ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this religious society shall be the Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, hereinafter referred to as the Fellowship.
ARTICLE II: AFFILIATION
This Fellowship shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. It is the intention of this Fellowship to make financial contributions equal to its full fair share as determined by the Association.
ARTICLE III: PURPOSE
We gather in fellowship as a community
To support and sustain each other and our larger communities,
To further individual freedom of belief, to encourage the search for truth and seek mindful relations with all living beings,
By striving for justice and promoting the democratic process in human relations.
We are a welcoming and nurturing community dedicated to:
Inspiring spiritual growth and fellowship for adults and children.
Caring for our environment, promoting social justice, and equality in the larger community.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Section 4.1 ADMISSIONS
- Any person who supports the purpose of the Fellowship, has completed a new member orientation program, has attained the age of 13 years, and who signs the Membership Book shall become a Voting Member after 60 days. Such signatures shall be witnessed by two or more Voting Members of the Fellowship. A Voting Member is expected to demonstrate interest in the Fellowship by making an identifiable financial and/or service contribution. Only Voting Members will be included in the annual membership count submitted to the Unitarian Universalist Association as members of the Fellowship. Voting Members may hold any Fellowship elective office. Officers must have attained the age of 18.
Section 4.2 MEMBERSHIP RECORDS
The Membership Committee shall maintain current membership records. A list of Voting Members shall be presented to the Board of Trustees before each Fellowship business meeting.
Section 4.3 TERMINATION
- A member may terminate membership by submitting a written resignation.
- When a member has ceased to participate in any way in the Fellowship or has made no identifiable contribution for a year, the Membership Committee shall communicate with that member to determine whether that person wishes to continue as a member. If the member fails to respond to the inquiries of the Membership Committee within 60 days, the Membership Committee shall recommend to the Board that the member be placed on Inactive Member status. Any Inactive Member shall be automatically returned to full voting status by resuming an active role in the life of the Fellowship. If an Inactive Member remains inactive for two consecutive years, the Board of Trustees may drop that person from the membership rolls.
Section 4.4 FRIENDS
Friends of the Fellowship shall include persons who support the Fellowship financially or otherwise, who are active in its affairs, but who choose not to sign the Membership Book and not to participate as voting members per section 4.1.
ARTICLE V: THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Section 5.1 COMPOSITION
The Board of Trustees, hereinafter referred to as the Board, shall be composed of voting members of the Fellowship as follows:
- The officers elected in accordance with Article X.
- Three additional members at large;
One member shall be elected on odd years to serve one 2 year term.
Two members shall be elected on even years to serve one 2 year term.
No member at large may serve more than two consecutive terms.
- The Minister, as an ex officio non-voting member.
- Past presidents may participate as ex-officio non-voting members for one year following expiration of their term as president.
Section 5.2 QUORUM
Five voting members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
Section 5.3 DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Board of Trustees shall, between meetings of the membership, administer the business affairs of the congregation. The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for the overall direction of the congregation, and shall establish policies and programs to accomplish the needs and objectives of the congregation. The Board shall establish committees as needed in accordance with Article VII. The Fellowship holds ultimate control over the general operation.
Section 5.4 MEETINGS OF THE BOARD
Regular meetings of the Board shall be held monthly. However, the Board may choose to postpone any meeting until a future date by majority vote of all members present. Special meetings may be called by any three Trustees by notifying all members of the Board twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting. The purpose of such meetings shall be stated in the notice. Members of the Fellowship and invited guests of the Board may attend any regular meeting of the Board as observers except when the Board convenes in closed session to discuss sensitive personnel matters. Any motion before the Board must receive a simple majority vote in order to be carried. In the event of a tie vote, the motion is not carried.
Section 5.5 VACANCIES
Any vacancy on the Board may be filled by appointment by the Board until the time of the next annual meeting. The unexpired term shall then be filled by election.
ARTICLE VI: OFFICERS
Section 6.1 OFFICERS
The following officers shall be elected from the membership at the annual meeting of the Fellowship for one-year terms:
The President, Vice-President, and Secretary may not serve more than two consecutive terms of office.
Section 6.2 DUTIES OF THE PRESIDENT
The President shall perform the following:
- Organize the agenda for and conduct all meetings of the Board.
- Conduct all Fellowship meetings or delegate that responsibility.
- Have authority to sign, on behalf of the Fellowship, any deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, or other legal instruments which the board has authorized to be executed.
- Promptly report all Board actions to the membership.
- Ensure an annual audit of the financial records of the Fellowship.
Section 6.3 DUTIES OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT
- The Vice-President shall assume the duties of President in the absence of the President.
- The Vice-President shall chair Committee Council meetings.
Section 6.4 DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY
The Secretary shall be the recording secretary of the Board and shall see that proper records are maintained and that proceedings of the Board are regularly reported to the Fellowship. S/he shall perform the following:
- Provide notification to the membership of all meetings and matters to be voted on by the Fellowship.
- Accept petitions from members of the Fellowship.
- Accept and publish nominations as reported by the Nominating Committee.
- Be responsible for determination of a quorum at all meetings of the Fellowship.
- Accept and record all proxies and absentee ballots from Voting Members.
In the absence of the secretary, the president shall appoint another board member present to perform these duties for the duration of the meeting.
Section 6.5 DUTIES OF THE TREASURER
The treasurer shall maintain a complete accounting of the financial condition of the Fellowship. S/he shall perform the following:
- Receive, safely keep, and account for all monies and financial instruments of the Fellowship, except the Endowment Fund.
- Make all disbursements in accordance with the approved Fellowship budget and as directed by the Board.
- Keep accurate records of the status of all pledging units and provide statements to same, at least annually.
- Provide a financial status report at each meeting of the Board and provide a complete financial report at each annual meeting of the Fellowship.
- Make every effort to provide another member with a working knowledge of the bookkeeping functions and procedures of the treasurer.
ARTICLE VII: COMMITTEES
Section 7.1 ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMITTEES
The Board shall establish such committees as are necessary to carry on the programs of the Fellowship. Such committees shall be established by a motion approved by the Board. The Board shall define an area of responsibility for the proposed new committee and appoint a facilitator from among the membership to form the committee. Committees shall organize and conduct themselves as required in Committee Guidelines established by the Board. This shall include formulation of a statement of Duties and Responsibilities for presentation to the Board for action.
Section 7.2 COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS
Committee membership shall be open to all Members and Friends of the Fellowship with the exception of the Nominating Committee, the Endowment Committee, the Committee on Ministry and any Ministerial Search Committee.
Section 7.3 NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Nominating Committee shall be composed of five Voting Members who are elected at the Annual Meeting of the Fellowship. No member can serve more than 1 consecutive term of two years and the terms shall be staggered as follows:
3 members shall be elected on odd years to serve one 2 year term.
2 members shall be elected on even years to serve one 2 year term.
Nominations for service on the Nominating Committee may be made only from the floor at the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall convene no later than two months after the Annual Meeting, at which time the committee shall choose a chairman from among its members. This committee shall prepare a slate of one or more candidates for each office of the Fellowship, for other positions on the Board as specified in Articles V and VI, and for the Endowment Committee, in accordance with Section 7.4. The slate presented by the Nominating Committee shall not include any members of that Nominating Committee. However, such members may be nominated from the floor. The Nominating Committee may nominate a present Trustee to be an officer. The Nominating Committee shall publicize its list of nominees at least one month prior to the Annual Meeting. When there are positions to be filled, the Nominating Committee may advise the Board. In case of a vacancy on the Nominating Committee, the remaining members may select a replacement. No one may serve on the Nominating Committee two consecutive terms.
Section 7.4 THE ENDOWMENT COMMITTEE
The Endowment Committee shall consist of three members elected at the Annual Meetings for staggered three-year terms. A person must have been a Voting Member of the Fellowship for at least two years to be eligible to serve on the Endowment Committee. The Endowment Committee shall represent the Fellowship to invest endowment funds and to select among four options for the use of fund income: reinvestment, funding of particular projects subject to Board approval, placement into the general operating fund, or expenditures in accord with a donor’s request. The Endowment Committee shall establish written policies for investment, expenditure, and accounting procedures, in a manner in keeping with the requirements of the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania concerning such investments. The policies shall be reported to the Board and to the membership. Additionally, the Endowment Committee shall submit an annual report of investments, income, and expenditures to the membership.
Section 7.5 COMMITTEE ON MINISTRY
The Committee on Ministry shall consist of voting members of the Fellowship selected by the Board. The Committee serves as a liaison between the minister and the congregation and observes the ministry of the congregants to each other.
Section 7.6 MINISTERIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE
A Ministerial Search Committee shall be elected to facilitate the calling of a new settled minister by the Fellowship. The candidates shall be approved by a simple majority of voting members at a meeting per Article X.
Section 7.7 COMMITTEE COUNCIL
The Committee Council shall consist, at minimum, of committee chairs or their designees with the Vice President or designee as the chair of the Committee Council.
The Committee Council shall convene monthly to coordinate the activities of the Fellowship; however, the Vice President or designee may choose to postpone any meeting until a future date.
ARTICLE VIII: ENDOWMENT FUND
Section 8.1 THE ENDOWMENT FUND
There shall be a Fellowship Endowment Fund. Its purpose is to provide a source of income, in perpetuity, for the Fellowship. The Endowment Committee of the Fellowship shall be trustees of the Endowment Fund.
Section 8.2 ASSETS AND EXPENDITURES
Unless otherwise specified by the donors, memorial gifts to the Fellowship shall become part of the Endowment Fund. Additionally, individuals may make gifts or bequests to the Endowment Fund, and the Board may transfer other Fellowship assets to it.
The assets of the Fund shall be segregated from other assets of the Fellowship, and shall be invested for reasonable income. The principal (corpus) of the Endowment Fund may not be spent. The income from the Endowment Fund investments may be disbursed as the Endowment Committee sees fit, in accordance with Section 7.4.
Assets may be segregated within the Fund if specified by a donor to provide income for a particular purpose.
ARTICLE IX: THE MINISTER
A meeting of the Fellowship shall be held to call or dismiss a minister. Notice of such a proposed action must be included in the call to the meeting. Ninety percent of the Voting Members of the Fellowship present or represented by proxy shall be required to call a minister. A two-thirds majority of the Voting Members of the Fellowship shall be required to dismiss a minister.
- The Minister shall be responsible for providing leadership and support for all parts of the total Fellowship program.
- The Minister shall be guaranteed a free pulpit, and shall recognize and respect the responsibility that goes with that freedom.
- The Minister shall be an ex officio, non-voting member of all committees except the Nominating Committee and the Endowment Committee.
ARTICLE X: FELLOWSHIP MEETINGS
Section 10.1 ANNUAL MEETING
An Annual Meeting of the Fellowship shall be held each year within six weeks prior to the end of the fiscal year at a time and place set by the Board. The agenda of the Annual Meeting shall include the election of officers and other members of the Board, election of members of the Nominating Committee and the Endowment Committee, adoption of the annual budget, and any other business of concern to the Fellowship. Nominations may be made from the floor. The terms of office of those elected at the annual meeting shall begin July 1, as shall the budget year and the effect of any Bylaw changes.
Section 10.2 SPECIAL MEETINGS
A special meeting of the Fellowship may be called at any time by the Board, or shall be called upon petition to the Board by any six Voting Members of the Fellowship. The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the call to the meeting, and members shall have fourteen days written notice prior to the meeting. A special meeting shall be called to consider and fund any unbudgeted expenditure exceeding 2.5% of the total operating budget. All Bylaw changes will become effective immediately, except changes affecting elected positions will be effective on July 1, unless otherwise specified.
Section 10.3 VOTING RIGHTS
Any person attending a Fellowship Meeting shall have the privilege of speaking. Voting is limited to those who meet the conditions of Voting Member specified in Article IV, Section 4.1.
Section 10.4 ABSENTEE BALLOTS
When the call to a Fellowship Meeting identifies a specific resolution to be acted upon at that meeting, a Voting Member may submit an absentee ballot on that specific resolution. That absentee ballot shall stipulate a positive or negative vote upon the issue in question and shall be signed and dated by the Voting Member. If the resolution in question is amended during the course of the meeting, before it is to be voted upon, all absentee ballots shall be considered void.
Section 10.5 PROXIES
Any member entitled to vote at a meeting of the Fellowship may authorize another Voting Member to act as his or her proxy, and may designate an alternate proxy. All proxies must be written, dated, and signed by the member clearly assigning his or her Power of Attorney to another Voting Member. All proxies shall be in effect only for the meeting at which the proxy is presented. No member may serve as proxy for more than 2 other members.
Section 10.6 ABSENTEE BALLOT AND PROXY SUBMITTALS
All absentee ballots and proxies shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Board before the Fellowship Meeting is called to order.
Section 10.7 QUORUM
Thirty percent of the Voting Members must be present to constitute a quorum, except as otherwise specified in these Bylaws.
Section 10.8 RULES OF ORDER
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Fellowship in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with Commonwealth Law, these bylaws and any special rules of order the Fellowship may adopt.
ARTICLE XI: FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year shall end June 30.
ARTICLE XII: SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGES, CEREMONIES OF UNION, AND FUNERALS
Marriages and ceremonies of union (when at least one of the parties is a member of this Fellowship), and funerals may be solemnized by any of the following:
- Any ordained minister.
- The President or Vice-President of the Fellowship.
- All the members of this Fellowship attending the ceremony, witnessing the marriage or ceremony of union at a regular or announced service.
ARTICLE XIII: DISSOLUTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS
In the case of dissolution of the Fellowship, all of its property (real and personal), after payment of all just claims upon it, shall be conveyed to and vested in the Unitarian Universalist Association or its legal successor, and the Board of the Fellowship shall perform all actions necessary to effectuate such conveyance.
ARTICLE XIV: AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
These Bylaws, so far as allowed by law, may be amended or replaced at any duly called meeting of the Fellowship by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present, including votes by proxy and absentee ballots. Notice of any proposed change shall be contained in the notice of the meeting.
ARTICLE XV: INDEMNIFICATIONS
The Fellowship shall indemnify any person who is or was an employee, agent, representative, member of the Board, or volunteer of the Fellowship against any liability asserted against such person and incurred in the course and scope of his or her duties or functions within the Fellowship to the maximum extent allowable by law, provided the person acted in good faith and did not engage in any act or omission that is intentional, willfully or wantonly negligent, or done with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the safety of others. The provisions of this article shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which such person may be entitled under any bylaw, agreement, insurance policy, vote of members, or otherwise.
THESE BYLAWS WERE ADOPTED AT A MEETING OF THE FELLOWSHIP ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1995, AND AMENDED APRIL 4, 1998, SEPTEMBER 12, 1998, MARCH 27, 1999 and APRIL 5, 2009. The Purpose statement was adopted December 5, 1999 and amended to include the Mission Statement on March 22, 2003. TPUUF Affiliation was amended on June 17, 2017.