By-Laws

Revised and adopted on May 17, 2015.

Article I: Name

The name of this church shall be the Unitarian Church of Quincy, Illinois. While autonomous, the church is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Article II: Object

The object of the church is set forth in its Covenant as follows:

We unite in the free quest of high values in religion and life.

The affirmation of the church is as follows:

Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law.
United in the free quest of high values in religion and life,
we covenant with one another to dwell together in peace,
to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.

Article III: Membership

Any person 18 years and older who is in sympathy with the purpose and methods of this church may become a member by signing the Covenant. Membership becomes effective after the Board of Trustees formally acknowledges the new member as an active member of the church. An active, or voting, member is one who attends, participates, contributes, or gives other evidence of regular interest in the church. Transfer of membership from active to inactive may be made at the member's request to the Board of Trustees or by recommendation of the Membership Committee.

Article IV: Statement of Equality

This congregation affirms and promotes the full participation of person in all our activities and endeavors, including membership, programming, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals; without regard to race, color, gender, physical or mental challenge, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity, age, class, or national origin.

Article V: Church Government

  1. Board of Trustees
    1. Election and Terms
      The Board of Trustees shall consist of nine members of the church's active membership. Three Trustees shall be elected at each annual meeting for a term of three years; Trustees may serve two consecutive terms. In order that the entire membership may be brought into a more vital connection with the church through sharing responsibilities, Trustees shall not be eligible, after having served two consecutive terms, to serve again until at least one year has passed. In the event a Trustee resigns, the Board will appoint a new Trustee to fill the unexpired term. A Trustee appointed by the Board to fill an unexpired term is eligible to serve two full terms in addition to the unexpired term. Trustees shall annually elect a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer from the Board for one-year terms. Officers are eligible for multiple terms.
    2. Duties and Responsibilities
      1. To elect officers.
      2. To establish rules for its own governance.
      3. To approve chairs and members of standing and special committees as described in Article VII.
      4. To acknowledge as members those who have signed the Covenant, to act on petitions from individual members to transfer their membership from one status to another, to review the annual recommendations of the Membership Committee about transfers of members from one category of membership to another.
      5. To review actions of the treasurer and to administer the business affairs of the church, to oversee annually the audit of the treasurer's records.
      6. To submit to congregational vote the expenditure of an amount more than five percent of the current year's budget.
      7. To contract outside bookkeeping if this is deemed desirable.
      8. To set dates of annual and special meetings as described in Article VIII, D & E, below.
      9. To set dates for special worship meetings.
      10. To identify and present to the congregation candidates for the position of minister (See Article VI, A, below),
        1. by appointing a search committee,
        2. by reviewing the credentials of candidates,
        3. by working with the search committee to formulate the letter of agreement which contains conditions of appointment and duties of the minister and a letter describing the annual compensation offered.
        4. by presenting the question of appointment of a candidate at a special or annual meeting.
      11. To review the report of the Ministerial Committee annually and discuss the evaluation with the minister.

  2. Officers' Duties
    1. President To preside at meetings of the church and of the Board of Trustees, and to perform such duties as may devolve upon the office.
    2. Vice-President To preside at all meetings of the church and the Board of Trustees when the President is absent, and to perform such duties as may devolve upon the office.
    3. Secretary To keep records of all meetings of the church and of the Board of Trustees, in consultation with the Membership Committee to keep a correct roll of the members of the church, to send notices of church meetings to both active (voting) and inactive members, and to perform such duties as may devolve upon the office.
    4. Treasurer To hold in custody all funds, except the Memorial and Endowment Funds, in appropriate depositories, to keep an accurate account of all receipts, expenditures, and assets, to pay bills, to render at annual meetings and at other such meetings as may be required a financial statement of the church, to provide regular reports of financial activities to the Board of Trustees, to supervise any contracted bookkeeping services and to assist in whatever audits are conducted, and to perform such duties as may devolve upon the office.

Article VI: Minister

  1. Appointment
    1. The Search Committee and Board of Trustees will present the candidate and his or her credentials at a special or annual meeting.
    2. A letter of agreement establishing the duties of the minister and a letter establishing the annual compensation will be formulated by the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees. Both letters will be given to the candidate and copies will be made available for review to the congregation from the time of the notice of the special appointment meeting at the church.
    3. Approval shall be made by vote at a special or annual meeting as described in Article VIII, C.
  2. Duties
    The duties of the minister shall be set out in the Letter of Agreement.
  3. Dismissal
    A simple majority vote of the voting members at a special or annual meeting shall be sufficient for dismissal.

Article VII: Committees of the Church

  1. Standing Committees

    Members of standing committees are approved by the Board of Trustees.

    1. Stewardship
      1. Building and Grounds Committee maintains church property; arranges for cleaning services, snow removal, and yard care; supervises purchase of supplies; receives estimates for renovation and repair projects; and assists in the purchase of equipment.
      2. Finance Committee develops a proposed budget, plans and promotes an annual pledge campaign, sends reports to contributors on pledge status, and advises the Treasurer on the financial well-being of the church.
      3. Memorial Fund and Endowment Committee receives and acknowledges gifts to the Memorial Fund and to the Endowment Fund. Gifts of any amount may be made to either fund. Unless a donor specifies otherwise, gifts smaller than $1,000 will go to the Memorial Fund; gifts greater than $1,000 will go to the Endowment Fund.
        The Memorial Fund and the Endowment Fund are kept in separate accounts and are managed independently from the Church's Treasury. The committee is charged with managing both funds with prudence, discretion, intelligence, and regard for the preservation of capital. The committee will assist in whatever audits are conducted. Quarterly statements of these accounts shall be made available to the Board of Trustees.
        All contributors to the Memorial Fund shall be thanked and their names listed in permanent records. Memorial funds shall not be used for the operational expenses of the church. Memorial monies may otherwise be spent at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.
        Contributions to the Endowment may come from bequests or from gifts. The sources of Endowment funds shall be acknowledged and recorded in permanent records. The purpose of the Endowment Fund is long-term capital improvements and investments in congregational development. The Endowment contributions are considered principal. Any portion of the principal may be withdrawn only by a three-quarters vote of the active, voting church membership. The membership of the church shall be notified by mail of an impending vote on expenditure of fund principal at least three weeks before a meeting for which said vote is on the agenda. The capital appreciation of the Endowment Fund's principal shall not be used for the operational expenses of the church. Up to 90% of this appreciation may otherwise be spent at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.
      4. Fundraising Committee will be responsible for coordinating fundraisers across the year by recruiting teams for individual fundraising events, such as Plant, Bake and Book Sale and Candlelight Dinners. In addition, the committee will support and assist committees in their fundraising projects, as requested.
      5. Ministerial, Human Resources, and Risk Management Committee meets regularly with the minister, reviews ministerial effectiveness, prepares personnel policies, reviews risks and recommends appropriate actions, and provides liaison between the staff and membership.
    2. Congregational Life
      1. Fellowship Committee plans social gatherings of the church community and schedules hosts for the Sunday morning coffee hour. In addition, the Fellowship Committee provides deliberate care in a timely manner to members and friends who need help in coping with an illness, injury, death, or other personal or family crisis. The committee will respond to any indications that friends and members need caring, including any mention of such need during Sunday announcements or reports from other members.
      2. Membership Committee maintains attendance and membership records with addresses and phone numbers, and preference of newsletter delivery; submits new church members at the following board meeting; sends the new member information to the UUA and to the UU World; welcomes newcomers and provides information about our church; encourages membership; monthly gives the birthdays to the newsletter editor; annually updates the Membership Directory; has the membership total available for meetings for the quorum; and sends attendance information to the UUA every January.
      3. Worship Committee arranges for Sunday morning services, including speakers and supporting participants, recruiting and scheduling greeters and ushers, and maintaining the chancel decorations and chalice.
      4. Music Committee duties include arranging for music for each service in the church year; hiring church musicians; overseeing the tuning, maintenance, and use of the organ and pianos; purchasing performance equipment sanctioned by the Board; and advising the Board on all matters concerning appropriate use of music in church operations. The Minister of Music serves as an ex officio member of the committee.
    3. Learning
      1. Historical Records Committee maintains and protects historical documents, minutes of Board and congregational meetings, photographs, records and publications; assists in historical research; and supervises historical publications.
      2. Religious Education Committee promotes religious education programs to children and adults, consults with the Ministerial, Human Resources, and Risk Management Committee on the employment of Sunday School assistants, and gives regular guidance.
    4. Outreach
      1. Public Relations Committee maintains the church website, submits news releases and paid advertising notices to local and area media; produces and distributes a monthly newsletter.
      2. Social Action Committee brings to congregational notice concerns among members, appeals for help in the church and wider community; and in issues of local, national, and international importance.
  2. Special Committees
    1. Search Committee composed of active members appointed by the Board of Trustees when such a committee is required and who serve until a new minister is hired, identifies and recommends to the Board of Trustees, good candidates for the position of minister.
    2. Other committees may be appointed by the Board of Trustees as needed.

Article VIII: Meetings

  1. Presiding Officers
    The President of the Board of Trustees shall preside at all meetings of the church. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President of the Board shall preside. In the absence of the President and the Vice-President, a temporary chairman shall be elected from the floor.
  2. Conduct
    The latest edition of Roberts' Rules of Order shall be followed in the deliberative meetings of the church and the Board of Trustees for any question not addressed in these By- Laws.
  3. Voting
    1. Only active, voting members have the right to vote at church meetings.
    2. Forty percent (40%) of the active membership shall constitute a quorum for congregational meetings.
    3. The following shall require seventy five percent (75%) of the active membership voting in favor:
      1. incurring planned indebtedness,
      2. distribution of endowment principal,
      3. amendment of By-Laws, or
      4. appointment of a minister.
    4. All other actions shall require a simple majority of those active members present voting in favor.
    5. Voting by mail or absentee ballot must be approved by the Board.
    6. Each member entitled to vote may authorize another person to act for him or her by written proxy. Said proxy must specify the time period during which it is valid.
  4. Annual Meeting
    The annual meeting of the church, as determined by the Board, shall be held within sixty-one days prior to the end of the fiscal year. An agenda of business to be conducted shall be distributed to all voting members at least three weeks before the meeting.
  5. Semi-Annual Meeting
    The Board of Trustees may call a mid-year meeting for informal review of business and various concerns of the church.
  6. Special Meetings
    The Board of Trustees may call a special meeting, and must call a special meeting upon the request of ten members of the congregation. The Board must give notice of such special meetings from the pulpit and in writing at least three weeks before the meeting and explain the purpose of the proposed meeting. In case Sunday services are not being held at the time of the special meeting, a written agenda must be distributed to all voting members at least three weeks before the meeting and shall be considered sufficient notice. The agenda of the special meeting shall be limited to the items specified in the agenda.

Article IX: Church Year

Sunday morning services shall begin the second Sunday of September and end upon the first Sunday of June. After the first Sunday of June, informal gatherings and discussions may be held during the summer. The fiscal year of the church shall begin July 1 and extend through June 30 following.

Article X: Amendments

Amendments to these By-Laws may be made at any legal meeting of the church provided that the proposed amendment, reviewed and endorsed or not endorsed by the Board, shall have been fully set forth in the notice for a special meeting or by distribution to all active members at least three weeks before said meeting. A review of the By-Laws as a whole shall be made every five years.