
Article VII – Property and Dissolution All real property, assets and interests are held solely by The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Iowa City
1. Property – Upon 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, shall be disposed of as the congregation deems appropriate, in accordance with the laws governing non‐profit organizations in the State of Iowa.
2. Dissolution ‐ Should this church dissolve, its assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Article VIII ‐ Rules of Order
Robert’s Revised Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all procedures not specifically covered by the Constitution or the Bylaws.
Article IX ‐ Amendments
Amendments or revisions of the Constitution and/or Bylaws may be proposed in any duly called meeting of the congregation. Amendments and revisions shall first be proposed to the Church Council, which shall consider the same and report to the next duly called meeting of the congregation. Public announcement of the text of the proposed amendment(s) or revision(s) will be made a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. Said amendments/revisions can be adopted only by a two‐thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of members present and voting.
BYLAWS Article I ‐ Worship 1. Worship shall be held at designated hours each Sunday and at any other time designated by the Pastor and the board of Deacons.
2. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated at any time designated by the Pastor and the board of Deacons.
3. The Sacrament of Baptism shall be administered to those taken into the church as members (if they have not previously been baptized).Infants and children, one of whose parents stands in covenant with the church, may be baptized. Others may be baptized at the discretion of the Pastor.
- 5 –
Article II – Membership
Qualifications 1. This Church will welcome into its membership any person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ and accepts the duties and responsibilities of our Christian community. Admission and Reception 1. Admission of new members may be by nomination of the Pastor. Active Membership 1. Active members are expected to be faithful to standards essential to Christian life, participate actively in the Church’s ministry, worship regularly, and share with the Church their time, talent and money. 2. Active members in good standing may act and vote in all transactions of the Church and hold office. Associate Membership 1. Any person, who, for reasons deemed acceptable to the Pastor and Diaconate, wishes to retain membership in another Christian church body, but wishes also to indicate more than a casual relationship with this Church, may be granted “associate membership.” This allows for all responsibilities and privileges including voting and holding office. Discontinuing Membership 1. By Transfer. A member in good standing may on request be granted a letter of transfer to any Christian church. The letter shall be addressed to a specific church. The name of the member shall be retained on the roll until notice of the reception of such transfer has been received, or until six months have elapsed. 2. By Request. A member in good standing may, upon request, be released from membership and shall be given a statement to that effect by the Membership Committee. 3. By Withdrawal. A member who, for a period of one year, has not communicated with this Church or significantly contributed to its ministry, may, be transferred to the inactive list and so notified. When the whereabouts of an inactive member is unknown for a period of one year, that person may be removed from the membership list. Article III ‐ Congregational Meetings 1. The church shall meet annually and when special meetings are called. Ten percent (10%) of the members of the church shall constitute a quorum, except as noted in the Bylaws. Written notice of meetings shall be given not less than two weeks prior to the date of the meeting in the church bulletin, newsletter and on the church website. The annual reports will be available two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. 2. The annual meeting will serve as the commencement and ending date for terms of all elected officials and committee members.
- 6 –
3. The Annual Meeting shall be held in the month of January to present annual reports of officers, boards and committees; to elect officers and committees; and to act upon other such business as shall properly come before the meeting.
4. Special meetings shall be called by the Clerk upon request of the Pastor, the Church Council, or a petition signed by no fewer than 20% of the members of the church, stating the purpose of the proposed meeting. The Clerk shall schedule the special meeting no sooner than two weeks and no later than six weeks from the date of the request, or the receipt of the petition. These time limits shall apply to the scheduling of all Congregational Meetings.
5. All matters before a congregational meeting shall be decided by a majority vote of members present, except as noted below.
Article IV – Pastor 1. The Pastor shall have charge of the spiritual affairs and welfare of the church and responsibility for the conduct of the services of public worship. The Pastor shall seek to enlist people as followers of Christ, preach the gospel, administer the Sacraments, have care of services of worship, and oversee the Christian education of the congregation. The pastor shall be an ex‐officio member of all boards and committees and shall have a seat and vote on the Church council, except in personnel matters regarding the pastor. 2. The Pastor shall become a member of the church and shall seek and gain standing in the Iowa Conference, the Eastern Iowa Association of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ.
3. The Pastor will maintain an active association with local clergy and keep the congregation informed of religious activities and events in the greater community and the Iowa Conference UCC. 4. Ethics. The ethics of the pastor shall be in conformity with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Congregational United Church of Christ, Iowa City, Iowa and the Manual on Ministry of the UCC. 5. Other Pastoral Service. The church may at its discretion choose an Associate or Assistant Pastor(s). 6. Pastoral Relations Committee. There shall be a committee consisting of the Moderator, the Church Clerk, and the two Members‐at‐Large to meet a minimum of quarterly or more often if needed during the year with the Pastor to discuss issues that will strengthen the relationship between the Pastor and the Church. The senior member at large shall chair the committee.
7. Termination of Service. In order to terminate this relationship, three months’ written notice shall be given by either party, except when termination is for cause or by mutual agreement of the parties.. The procedure shall be in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Iowa City, Iowa. When either party decides to terminate the relationship, the termination shall be by action of the Church Council, and notice of such termination shall be sent by the Moderator of the Council to the Iowa Conference and to the Eastern Iowa Association for appropriate action. 8. Resignation of Pastor. The pastor may choose to resign by submitting a letter of resignation to the Church Council. A minimum of three (3) months notice must be given.
- 7 –
9. Dismissal of Pastor. The Pastor may be dismissed at a congregational meeting called for that purpose, by a two‐thirds (2/3) vote of active members present, with voting to be done by secret ballot. In order to terminate this relationship, three (3) months’ written notice shall be given by either party, except when termination is for cause or by mutual agreement of the parties. notice shall be given by either party. When the relationship is terminated, notice of such termination shall be sent to the Clerk of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ, and to the Committee on Ministry of the Eastern Iowa Association.
10. Pastoral Search Process. In filling a vacancy, the Church Council should follow the current procedures of the United Church of Christ. As soon as a pastoral vacancy occurs, it shall be reported to the office of the Iowa Conference and to the Eastern Iowa Association by the Moderator. The Church Council will appoint a Pastoral Search Committee.
11. Pastoral Search. It shall be the responsibility of the Pastoral Search Committee, appointed by the Council, to seek a candidate for a vacancy in the office of Pastor. A candidate must be an ordained minister with standing or approved for ordination in the United Church of Christ. The Pulpit Committee shall present to the church the name of the candidate it recommends to fill the vacancy. A majority vote of the Church constitutes a call.
12. The Call. In the call, the terms of the relationship shall be stated, including the agreement of the Church to participate in the Pension Fund of the United Church of Christ, the health insurance program of the United Church of Christ, and other terms agreed between the candidate and the committee. The minister, the church, the Iowa Association, and the Eastern Iowa Conference Executive shall each receive a copy of the call. The Pastor shall be called at a congregational meeting by a two‐thirds (2/3) vote of the active members present.
13. Installation. When a minister accepts a call to this church, the church and the minister shall join in requesting the Eastern Iowa Association to arrange for a service of installation or recognition. A report of this service shall be signed by the proper officer of the Eastern Iowa Association and copies shall be sent to the Secretary of the United Church of Christ and to the Council for Church Life and Leadership.
14. Term of Service. The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite period. Article V – Officers and Board Members 1. Term Limits. No elected positions may be held for more than two consecutive terms. One year shall lapse before a member can be re‐elected to such a position.
2. Policies. There shall be maintained a current policy manual which will delineate duties and responsibilities for each Board and elected officer. The manual will also contain the operating policies for the church and the duties of hired staff.
3. Removal of an officer, council member or elected official An officer or Council Member may be removed with cause by a vote of five (5) or more members of the Church Council The Church Council shall remove any person serving in an elected position by a vote of five (5) or more Council Members where such an Officer or Council member is guilty of malfeasance or is apathetic in the performance of his or her responsibilities.
- 8 –
Article VI – Duties of the Officers
The Moderator shall: 1. Be elected each year by the congregation at the annual meeting to serve for a term of three (3) years. 2. Preside at all congregational meetings. 3. Chair meetings of the Church council 4. Guide the Church Council to develop and implement long‐range planning for the future. 5. Accept all resignations. 6. Resign the office of Moderator in writing to the Church council if unable to complete term. The Vice Moderator shall: 1. Be elected by the Church Council each year and shall be one of the two At Large Members. 2. Serve as Moderator pro‐tempore in the Moderator’s absence. 3. Assist the Moderator in the long‐range planning process. The Clerk Shall: 1. Be elected by the congregation at the annual meeting to serve for a term of three (3) years. 2. Keep records of all congregational meetings. 3. Prepare minutes of the meetings of the Church Council which shall be posted for the benefit of the congregation. 4. Keep all policies adopted by the Church council in a manner readily available to all members. 5. Maintain and conduct all correspondence pertaining to the official actions of the church. 6. Perform other duties as required by the Church Council. The Treasurer shall: 1. Be elected by the congregation at the annual meeting for a three (3) year term from the lay membership of the church. 2. Oversee all financial transactions and records of the church, and shall present financial reports to the Church Council and to the Board of Trustees monthly. The Treasurer shall be an ex‐officio member of the Board of Trustees. 3. Oversee the disbursal of funds at the direction of the Board of Trustees or the congregation as appropriate.
- 9 –
4. Provide oversight of the work of the Financial Secretary. 5. Submit an annual written report to the congregation of receipts and expenditures as prepared by the Financial Secretary.
Article VII ‐ Members at Large 1. Two members at large shall be elected for two (2) years staggered terms.
2. The Council shall elect one At Large Member each year to serve as Vice Moderator.
3. The Senior At Large member shall chair the Nominating Committee and the Pastoral Relations Committee. Article VIII ‐ Vacancies Vacancies. Any vacancies which occur on any of the elected Boards, committees or delegations during the year shall be filled by the Council to complete the unexpired term of the office concerned. The names of nominees for such interim vacancies will be supplied to the church Council by the Boards, committees or delegations on which a vacancy exists. Article IX – Official Delegates 1. Delegates to the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Conference and meetings of the Eastern Iowa Association shall be elected by the congregation at the annual meeting and shall be members of the church. These delegates shall serve to represent the church at meetings of the Eastern Iowa Association and the Iowa conference of the United Church of Christ. No term limits apply to delegates. 2. The Church Council is responsible for sending representatives to any agencies, organizations or outreach programs of interest to the church. These representatives shall be elected by the congregation at the annual meeting. It shall be the responsibility of these members to report to the Council and/or the appropriate board or committee. No term limits apply to representatives. Article X – Rules Governing Boards 1. All boards shall schedule regular monthly meetings. 2. A quorum for any board or committee shall be at least one‐half (1/2) of the body’s total number of voting members. All decisions shall be by majority affirmative vote. 3. All boards shall hold their first meetings during the first month after the Annual Meeting where members of the boards and committees are elected. The outgoing chair of each board and committee shall chair this first meeting to oversee the selection of the new chairperson, and offer guidance to the incoming members. 4. Boards shall prepare a projected budget for the upcoming fiscal year. They will submit this proposed budget for deliberation at a time set annually by the Board of Trustees.
- 10 –
5. At their first meeting, each board shall elect a presiding chairperson. With the exception of the Pastoral Relations committee, each body will also elect a recording secretary. The recording secretary will keep accurate and detailed minutes of the deliberations and actions of each body, and send them to the church office and all committee members prior to the next meeting. 6. No later than one (1) month prior to the Annual Meeting, the chair of all boards shall submit to the church office an annual written report summarizing the activities of their group for the past year. 7. Any questions which may arise with respect to the execution or interpretation of this Constitution and Bylaws shall be determined by a two thirds (2/3) majority of the Church Council. 8. All meetings of the church, boards and committees shall be conducted in compliance with parliamentary procedure as specified in Roberts’ Revised Rules of Order. Article XI – Church Council The Church Council, as elected representatives of the congregation, shall be the overall policy and planning body of the church. It shall have complete power to supervise and coordinate the plans and activities of the boards, committees, and organizations of the church, and to plan prayerfully for its future. 1. One half of the members of the Church Council shall constitute a quorum. 2. Other appointments: The Church Council shall appoint representatives from The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ to other organizations as appropriate. 3. Meetings: The Church Council shall meet monthly or as often as deemed necessary, and at other times as called by Board chairpersons or requested by Boards. Church Council meetings are open to any member in good standing. The Church Council under extraordinary circumstances may make provision for a closed session. 4. Other boards and committees: The Church Council shall form such boards or committees as will serve to further the purpose of The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. 5. The Council shall perform such duties as assigned elsewhere in the Bylaws. 6. The Council shall be composed of the Moderator, who shall act as chair; the Vice Moderator, who is one of the two At Large Members; the Clerk, who shall act as secretary; the Treasurer; the Pastor; the chairs of all boards and two at large members. 7. The Council shall establish regular meeting times at its first meeting after the Annual Meeting. Notice of regular meetings shall be printed in the worship bulletin on the Sunday preceding the meeting and shall be provided to all members of the Church Council. 8. The Council shall be responsible for the hiring and oversight of all church employees. Where such employees will work with pastoral staff, the Church Council will strongly weigh the views of pastoral staff when performing this oversight function. 9. All policies of the church must be approved by the Church Council.
- 11 –
10. Nominating Committee. There shall be a Nominating Committee appointed by the Church Council for a term of one year. The Committee shall be comprised of one member from each of the recognized Boards and both at‐large members of the Church Council. The senior at‐large member shall serve as chairperson of the Nominating Committee. The committee shall report its nominations in writing prior to the Annual meeting. In nominating members of the church for elections to any of the positions to be filled, it shall be the policy of the Nominating Committee that each proposed nominee be contacted to explain to them the nature of the post for which they may be nominated and to obtain their permission to be so nominated. It shall be the responsibility of the Nominating committee to bring to the Annual meeting nominations for all open elected positions.
11. Parish Planning Committee. Every five years the Church Council shall conduct with the pastor a review of the state of the church, constitution and the by‐laws. The emphasis in such a review shall be on the major needs of the church during the subsequent five year period. These reviews shall be done in the years ending with a 3 or 8. These reviews shall be presented at the annual meeting for appropriate review and action.
12. The Council shall receive an annual self evaluation by the Pastor and make an annual recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding changes to the compensation package. The Pastoral Relations Committee may also make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees if desired.
Article XII – The Boards 1. Board of Trustees. There shall be an elected Board of Trustees of nine (9) members divided into classes such that three (3) members are elected each year for a term of three (3) years.
The purpose of the Trustees shall be to supervise and administer the financial affairs and the physical facilities of the church corporation.
2. Diaconate. There shall be an elected Diaconate of twelve (12) members divided into classes such that four (4) members are elected each year for a term of three (3) years.
The purpose of the Diaconate shall be to supervise all aspects of the spiritual life of The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. It shall work closely with the Pastor in these regards.
3. Board of Christian Education. There shall be an elected Board of Christian Education of nine (9) members divided into classes such that three (3) members are elected each year for three (3) year terms.
The purpose of the Board of Christian Education shall be to establish, supervise, and maintain a program of Christian education in the church. The director of Board Christian Education shall be an ex officio member of the board.
4. Board of Membership. There shall be an elected Board of Membership of nine (9) members divided into classes such that three (3) members are elected each year for a term of three (3) years.
The purpose of this Board is to develop ways to genuinely welcome others into our community of faith, and to provide for all members, a feeling of welcome through fellowship activities and events.
- 12 –
5. Board of Missions. There shall be an elected Board of Missions consisting of nine (9) members divided into classes such that three (3) members are elected each year for a term of three (3) years.
The purpose of this Board shall be to help our church reflect and act on its mission, both in personal life and in the social order, to use a Christian approach to the problems, issues, discussions, and hopes of all humanity regarding peace, justice, and benevolent action.
6. Board of Stewardship There shall be an elected Board of Stewardship consisting of five (5) members divided into classes of three (3) year terms. The Treasurer and the Financial Secretary shall also serve on the Board as ad hoc members. The purpose of the Board shall be to encourage the principles of Christian Stewardship in the church by managing the Endowment Fund, and carrying out the annual stewardship drive of the church. The Board shall plan and carry out a stewardship drive and help members with their long range estate planning for the church, and educate the congregation about stewardship. Stewardship education and enlistment shall be a continuing responsibility of the committee. Article XIII – Special Committees
The congregation or the Pastor, with the approval of the Church Council, may appoint such committees as may be deemed necessary. Such committees should not conflict with any board or standing committee and must report to at least one board or standing committee of the church.
Article XIV – Auxiliary Organizations and Delegates The congregation or the Pastor, with the approval of the Church Council, may create such church auxiliary organizations as may be helpful in the conduct of activities and functions sponsored by the church. Such organizations should not operate in conflict with any board or committee of the church and must report to the Church Council.