BY-LAWS OF THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF LONGVIEW
Effective date January 1, 2018
ARTICLE I: STRUCTURE
The name of this religious society shall be Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Longview (hereinafter UUFL).
The physical address is 2301 Alpine Road, Longview, Texas, 75602. USPS access is also maintained at Post Office Box 3451, Longview, Texas 75606
UUFL is structured to conform to Internal Revenue Service Code, Section 501(c)3, and is registered as a tax exempt organization with the Office of Texas Secretary of State. All reports and other legal requirements to maintain such status shall be fulfilled.
UUFL is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Unitarian Universalist Association Southern Region, and North Texas Unitarian Universalist Congregations (NTUUC). Any reports, financial contributions, or other requirements to maintain those affiliations shall be fulfilled.
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
Vision Statement: Love is the spirit of the UUFL, and service is its law. This is our covenant; to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, to help one another, and to work to build a better community through service.
Mission: Our mission is to promote the Principles of the UUA
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
Any person aged 18 or older may become a member of UUFL by:
- Stating their intention to join UUFL and requesting a New Member Packet from a Governing Board Member
- Demonstrating sympathy with its purposes and program
- Demonstrating an understanding of its bylaws
- Supporting it through financial and/or personal participation as he/she deems able.
- Signing the membership book
It is generally expected that all members will have an understanding of the
history and the principles of Unitarian Universalism. Membership shall be open to all qualified persons regardless of ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political persuasion.
Membership shall be terminated by:
- The death of a member
- The resignation of a member. The resignation shall be effective on the date specified. If no date is specified, the resignation shall be effective when received by the Secretary.
- A majority vote of the Governing Board at a regular business meeting when: 1) a member moves out of the area or
2) a member has not supported UUFL through financial and/or participation for a period of one year.
- For such other reasons as the Governing Board may deem appropriate, termination will be decided by a simple majority vote.
ARTICLE IV: GOVERNANCE
Unitarian Universalists follow congregational polity; therefore, a congregation’s decision by vote is the highest expression of its authority. UUFL entrusts the administration of its day-to-day business matters to a duly elected Governing Board. Each member of UUFL is entitled to one vote. Absentee voting is permitted and shall be via USPS or email to the Secretary of the Board and must be received no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the scheduled meeting. No proxy voting is allowed.
All meetings of the UUFL, its Governing Board and the various Committees shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
Section A: Congregational Meetings
The Annual Congregational Business Meeting (ACBM) shall be held during the month of November, at such time and place as determined by action of the Governing Board. At least two weeks prior to the ACBM, the Governing Board shall review and recommend a slate of candidates for the following term of office and all financial documents (including an operating budget, a capital budget, the audit report, and the Financial Support Committee report) which shall be sent to all UUFL members at least two weeks prior to the ACBM; along with an agenda which clearly states any additional matters of business to be considered by the members. Any additions or corrections to that agenda must be received by the Board no less than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the ACBM. Twenty percent (20%) of the current membership, or five members, whichever is greater, shall constitute a quorum of the ACBM. After the Chair has declared a quorum to be present and has called the meeting to order, the agenda shall be addressed. The current Board Secretary shall record these proceedings.
Special business meetings of the congregation may be called by a written request signed by five or more UUFL members, or by action of the Governing Board. Any business to be transacted at a special called meeting shall be clearly stated in a notice sent to all UUFL members at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Notice of a special called meeting shall be made by email and on the Official UUFL Website. Twenty percent (20%) of the current membership, or five members, whichever is greater, shall constitute a quorum for such meetings.
Section B: Governing Board
The members of the UUFL delegate customary authority to conduct day-to-day business to an elected Governing Board. That Board shall consist of a duly elected President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and three At-Large Board Members. Candidates for Governing Board positions shall be UUFL members for at least one year prior to serving. The president elect shall be from the current board. Additionally, the immediate past President shall serve as an Ex-Officio Member of the Governing Board for the first year following their last term of office. The Ex-Officio Member does not vote but is advisory only. Their service may be dispensed or extended by an action of the Governing Board.
The Governing Board shall have general authority over UUFL real properties, and financial interests; and exercise control over business and administrative duties of the UUFL. Additionally, the Governing Board shall appoint such committees as deemed necessary with at least one member of the Governing Board serving on each committee. Minutes of all business discussed at the meetings of the committees shall be reported back to the Governing Board.
Unless special consideration is granted by the Governing Board to accommodate Board Members who are temporarily inactive for good cause, any Board Member who misses three consecutive regular or special meetings of the Board may be deemed to have resigned by a majority vote of the remaining Board Members. The Board may fill vacancies with qualified members of the UUFL who shall serve until the end of the term of office.
Governing Board meetings shall be held at such time and place determined by action of that Board. Notice of all Board meetings shall be posted at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Any business to be transacted at a Governing Board meeting shall be placed on an agenda that shall be posted on the Official UUFL Website, to allow access by all UUFL members, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. All Governing Board meetings shall be open to all who are willing to abide by the agenda and Board practices. The Board may recess into Executive Session to discuss matters which, due to their nature, may not be publicly disclosed. For an Executive Session to be called, it must be on the agenda. Decisions on all agenda items must be done in an open meeting.
Each Board Member is expected to show initiative, exercise due diligence, and recognize their fiduciary responsibility to the UUFL membership. Each Board Member shall be personally responsible for maintaining current knowledge of UUFL governance documents (By-laws, Policies & Procedures, Duties of Office, budgets, and other pertinent documents). It is the responsibility of the Governing Board to keep the Congregation fully informed of its actions by sending minutes of all meetings to all UUFL members via email and posting on the Official UUFL Website.
Section C: Election of Officers
Any member of UUFL for one year or more may be elected to a position on the Governing Board. At the ACBM, the congregation shall elect a President (this position must be a member of the prior year’s Governing Board), a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and three Board Members-at-Large, each of whom shall hold office for one year or until the successor to each office has been elected and installed. No person shall hold a specific office for more than three consecutive terms
ARTICLE V: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
The Officers shall perform the duties normally associated with their respective offices. In addition, and not in limitation, the Officers shall have the duties defined herein.
All Officers shall represent the Fellowship on appropriate occasions and perform all duties incident to the office and such other duties as may be requested by the Congregation.
Because the Fellowship has a goal of shared leadership rather than functioning under a traditional hierarchy, officers have limited responsibilities.
The President shall be the executive officer of the Fellowship, serve as the Chair of the Governing Board, be responsible for organizing the agenda for all Regular and Special Congregational Meetings, and shall represent the Fellowship on appropriate occasions and perform all duties incident to the office and such other duties as may be requested by the Congregation from time to time. The President shall have authority to sign on behalf of the congregation any deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts or other legal instruments which the Governing Board has authorized to be executed, except in those instances where the signing and other execution of such instruments shall have been expressly delegated by the Governing Board or by these bylaws or by statute to some other officer or agent of the Fellowship.
The Vice President shall act in the absence of or at the request of the President, at which time he/she shall have all powers and functions applicable to the President. In addition, the Vice President shall perform such functions and duties as may be specified by the Board.
The Vice President shall have primary responsibility for the coordination, scheduling, and presentations of the program and worship services of the Fellowship. The Vice President shall appoint and chair a Worship Committee to assist with programs and other tasks associated with Sunday services.
The Secretary shall keep minutes of meetings of the Fellowship membership and of the Governing Board. The Secretary shall post or cause to be posted all minutes and announcements via email to all UUFL members and to the official UUFL Webpage.
The Secretary shall keep and preserve the Fellowship membership book, maintain lists of all friends and members of the Fellowship along with the addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
The Secretary, in conjunction with the Treasurer, shall prepare a list of voting members two weeks prior to any business meeting of the Congregation. The Secretary shall keep all papers, correspondence, documents, and written instruments belonging to the Fellowship or that pertain to the business of the Fellowship. The Secretary shall collect, distribute, and respond to incoming mail as appropriate, and perform such other functions as assigned by the Board.
The Treasurer shall receive and safely keep all money and other property of the Fellowship entrusted to his/her care, make disbursements as directed or approved by the Governing Board, keep a complete account of the finances of the Fellowship in books belonging to the Fellowship.
The Treasurer shall maintain a current roster of the pledging members and their pledges. The Treasurer shall furnish statements detailing the status of their pledges to members upon request.
The Treasurer shall render written financial reports and prepare an annual statement at the close of each fiscal year, which shall be made available to the Audit Committee. The Treasurer shall provide direction and coordination of any public accounting firm employed by the Fellowship, render a current statement at each regular meeting of the Governing Board and of the Congregation, ensure that all federal, state or local returns, reports or other items required by law are properly prepared and filed with the appropriate authorities in a timely manner, and perform such other functions as assigned by the Board.
The Treasurer shall perform the duties of the President in the event of the simultaneous absence or incapacity of both the President and Vice President. The Treasurer may be bonded at the expense of the Fellowship.
Members-at-Large elected to the Board have unassigned responsibilities. They will perform such functions as determined by the Governing Board.
ARTICLE VI: COMMITTEES.
Section A: Standing Committees
The Governing Board shall create and maintain three active committees. By Board action additional standing committees may be established. Each committee
shall consist of least three persons, at least one of whom shall be a current Governing Board member; who shall also be responsible for a monthly report of current committee activities at each Governing Board meeting. At least one person shall be a member of UUFL not currently
serving in an elected position. Committee assignments should be carefully considered to provide the greatest expertise and abilities in the area over which the committee has responsibility. If a committee directive is not supported by the Governing Board there shall be a conference meeting consisting of the entire Governing Board and that committee (seven plus (+) three members: each of whom shall have voice and vote). The decision of this conference shall be binding.
Part 1) Worship Committee: The Vice President of the UUFL shall chair this committee. This committee shall have responsibility over the worship practices of the congregation. The scheduling of speakers, lay leaders, musical support and other aspects directly related to worship services shall fall under the responsibility of this committee. Any expenditure of funds outside the annual budget shall require specific written proposals submitted to the Governing Board.
Part 2) Building and Grounds Committee: The Governing Board shall appoint one of its members to act as the Chair of this committee. This committee shall have responsibility over the campus and real properties of UUFL. Expenditures of funds outside the annual budget shall require specific written proposals, and no less than two supporting bid documents submitted to the Governing Board.
Part 3) Financial Support Committee:
The Treasurer of the UUFL shall chair this committee. This committee shall have authority to form budgets for the UUFL. Budget documents shall be available to the Governing Board with time enough to be reviewed and presented to the UUFL Membership two weeks prior to the ACBM.
This Committee shall also exercise authority over the trust funds, endowments, and financial investments of the UUFL that are not a part of the annual budget. The Committee may solicit any number of ex-officio members, and may request the presence, or services, of persons who are not members of UUFL. The Committee may delegate any responsibilities deemed appropriate to such ex-officio or non UUFL members with the approval of the Governing Board. Notwithstanding, the duty to report, to both the Governing Board, and the UUFL Membership shall remain with the Committee and Chair. Any action decided on by the Committee shall require specific written proposals submitted to the Governing Board for approval. The Finance Committee is granted the authority to submit their proposals directly to the congregation in cases of disagreement with Governing Board’s decisions.
In keeping with Unitarian Universalist Association guidelines, expenditures and investments must meet social responsibility criteria. All such purchases and investments shall be from companies: that do not produce products, offer services, or operate in a manner which might be unsafe to the consumer or threatening to our environment; that are not predominantly involved in the production of war material; that are not dependent on discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, age, national origin, or religion; that do not exploit the poor or deprived for their business success; and that provide safe and healthy work environments and fair and equal employment opportunities for all persons in their labor force.
Section B: Temporary Committees
The Governing Board shall timely populate and direct these committees. By Board action additional temporary committees may be established. Each committee shall consist of three persons; at least one of whom shall be a current Governing Board member; who shall also be responsible for timely reports of current committee activities as directed by the Governing Board. At least one person shall be a member of UUFL not currently serving in an elected position. Committee assignments should be carefully considered to provide the greatest expertise and abilities in the area of committee responsibility.
Part 1) Nominating Committee: The Governing Board shall appoint a Committee to identify any qualified and willing candidates for open Board
positions during the upcoming term of office. The list of such candidates shall be available to the Governing Board with time enough to be reviewed and presented to the UUFL Membership two weeks prior to the ACBM.
Part 2) Audit Committee: The Governing Board shall appoint a Committee to conduct audits of the UUFL financial accounts. No person with authority to execute checks shall serve on this committee.
Part 3) Growth Committee: The Governing Board shall appoint a Committee to study and make recommendations regarding strategies to strengthen and increase the size and impact of UUFL.
Part 4) Employee Search Committee: The Governing Board shall appoint a Committee to identify any qualified and willing candidates for employment by the UUFL.
ARTICLE VII: FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year shall begin January 1 and end December 31.
ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENTS
These bylaws, so far as allowed by law, may be amended or replaced at any meeting of the Fellowship by a two-thirds vote of those members present and voting. Notice of any proposed changes shall be contained in the notice of the meeting.
ARTICLE IX: DISSOLUTION
Should UUFL cease to function and the membership vote to disband, any remaining assets shall be disbursed as determined by vote at that meeting, which action shall be considered as the last official action of the Congregation. Such transfers shall be made in full compliance with any and all applicable laws and regulations.