First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleborough
Tenth Revision June 2, 2017
Article I: Name
The name of the Society shall be the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleborough, Massachusetts.
Article II: Purpose
1) The purpose of this Society shall be to provide a liberal religious organization in which those dedicated to the principles of a free faith may unite for mutual support, study, worship, service and fellowship. The Society affirms that it is a Welcoming Church, dedicated to creating a safe and diverse community that is intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally supportive to all, including gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. The Society affirms and supports a commitment to accomplish racial and cultural diversity in fact as well as in spirit to make inclusiveness a reality.
2) The Society is organized exclusively for religious, charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations described under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
Article III: Denominational Affiliation
1) The Society shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Ballou Channing District in which it is located.
2) In the event of the dissolution of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleborough, all assets both real and personal, and including all property heretofore and hereinafter donated to such Society, shall be distributed to the Unitarian Universalist Association, Boston, Massachusetts, or its successor, for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Scetion 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. The Society will request that the Unitarian Universalist Association, in consultation with the Ballou Channing District, use every means available to reestablish an independent Unitarian Universalist Society on and with the above described property.
3) If, at the time of dissolution, the Unitarian Universalist Association does not qualify as an exempt organization or fails to accept the Society’s assets, such assets shall be distributed to a qualified recipient or recipients, as determined by vote of the Congregation. Any assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes, or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
Article IV: Membership
Membership is achieved by signing the membership book in the presence of the Minister or her/his designee. Full membership is on a yearly basis and requires that any person, 14 years of age or older, has signed the membership book and paid the yearly BCD and UUA dues for the Church fiscal year. The Parish Committee or its designee may approve a waiver of dues for individuals under conditions established by the Parish Committee. Any member who does not pay the yearly UUA and BCD dues or receive a waiver will be moved to “Associate Member” status with loss of voting privileges. Associate members are not members of the BCD and the UUA.
2) Voting Privileges
a) Thirty days after signing the membership book, the new member may participate in voting at a meeting of the Society, and shall be eligible for election to a position on the Parish Committee.
b) In accordance with Massachusetts law, only members eighteen (18) years of age or older may vote on or append their signatures to matters dealing directly with the investment or expenditure of Society funds or the purchase and sale or transfer of any Society property, real or personal.
c) Only eligible members of the Society present at meetings of the Society may vote.
d) Under unusual circumstances, the Parish Committee may allow proxy voting on an individual case basis.
Anyone may withdraw from membership in this Society by sending his or her resignation in writing to the Clerk or President. The Parish Committee may remove from the membership and/or financial list(s) of the Society the name of any member who has not participated in the Society for a period of three (3) years. Such action shall take place only after reasonable efforts to contact the member have been made.
A former member shall notify the Minister or President, in writing, of his or her desire to be reinstated as an active member.
Article V: Officers and Parish Committee
The Officers shall be members of the Society in good standing and shall be elected at the Annual Meeting, with terms beginning at the start of the ensuing fiscal year. The Officers of this Society shall be President, Vice President, Clerk, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and Religious Exploration Liaison, each elected for a term of two (2) years. The President, Treasurer, and Religious Exploration Liaison shall be elected in even years. The Vice President, Clerk, and Assistant Treasurer shall be elected in odd years.
The duties of the Officers are:
a) The President shall preside at all meetings of the Society. The Vice President will serve in the absence of the President.
b) The Clerk shall keep a record of all Parish Committee, Annual, and Special Congregational Meetings of the Society, and oversee the maintenance of membership records, papers, and documents belonging to the Society.
c) The Treasurer shall collect all sums donated to the Society; hold in custody all funds of the Society; keep an account of all receipts and expenditures; pay, out of Society accounts, such bills as shall be approved by the Parish Committee. The Treasurer will keep a record of each member’s donations and report to individual donors as required by the Parish Committee. The Treasurer will report to the Annual Meeting, and such other meetings as may be required, a financial statement of the Society. The accounts of the Treasurer shall be reviewed annually.
d) The Assistant Treasurer shall have all the same responsibilities as the Treasurer and work with the Treasurer on maintaining the accounts; report thereon at the Annual Meeting and at such meetings as may be required.
e) The Religious Exploration Liaison shall represent the concerns of the Religious Exploration Committee to the Parish Committee, and vice-versa.
2) The Parish Committee
a) The Parish Committee shall consist of the above listed Officers and four (4) At-Large Members. At-Large Members shall be members of the Society in good standing and shall be elected at the Annual Meeting for a term of two (2) years, with terms beginning at the start of the ensuing fiscal year. Two (2) At-Large positions shall be elected in even years and two (2) At-Large positions shall be elected in odd years.
b) Terms Limits: The maximum number of consecutive years any person may serve on the Parish Committee is eight (8), with no more than four (4) consecutive years in any one position. Exceptions will be made in the event that the maximum number of years is met during a term, in which case the term may be completed. After completing a term during which the full term limit is reached, an individual shall not be eligible to serve again until after two (2) years. These term limits are intended to foster participation by newer Society members in positions of responsibility for the Society. Under unusual circumstances, the Parish Committee may override term limits by majority vote.
c) Positions that become vacant mid-term shall be filled by appointment of the Parish Committee until the next Annual Meeting. At that Annual Meeting, the remainder of the term, if any, shall be filled by election.
d) The Parish Committee shall have general charge of the business affairs of the Society. The Parish Committee will act on such directions as they receive by vote of the Society, and shall report thereon at the Annual Meeting and at such other meetings as may be required. A majority of Parish Committee members must be present to constitute a quorum for Parish Committee meetings. Vacant positions on the Parish Committee will not count towards the number of board members for the purpose of calculating a quorum. Parish Committee meetings are open to parishioners of the Society, unless the Committee is in executive session. The Parish Committee shall conduct the affairs of the Society with due respect for the privacy of all parishioners of the Society.
e) Nominating Committee: The Parish Committee shall, at least three (3) months prior to the Annual Meeting, appoint a Nominating Committee from the membership of the Society. The Nominating Committee is responsible for seeking candidates for open Parish Committee positions for the ensuing term, with the exception of the candidate for the Religious Exploration Liaison position, which shall be sought by the Religious Exploration Committee. Nominations may be made by the membership, and self-nominations will be accepted. The Nominating Committee will organize and present a slate of candidates, to be voted upon at Annual Meeting.
f) Other committees may be appointed by the Parish Committee as needed.
g) Parish Committee member’s inability to fulfill her/his duties: If a member of the Parish Committee is unable to fulfill her/his duties for a period of time exceeding two (2) months, the Parish Committee may appoint someone to fill the position until the elected member can return to service. Any member who has missed three (3) consecutive meetings shall be reminded of her/his obligation. If the member’s attendance does not improve after being reminded, the member may be removed and replaced by vote of the Parish Committee.
Article VI: Congregational Meetings of the Society
1) Annual Meeting:
The Annual Meeting of the Society shall be held during the first two (2) weeks of June. The Annual Meeting will receive the written reports of the Treasurer and/or Assistant Treasurer, Clerk, President, Minister, and all committees affiliated with the Society; elect Officers; adopt the annual budget; and transact such other business as may properly come before it.
2) Special Congregational Meetings:
Special Congregational Meetings may be called by the President of the Society, by the majority of the Parish Committee, or shall be called by the President on written request of any ten (10) members of the Society.
A written warrant, stating the business to be transacted, shall be posted by the Clerk at least two (2) Sundays before the date of the Annual or any Special Congregational Meeting.
At any Annual or Special Congregational Meetings the presence of one-sixth of the total membership shall constitute a quorum.
Article VII: Minister
1) The Minister of this Society shall be called by a majority vote at a Congregational Meeting. The salary and expenses of the Minister shall be approved in like manner.
2) Ninety days notice shall be provided by the Society to the Minister or by the Minister to the Society in case of removal or resignation respectively. This period may be altered by mutual consent.
Article VIII: Amendments
Amendments to these By-laws may be made at any official Congregational Meeting of the Society provided the proposed amendment(s) shall have been fully set forth in the call for such a meeting. A two-thirds vote of members present and voting shall be necessary to adopt any amendment(s).
Article IX: Procedure
Unless otherwise ordered by majority vote, all meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, latest Revised Edition.
Article X: Fiscal Year
The Fiscal Year shall begin on July 1 and shall end on June 30, beginning July 1, 2002.
First Revision 1967
Second Revision April 8, 1977
Third Revision June 7, 1992
Fourth Revision March 7, 1999
Fifth Revision April 13, 2001
Sixth Revision April 4, 2004
Seventh Revision May 21, 2006
Eighth Revision June 13, 2009
Ninth Revision June 10, 2011
Tenth Revision June 2, 2017