THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL COLUMBUS, OHIO CONSTITUTION

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1 THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL COLUMBUS, OHIO CHURCH CONSTITUTION ARTICLE L NAME The name of this church is THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF COLUMBUS, OHIO, which is located in Columbus, Ohio. ARTICLE IL PURPOSE The purpose of the church is to provide for the worship of God and the spiritual enlightenment and improvement of the people of God; to further Christian fellowship among its members and among all people; and to promote, through its services and work, the practice of Christian love and discipleship. ARTICLE IlL POLICY A. The church is a member of the United Church of Christ and therefore sustains that relationship to the United Church of Christ described in the constitution of the United Church of Christ relating to local churches. B. The government of the church is wholly vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all its affairs subject to no other ecclesiastical body, but subject to the laws of the State of Ohio relating to non-profit corporations. ARTICLE IV. FAITH AND COVENANT A. The church is a community of faith called to witness and to serve, united by the acceptance of a mutual covenant, which is as follows: We covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ and with one another, and bind ourselves in the presence of God to live together in all God's ways as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and the holy scripture. B. The church acknowledges that all members have the right of individual interpretation of the principles of the Christian faith and respects them in their honest convictions. C. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord, the church recognizes two sacraments, baptism and holy communion. ARTICLE V. MEMBERSHIP A. QUALIFICATION Membership the church. in the church is open to any person who is in accord with the faith and covenant of B. ADMISSION All candidates recommended by the minister and accepted by action of the deacons shall be received into membership at any regular service. Members are received by 1

2 confirmation of faith, by public confession of faith, by reaffirmation of transfer. of faith, or by letter C. RESPONSIDILITY OF MEMBERS Members are expected to strive to live the Christian life, to foster diligently the spiritual welfare of their fellow members, to bring a Christian presence to the community and the world, and, to their fullest abilities, participate in the worship services of the church, its support and benevolences, and its work and activities. D. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Members of other churches wishing to participate in the life and work of the church may be received as associate members by application to and acceptance by the deacons. Attestation that they are members in good standing of another church shall be received in advance of that action. Associate members may be received into membership at any regular service. These members shall have all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of full membership except the right to vote in congregational meetings and to serve in elected positions. An associate membership is terminated on request of the member or by action of the deacons. The acceptance of associate membership is not construed by the church as affecting the relation of the members with their home churches. E. INACTIVE MEMBERSHIP An inactive member is one whose address is not known to the church for two years or a member who requests in writing to be given inactive status. An inactive member may re-activate full membership upon written request. F. TERMINATION At their written request, members will be released from membership transfer from the deacons. and may receive a letter of ARTICLE VI. GOVERNANCE A. CONGREGATIONAL MEETING The governing body ofthe church shall be the membership assembled in a congregational meeting. Sixty members shall constitute a quorum. B. VOTING Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the affirmative vote of a majority of members present and voting at a congregational meeting is the action of the church. C. ANNUAL MEETINGS The annual meeting of the congregation shall be held in the afternoon of the last Sunday of January of each year. At this meeting, the council, the officers, the trustees, the deacons, the ministers, and all church organizations shall submit their annual reports in writing. 2

3 D. SPECIAL MEETINGS Council shall call a special meeting of the congregation when council deems it necessary or when a petition is received at a council meeting, the petition to be signed by not less than thirty members of the congregation. Council shall schedule such a meeting within four weeks of its action or of receipt of the petition. Written notice of the meeting shall be sent to the members by the secretary not less than two weeks prior to the meeting. ARTICLE VIL OFFICERS The officers of the church shall be the moderator, moderator-elect, and assistant treasurer. secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, A. MODERATOR The moderator shall be the chief lay officer of the council and shall preside at congregational meetings and meetings of council. B. MODERATOR-ELECT The moderator-elect shall assist the moderator in coordinating special projects and long-range planning of council, and shall serve as moderator in the absence of the moderator. C. SECRETARY The secretary shall keep the records of meetings of the congregation, council, and the executive committee, and shall be responsible for the mailing and/or publication of proper notices of all meetings. The secretary shall be responsible for publication of summaries of council meetings. The secretary shall be responsible for the care and custody of all records of committee meetings, church membership, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and other ceremonies and details. The secretary shall be responsible for issuing all letters of release, transfer, and good standing. D. ASSISTANT SECRETARY The assistant secretary shall be the secretary-elect and shall assist the secretary in coordinating the record keeping of the church. The assistant secretary shall serve as the secretary in the absence of the secretary. E. TREASURER The treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds of the church, except those legally or specifically vested in the trustees. The treasurer shall be responsible for the recording and collecting of all pledges and moneys to the church, and shall make all payments from funds as authorized by council. The treasurer shall keep separate accounts of funds received for separate purposes. The treasurer shall make monthly reports to council. F. ASSISTANT TREASURER The assistant treasurer shall be the treasurer-elect and shall assist the treasurer in coordinating the fmances of the church except those legally or specifically vested in the trustees. The assistant treasurer shall serve as the treasurer in the absence of the treasurer. 3

4 ARTICLE VIIL COUNCIL A. MEMBERSIllP Council shall be composed of the following persons, each with one vote: Moderator (one-year term) Moderator-elect (one-year term) Senior Deacon and one deacon (chosen by the deacons; one-year terms) Chairperson of the trustees (chosen by the trustees; one-year term) Secretary (one-year term) Treasurer (one-year term) One member-at-iarge (one-year term) One youth member-at-iarge (one-year term) Chairperson of the nominating committee (one-year term) Seven commissioners (one-year terms) as follows: (1) Administration (2) Church Growth (3) Education (4) Missions (5) Music, Arts and Heritage (6) Parish Life (7) House and Grounds In addition to the voting members, the minister and professional staff of the church shall be ex officio members of council (without vote). The assistant secretary, the assistant treasurer, and commissioners-elect shall vote when the corresponding council member (e.g. the secretary, the treasurer, or the related commissioner) has provided council notice of an intended absence. B. RESPONSIBILITIES Council shall be the policy-making body of the church and shall transact the business of the church. It shall make provision for determining the current operating budget including the budget for mission and benevolences, and for raising the necessary funds to support the budget. It shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of the buildings and property; for the time and character of worship and other services; for the music and education programs; for church growth, outreach and mission, and for the fellowship life of the church. It shall coordinate with the trustees in the development of long-range planning for the church, its needs, and its missions. Its actions shall be subject to the instructions of congregational meetings. It shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings, maintain the church archives, and report to the congregation at annual and special congregational meetings. 1. COMMITTEES Council shall organize itself each year and shall form such committees as will serve to further the purpose of the church. Each commissioner shall propose the chairpersons of the committees within the commission and the members of those committees, with the approval of council. 4

5 2. DELEGATES Delegates shall be appointed by council to represent the church in meetings or conferences with other organizations; they shall have no power to bind the church to financial obligations or to any defmite course of action unless each power is expressly granted to them in the action of their appointment. 3. USE OF CHURCH PROPERTY The use of church property for meetings other than those of the church, and the use of the church or its services for the promotion of any interests or organizations other than the church, shall be controlled by council. 4. DUTIES AND TERMINA non All persons serving in elected positions are to be regular and faithful in the discharge of their duties. Any individual contemplating an extended absence from the city or becoming unable to perform the proper functions of the position is expected to resign. Council may request the resignation of any individual inactive in respect to the duties of the position. Ifnecessary, council may declare the position vacant, and proceed to fill the vacancy in the manner provided. C. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE The executive committee shall consist of the moderator, the moderator-elect, the secretary, the treasurer, the senior deacon, and the chairperson of the trustees. The minister and the immediate past moderator shall serve as ex-officio (non-voting) members of executive committee. The purpose of the executive committee is to coordinate and promote the entire program of the church. It shall meet at least quarterly and be subject to the call of the moderator. At the discretion of the moderator, it may meet before council meetings and establish an agenda for the subsequent council meeting. The assistant secretary and the assistant treasurer shall attend and vote when the corresponding executive committee member has provided the executive committee notice of an intended absence. D. MEETINGS OF COUNCIL Council shall meet regularly on the third Tuesday of each month at the church. By action of council, the date of a regular meeting may be changed, in which event at least one week's notice shall be given to each member of council. Nine voting members of council shall constitute a quorum. Council may by its action dispense with regular meetings during the months of July and August of each year, and may authorize the executive committee to act on its behalf during these months. Council also may authorize the executive committee to act on its behalf on specific matters as it deems appropriate. Special meetings of council shall be called by the secretary either at the request of the moderator, or upon the written request of five members of council. Written notice of any special meeting shall be given by the secretary prior to such meeting, stating the purpose of the meeting. If time does not permit written notice, a reasonable effort shall be made to notify personally all members 5

6 of council of the meeting. ARTICLE IX. COMMISSIONS A. ORGANIZATION Church activities not assigned to council, officers, deacons, trustees, nominating committee, and staff are to be coordinated by the commissions, whose responsibilities are as follows: Administration -planning, coordinating, and evaluating the human and fmancial resources of the church; Church Growth - being attentive to our growth and development as an institution; Education - furthering our understanding of the Christian faith and of God's creation; Missions - reaching out to those in need as individuals and a society as well as a church and a denomination; Music, Arts and Heritage - encouraging the arts in the context of our liturgy and our building and preserving our heritage; Parish Life - developing relationships of the congregation; with and enhancing fellowship and service among members House and Grounds - maintaining, aesthetics, and landscape. repairing, and improving the church building, furnishings, B. COMMISSIONERS The commissioners shall be responsible for the coordination of all committees and groups within their respective commission. Each commissioner is to coordinate and work with the other commissioners and council to bring about the best use of the church resources and to provide good communication with the church membership. Each commission shall have a commissionerelect to assist the commissioner and to serve in the absence of the commissioner. ARTICLE X DEACONS Fifteendeacons shall be elected from the membership of the church, five_of whom shall be elected at each annual meeting to serve a term of three years. The deacons shall assist the ministers in the spiritual direction of the church, including pastoral care, worship, celebration of the sacraments and other special services. The deacons shall have additional duties specified under membership. ARTICLE XI. TRUSTEES A. ORGANIZATION There shall be nine trustees. Eight shall be elected from the membership of the church for terms 6

7 of four years. In addition, one trustee shall be the moderator, who shall be a voting member. A quorum of six shall be required for trustee meetings. The trustees may appoint from the membership of the church a treasurer and a legal counsel to serve as advisors to the trustees. The minister also shall serve as an adviser. At their first meeting following the annual meeting, the trustees shall select a chairperson from their members and shall select a secretary. B. RESPONSIBILITIES The trustees shall invest and disburse funds held by them in accordance with the instructions of donors. The trustees shall consult with council prior to authorizing the disbursement of such funds. The trustees' authority in these matters is final except as legally directed by action taken at a congregational meeting. The trustees shall hold, invest, and disburse other funds as requested by council. The trustees shall coordinate with council in the development of long-range planning for the church, its needs, and its mission, and shall actively encourage members of the church to contribute to the endowment funds and to make special gifts. The trustees shall ensure that adequate insurance for the church and its activities and property is maintained at all times. The trustees shall make a fmancial report to council at least quarterly and shall submit an annual fmancial report to the annual meeting. ARTICLE XIL NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS A. NOMINATIONS The nominating committee shall make nominations for moderator, moderator-elect, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, deacons, trustees, members-at-large, commissioners, commissioners-elect, and chairperson ofthe nominating committee. Public notice of these nominations shall be given by bulletin or letter at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. Other nominations may be made from the floor at the annual meeting, provided that the consent of the nominee shall have been obtained. Only members ofthe church shall be eligible to be nominated for elected positions. The chairperson of the nominating committee shall be the immediate past moderator unless the individual is unable to serve as chairperson. In addition to the chairperson, the nominating committee shall consist of six members proposed by the moderator and approved by council. Two members to serve three-year terms shall be selected within two months following the annual meeting each year. B. ELECTIONS At each annual meeting, five deacons, two trustees, the moderator, the moderator-elect, the secretary, the assistant secretary, the treasurer, the assistant treasurer, one member-at-large, one youth member-at-large, seven commissioners, seven commissioners-elect, and the chairperson of 7

8 the nominating committee shall be elected by a majority of members present and voting. C. VACANCIES For any position elected at an annual meeting, vacancies may be filled by council for the period of time until the next annual meeting. Nominations for vacancies may be made by the nominating committee and/or from the floor of council, provided that the consent of the nominee shall have been obtained. ARTICLE XlIL MINISTER A. RESPONSmILITIES The minister shall be the regular preacher of the church. The minister shall have responsibility for the spiritual and general welfare of the church. The minister shall be the spiritual leader and administrator of the church except on those matters which are otherwise specified in the constitution as being the responsibility of officers, deacons, trustees,commissions, or committees. The minister shall consult and work with council and with the appropriate individuals or groups in carrying out the minister's responsibilities The minister, in consultation with and with approval of council, shall have responsibility for selecting, calling on behalf of the church, and dismissing professional staff. The minister, in consultation with councilor with such other persons as council may designate, shall have responsibility for selecting and dismissing other employees. The minister shall make an annual report to the church at its annual meeting. B. VACANCY When the position of minister becomes vacant, it shall be reported to the Central Southeast Ohio Association of the United Church of Christ. Council shall appoint a pastoral search committee to select and recommend to council a candidate for the position of minister. The pastoral search committee shall consult with council and others as directed by council concerning terms of employment, financial requirements ofthe committee, and other matters necessary or incidental to its task of selecting and recommending a minister. The committee shall consult with the proper officials of the United Church of Christ to receive counsel and guidance. When the pastoral search committee has selected and recommended a candidate who has been accepted by council, the moderator shall call a congregational meeting to consider the recommendation. In the call, the terms of the relationship shall be stated including compensation, housing and other allowances, pension, health insurance, and other fringe benefits. The affirmative vote of two-thirds or more of members present and voting shall constitute a call. The minister shall serve until relations with the church are terminated in accordance with the terms of the minister's contract or by action taken at a congregational meeting. Council may appoint an interim minister when necessary. ARTICLE XIV. PROPERTY A. The church may in its corporate name sue or be sued, acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, 8

9 or otherwise, and own, hold, invest, reinvest, or dispose of property, both real and personal, for such work as the church may undertake, and may purchase, own, receive, hold, manage, care for and transfer, rent, lease, mortgage, or otherwise encumber, sell, assign.jransfer, and convey such property for the general purposes of the church; it may receive and hold in trust both real and personal property and invest and reinvest the same and make any contracts for promoting the objects and purposes of the church. B. Any real property or any interest therein owned legally or beneficially by the church may be transferred or mortgaged to secure loans to it only by action taken at a congregational meeting by the affirmative vote of two-thirds or more of members present and voting. C. In the case of the dissolution of the church, its assets and all property and interests of which it shall then be possessed, including any bequest, gift, devise, or grant contained in any will or other instrument in trust or otherwise, made before or after such dissolution, shall not be distributed among the members, but shall be distributed as determined by action taken at a congregational meeting by the affirmative vote of two-thirds or more or members present to any other affiliated church organization(s) whose objectives and purposes are similar to those of the church as expressed in this constitution. ARTICLE xv. AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, any organization which is either a part of the church or primarily dependent upon the church for its continuance shall be operated, supervised, or controlled by council. Its form of organization and any change thereto are subject to approval by council. No such organization may incur any obligation without approval by council and its fmancial records shall be audited periodically as directed by council. ARTICLE XVI. FISCAL YEAR The fiscal year of the church shall be the calendar year. ARTICLE XVII. RULES OF ORDER Robert's Rules of Order (the current edition) shall be parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by this constitution. ARTICLE XVII! AMENDMENTS Articles I through VI and Articles XIV and XVIII may be amended at a congregational meeting by the affirmative vote of two-thirds or more of members present and voting. All other articles may be amended at a congregational meeting by the affirmative vote of a majority of members present and voting. Public notice of the text of the proposed amendments(s) prior to the meeting. shall be given by bulletin or letter at least three weeks Articles I, II, and ill of this constitution constitute the "Articles" as set forth in the laws of the State of Ohio relating to non-profit corporations. Any amendments to these "Articles" shall not be effective until filed with the Secretary of State of Ohio. Revised & Approved - November 15,

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