The following are proposed amended bylaws for our parish. The matters in red letters indicate either a change in text or a change in position.
Holy Protection of the
MOST HOLY MOTHER
OF GOD PARISH
UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
GOD’S ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
THESE BYLAWS INCLUDE ALL AMENDMENTS AS APPROVED THROUGH OCTOBER 28, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GENERAL TERMS AND DEFINITIONS 3
ARTICLE II – ORGANIZATION 3
ARTICLE III – PURPOSES AND AIMS 4
ARTICLE IV – ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY 4
ARTICLE V – MEMBERSHIP 5
ARTICLE VI – CHURCH GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION 10
ARTICLE VII – PARISH ASSEMBLY 11
ARTICLE VIII – PARISH COUNCIL 12
ARTICLE IX – LEADERSHIP 14
ARTICLE X – BOARD OF AUDITORS 16
ARTICLE XI – PROPERTY AND FINACIAL ASSETS 16
ARTICLE XII – ADDITIONS AND AMENDMENTS 17
ARTICLE XIII – ADOPTION 18
We declare and establish this Parish Church Constitution and Bylaws to preserve and secure the principles of the Orthodox Faith. This Parish Church Constitution and Bylaws will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches.
GENERAL TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
"Parish Church": “Most Holy Mother of God Parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America - Ecumenical Patriarchate (UOCUSA-EP) Inc.” hereinafter is referred to as “the Parish”, or “the Parish Church.” The “Parish Church” is incorporated as a Florida Non Profit Organization under Florida corporation number N08881 dated April 23, 1985. *A Parish, short for Parish Church, is a local Orthodox Church headed by a Parish Priest within a larger Diocesan Church headed by a canonical Orthodox Bishop, which in turn is within the communion the worldwide Orthodox Church. The Most Holy Mother of God Parish (UOCUSA-EP) Inc. is a local Orthodox Church within the aforementioned hierarchical structure. Its appointed feast-day is Holy Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God and thus also known as Holy Protection or Protection within the tradition of the Orthodox Church in free exercise of religion. The term “Church” in Orthodox polity is a less specific term which may refer to the parish, the diocese, and supradiocesan structures, as well as the worldwide Orthodox Church, including all of the preceding in one communion of Faith.
"Parish Constitution": The "Articles of Incorporation for Saint Seraphim of Sarov Inc., a Florida Non-Profit Corporation" established on or about March 6,1985 and twice amended (October 1986 and October 2004) to reflect a name change. The Constitution of Most Holy Mother of God Parish (UOCUSA-EP) Inc. hereinafter is referred to as the "Parish Constitution".
"Parish Bylaws": The following "Bylaws for the Most Holy Mother of God Parish (UOCUSA-EP) Inc." hereinafter are referred to as the "
Church Parish Bylaws".
"Consistory Constitution": Exhibit 1 is attached to and fully incorporated herein into these Parish Bylaws. Exhibit 1 is the 14-18 October 1998, version of the "Constitution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America," hereinafter referred to as the "Consistory Constitution". The purpose of the Parish Bylaws is to supplement in detail the operating procedures outlined in the Consistory Constitution. Any prior version or subsequent amendment to the Consistory Constitution is not incorporated into these Parish Bylaws unless the Parish Bylaws are amended, as provided for in Article XII, to incorporate another version of the Consistory Constitution.
"UOC-USA": The"Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA" is hereinafter referred to as the "UOC-USA".
Section 1- Name. The official name of the Parish Church is the "Most Holy Mother of God Parish (UOCUSA-EP) Inc.”
Section 2- Incorporation. The Parish Church is incorporated as a Non-Profit Ecclesiastical Corporation under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Florida. The Parish Church has all such powers as conferred to it by the statutes of the State of Florida.
Section 3 - Calendar Year. The calendar year is January 1 to December 31.
PURPOSES AND AIMS
Section 1- Purposes and Aims.
The purposes and aims of the Parish Church are to:
1. Preserve, foster and perpetuate the Orthodox Faith in accordance with the teachings and discipline of the UOC-USA as interpreted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
2. Erect and maintain a religious church for the worship of God and any appurtenant annexes, additions as may be pertinent, pursuant or incidental to the purposes of this corporation.
3. Admit persons of the Orthodox Faith through the sacraments of Baptism and/or Chrismation according to the rites of the Church and usher them though life according to the teachings, discipline and Holy Traditions of the Orthodox Church.
4. Practice charity according to the high ideals of the Christian religion and, to the extent feasible, lend support to all causes of benefit to our community, state and nation.
Section 1- Authority and Discipline. The Parish Church shall unreservedly recognize, canonically and historically, the authority of the UOC-USA as interpreted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. No Parish of the UOC-USA may withdraw from it. The Parish Church shall observe the faith, canons, ecclesiastical rulings, discipline, worship, customs, regulations and encyclicals of the Orthodox Church.
Section 2- Clergy. The Parish Priest (AKA the Presiding Priest, Rector, Pastor) and all assisting clergymen, shall be appointed by a proper Bishop of the UOC-USA. The Parish Priest and all assisting clergymen shall adhere to all regulations and enjoy such privileges as stipulated by the Bishop of the UOC-USA. Upon receiving a petition of at least 75% of the regular members in good standing the Bishop shall review and discuss the merits of a petition as it pertains to the Parish Priest and all assisting clergymen.
Section 3- Clergy Responsibilities. Clergy responsibilities are detailed in the Consistory Constitution (see Article I). The following are some noteworthy paraphrases of the Consistory Constitution as they relate to the Parish Priest and the Parish:
a- Article X – Section 9e -….. Matters of a Liturgical character and those pertaining to the ritual, shall be exclusively within the competence of the Priest and shall be governed, in this field, by the decisions and instructions of the Council of Bishops. The Priest shall bear responsibility for the spiritual condition of the Parish entrusted to him.
b- Article X Section 10 and Article XIV Section 2 – The Rector of the Parish shall be Honorary President of the Parish Council and participate in all conferences and meetings of the of the Parish Members. The Parish Priest has the right of vote at all such meetings.
c- Article X Section 13 – The Parish Priest shall have free access and oversight of all records, both financial and non financial, pertaining to the church or any committee. The Parish Priest shall sign and stamp with the Church seal the minutes of the Church General (annual) meeting.
The following is a summation of the responsibilities of the Parish Priest appointed by the Bishop as Pastor/Rector in the Orthodox Tradition as detailed by the Church Canons and the Consistory Constitution:
He is called “the Head” (Proestos [literally “president”], Rector, Nastoyatel, Ho Proistamenos--literally “the one who leads” Rom. 12.8; Hebrews 13.7) of the parish Church as he is the one “appointed (by the Bishop) to stand at the head of the people” and lead the assemblies of the church (Canon 19 of the 6th Ecumenical Council, Canon 7 of the 7th Ecumenical Council, Pedalion p447) and must answer to the Bishop in all things pertaining to his Pastorate; He is called to “lead the Clergy and People” in all things as well as to “instruct them in piety” and if he fails to do so is subject to ecclesiastical censure (Apostolic Canon 58); He bears responsibility for the spiritual condition of the parish entrusted to him (Const. X.9e); has oversight of all financial and record books of the Parish (Const. X.13), determines the time and order of services (Const. X.9d); he is to instruct the faithful in the principles of the Orthodox Faith (Const. X.9a), promote the morality and the religious character education, of the faithful (Const. X.9b), under the guidance of the Hierarch he is responsible to protect the parish against schism and is to “reprimand disorderly persons with instructions and admonitions, and at times with ecclesiastical censures” and if this fails out of necessity to protect the people and wholeness of the parish to “have recourse to the civil authority” (Canon 9 of the First-Second Council of Constantinople 861); He has the responsibility to administer the parish property but should do so with the assistance of a Steward (Canon 26 of the 4th Ecumenical Council Pedalion p270), the Steward being, in our case, the Parish Council. Also Canon 2 of St. Cyril is noteworthy: “Those having charge of the divine Priesthood ought to be trusted with the finances required from time to time for incidental expenses” (Pedalion p.918). Also: “Just as the Prelate ought to have the assistance of a steward to manage the affairs of the church in accordance with his wishes, so ought at Rector to have the assistance of a steward to manage the affairs of his parish and an Abbot to have the assistance of a steward to manage the affairs of his monastery” (Pedalion P270; Canon 26 of 4th Ecumenical Council).
In the event that the Council finds any of the clergy to be out of line in their duties, the Churchwarden shall approach the Rector to correct the situation. If it is the Pastor/Rector himself that is failing in his duties or having violated one of his responsibilities, the Churchwarden should approach the Priest, inasmuch as he together with the Parish Council is the canonical witness to the Rector’s administration, to give him the opportunity to correct himself and rectify the situation. If he fails to do so, let the council have recourse to the Eparchial Bishop or to the President of the Consistory for the Priest’s correction or, if need be, suspension or removal. The letter should have the following statement: “We request your Archpastoral leadership in rectifying this situation…” The Bishop will then correct the Priest, and if the Priest fails to correct himself at the Bishop’s admonition, the Bishop in all his canonical rights, in accord with the Consistory and the Metropolitan shall censure or remove him, as it says in the Consistory Constitution: “A Clergyman that should have failed to comply with the orders of the Church Authorities, or should conduct a life incompatible with his Rank, shall be liable to ecclesiastical disciplinary punishment in accordance with the Canons of the Orthodox Church and with the provisions of the present Constitution” (Consistory Constitution, Article X.14).
Section 1--General requirements
In order to be an Orthodox Christian in good standing and in full communion with the Orthodox Church as a whole, one must be a committed and communing member in good standing of a canonical Orthodox parish. By filling out a membership form, the person acknowledges that they are committed as a member of this parish to live a God-centered life to the best of one’s ability, and to uphold and seek to fulfill the ideals of a member of the Orthodox Church in good standing, striving to do better in areas in which you fall short:
Section 2--Definitions Parishioners and Membership
Parishioners are persons of the Orthodox Faith who maintain living contacts with the Parish. They are baptized Christians who have been sacramentally received into and Communed in the Orthodox Church. All parishioners are obliged to regularly take part in the divine services, prepare for and take Communion regularly, make Confession periodically during the fasting periods and as needed, practice the Christian Faith, observe the commandments and repent when they fall from them, abide by the canons and church prescriptions, strive for religious and moral uprightness and union with God, and contribute to the well-being of the parish. The parishioners shall be responsible for the material maintenance of the clergy and the church building. Regular Parishioners must regularize themselves as Parish Members. Parish Members are Parishioners who meet the qualifications given below.
Members of the Parish are Orthodox Christians in good standing who are affiliated with the life of the parish and meet the qualifications listed below.
a. Youth Members are all Orthodox Christians under 18 years of age who are affiliated with the life of the parish, growing in Christ spiritually and morally, and commune in the parish and partake of the sacraments. They are also known as “non-voting members” in the Consistory Constitution.
b. Adult Members, also known as “voting members” in the Consistory Constitution, are all Orthodox Christians over 18 years of age who:
(i) have been canonically received into the Orthodox Church and who consciously uphold and profess the Orthodox Faith;
(ii) have declared their intention to be members of the parish by filling out a membership form.
(iii) Pledge themselves in dedication to the precepts of the Faith and the moral law of God, and are not living in a state of mortal sin, and accept and adhere to the faith, dogma. Canons, laws, discipline, worship, ritual, decisions, usages and Ecclesiastical Authority of the Orthodox Church.
(iv) Are regular participants in the Liturgy arriving in a timely fashion on a regular basis, and regular participants Sacred Mysteries in accord with standards of Orthodox Christians in good standing. No one can be a member of the Parish who does not partake of Confession and Communion at least once a year.
(v) Fulfill the financial obligations to God and His Church. This includes fulfilling the parish commitment the parish for the year previous, and making a financial commitment for the upcoming year, the standard of which is a tithe (one-tenth) of their income and monetary possessions, but covering no less than a Fair Share of parish operating expenses in accord with the annual determination of the parish council. An adult member shall be considered to be in good standing who, at the time of assessment in November of a given year, have either fulfilled their tithe, or 80% of their Fair Share in accord with parish council determination for the given year, to be confirmed by the Churchwarden and Treasurer. Fair Share is determined by total budget divided by adult membership, but for seniors, Senior Fair Share shall be 2/3 of the ordinary Fair Share, and for students between the age of 18-21 the Base Share is sufficient (may be included with the overall family membership commitment).
(vi) An Adult Member in good standing is one who fulfills i-vi above and agrees to abide by the Church Constitution and Bylaws and is not under any form of ecclesiastical ban, that is to say, is not in a state of excommunication or advanced penitential discipline and meets all the requirements above and has not withdrawn his or her membership.
Section 3--Duties of Members
The Duties of Members of this Parish shall be identical to the Duties of Orthodox Christians in accord with the Teachings of the Ecumenical Councils and the Precepts of the Church.
The Duties of Orthodox Christians:
A parishioner of this parish must be a faithful member of the Body of Christ in the context of this local Orthodox Church. A faithful member of the Body of Christ:
1. Strives to keep God’s commandments of which are summed up in the commandment to love: To love God, brethren-in-the-faith, family, neighbor, self, and even enemy with an unselfish love. Love of God includes serving him by giving him the firstfruits (first 10th) of our time, talents, and treasure by beginning the week honoring the Lord’s Day and dedicating everyday to the Lord through daily prayer and assisting others, adhering to the divinely revealed precepts and doctrines of the Faith, stewardship toward God’s House, and striving to keep God as the center of one’s life.
2. Repents when one has failed at the other commandments, which includes self-examination, contrition, reparation of wrongs done to God, the Church, or others as much as possible, and reconciliation with God, family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and neighbor as far as possible from our part. The Orthodox Christian does not seek to justify sin against God, neighbor or self, but acknowledges it and seeks to repair any breaches.
3. Talks to God regularly in prayer--private, family and communal—praying daily and attending Liturgy on Sundays and Feast Days. The faithful Christian strives to maintain a close relationship with the Lord and with his friends, the saints. As the Lesser Catechism states: “Every member of the Orthodox Church must pray to God every day with contrition and compunction of heart, and must join in the Divine Liturgy every Sunday and Feast Day.” This of course is provided that there are no legitimate extenuating circumstances that prevent this (i.e. illness or physical disability, giving birth and the recovery period afterward or other post-surgery, work schedule/work demands, great distance, travel, weather conditions, emergency).
4. Communes regularly with adequate preparation (according to ability and circumstance)
5. Is dedicated to continuous learning about God and the Orthodox Christian Faith, including the things taught by the Lord in Scripture and by the Holy Spirit in the Church to all the faithful throughout all generations
6. Practices moderation and virtue, including fasting (emptying) and feasting (filling) with the Church calendar according to the personal health, circumstance and ability of each.
7. Raises their children in the Faith, brings them regularly to Liturgy, and assures their religious education.
8. Fulfills required Stewardship to God, living a life of generosity and charity, giving our tithes (one-tenth) of time, talent and income to God by regularly attending services, caring after the Church in contributing to its cleanliness and continued operation, giving a tithe (10%) financially to His Church and to morally upright causes—each member supporting their Church and its priest financially, and does their fair share according to God’s statutes.
9. Comes preparedly to confession a). during the penitential periods (above all during the Great Fast/Holy Week) and at other times when appropriate b). when one has committed mortal sin c). when vexed by a sin d). when pierced by the conscience e). when in danger of falling into uncorrected sin, and f). when attending Church less than once a month without just cause. Confession serves three purposes: a. To prevent smaller sins from escalating b. To reconcile one who has cut themselves off through grievous sin or negligence of duty c. Spiritual direction: to be a spiritual “doctor’s visit” of the soul, keeping the course of one’s life “on track.”
10. Whenever one finds himself/herself falling short in any of the aforementioned areas, corrects themselves or accepts correction from others, and strives, with God’s help, to do better.
Section 4 Purposes of Membership
Following the Tradition of the Church, the purpose of membership is to attain union with God (Theosis), which means to be a co-worker and co-operator with God as a member of the local Church, and to express that unity with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit, in all family, business, and social activities. Generally, this expression of unity consists of an enlightened obedience to the teachings of the Orthodox Faith, and is manifest in regular attendance at the Parish’s divine services and above all Liturgy in a timely fashion and in the prepared frequent reception of the Holy Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is also manifest in regular cleansing of the soul through Confession, in care for the Parish property and buildings, in regular contributions in fulfillment of their financial commitment, and in doing everything possible to promote the Christian spirit of love, unity, and brotherly concern among the members of the Parish.
Section 5--New Members An Orthodox Christian who wishes to be a member of the parish may do so by filling out a Membership form (intention to be a member) to the Parish Priest, and by filling out a Stewardship Form. A person who is not an Orthodox Christian must approach the Parish Priest to be canonically received into the Church. While there are no dues in the parish, the new member must cover up front what the parish needs to pay to the diocese to register them as members with handling costs (*example in 2012 $100 per adult member). They are to pledge in accord with the good standards of the Church as defined under the other sections on membership.
Section 6 - Definition of Good Standing
A. A Regular Adult Member in good standing, herein also referred to as a Regular Member in good standing, must meet the following requirements:
1. To adhere to the dogmas of the Orthodox Church, the Commandments of God, and to repent when one has broken them in accord with the praxis of the Church
2. Attend Sunday Liturgy on a regular basis, in accord with the statutes of the church (i.e. exemption for illness, shut-ins, travelers, persons who live at a distance, etc.). Dispensation for work requirements may be given by the priest and is solely within his competence
3. Receive the Mystery of Holy Communion regularly and Confession periodically, the latter, for example, during the four penitential periods, and not less than once a year
4. Is not in an advanced state of penitential discipline
5. Complete a Membership Form and sign out a packet of envelopes
6. Give in accordance with God’s standards, namely a tithe (10%) of earnings and wealth toward Church and other charitable causes, giving not less than a Fair Share of this to the Parish Church.
7. A person who does not give their diocesan membership assessment, but puts the burden on the parish to pay it for them, is not a member of the parish by definition of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA. (The first year financial hardship option, however, will be the only exception to this—see below)
8. Has been a member of the Parish for at least one year.
9. By definition and by Statutes of the Metropolia, one may not be listed as a member of the parish whose membership assessment is not paid to the Consistory.
10. No one who is not in an approved first year of financial hardship, or destitution can be a member in good standing without paying the base share (i.e. diocesan assessment and fair-share of property insurance).
Adult members in good standing shall have the right of a vote at meetings of the general Parish Assembly. Adult members in good standing shall have the right to run for elected positions of the parish or to be ministry leaders of ministries established by the Rector or the Parish Assembly if they meet the other provisions set forth below for eligibility. No one who is not an Adult Member in good standing may run for elected leadership, be appointed to ministry positions, or vote in a meeting of the Parish Assembly.
Section 7- Provisional Membership under Financial Hardship
Provisional Membership under Financial Hardship may be obtained by a written appeal via the parish membership form and a majority decision of the parish council. One may apply for Provisional Membership under Financial Hardship by filling out the membership commitment form with a request for financial hardship to be reviewed by the council, and must apply each year for a renewal under this status. Financial Hardship shall be defined as those who have lost a job and are looking for another one, or have fallen into financial woes through no fault of their own. Persons who file for and are granted provisional membership under financial hardship will not be required to give their fair share toward operating expenses while under this status, but will be responsible for their membership assessment for the consistory and fair share of the property insurance after the first year. During the first year, they will only be required to pay the diocesan assessment by January 30, but the parish shall split the cost of their share of the property insurance for that person, and fair share of operations responsibility waived. This will give them time to save up to pay it at the beginning of the second year, thereafter covering the latter two aspects, but not required to pay the fair share toward operating expenses. In order to be renewed for the second year under financial hardship, in order to be fair to the rest of the parish, the person must turn in their membership form with at least half of the “base share” [i.e. diocesan assessment + fair share of property insurance], with the rest to be paid by the 30th of January following.*
*[for example, in the year 2012 “base share” is a total of 99 cents per day ($361 per year), which covers their own Diocesan Assessment ($1.92 per week) and the fair share of property insurance (46 adult members divided by $12,000=$261 per year) at the time of assessment, which the parish needs in advance to pay on their behalf. In the second year of financial hardship, they would need to pay half up front or $180].
For a person to be moved from Provisional Membership to Regular Membership, they must pay the base share up front with the membership form and at least a fair share commitment for the upcoming year by December 1 of the fiscal year in question to have the Church paying for diocesan membership assessment and thus having their membership renewed, and will count toward their overall pledge.
Schedule in brief:
Financial Hardship Year 1: Parish pays existential fair share for person, operation fair share waived, person pays only diocesan membership assessment [in 2012 $100]
Financial Hardship Year 2-5: Operating fair share is waived, the person only needing to pay half of diocesan membership+existential fair share up front by Dec. 1 of given fiscal year (ex. In 2012 would be $180), paying the remaining amount ($181) by May 1 of the same. A person who does not fulfill their financial obligations will be dropped from the registry without notice at the end of the year review, as it is the member’s responsibility to make sure they are in good standing on the financial side by approaching the Churchwarden or Treasurer (NOT the Priest) long before the time of renewal (Dec. 1 of a given year) for renewed membership in the year upcoming.
An approved Provisional Member shall have the same rights as a Regular Adult Member.
Section 8 - Delinquency and Reinstatement
If a person, upon review and majority agreement of the parish council, is found to be completely disabled and unable to work whatsoever or is completely destitute, such a person will be considered a provisional member under disability or destitution upon review and majority decision of the parish council.
Parish Members are responsible to make sure that they are paid-up and in good standing with the parish. One who has not contributed their diocesan membership assessment is by definition of the Consistory disqualified from membership in the parish.
A regular adult member who has not contributed at least a fair share amount and is not in a state of disability or destitution, because it puts the burden on committed members to pay their fair share of Church finances and additional finances, shall not be listed in the official registry of membership submitted to the Consistory. If they have contributed some of their time or finances, they shall be considered benefactors of the parish.
Delinquent persons may be reinstated to membership by paying, up front, the financial commitment or a portion of it, not less than the sum total of base share for previous year and the diocesan assessment for the upcoming year [for 2012 was $461 per adult member] along with a minimum fair share commitment.
Section 9 - Assessment of the membership registry of the parish shall take place as follows:
- The Vice Churchwarden in Charge of Membership shall, by November 30 of a given fiscal/church administrative year, send a list of members to the Churchwarden, to the Treasurer, and to the Parish Priest. The Churchwarden and Treasurer shall confirm that each member/married couple has fulfilled their fiduciary responsibilities. The Parish Priest shall confirm that they are in good standing in the sacramental and canonical responsibilities of the church. The Parish Priest and Treasurer shall send their lists with their findings to the Parish Council via email by December 5. The council shall approve or deny membership based on the findings within 4 days of receiving it. The VC in charge of Membership shall then revise the list, keeping on the list only those who appear on both lists returned to him/her as being in good standing per the bylaws.
- The tentative list of Adult Members in good standing shall then be given to the members of the Parish Council within a week, as well as posted publically for display. Those verified as Adult members in good standing
- Every member is responsible to see if they are in good standing. If they are not on the list, they are to approach the Churchwarden to see what is required to get regularized sometime before the beginning of December for that year.
Section 10- Eligibility to Hold
Office a Position of Service
A regular member in good standing for at least two (2) years is eligible to hold a position of elected service in the Church. The Election Committee (see Article VI section 5.5) shall approve potential candidates and submit their names to the Parish Council for information only. The Parish Priest shall submit the list of names to the Bishop for his approval per Hierarchical Directive dated December 29, 2009 to the Presiding Priests of the Parishes: “Before every election, your responsibility as your hierarch’s representative is to ensure all candidates are worthy, taking into consideration more than just the often minimal standards found in parish Constitutions. As Eparchial Bishops of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we will, when necessary, refuse to accept individuals who are not appropriate for service on Parish Councils.” This directive also states that the candidates who are running for the parish council in each parish must be submitted to the diocesan Bishop for approval by him prior to the meeting in which they will be elected. The priest must ensure that the persons meet the criteria detailed in Article X.13 of the Consistory Constitution.
The Parish Priest shall have veto power on any one potential member per election. An aspirant to be a trustee who has not been a Regular member in good standing for at least two years may otherwise be eligible for holding any position by recommendation of the Parish Priest and subsequent approval by the Election Committee 2/3 decision of the Parish Council.
Section 11 - Transfer of Membership
An Orthodox communicant moving from another orthodox community may be accepted as a transfer member of the Church by providing evidence of membership in his former community by a membership card for the current year or a letter from the priest of the Orthodox community stating that he was a member in good standing of that community. A transfer member may not exercise the right to vote or be elected to a position for the current year in which such transfer was affected. However, a transfer member who fills out a Membership Commitment form and pays the base share in advance, will be considered a regular member, subject to the conditions stated above.
Section 12 - Dismissal of a Member
Dismissal of a regular member must be in accordance with the guidelines established in the Consistory Constitution.
Section 13 - Conduct of a Member
Members shall not slander or bear false witness against their fellow members, the Pastor, Church Officials; nor make any derogatory remarks against the Church or the Orthodox religion.
CHURCH GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Section 1-Bodies of Governance and Administration
A. The general Parish Assembly shall have within its purview decisions regarding sale of real property, general elections, and other items assigned to it by the Parish Council. It is presided over by the Parish Priest or, by delegation or in the absence of a Parish Priest, the Churchwarden.
B. The Parish Council is the Administrative Body of the Parish and shall manage and administer parish property and oversee external order of the parish.
C. The Auditing Commission ensures administrative propriety.
Section 2-Parish Leadership
A. The Presiding Priest (Rector, Pastor, Parish Priest) is the leader of the Parish appointed by the ruling Bishop of the Diocese/Eparchy at the time of appointment. He is the Chairman of the Parish Assembly and the Parish Council.
B. The Churchwarden is in charge of operations and finance for the parish, nominated by the parish priest and confirmed by the parish council, and also known as its President.
C. Other leadership includes other trustee positions such as Vice Churchwarden (aka Vice President of the Parish Council), Treasurer, and Secretary, who are elected by the Parish Assembly or, in between elections, duly appointed by the Parish Council. They hold these positions both on the Parish Council and in the Parish Assembly. In addition to this is the Chair of the Auditing Commission, who also holds a place in the Parish Assembly.
D. Parish ministries shall also have leaders in according with their construct, within the bounds of church legislation and tradition, and in accord with the administrative bodies of the Church.
Section 1: The Parish Assembly
The General Parish Assembly, referred to in Article XI as a general meeting, shall consist of all parish members in good standing officially registered as such in the Church Registry. Only paid-up adult members in good standing may vote. A quorum is
25% 33% of adult members in good standing, but may be waived by the priest parish council vote when adequate notice has been given. Meetings of the Parish Assembly, that is to say general parish meetings, are meetings addressing matters requiring subject approval by church members, ordinarily chaired by the Parish Priest, or in his absence, the Churchwarden, and shall take place as follows:
a. The Annual Meeting of the Parish Assembly shall take place on the second Sunday in December, with the purpose of having elections.
b. Special Meetings of the Parish Assembly, may be called by the Rector, Churchwarden, Parish Council, the Diocesan Hierarch or the Dean by directive of the hierarch, in special circumstances, given 10 days notice by email and listed in the parish bulletin. In cases of emergency or urgency, the Parish Council can, with a majority vote, waive the 10 day requirement.
c. Meetings of the Parish Assembly regarding sale of real property must take place with 30 days notice, unless there is the unanimous agreement by the Parish Council in cases of urgency, with the agreement of the Chair of the Auditing Commission, and a petition of at least 40% of adult members in good standing. Any decision must be in accord with Article XI of these Bylaws.
d. Non-deliberative meetings of the Parish Assembly may be called by the Rector at any time without a quorum, and a brief synopsis shall be recorded by the Secretary.
e. Neither the Parish Assembly nor the Parish Council can make any decision to separate itself or the parish from its hierarch or the Ecumenical Patriarchate at any time.
f. Neither the Parish Assembly, nor the Parish Council, can make any decisions contrary to the hierarchical ordinances of the UOC-USA Synod of Bishops nor the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
A deliberative meeting of the Parish Assembly must include the following: minutes of the last meeting by the Secretary, and Treasurer’s report, and may include reports from other parish leadership.
Section 2 - Date of Elections. Elections for members of the Parish Council and Board of Auditors shall be held every year in the annual convocation of the Parish Assembly on the second Sunday of December. New trustees shall assume their duties after taking the oath on January 1 or within two weeks of this date.
Section 3 - Notice of Elections. The Elections Committee shall provide to the membership a list of all regular members in good standing that qualify to vote or hold office. The first notice shall be given at least thirty days prior to the election and should be provided thereafter each week until the date of the election.
Section 4 - Conduct of Elections
A. The Election must be held by secret ballot, unless there is no contest for a position.
B. Election results must be kept on file with corporation papers by the Secretary.
C. Election results must be presented to the publisher of the Church Bulletin for publication.
D. The Election Committee will verify that each voter and candidate for office meet the requirements of Article V
E. There will be no voting in absentia or early voting unless approved on an individual basis by the Parish
priest council. Voting will be held on one day and the individual must be present to vote. The Election Day will be published at least three weeks prior to the election in the Church Bulletin.
F. Only paid up members are permitted to vote in an election unless a hardship exists which is approved by the Treasurer or the Parish Priest.
Section 5 - Installation. The newly elected Parish Council must take the oath of office administered to them by the Parish Priest before the entire congregation at an installation ceremony observed after Liturgy within the first two weeks of January.
Section 6 - Protest. Any regular member in good standing may, for good cause, protest in writing against any election within three days after the publication of the results. Such protest must be supported by the signatures of at least ten other regular members in good standing. This petition shall be given to the Parish Priest. The Parish Priest will insure that the Election Committee answer this petition in writing. If a disagreement still exists, the Parish Priest must, at his option, resolve the dispute or forward the protest to the UOC-USA for resolution.
Section 1- Vesting of Authority. The Parish Council is vested with the authority to manage and administer the personal and real property of the parish, in accordance with section XII.7 of the Consistory Constitution and through incorporation in the state of Florida.
Section 2 - Parish Council
A. In addition to the Parish Priest, the Parish Council must consist of at least five (5) Regular members in good standing when possible.
B. The Parish Council has all administrative responsibilities provided by the laws of the state of Florida, except as otherwise limited by the
Church Parish Constitution and Bylaws.
C. The term of
office service for each Parish Council member shall be two years. Each year elections will be held alternately for either two (2) or three (3) Council Members thereby maintaining continuity of the Council
D. Following elections, each Parish Council member must
hold office continue in their positions on the parish council until their successors are duly elected and sworn in. (See Article IX for election procedures.)
E- A Parish Council member who misses three (3) consecutive meetings may be removed from the Parish Council by a 75% vote of Council Members.
F. A past President of the Parish Council who would otherwise not retain membership on the Parish Council (in accordance with Article VII) is an ex-officio member of the Parish Council with no voting rights.
Section 3 – Administrative Positions The Parish Priest (the Presiding Priest of the Parish), having been assigned by the diocesan hierarch in a time of vacancy at the request of the parish council or parish assembly, is ex officio leader and chair of the parish and its administration. In addition to the Parish Priest who is Chairman of the Parish Council, the Parish Council members must elect from among those nominated by the Parish Priest and Council members, a Senior Churchwarden (Holova-Starosta) also known as President, Vice Churchwarden, also known as Vice President, Secretary,
Membership Secretary and Treasurer. No Parish Council member may hold more than one office position at the same time. These positions are held both on the Council and the Parish Assembly.
Section 4- Powers of Parish Council.
A. The Parish Council has any powers ordinarily delegated to the governing body of a corporation, including, but not limited to the power to:
1. Confer honors and titles upon members for meritorious services to the Church and recommend to the Consistory those members who should be recognized with honors and titles normally presented by the Bishop.
2. Employ personnel who may or may not be members of the Church and for such salaries and terms of employment which it determines reasonable and necessary.
3. Create and appoint all standing or temporary committees and direct their activities.
4. Retain a Parish Priest and assistant clergymen in accordance with accepted existing procedure.
5. Arrange all meetings as may be required.
6. Transact all community affairs not otherwise provided for.
7. Report to the Parish Church and its regular members annually, or as often as is deemed necessary by the Parish Council, its work and activities, including a full financial statement prepared by an auditing committee or a hired CPA (see Article VIII).
8. The Parish Council can make temporary procedural changes to this document. Final changes shall be approved within one year at a membership meeting.
Section 5 - Duties of Parish Council.
A. The Parish Council has any duties ordinarily delegated to the governing body of a corporation, including, but not limited to the following:
1. To hold regular meetings. Meetings of the Parish Council shall take place quarterly with one week’s notification by email, phone, or written mail under ordinary circumstances. Special meetings of the Parish Council can take place without notice if necessity dictates and a majority of the council agrees. A quorum is a majority of the council.
The Parish Council must hold a regular meeting at least once every three months at such time as may be feasible and convenient for the majority of the regular members.
2. All Parish Council meetings shall be open to the Church and its regular members, but the right to voice an opinion shall only be given to a regular member in good standing who respectfully requests such right.
3. The Parish Council may temporarily decide on any issue not covered by the Church Constitution or Bylaws until such time as a general meeting of church member is convened, as quickly as possible, and at which time the regular members in good standing shall vote accordingly.
4. The Parish Council may fill any vacancy occurring on the Parish Council by selecting by a majority vote a successor from amongst the remaining regular members in good standing. The successor will remain on the Parish Council only for the unexpired portion of the term of that Parish Council vacancy.
5. The Parish Council must select by majority vote two Parish Council members and two regular members in good standing to act as an Election Committee. In addition the Parish Priest per Article IV Section 3 of the Consistory Constitution is a member of this Committee with voting rights. The Election Committee must determine those regular members in good standing who are qualified to vote and run for office (see Article V Section 8 and Article IX section 2).
6- A member of the Parish Council is expected to perform additional support tasks such as being a counter for money collected. The Parish Council Members should be an example and inspiration to other members of the Church.
In the event of any act of extreme disruption in the life of the Church, every member of the parish council is responsible to act with others present and restraining the situation. In the event of a violent crime, felony, or serious threat thereof, all members of the parish council must take care that the police are called at the instance of the ensuing of the crime or expeditiously following its first knowledge. Accusations of crimes involving minors must immediately be reported to the civil authorities for their investigation. In the event of a serious medical emergency, such as a person having signs of a heart attack, or falling with head trauma, or prolonged immobility, each member of the parish council who is free is responsible to make sure that an ambulance is called immediately.
In the event of a dispute between two parishioners, or a parishioner with a committee, the Churchwarden shall mediate. In a dispute between a parishioner and the parish council, the priest shall mediate, with the Churchwarden representing the Parish Council if other members are absent. In the event of a disagreement between clergy, the Parish Priest shall mediate. In the event of a disagreement with the Parish Priest and a member of the Parish Council, the parish council as a majority shall mediate. If there is a conflict between the Parish Priest and the Parish Council as a majority, the Dean of the Florida Deanery shall mediate after conferring with the Bishop. In the even the Parish Priest is the Dean of the Deanery, the Diocesan Bishop shall mediate.
Section 1 Term of Service
Those elected or appointed to positions of leadership within the parish hold the place of trustees. All elected
Officers leadership positions on the Parish Council shall have a term of one year, to be re-elected within the council every year. The Parish Priest holds his term of service ex officio as long as he holds his canonically assigned position, the only thing being able to terminate this position being a canonical release.
Section 2 Duties of Leadership
A. The Parish Priest
The Presiding Priest (aka Rector, Pastor, Nastoyatel, Proistamenos) of the Parish, or Parish Priest, is the leader of the Parish by virtue his appointment by the Bishop and is its presiding chair. The Consistory Constitution says regarding the Parish Priest, “In his pastoral and liturgical service, he acts at the direction of and answers to the Bishop alone” (Article IX.1). He is the representative of the Diocesan Bishop and the higher ecclesiastical organs of the UOCofUSA-EP within the Parish, and he is responsible in his oversight of the administration of the parish to maintain fidelity to the precepts of the Church and report to the people on the state of the parish via the Parish Assembly. The Parish Priest shall represent the Diocesan Bishop in matters of church governance.
The Parish Priest has functions of oversight as provided for by the canons, the decisions of the hierarchy of the Church, and the Consistory Constitution. He shall preside as Chairman over the Parish Assembly and the Parish Council as is stated by the Canon Law of the Church: “Headman (Rector or Superior) is a designation for prelates and priests, and for abbots in monasteries, since they have been appointed to stand at the head of the people, both with respect to the right faith and with respect to good administration” (Pedalion p. 447) and again “he shall preside at all assemblies of the church.” This extends to no other clergy, including other Priests, other than the one that was appointed by the Bishop as Pastor, or Rector (Nastoyatel), of the parish, which is done at the request of the parish when a vacancy has occurred. The Parish Priest is an ex officio member of all committees. Within the parish, the Parish Priest has oversight of ecclesiastical, ministerial, sacramental, economic, financial, legal and business matters, and shall issue powers of attorney in case of necessity in accord with the statutes of the Church on local and Ecumenical levels. The Parish Priest has the authority of a Senior Priest in accordance with Orthodox canon law, as well as that ordinarily held by the Chairman of religious not-for-profit corporation where the Chairman is the chief executive. The Parish Priest shall be assisted in His administration by the Churchwarden, who is the superintendent of the parish.
B. The Churchwarden (Holova-Starosta)
The Churchwarden is in charge of operations and finance in the parish, President of the Parish Council, and member of all committees. The Churchwarden is nominated from among the elected members of the Parish Council by the Parish Priest to assist him in parish administration, to lead the external order and administration of the parish, and is confirmed by a majority of Parish Council. The Churchwarden reports directly to the Parish Priest. All Trustees and Council members report to the Churchwarden. The Churchwarden is responsible that the decisions of the Parish Assembly and Parish Council in accord with ecclesiastical law are carried out, either directly or by delegation. The Churchwarden when necessary shall represent the Parish Council in business, financial, economic, and legal matters as well as in court and shall issue powers of attorney in case of necessity to be exercised in accord with the statutes of the Church on local and Ecumenical levels, and the decisions of the Parish Council and concurrence of the Presiding Priest (or in the absence of one, the Dean or the Bishop). The Churchwarden is the parish trustee in charge of executing all external discipline as established in the statutes of the Church, the decisions of the Parish Assembly, and the decisions of the Parish Council. The Churchwarden is a trustee of the Parish Assembly and the Parish Council, is co-chair of both and, in the absence of the Rector, is chair of both. He or she is in charge of ensuring that audits are done in a timely fashion, and employing discipline on council, audit commission, any other committees and organizations, and parishioners as needed to maintain the proper external order of the church (business, financial, economic, legal, and behavioral matters that adversely affect the life of the parish). He or she has oversight of the Treasury. [Traditional guidelines can be found in the Instruktsiia Tserkovnim Starostam (the Instruction to the Churchwardens).] The Churchwarden has the authority of a senior starosta (elder) in accord with Orthodox Church praxis, as well as that ordinarily held by the President of a religious not-for-profit corporation where the President is chief of operations and finance.
C. The Vice Churchwarden
The Vice-Churchwarden shall also be known as the Vice-President of the Parish Council, and shall have the duties of oversight of membership, and all. The Vice Churchwarden in charge of Membership shall:
1. Confirm the members of the parish in accord with the standards of the Orthodox Church, the Metropolia, and the Church Bylaws
2. Keep the roles of membership
3. At meetings of the general assembly shall determine voting members and also determine a quorum.
When possible and deemed necessary, the Parish Council may elect from its number a second Vice Churchwarden in Charge of Church Maintenance, and in such cases the latter shall have the duties of:
1. Making sure that the Church building is cleaned regularly. This is ordinarily the duty of the Sexton and Sacristry team. However, the VC shall be responsible to make sure that this is done and done regularly in accord with Regulations on Church Maintenance.
2. To identify and attend to things that are broken, faulty, or defective, and take initiative to have them fixed or replaced. This includes hiring persons to fix things.
3. Caring generally after the neatness and cleanliness of Church buildings and grounds, and to make sure that all volunteers are fulfilling their pledged duties in this regard.
4. To organize work parties at least twice a year for maintenance (cleaning outside and inside of buildings, painting when needed, irregular groundswork, etc.)
5. To ask that council for all that is needed in any area.
The Secretary must record and transcribe the proceeding of all meetings, as well as prepare the minutes thereof within one week of a parish council meeting and distribute these minutes via email for amendment or approval. These minutes are to be read at the next appropriate meeting and approved by the participants of that meeting. Upon approval of the minutes they will be signed by the Secretary
and President and presented by the Secretary to the Churchwarden and Parish priest who shall also sign them, and will be kept by the Secretary in an appropriate minutes file, accessible to the parish council. Online exchanges/decisions shall also be printed and kept by the secretary in the official minutes file.
E. Treasurer –
The Treasurer must perform the following or, with the concurrence of the Churchwarden, recruit a member of the parish council to accomplish this in his or her absence on any given week:
1. Collect all monies that belong to the Church and issue receipts thereof.
2. Make every reasonable effort to deposit all cash, currency, checks, and/or other money within one week of receipt in the proper bank account of the Church.
3. Issue all recurring disbursements and emergency repairs without approval of the Parish Council; but with regard to checks, obtain at least one other authorized cosigner. As stated in Article XI, Section 3, cash disbursements are discouraged, but if cash is disbursed it should be accordingly recorded in the Church Ledger.
4. Complete all tax forms required of a corporation.
5. Submit all documentation to the Board of Auditors for their evaluation and assist in their evaluation.
6. Oversee the counting of all cash, currency, checks and/or other money received on behalf of the Church. It is recommended that the Treasurer appoint on a rotating basis two Parish Council members to count all collections, rather than count collections individually, or at a minimum, count the collections in the presence of at least one Parish Council member. The Treasurer should prepare a form indicating the amount of cash, currency, and/or checks collected, which is also signed by those Parish Council members counting and/or overseeing. Such form must be made a permanent part of the Treasurer's paper work.
7. Upon approval of the President (the Churchwarden), the Treasurer may disburse up to $1,000 for any non-recurring expense and identify the disbursement in the Church Ledger.
8. In the event of the absence of the Treasurer on a given week, the Churchwarden must ensure that all duties of the Treasury are accomplished. The Churchwarden may appoint temporarily an assistant treasurer from among the members of the parish council for this purpose.
BOARD OF AUDITORS
Section 1 - Elected Office. The Board of Auditors, also known as the Auditing Commission, must consist of three regular members in good standing elected during the annual elections of the Church. The Board shall elect a Chair by majority vote, to be confirmed by the Parish Priest.
Section 2 - Term of Office. Board of Auditors serve a term of two years which run concurrently with the Parish Council and end on alternating years.
Section 3 - Procedure for Election. The manner of election shall be similar to that of the office of the Parish Council and as outlined in Article IX.
Section 4 - Qualifications. A member of the Board of Auditors may not serve concurrently on the Parish Council.
Section 5 - Powers and Duties.
A. The Board of Auditors shall have access to the Church's records at all times and must audit the Church's records, upon demand, when necessary, for the good of the Church. An audit must be performed by at least two members.
B. The Board of Auditors shall audit the books semi-annually and annually. An annual report must be prepared and submitted at the general meeting when called for the purpose of conducting elections. This audit must be performed by at least two members. Copies of this report must be made available to all regular members in good standing.
C. Auditors are also responsible to count the votes of elections
D. The Treasurer, Churchwarden, Parish Priest or the Parish Council may request at any time for the Church Auditors to review the financial records. If an Auditor within a reasonable time does not or cannot perform this function, the Treasurer will so advise the Parish Council. The Parish Council can then appoint a new Auditor. The Parish Priest, at his option, may retain the Auditor and submit his reasons in writing to the Parish Council.
Section 6 - Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy, such vacancy shall be filled by the Parish Council members selecting by majority vote a successor from the remaining regular members in good standing. The successor will only serve the remaining term of office.
Section 7 - Auditor Option. The Church may fulfill the requirements of the Board of Auditors if the Parish Council hires an independent Certified Public Accountant.
PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL ASSETS
Section 1 - Sale or Transfer of Real Property. All real property of the Church cannot be sold or transferred without approval of a 90% vote of the regular members in good standing at a properly noticed general meeting and the UOC-USA . This section cannot be changed by Article XII - Additions and Amendments.
Section 2 - Sale or Transfer of Personal Property. Parish Council by majority vote shall determine whether to sell or transfer any personal property of the Church.
Section 3 - Finances. All funds shall be deposited in the name of the Church. Checks or authorized withdrawals must be approved by at least two signatures, the Treasurer and another authorized signature determined by the Parish Council. Cash distributions should be avoided, but in the event of reasonable and necessary cash distributions, a special ledger must be maintained by the Treasurer reflecting each and every cash distribution, including, but not limited to, the person or organization receiving the cash distribution, the amount of the cash distribution, and the purpose for the cash distribution.
Section 4- Special Funds. All special gifts, donations, bequests, endowments, legacies, devises, etc. to the Church must be administered by the Parish Council and must maintain as closely as reasonably possible the intent and purpose of the donor or testator.
Section 5 - Prorated Pledge Agreement Finances. . Shall be determined by a majority vote of the Parish Council.
Section 6– In the event this Parish due to unforeseen circumstances is no long a viable Parish all assets belonging to the Parish will become the property of the Executive Organ (the Consistory) of the UOC-USA. This Section of the Parish Bylaws cannot be removed or modified without approval of the Executive Organ (the Consistory) of the UOC-USA
ADDITIONS AND AMENDMENTS
Section 1 - Procedure.
A. Petition for Change: Proposed additions, changes and amendments to the
Church Parish Constitution and/or Bylaws must be submitted in writing to the Parish Council for its recommendations by a petition signed by ten (10) or more regular members in good standing.
B. Publication of Proposed Additions and/or Amendments: Copies of the proposed amendments with the recommendations of the Parish Council, favorable or unfavorable, shall be made available to the regular members in good standing before any vote may be taken, as well as specifically informing these members of the date and time when these members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed additions and/or amendments.
C. Voting on Proposed Additions and/or Amendments: An affirmative vote by two thirds majority of the regular members in good standing present and voting at such meeting shall be required for adoption of any additions and/or amendments. However, Article IV- Section 1 and Article XI - Section 1 cannot be changed or amended under the authority of this article. Any changes to those provisions will follow the procedures as outlined in those Articles.
These bylaws are as adopted at a General Meeting held on August 15, 1999 then modified at a General Meeting held on October 3, 2004,November 14, 2004, December 2005, November 16, 2008, and further modified at a General Meeting held on October 21 and 28, 2012.
Fr. Harry Linsinbigler—Parish Priest
Amendment confirmed by:
Michael Gursky – Churchwarden Nancy Collins—Vice Churchwarden of Membership