King’s Chapel By-Laws: Proposals and Relevant Excerpts
These proposals will be voted upon on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm after Morning Prayer. The congregation will gather in the church. The 2018 budget also will be voted upon at that time. Please plan to attend.
Article II, Purpose
Proposal: a) to change the Covenant phrase "service to man"
b) to choose a new phrase. Suggestions include:
all, all people, creation, humanity, humankind, others
Current: "The purpose of the Society shall be to maintain Christian worship in King’s Chapel and to engage in any other activities that are functions of a religious society. The Covenant of the Society shall be worded:
In the love of truth and in the spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God and the service of man."
Comment: Many people now interpret man to mean “men”, not everyone. We plan to vote first on whether to change that phrase, and then choose the replacement in a follow-up vote.
Article III, Membership (relevant excerpt)
Revised proposal, new language in italics:
"Any person sixteen (16) years of age or older may be admitted to membership in the Society who (1) shall have given notice to the Committee on Membership of his or her desire to become a member by attending worship and events at King’s Chapel for at least three (3) months prior to admittance, discussing membership with the minister or members of the Committee on Membership, and attending a meeting to discuss the history, governance, and worship of King’s Chapel, 2) shall have been recommended for membership by the Committee on Membership in consultation with the Minister, and (3) shall subscribe publicly to the Covenant of the Society, all in accordance with procedures established by the Wardens and Vestry.
The Minister may waive the foregoing requirements in case of emergency, such waiver to be subject to ratification by the Committee on Membership."
Current phrasing of clause 1 above:
"1) shall have given written notice to the Committee on Membership of his or her desire to become a member at least three (3) months prior to admittance,"
Previous proposal: to delete "at least three months" from clause 1 above.
In this day and age, the present bylaw seems more appropriate to an exclusive club rather than to a church that hopes to be welcoming. Formal requirements for written notice in advance are no longer a social norm.
KC members have expressed concern at losing the three-month notice. Joining a church is a serious decision. Some fear that a group could take over the church on short notice, although the current bylaw does require recommendations from the Committee on Membership and the Minister.
The new proposal maintains a three-month period, but focuses on participation, not the timing of written notice. It requires specific types of interaction with KC and reflects our experience. Almost all new members have been engaged with King's Chapel for at least three months, often much longer.
Article XII, Calling, Hiring, and Dismissing of Ministers (Senior Minister)
Proposal: "Upon recommendation by the Search Committee, the Minister shall be called by a vote of not less than 75% of the members of the Society present at a meeting called for that purpose. A quorum shall be that of an Annual Meeting (see Article VI)."
Current: The current bylaw requires 90% of the votes to call a Senior Minister. Article VI requires 50 members for a quorum.
Comment: A strong candidate might withdraw after learning that 5 people could defeat a call if the meeting only met the quorum of 50. The call is a public process, so the candidate would need to inform others and perhaps risk another job (e.g., if presently serving another congregation). The 90% rule is higher than most other churches and higher than draft bylaws suggested by the UUA.
KC members note that a candidate for Senior Minister is unlikely to accept a call at 75%. Some believe that should be the candidate's decision, not ours.
Other Updates and Edits
Additionally, edits to Articles V, X, and XIV give the Wardens greater discretion to choose the dates for elections and committee reports (reflecting the decision to hold elections in the spring). The review group also recommends various minor clarifications and edits. A copy of the bylaws redlining suggested changes will be available on request via the Parish Administrator.
Prepared by Betsy Peterson