Approved by Council, January 5, 2010, Adopted by the congregation January 24, 2010
ARTICLE I. NAME
1. The name of this church shall be “Memorial United Church of Christ, Inc.” located in the City of Fitchburg, State of Wisconsin, hereinafter referred to as Memorial United Church of Christ or “this church.”
ARTICLE II. MISSION AND PURPOSE
1. Mission Statement: Memorial United Church of Christ is a community of faith, called by God to gather for worship and reach out in ever-widening circles as a witness to God’s all-inclusive love in Jesus Christ, and to act out God’s grace and mercy in deeds of teaching, healing, reconciling, nurturing, and feeding those who are hungry in body or in spirit.
2. The purpose of this church shall be to worship God, to preach and teach 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.
ARTICLE III. POLITY
1. This church shall be a part of the United Church of Christ in covenant with member churches. It shall sustain that relationship to the United Church of Christ described in those portions of the Constitution and by-laws of the United Church of Christ, adopted July 4, 1961 and as subsequently amended, relating to local churches.
2. The government of this church is vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all its affairs, subject, however, to laws of the State of Wisconsin relating to ecclesiastical corporations. The official year of this church shall be January 1 through December 31.
ARTICLE IV. FAITH AND COVENANT
1. FAITH – This church acknowledges as its sole head Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of humankind. 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, such as the Apostles’ Creed, 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 Our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two Sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. The “Statement of Faith” of this church shall be that of the United Church of Christ. Each member shall have the undisturbed right to follow the Word of God as it is personally made known under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
2. COVENANT – We covenant one with another in Christian love to seek and respond to the Word and the will of God. We resolve to walk together in the ways of the Lord, 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 fathers and mothers, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the dominion of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.
ARTICLE V. MEMBERSHIP
1. Membership in this church is open to any person who has been baptized and either has been confirmed or who has publicly stated a willingness to follow in Jesus’ way – in accordance with the gospel covenant which binds into a unity all faithful people. We welcome persons of all ages, races, sexual orientations, gender identities and church backgrounds to participate in the life and ministry of our church.
2. Members pledge themselves to regularly attend the worship services and celebrations of the Lord’s Supper of this church; to live a Christian life; to share in the life and work of this church; to contribute to its support and benevolence; and to seek diligently to improve the welfare of church members and the community.
3. All members of this church are entitled to voice, vote, and office unless otherwise stated in this Constitution.
4. The pastor may write a letter of transfer for those members who request it.
5. A member whose address has long been unknown or who for a period of two (2) years, has not attended this church’s worship or contributed to its support, and has been contacted about his or her membership, may, by vote of the Council, be removed from the membership roll.
ARTICLE VI. GOVERNING BODY
1. The Governing Body of this church shall be the membership assembled in church meetings, as defined in Article XII. A quorum shall consist of 25% of the members. The vote of a majority of members present at a meeting shall be the action of this church, except as otherwise stated in Articles X and XIV.
ARTICLE VII. COUNCIL
1. The Council shall be the executive body of this church. The Council shall be composed of Pastor(s) and eight (8) elected members. The Pastor(s) are ex-officio member(s), with power of voice but not of vote. A majority of the elected Council members shall constitute a quorum. The vote of a majority of elected Council members present at a meeting shall be the action of the Council.
2. The Council shall organize itself each year, appointing a President, a Vice-President, a Recording Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Financial Secretary. The Recording Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Financial Secretary need not be elected Council members. If appointed by the Council from the membership at large, they shall have the power of voice but not of vote.
3. The commencement of a new Council year and subsequent terms shall be at the first regularly scheduled Council meeting following the annual Church Meeting.
4. Nominations for Council membership shall be made by the Nominating Committee. Public notice of such nominations shall be communicated to the congregation at least two (2) weeks before the election. Other nominations may be made from the floor of the meeting at which the election is held, provided the nominee has given consent. To be eligible for Council membership, the candidate must be a member of this church.
5. Council members shall be elected by majority vote cast at annual church meetings. They shall be elected for a term of two (2) years and shall be limited to three (3) consecutive terms. In order to provide continuity, not more than four (4) offices shall become vacant in any one (1) year.
6. Vacancies on the Council shall be filled by the Council for the unexpired terms.
7. Upon election, Council members shall be installed at a worship service. They shall assist and support the Pastor(s) in the spiritual affairs of this church. Council members shall take heed of the high calling of their office, guarding faithfully the spiritual interests of this church.
8. The Council shall transact the business of this church, shall make provision for determining and raising funds for the current expense budget, mission work beyond our local congregation and other benevolences, and shall provide for an annual audit of financial accounts, make member quarterly statements available, and provide financial support for the staff. The Council shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings, be the custodian of all church records, and report to the Governing Body at its regular and special meetings. All acts and deliberations of the Council are subject to the review of and revision by the Governing Body.
9. The Council shall accept committee reports and review fiscal matters regularly.
10. The Council may authorize any extraordinary expense if funds are available, but if the expense exceeds five percent (5%) of the General Fund Budget for the current year, it must receive the prior approval of the Governing Body.
11. The Council shall normally meet once every month for the transaction of such business as may properly come before it. Meetings normally should include prayer and should emphasize policy deliberations. Special Council meetings are subject to the President’s call. Unless otherwise stated, all meetings are open to the entire church membership.
12. The Council shall appoint not fewer than four (4) members of the congregation as Trustees, at least one (1) of whom must be a Council member. The Council shall review Trustee appointments on an annual basis. The Trustees shall have care and custody of church property, whether real or personal, subject to review and/or approval by the Council. The Trustees shall organize themselves annually electing a chair and a Recording Secretary.
ARTICLE VIII. COMMITTEES AND ORGANIZATIONS
1. A Nominating Committee, of not more than five (5) members, shall be appointed by the Council; at least two shall not be Council members. The primary duty of the Nominating Committee shall be to nominate Council members.
2. There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of: Council President and Vice-President, Chair of Trustees, Financial Secretary and Sr. Pastor. This committee will meet as needed to formulate and make recommendations to Council on time-sensitive matters and to recommend agenda items to the Council.
3. Committees shall be formed by the Council, as needed, to stimulate Christian fellowship and strengthen the life and mission of this church. The membership of each committee shall include a liaison from the Council.
4. All organizations and committees of this church are subordinate to the Council.
5. The Pastor(s) shall be ex-officio member(s) of Council and may be ex-officio member(s) of other organizations and committees of this church. Their counsel and guidance should be sought on matters pertaining to or affecting the policy and life of this church and the United Church of Christ as a whole.
ARTICLE IX. DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES
1. The Council shall select delegates and alternates to the Wisconsin Conference Meetings, the Southwest Wisconsin Association Meetings, and other meetings as may be needed.
ARTICLE X. PASTOR(S)
1. It shall be the responsibility of a Search Committee, appointed by the Council, to seek a candidate for a vacancy in the offices of Pastor. It shall be the responsibility of the Council, in consultation with the Association Minister, to secure and employ an Interim Pastor until the Pastoral vacancy is filled.
2. The Search Committee shall present to the Council the name of the candidate it recommends to fill the vacancy along with the call document. The Council shall forward to the Governing Body the name of the candidate and the call document. A 2/3 affirmative vote of the Governing Body constitutes a call.
3. In the call document, the terms of the relationship shall be stated, including the agreement of this church to participate in the Pension Fund of the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Christís health insurance program, and other terms agreed upon by the candidate and the Search Committee, in consultation with the Trustees. The Pastor, the Division of Church and Ministry and Memorial United Church of Christ shall each receive a signed copy of the call document.
4. When a Pastor accepts a call, this church and the Pastor shall join in requesting the Association to arrange for a service of installation.
5. The Pastor(s) shall be elected for an indefinite period. To terminate this relationship, ninety (90) days notice shall be given by either party, unless otherwise mutually agreed. The termination procedure shall be in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the United Church of Christ.
6. When either party decides to terminate the relationship, the termination shall be by action of the Council, and notice of such termination shall be sent by the Council to the Division of Church and Ministry for appropriate action.
ARTICLE XI. PROPERTY
1. This church may in its corporate name sue or be sued, acquire by purchase, gift, devise, bequest or otherwise own, hold, invest, reinvest or dispose of property, both real and personal, for such work as this church may undertake, and may purchase, own, receive, hold, manage, care for and transfer, rent, lease, mortgage or otherwise encumber, sell, assign,
transfer and convey such property for the general purposes of this 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 this church.
2. Upon dissolution of this church, its assets and all property and interests which it shall then possess, 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 transferred to the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ.
ARTICLE XII. CHURCH MEETINGS
1. There shall be an annual meeting of this church. Notice of this meeting shall be communicated to the Congregation at least two (2) weeks prior to the said meeting. At least seven days prior to the meeting, annual reports of the Pastor(s), President of Council, Financial Officers, Secretary and all committee chairs and the budget for that fiscal year shall be sent to the church membership. At the meeting these reports shall be presented for acceptance by the Governing Body.
2. Special meetings may be called by the Council or by a petition to the Council signed by not less than ten per cent of the members. Such meetings shall be held within three weeks from receipt of the petition. Notice of such meetings shall be communicated to the membership by the Recording Secretary at least two (2) weeks prior to said meeting. Only such business as has been stated in the notice may be transacted.
ARTICLE XIII. RULES OF ORDER
1. The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by this Constitution.
ARTICLE XIV. AMENDMENTS
1. Amendments to this Constitution may be made at any duly called church meeting by a 2/3 affirmative vote of the Governing Body. The text of the proposed amendment(s) shall be communicated to the membership at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting.