REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Missionary Diocese of the Central States
CHRIST OUR HOPE PARISH BY-LAWS
ARTICLE I—NAME & ORGANIZATION
Section 1: The name of this Parish is Christ Our Hope. Reformed Episcopal Church, located in Westpoint, Tennessee and organized under the laws of the state of Tennessee.
Section 2: This Parish acknowledges and accedes to the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church and of the Missionary Diocese of the Central States and agrees to conform to the requirements of the same, with special attention to the requirements of Title IV, Canon 48 (“Of Parishes & Congregations”), Canon 49 (“Of Parish Vestries”), Canon 50 (“Of Parish Councils”) of the Reformed Episcopal Church and Title II, Canon I, Canon II, Canon III, Canon IV, and Canon V of the diocesan canons.
Section 3: Since the Church is the Body of Christ incorporated by her Lord and Saviour as a jurisdiction separate and independent of civil government, this parish will never file or seek articles of incorporation or of association under state law, and acknowledges that all state laws of incorporation or association are inferior to the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church and or the Constitution and Canons of the Missionary Diocese of the Central States.
ARTICLE II—THE VESTRY
Section 1: The Vestry of this Parish shall total six, nine, or twelve persons, elected in accordance with Title IV, Canon 49, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and shall include a Senior or Rector’s Warden, a Junior or People’s Warden, and four, seven, or ten other members, who shall continue in office until their successors have been chosen. Vestry members shall be elected from among the communicant members of the Parish. The Bishop may appoint provisional Vestry members when the Parish cannot provide sufficient persons. Initially, one-third the number of Vestry members determined upon shall be elected for a one-year term, one-third shall be elected for a two-year term, and one-third shall be elected for a three-year term. Thereafter, Vestry members shall be elected for a three-year term, and the members of the Parish shall elect one-third of the total Vestry annually. Candidates for Vestry membership shall be nominated by a Nominating Committee appointed by the Rector, and consisting of three members: two Vestry members, one member of the Parish Council, plus the Rector ex-officio. This election will be by secret ballot, and the nominees gaining the highest votes above a simple majority shall be elected. The Parish members shall also annually elect a Rector’s Warden and a People’s Warden from among the Communicant members of the congregation, in accordance with Title IV, Canon 48, Section 11 of the Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Whenever practicable, no Warden or other Vestry member shall be elected for more than two consecutive terms.
Section 2: If for any reason, after being elected to office, a Vestry member shall no longer be able to fulfill the functions of office, that member may resign and vacate the position of Vestry member. This position may be filled by the Vestry to complete the year according to Title IV, Canon II, Section 8 of the diocesan Canons until the election at the next annual Parish Meeting in accordance with Title IV, Canon 49, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Section 3: The stated meetings of the Vestry shall be as follows: the Vestry shall organize at the first regular meeting following the annual Parish Meeting, and shall meet regularly or monthly on a day agreed to by the Vestry.
Section 4: The Rector, or either of the Wardens, or any three members of the Vestry, may call a special meeting at any time, due notice being given to all members of the Vestry. The object of such meeting is to be specified in the call, and no other business may be transacted.
Section 5: Two-thirds of the total number of Vestry members shall constitute a quorum for any meeting.
Section 6: In the absence of the Rector, the Rector’s Warden, or if he be absent, the People’s Warden, shall preside at the meeting of the Vestry, in accordance with Title IV, Canon II, Section 2 of the diocesan Canons.
Section 7: The Vestry shall be organized in the following manner:
Chairman (ex-officio): Rector
Rector’s Warden (Senior Warden)
People’s Warden (Junior, or Accounting Warden)
Committees: The following are minimum requirements:
Finance Committee—(2 members)
Chairperson: Vestry member
Building & Grounds / Property Committee—(2 members)
Chairperson: Vestry member
The Rector will prepare a list of committees and distribute vestry members equally over these committees, adding such committees as are deemed necessary. This list will be presented to the Vestry at its organizational meeting each year. Such changes as may be mutually agreeable may be made. This list of committees shall be distributed to the congregation.
Section 8: Non-vestry members of committees shall participate in activities, but may not be required to meet with the Vestry. They will not participate in Vestry action. Committee chairpersons must be Vestry members, and each is responsible to report to the Vestry at each meeting, or to send a report in the event of absence.
Section 9: The Secretary shall be elected by the Vestry at the organizational meeting following the annual Parish Meeting.
Section 10: A church Treasurer shall be appointed by the Vestry at the organizational meeting following the annual Parish Meeting, and must be a member of the Parish.
Section 11: The Vestry shall not sell, mortgage, lease, or otherwise alienate any real property of the Parish without the authorization by vote of the Vestry at a meeting duly called and held, at which time a quorum is present, and at which time two-thirds of the Vestry members present and voting shall vote in favor thereof; which action must be ratified by the Parish at a Parish Meeting duly called and held in accordance with the these by-laws, at which time two-thirds of the qualified voters present vote in favor thereof.
Section 12: In the case of the dissolution of the Parish, the records shall be turned over to the Bishop of the Diocese. All funds, deeds of trust, and property shall be given in entirety to the Missionary Diocese of the Central States of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The property of this church belongs to the local church and not to the denomination or diocese.
ARTICLE III—CRITERIA FOR VESTRY MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Vestry members shall have given consistent demonstration (or adequate referrals of same) of a consistent Christian life for a period of one year, including faithful attendance at services of Divine Worship at this parish, and faithful stewardship of God’s gifts both temporal and spiritual.
Section 2: Vestry members shall serve willingly in any capacity needed, as God-given ability permits.
Section 3: Vestry members shall attend meetings regularly, or shall provide to the Secretary an acceptable excuse for absence prior to the scheduled meeting of the Vestry.
Section 1: The Rector shall be Chairman ex-officio and shall preside over the Vestry and Parish meetings. The Rector shall be an ex-officio member of every committee except a committee whose primary function is the review of the Rector’s performance or compensation and benefits.
B. Senior or Rector’s Warden
Section 1: The Senior Warden shall function as the Chief Executive Officer of the Parish for purposes of its temporal affairs, and in such capacity shall regularly consult with the Rector regarding the state of the Church. He shall represent the Rector before the Vestry, keeping the Vestry apprised concerning the Rector’s welfare and needs, and shall present an annual review of the Rector’s salary to the Finance Committee. When authorized to do so by resolution of the Vestry, the Senior Warden shall execute contracts and other legal obligations on behalf of the Parish in this capacity, and not in his individual capacity.
Section 2: The Senior Warden shall have charge of the Parish Register if the pastorate be vacant, and shall see that all entries be made promptly.
Section 3: If the pastorate be vacant, the Rector’s Warden shall consult with the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese, and shall make due provision for the maintenance of Divine services in the Church.
Section 4: The Senior Warden shall be an ex-officio member of any committee of which he is not appointed the chairman or a voting member.
C. Junior or People’s Warden
Section 1: The Junior Warden shall represent the congregation before the Vestry and Parish Council, keeping them apprised of the people’s needs, desires, and concerns.
Section 2: The People’s Warden shall be informed about the total ministry of the Church, and shall communicate a rationale at the request of the members, individual or corporate.
Section 3: As the representative of the people, the People’s Warden shall see to it that the books of the Treasurer are reviewed or audited annually by a qualified person or persons prior to the annual Parish Meeting.
Section 4: The Junior Warden shall apprise the Vestry of the needs for maintenance and repair of the property of the Parish, and the obtaining of insurance coverage of the buildings and other property of the Parish.
Section 1: The Secretary shall keep regular Minutes of the proceedings of the Vestry; shall notify the members of all meetings; and shall generally perform such duties as appertain to the office of Secretary. Furthermore, all such Minutes shall be recorded in a book and be preserved as part of the official church records. The Secretary shall also record the Minutes of the annual Parish Meeting in that same book.
Section 1: The Treasurer shall function as the Chief Financial Officer of the Parish and keep a record of all monies received by subscription, donation, and/or any other manner, and shall pay all expenses under the direction of the Vestry.
Section 2: The Treasurer shall keep a regular account of receipts and expenditures in a book to be provided for that purpose, which shall be open at all times to the inspection of the members of the Vestry; and shall submit to the Vestry a monthly summary of receipts and expenditures. An Annual Report, approved by the Vestry, shall be submitted at the annual Parish Meeting.
Section 3: An annual statement to members and others shall be provided by the Treasurer upon request. The Treasurer shall provide receipts to all contributors in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.
Section 4: All monies or other material gifts given as memorials will be received with thanksgiving to God, and to the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord, and will be the responsibility of the Vestry to designate in accordance with the requirements of these By-laws, and with due consideration given to the interests of the contributor; with the understanding that the ultimate responsibility for faithful stewardship rests with the Vestry.
A. Finance Committee
Section 1: This Committee shall prepare and present to the Vestry at their regular meeting next before the annual Parish Meeting a Budget, which shall in turn be presented for approval by the congregation.
Section 2: This Committee shall evaluate the Budget and prepare quarterly reports to the Vestry about the financial condition of the Church.
Section 3: This Committee shall also be responsible for making recommendations concerning investment of the monies of this Parish.
B. Building and Grounds / Property Committee
Section 1: This Committee shall be chaired by the Junior Warden, and shall have general superintendence over the real and other tangible property of the congregation.
Section 2: This Committee shall, in general, oversee the purchase of all articles necessary for the use of the Church.
Section 3: The Committee shall provide for and oversee custodial work necessary to keep all properties in order.
Section 4: The Committee shall maintain a calendar for the use of the properties for such activities as are consistent with the principles and laws of this Church.
C. Special Committees
Section 1: Special committees may be appointed by the Rector, or in his absence, by the Rector’s Warden, as need may occur, and shall be dismissed when the purpose for their existence has been consummated.
ARTICLE VI—AUXILIARY BODIES
Section 1: The formation of any body within this Parish is subject to the approval of the Rector, on advice of the Vestry.
Section 2: No funds shall be raised in or by this Parish for any cause without the express approval of the Rector and Vestry.
Section 3: All programs of this Church must be presented to the Rector for approval who, at his discretion, may seek the advice of the Parish Council.
Section 4: Treasurers of authorized auxiliary bodies must present a written itemized report annually to the Finance Committee. No debts may be incurred without the knowledge and approval of the Vestry. All assets and monies are to be considered property of the Church, and final disposition of said assets and monies rests with the Vestry.
Section 5: Approved auxiliary bodies will be budgeted necessary operational monies by the Parish Finance Committee.
ARTICLE VII—PARISH COUNCIL
Section 1: The Parish Council shall consist of the Rector, the Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, and if approved by the Parish at its Annual or Special Meeting, up to three additional communicant members of the age of twenty-five years or over, nominated by the Rector and elected by the congregation, in accordance with Title IV, Canon 50, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Section 2: The Parish Council shall discharge the functions and responsibilities defined in Title IV, Canon 50 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
ARTICLE VIII—THE RECTOR
Section 1: In the filling of a pastoral vacancy, a Search Committee comprised of a representative cross-section of the congregation, including two or three members of the Vestry, shall be appointed by the Rector’s Warden in consultation with the Bishop of the Diocese.
Section 2: In accordance with Title III, Canon I, of the diocesan Canons, the Vestry shall take initial and final action in the exercise of authority in the calling of a Rector or Minister-in-charge, subject to the requirements of Title III Canon 1, Section 2 of the diocesan Canons.
Section 3: The Secretary of the Vestry shall extend an official call, in writing, using the form found in Title III Canon 1, Section 3 of the diocesan canons, stating in detail the terms of the call, to be signed by the officers of the Vestry, and by the Candidate, copies being held by both parties.
Section 4: The Rector shall regularly report to the Parish Council such matters relating to the discharge of his ministerial responsibilities as shall enable them to fulfill their functions as defined in Title IV, Canon 50 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Section 5: The Rector shall appoint the Sunday School Superintendent with the advice of the Parish Council, and he shall also direct the selection of the teachers in cooperation with the Superintendent.
Section 6: The Rector shall comply with Title I, Canon 19 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church and Title IV, Canon I of the diocesan canons in the performance of his duties.
Section 7: The termination of a pastoral connection, or the dismissal of a Rector, shall follow the procedure defined in Title II, Canon 33 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
ARTICLE VIII—ANNUAL OR SPECIAL PARISH MEETINGS AND MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: The Annual Parish Meeting shall be held each year as determined in accordance with Title IV, Canon 48, Section 11 of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church. All notices, and the conduct of business, shall be in accordance with the same referenced Title and Canon.
Section 2: Membership in this church for voting purposes shall include those who are founding members when these by-laws are adopted, or who have been communicant members of this Parish for at least twelve months immediately prior to the Parish Meeting, and are at least eighteen (18) years old on the date of the Parish Meeting, and who regularly attend divine services. Regular attendance means they are present at least thirty-five (35) Sundays every year unless Providentially hindered. Such persons shall be deemed “Communicants in Good Standing.”
Section 3: The Rector shall prepare and the Wardens and Secretary shall review and certify a list of persons who meet the above standard and post same conspicuously a minimum of three (3) Sundays before the date appointed for the Annual Parish Meeting (The List of Voting Members). Any disagreement shall be resolved by a majority vote of the Rector, Senior Warden, and Junior Warden. Any such may be appealed to the Bishop Ordinary, or if there be none, to the Ecclesiastical authority whose decision shall be final.
Section 4: Special or Emergency Parish Meetings may be called by the Rector, either of the Wardens, or by any three (3) members. The List of Voting Members prepared for the most recent Annual Parish Meeting, with additions and subtractions made since its preparation, shall be updated by the Rector and Wardens, and shall the basis of eligibility for voting. Such meeting must be announced the Sunday before it is held and is limited to the specific purpose for which it is called.
Section 1: A vote of two-thirds of the members of this Parish, present at a duly called and constituted meeting, shall be required to adopt these By-laws.
Section 1: No repeal, alteration, or amendment of the By-laws shall be made unless approved at a meeting of the Vestry, by a two-thirds majority of the membership present and voting; and ratified by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting at the next Parish Meeting; provided that notice shall have been given to the Congregation of the changes proposed in conjunction with the notification required for said Parish Meeting according to Title II, Canon VII, Section 4 of the diocesan Canons.
Section 2: Each Vestry and Parish Council member shall be presented with a copy of the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and of the Missionary Diocese of the Central States, and with a copy of the Charter and By-laws of this Parish, at the first meeting after that member’s election. [End of By-laws]
Adopted 16 May a.d 2010.