Constitution and Bylaws

 Bylaws of the UCC

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Updated July 2, 2013

PREAMBLE

1 The United Church of Christ, formed June 25, 1957, by the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and The General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States in order to express more fully the oneness in Christ of the churches composing it, to make more effective their common witness in Him, and to serve His kingdom in the world, hereby adopts this Constitution.

2 The United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior. It acknowledges as kindred in Christ all who share in this confession.  It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world.  It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.

3 The provisions herein define and regulate the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board and those Covenanted Ministries, Affiliated Ministries, and Associated Ministries, as hereinafter set forth, of the United Church of Christ which are related to the General Synod and describe the free and voluntary relationships which the Local Churches, Associations, Conferences and ministers sustain with the General Synod and with each other. The pattern of relationships and procedures so described is recommended to Local Churches, Associations, Conferences and authorized ministers, to enable them more effectively to accomplish their tasks and the work of the United Church of Christ.

ARTICLE I. NAME

4 The name of this Church shall be UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST.

ARTICLE II. STRUCTURE

5 The United Church of Christ is composed of Local Churches, Associations, Conferences and the General Synod.

ARTICLE III. COVENANTAL RELATIONSHIPS

6 Within the United Church of Christ, the various expressions of the church relate to each other in a covenantal manner. Each expression of the church has responsibilities and rights in relation to the others, to the end that the whole church will seek God’s will and be faithful to God’s mission. Decisions are made in consultation and collaboration among the various parts of the structure. As members of the Body of Christ, each expression of the church is called to honor and respect the work and ministry of each other part. Each expression of the church listens, hears, and carefully considers the advice, counsel, and requests of others. In this covenant, the various expressions of the United Church of Christ seek to walk together in all God’s ways.

ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS

7 The Officers of the United Church of Christ shall be a General Minister and President, an Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries, an Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries, an Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, and such other officers as the General Synod may from time to time determine. They shall be responsible to and called by election of the General Synod as officers of the United Church of Christ.
Collegium of Officers

8 Composed of the Officers of the United Church of Christ meeting as peers, the Collegium of Officers is responsible for providing leadership for the mission programming of the United Church of Christ and for the implementation of General Synod actions. The General Minister and President is the presiding officer of the Collegium. The Collegium shall attend to the quality of relationships among the United Church of Christ Board and the Covenanted Ministries and foster a climate of respect, collaboration, and collegiality among various expressions of the church. The Collegium provides a setting for mutual accountability, for mutual reporting, and for assessing the ongoing programs of the United Church of Christ. It shall reflect the commitment of the United Church of Christ to be an inclusive church.

ARTICLE V. LOCAL CHURCHES

9 The basic unit of the life and organization of the United Church of Christ is the Local Church.

10 A Local Church is composed of persons who, believing in the triune God, accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are organized for Christian worship, for the furtherance of Christian fellowship, and for the ongoing work of Christian witness.

11 In accordance with the custom and usage of a Local Church, persons become members by (a) baptism and either confirmation or profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; (b) reaffirmation or reprofession of faith; or (c) letter of transfer or certification from other Christian churches.

12 All persons who are or shall become members of a Local Church of the United Church of Christ are thereby members of the United Church of Christ.

13 Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church unite in the United Church of Christ without break in their respective historic continuities and traditions.

14 The following Local Churches compose the United Church of Christ:

a) The Local Churches of the Evangelical and Reformed Church;
b) The Local Churches of the Congregational Christian fellowship which vote to become a part of the United Church of Christ, or which vote to approve this Constitution;
c) Any Congregational Christian Local Church which, although it has not voted to become a part of the United Church of Christ, or to approve this Constitution, votes to join the United Church of Christ after this Constitution is declared in force;
d) Any Local Church which, after this Constitution is declared in force, is accepted, on any basis other than that described in paragraph 16, into an Association, or Conference, of the United Church of Christ;
e) The Local Churches of any denomination which, after this Constitution is declared in force, unites with the United Church of Christ; and
f) Any Local Church in a category not otherwise defined in this article, received upon its request, subject to such provisions as in consultation with the Conference may be specified by the Association within whose bounds it is located, and which are not inconsistent with this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.

15 Local Churches of the United Church of Christ are represented in the General Synod by the delegates from the Conferences to which they belong.

16 An Association or a Conference of the United Church of Christ may, under such provisions as it deems wise, admit, or continue to fellowship with, any Congregational Christian Local Church which is not part of the United Church of Christ. The names and statistics of such churches shall be kept separately; their members shall not be counted in determining the number of delegates which the Conference is entitled to send to the General Synod or hold elective office in that body, except that no ordained minister who has full standing or ordained ministerial partner standing in the United Church of Christ shall be ineligible to be a delegate to the General Synod or to hold elective office in that body. No direct or indirect participation by any such Local Church in, or support of, the work of the United Church of Christ, or of any of its Covenanted Ministries, The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ, United Church Funds, or of any Conference or Association, shall be construed as making it a church of the United Church of Christ.

17 The Local Churches of the United Church of Christ have, in fellowship, a God-given responsibility for that Church, its labors and its extension, even as the United Church of Christ has, in fellowship, a God-given responsibility for the wellbeing and needs and aspirations of its Local Churches. In mutual Christian concern and in dedication to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, the one and the many share in common Christian experience and responsibility.

18 The autonomy of the Local Church is inherent and modifiable only by its own action. Nothing in this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ shall destroy or limit the right of each Local Church to continue to operate in the way customary to it; nor shall be construed as giving to the General Synod, or to any Conference or Association now, or at any future time, the power to abridge or impair the autonomy of any Local Church in the management of its own affairs, which affairs include, but are not limited to, the right to retain or adopt its own methods of organization, worship and education; to retain or secure its own charter and name; to adopt its own constitution and bylaws; to formulate its own covenants and confessions of faith; to admit members in its own way and to provide for their discipline or dismissal; to call or dismiss its pastor or pastors by such procedure as it shall determine; to acquire, own, manage and dispose of property and funds; to control its own benevolences; and to withdraw by its own decision from the United Church of Christ at any time without forfeiture of ownership or control of any real or personal property owned by it.

19 Actions by, or decisions or advice emanating from, the General Synod, a Conference or an Association, should be held in the highest regard by every Local Church.

ARTICLE VI.THE MINISTRY

20 The United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls the whole Church and every member to participate in and extend the ministry of Jesus Christ by witnessing to the Gospel in church and society. The United Church of Christ seeks to undergird the ministry of its members by nurturing faith, calling forth gifts, and equipping members for Christian service.

21 The United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls certain of its members to various forms of ministry in and on behalf of the church for which ecclesiastical authorization is required. Recognizing God’s call, the ecclesiastical authorization is granted by an Association through the rite of ordination, through commissioning, licensing, granting either ordained ministerial standing or ordained ministerial partner standing and other acts of authorization.

22 Ordination is the rite whereby the United Church of Christ through an Association, in cooperation with the person and a Local Church of the United Church of Christ, recognizes and authorizes that member whom God has called to ordained ministry, and sets that person apart by prayer and the laying on of hands.  By this rite ordained ministerial standing and status as an Ordained Ministerial Partner is conferred and authorization given to perform the duties and exercise the prerogatives of ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ.

23 An Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ is one of its members who has been called by God and ordained to preach and teach the gospel, to administer the sacraments and rites of the Church, and to exercise pastoral care and leadership.

24 Ordained ministerial standing is an ongoing covenant of mutual accountability, as described in Paragraph 25, which recognizes and continues the authorization of that person to perform the duties and exercise the prerogatives of ordained ministry.  Ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ is granted by and held in an Association in cooperation with a local church and confers voting membership in the Association.

25 The Call of an Ordained Minister or Ordained Ministerial Partner (see Article VII) to a Local Church establishes a covenantal relationship among the Ordained Minister or Ordained Ministerial Partner, the Local Church, and the United Church of Christ as represented by an Association. The Call of an Ordained Minister or Ordained Ministerial Partner to other forms of ministry recognized by an Association of the United Church of Christ establishes a covenantal relationship among the Ordained Minister or Ordained Ministerial Partner, the calling body, the United Church of Christ as represented by an Association and the Local Church where the Ordained Minister or Ordained Ministerial Partner is a member.

26 Commissioning is the act whereby the United Church of Christ through an Association, in cooperation with a person and a Local Church of the United Church of Christ, recognizes and authorizes that member whom God has called to a specific church-related ministry which is recognized by that Association, but not requiring ordination or licensing. By this act the status of Commissioned Minister is conferred and authorization granted to perform duties necessary to and for the specific ministry, and voting membership in that Association is granted.

27 A Commissioned Minister in the United Church of Christ is one of its members who has been called by God and commissioned for a specific church-related ministry.

28 Licensing is the act whereby the United Church of Christ through an Association, in cooperation with a person and a Local Church of the United Church of Christ, recognizes and authorizes that member whom God has called to perform specified duties in a designated Local Church or within that Association, mainly preaching and conducting services of worship, for a designated time within a covenant of mutual accountability that includes appropriate supervision and guidance of that Association. The license may be renewed. Voting membership in that Association is granted.

29 A Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ is one of its members whom God has called and who has been recognized and authorized by an Association to perform specified duties in a designated Local Church or within that Association, mainly preaching and conducting services of worship, for a designated time within a covenant of mutual accountability that includes appropriate supervision and guidance of that Association. The license may be renewed.

30 A Member in Discernment is a member of the United Church of Christ who has been called by God and who is, in covenant with that member’s Local Church and Association, engaging in a time of discernment of that call and preparation for authorized ministry in response to that call.

ARTICLE VII. RECOGNITION AND RECONCILIATION OF THE ORDAINED MINISTRIES OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AND THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)

31 The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recognize the ordained ministries of the other church to be efficacious ministries of grace within that church and these ministries to be valid and full ministries of the one Church of Jesus Christ.

32 The ordained ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are reconciled. An Ordained Minister with ordained ministerial standing in one church may function, whenever invited, and as established procedures permit, as an ordained minister to the other.

33 The designations “Ordained Ministerial Partner” and “ordained ministerial partner standing” manifest the corporate and individual nature of the recognition and reconciliation of the ordained ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

34 Each member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who holds ordained ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is an Ordained Ministerial Partner of the United Church of Christ.

35 Each member of the United Church of Christ who holds ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ is an Ordained Ministerial Partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

36 Ordained ministerial partner standing is authorization granted to an Ordained Minister with ordained ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has a call to perform the duties and exercise the prerogatives of ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ. This authorization assumes knowledge of, and appreciation for, the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ. Ordained ministerial partner standing provides ongoing ecclesiastical authorization to perform the duties and exercise the prerogatives of ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ.

ARTICLE VIII. ASSOCIATIONS AND CONFERENCES

37 Associations and Conferences are bodies organized on a territorial basis to perform functions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.
Associations

38 An Association is that body within a Conference of the United Church of Christ which is composed of all Local Churches in a geographical area, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing therein, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers in that Association.

39 Subsequent to the initial organization of Associations in the United Church of Christ, the boundaries of any new Association, or any adjustment of boundaries between Associations, shall be determined by the Associations concerned with the approval of the Conference or Conferences involved. The standing of an Association as a body of the United Church of Christ is determined by the Conference in which it is located.

40 An Association is that body which determines, confers, and certifies to the standing of the Local Churches of the United Church of Christ within its area.

41 An Association is that body which grants authorization that is required for various forms of ministry in and on behalf of the Church.  Such authorization is granted through the rite of ordination, through commissioning, licensing, granting either ordained ministerial standing or ordained ministerial partner standing and other acts of authorization.  Such authorization may be terminated by the Association.

42 An Association may retain or secure its own charter, and adopt its own constitution, bylaws and other rules which it deems essential to its own welfare and not inconsistent with this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.

43 An Association is related to the General Synod through its Conference.

44 When an Association meets, its voting membership includes the lay delegates selected by and representing the Local Churches of that Association, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing therein, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers of that Association.

45 Meetings of the Association are held annually and at such other times as may be necessary for the discharge of its responsibilities.

Conferences

46 A Conference is that body of the United Church of Christ which is composed of all Local Churches in a geographical area, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing in its Associations or in the Conference itself when acting as an Association, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers in its Associations.

47 Subsequent to the initial organization of Conferences in the United Church of Christ, the boundaries of any new Conference, or any adjustment of boundaries between Conferences, shall be determined by the Conferences concerned with the approval of the General Synod. The standing of a Conference as a body of the United Church of Christ is determined by the General Synod.

48 A Conference may retain or secure its own charter, and adopt its own constitution, bylaws and other rules which it deems essential to its own welfare and not inconsistent with this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.

49 A Conference is related to the General Synod as described in the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.

50 When a Conference meets, its voting membership includes lay delegates selected by and representing the Local Churches of that Conference, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing in its Associations or in the Conference itself when acting as an Association, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers in its Associations.

51 Meetings of the Conference are held annually and at such other times as may be necessary for the discharge of its responsibilities.

Conferences Acting as Associations

52 A Conference may exercise the functions of an Association when they are delegated to it by an Association or where no Association exists.

ARTICLE IX.THE GENERAL SYNOD

53 The General Synod is the gathering of a faith community representative of the wider church to listen for and discern the call of God to the United Church of Christ. The General Synod deliberates, discerns, and identifies the mission of the wider church of the United Church of Christ in God’s world and receives and offers suggestions, invitations, challenges, and assistance in covenant with Local Churches, Conferences, and other settings as they engage in mission together. The General Synod is the representative body of the United Church of Christ and is composed of voting delegates, as described in the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.  A quorum for the conduct of business shall consist of one-third of the voting delegates, provided that in this number at least two-thirds of the Conferences are represented by at least one delegate each. There shall also be associate delegates and ecumenical delegates, without vote, as determined by the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ or action of the General Synod.

Powers and Responsibilities of General Synod

54 The General Synod has the following powers and responsibilities, provided, however, that no power vested in the General Synod shall invade the autonomy of Conferences, Associations, and Local Churches, or impair their right to acquire, own, manage, and dispose of property and funds:

a) To carry on, directly and through the United Church of Christ Board, as well as through the Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries and other bodies, the work of the United Church of Christ, and to provide for the financial support of this work;
b) To create such bodies, temporary or permanent, incorporated or unincorporated, suitable for the discharge of its responsibilities;
c) To organize as required for the transaction of business;
d) To call and elect Officers of the United Church of Christ who shall be chosen from the membership of the United Church of Christ and who shall serve as Officers of the General Synod;
e) To elect all members of the United Church of Christ Board, which shall act as the General Synod ad interim and carry out the United Church of Christ Board’s other responsibilities as described in the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ;
f) To establish and maintain national headquarters for the United Church of Christ;
g) To establish a Treasury, which shall receive funds contributed to the General Synod for the support of the United Church of Christ and for its Covenanted Ministries;
h) To determine the relationships of the United Church of Christ with ecumenical organizations, world confessional bodies, interfaith and other interdenominational agencies;
i) To encourage conversations with other communions and when appropriate to authorize and guide negotiations with them, looking toward formal union;
j) To amend this Constitution as hereinafter provided; and
k) To adopt Bylaws for the United Church of Christ and, as hereinafter provided, to amend them.

Meetings of the General Synod

55 The General Synod shall hold meetings at regular intervals as provided in the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ. Special meetings may be called in the manner provided in those Bylaws.

Correlation

56 a) The General Synod and the United Church of Christ Board shall consider the work of all Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries. It shall also correlate their work, publicity and promotion, preventing duplication and effecting economies of administration, so as to secure maximum effectiveness and efficiency through careful stewardship of personnel and financial resources.
b) The General Synod and the United Church of Christ Board and each of the Board of Directors of all Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries shall assure that due protection shall be given to all assets, trust funds, including pension funds so that the legacy/historic restrictions on the use of restricted funds and the intended use restrictions of the unrestricted funds of each of the historic ministries are monitored, accounted for, maintained and reported to the United Church of Christ Board to assure that the use of all such assets and funds will be allocated and used based on donor intent, whenever that can be determined.

ARTICLE X. UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST BOARD

57 The United Church of Christ Board is the successor to and agent for the Executive Council and the Office of General Ministries (including its predecessor offices and bodies: President, Secretary, and Director of Finance and Treasurer of the United Church of Christ; Commission on Development; Stewardship Council; Office of Communication; and ministries of research formerly conducted by the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries), and as such continues the work, mandates and legacies of these predecessor bodies and offices. The members of the United Church of Christ Board shall serve as the directors of each of the Covenanted Ministries. The United Church of Christ Board shall be responsible for strategic planning and policymaking. The United Church of Christ Board shall be responsible, with the General Minister and President, for the ecumenical and interfaith relationships of the United Church of Christ in the national setting. In all its work, the United Church of Christ Board shall be guided by the policies established by the General Synod. The United Church of Christ Board shall be incorporated in order to carry out its mandates and responsibilities, including without limitation, performing all legal functions of the General Synod, as set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ. The members of the United Church of Christ Board shall be elected and shall serve as provided in the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ.  

ARTICLE XI. COVENANTED MINISTRIES

58 The United Church of Christ recognizes the call to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed through the work of Local Churches; Associations; Conferences; national expressions; and global, ecumenical, and interfaith relationships. The United Church of Christ is and seeks to be an inclusive, multiracial, multicultural church, accessible to all, engaging in ministries of justice, witness, healing, teaching, and preaching. There are three Covenanted Ministries as defined and set forth in the Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ: Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries, Justice and Witness Ministries. A Covenanted Ministry may retain or secure its own charter and adopt its own bylaws and other rules which it deems essential to its own welfare and not inconsistent with this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ and in accordance with advice and counsel given from time to time by the General Synod.

Powers and Responsibilities of Covenanted Ministries

59 Each Covenanted Ministry shall have the following powers and responsibilities:

a) To carry out the Covenanted Ministry’s programmatic work, including the historical mandates of its predecessor bodies, as set forth in its Charter and Bylaws, or referred from the General Synod, or as set forth in the Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ;
b) To retain responsibility for all legacies and other property received, maintained or held by it, and to approve any use, expenditure or disposal of its legacies or other property;
c) To work in covenantal relationship with the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board, and other Ministries to fulfill its mandates;
d) To participate through its Executive Minister in the Collegium of Officers;
e) To participate in the Mission Planning Council;
f) To nominate and elect its Executive Minister as set forth in paragraph 61b;
g) To organize itself as it deems necessary to carry out its programmatic work, including the fulfillment of historical mandates, which shall be carried out in accordance with this Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, through the United Church of Christ Board;
h) To determine its budget to be submitted to the United Church of Christ Board in accordance with the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ;
i) To adopt its own charter, bylaws, and rules of procedure which it deems essential to its own welfare, not inconsistent with the Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ;
j) To hold in highest regard actions by, or decisions or advice emanating from, the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board, another Covenanted Ministry, a Conference, an Association, or a Local Church.

60 Each Covenanted Ministry shall be incorporated in order to fulfill its mandates; fulfill all normal, lawful purposes; and receive, hold, manage, and distribute real and personal property, endowments, and restricted funds in compliance with the terms, conditions, and requirements of said funds. The voting membership of each Covenanted Ministry shall be the members of that corporation’s Board of Directors.

61 The corporation documents of Local Church Ministries, Justice and Witness Ministries, and Wider Church Ministries shall reflect their covenantal relationship with the General Synod and shall provide:

a) that the members of the United Church of Christ Board comprise the Board of Directors of the Covenanted Ministry;
b) that the Covenanted Ministry shall vest the General Synod with the power to call by election the Executive Minister of the Covenanted Ministry;
c) that any modification of the provisions or powers in a or b above shall be authorized only after consultation with the Collegium of Officers and the United Church of Christ Board and after presentation to the General Synod, and shall require an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all voting members of the Covenanted Ministry;
d) that the Covenanted Ministry must approve any use, expenditure or disposal of its legacies or other property;
e) that dissolution of the Covenanted Ministry shall occur only with an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all members of the Covenanted Ministry, after advice and consultation with the General Synod, and only with provision for the transfer of the ownership, management, and control of its assets and funds to a successor corporation that is legally obligated and empowered to own and carry out the obligations, terms, conditions, and requirements of said assets and funds, as the Board of Directors shall determine. In keeping with the covenantal basis of the United Church of Christ, such successor corporation shall be related to the United Church of Christ whenever legally permissible and appropriate, all as determined by the Board of Directors of the Covenanted Ministry.

62 The General Synod, in covenant with a Covenanted Ministry, may, from time to time, delegate or assign to a Covenanted Ministry such responsibilities as fall within that Covenanted Ministry’s purpose and mission as set forth in the Constitution and the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ and in that Covenanted Ministry’s corporate documents.

63 Each Covenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ shall report its finances annually to the United Church of Christ Board and to each regular meeting of the General Synod. Each Covenanted Ministry shall submit to the United Church of Christ Board, acting as the Budget Committee of the General Synod, a detailed request for support of its work through funds allocated from the biennial income goal to be recommended to the General Synod.

Incorporation of Existing and Prior Agencies

64 The Covenanted Ministries listed in paragraph 58 above, acting as successors to and agents for all predecessor bodies related to the United Church of Christ, continue the work, mandates, and legacies previously carried on by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the Board of International Missions, the Commission on World Service, the Congregational Christian Service Committee, the United Church Board for World Ministries, Board of National Missions, Board of Christian Education and Publication, Board of Business Management, Board of Home Missions of the Reformed Church in the U. S., the American Missionary Association, Congregational Church Building Society, Congregational Education Society, Congregational Home Missionary Society, Congregational Publishing Society, The Congregational Sunday School Extension Society, the Congregational Women’s Home Missionary Federation, the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society, Commission for Racial Justice, Office for Church Life and Leadership, Office for Church in Society, Stewardship Council, and Office of Communication.

Local Church Ministries

65 The purpose and mission of Local Church Ministries, to be carried out in accordance with the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, shall be to encourage and support the Local Churches of the United Church of Christ in the fulfillment of God’s mission. Specifically, Local Church Ministries continues the work of, and acts as agent for, the following predecessor bodies: the Office for Church Life and Leadership, the Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society, the Stewardship Council, the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, and its predecessor bodies: The Board of National Missions, Board of Christian Education and Publication, Board of Business Management, Board of Home Missions of the Reformed Church in the U.S., the American Missionary Association, Congregational Church Building Society, Congregational Education Society, Congregational Home Mission Society, Congregational Publishing Society, The Congregational Sunday School Extension Society, the Congregational Women’s Home Missionary Federation.

Justice and Witness Ministries

66 The purpose and mission of Justice and Witness Ministries, to be carried out in accordance with the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, shall be to enable and encourage Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and the national expressions of the United Church of Christ to engage in God’s mission globally by direct action for the integrity of creation, justice, and peace. Justice and Witness Ministries continues the work of, and acts as agent for, the following predecessor bodies: the Office for Church in Society, the Commission for Racial Justice, the Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society. It also continues the following: ministries of public policy advocacy in the area of communications formerly conducted by the Office of Communication, ministries of prophetic service and action formerly conducted by the Division of the American Missionary Association of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, ministries of global advocacy in the U.S.A. formerly conducted by the United Church Board for World Ministries.

Wider Church Ministries

67 The purpose and mission of Wider Church Ministries, to be carried out in accordance with the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, shall be to encourage and support Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and the national expressions of the United Church of Christ to participate in the global, multiracial, multicultural church, and to support United Church of Christ ministries around the world and the nation. Wider Church Ministries continues the work of, and acts as agent for, the following predecessor bodies: the United Church Board for World Ministries, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the Board of International Missions, the Commission on World Service, and the Congregational Christian Service Committee. It also continues the following: ministries of volunteer services formerly conducted by the Division of the American Missionary Association of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries; ministries of the Health and Welfare Coordinating Council formerly related to the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries.

ARTICLE XII. AFFILIATED AND ASSOCIATED MINISTRIES

68 An Affiliated Ministry of the United Church of Christ is a non-profit corporation which provides services to or for the United Church of Christ, and whose Board of Trustees is elected by its corporate membership, and which was recognized previously as an Instrumentality by the General Synod.

69 An Associated Ministry of the United Church of Christ Board of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ is a nonprofit corporation which provides services to or for the United Church of Christ, and whose corporate membership is nominated and elected by the United Church of Christ Board, and which was recognized previously as an instrumentality by the General Synod.

Pension and Relief Activities

70 The pension activities of the United Church of Christ are administered by a non-profit membership corporation(s) known as The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ and designated as an Affiliated Ministry of the United Church of Christ. The control of each such corporation lies in its members through a board of trustees chosen by the members from a list of persons whose names have been presented to and approved by the General Synod or by the United Church of Christ Board. Persons for this list may be proposed by any member of the corporation(s) or by the Trustees thereof. Such corporation(s) shall report its program and finance annually to its members and to the United Church of Christ Board and to each regular meeting of the General Synod.The General Synod shall from time to time make examination of the practices and developments of such corporation(s).

71 The ministerial relief activities of the United Church of Christ, by whatever corporate bodies administered, are coordinated with the pension activities of the Church through corporation(s) above described. The pension and the relief corporation(s) shall submit to the United Church of Christ Board, acting as the Budget Committee of the General Synod, a request for allocation of sufficient funds, from the budget to be approved by the United Church of Christ Board, for the payment of ministerial relief benefits and such other benefits as the United Church of Christ Board may provide. Payment of such benefits shall be limited to the funds received for that purpose.

United Church Funds

72 The United Church Funds, Inc., is designated as an Associated Ministry of the United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ to receive gifts from individuals and organizations, to hold such funds and property as may be entrusted or conveyed to it by the General Synod and other organizations, and administer, invest, and reinvest the same and other funds in trust or otherwise, as set forth in the Bylaws.

73 The United Church Funds shall report its program and finances annually to the United Church of Christ Board and to each regular meeting of the General Synod, and shall submit to the United Church of Christ Board, acting as the Budget Committee of the General Synod, a detailed request for support of its work through funds allocated from the biennial income goal to be recommended to the General Synod.

ARTICLE XIII. AMENDMENTS

The Constitution

74 Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by a Conference, the General Synod or the United Church of Christ Board. Such proposed amendments shall be submitted in writing to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ at least three months prior to a meeting of the General Synod to which they are to be presented. At least two months prior to the meeting of the General Synod, the General Minister and President shall transmit such proposed amendments to the delegates, to the Conferences and to the Local Churches. Adoption of an amendment to the Constitution shall require a two-thirds affirmative vote of those present and voting in the General Synod and, before the next regular meeting of the General Synod, an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Conferences. If so approved the General Synod, if in session, or the United Church of Christ Board, shall declare the amendment adopted and in force.1

The Bylaws

75 Amendments to the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ may be proposed by an Association, a Conference, the General Synod, or the United Church of Christ Board. Such proposed amendments shall be submitted in writing to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ at least three months prior to the meeting of the General Synod to which they are to be presented. At least two months prior to the meeting of the General Synod, the General Minister and President shall transmit such proposed amendments to the delegates, to the Conferences and to the Local Churches. Any Bylaw that is contingent upon a
Constitutional provision shall not be effective until after the Constitutional provision is ratified and declared in force. Adoption of an amendment to the Bylaws shall require a two-thirds affirmative vote of those present and voting in the General Synod, and shall be effective upon adoption unless otherwise set forth in the vote.

1The General Synod declared the original Constitution of the United Church of Christ in force June, 1961, upon ratification of 2/3 of the Synods of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and by 2/3 of the Congregational Christian churches voting.

Bylaws of the United Church of Christ

PREAMBLE

100 These Bylaws, consistent with the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, further define and/or regulate the General Synod and its relationships with the Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries and Other Bodies which are related to the General Synod, and the United Church of Christ Board, and describe the free and voluntary relationships which the Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and ordained, commissioned and licensed Ministers sustain with the General Synod and with one another. The pattern of relationships and procedures so described is recommended to Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and authorized ministers to enable them more effectively to accomplish their tasks and the work of the United Church of Christ.

ARTICLE I. THE MINISTRY

Members in Discernment

101 A member of a United Church of Christ local church wishing to explore God’s call to ministry, and the potential of that call leading to authorized ministry (ordained, commissioned or licensed), requests, along with the member’s local church, to enter a Covenant of Discernment with the Association.

102 The Committee on Ministry of the member’s Association interviews the member to decide whether to join with the member and the local church in a covenant of discernment.  The goal of discernment is to determine whether the member is called to authorized ministry, what the specific character of that ministry might be, and, if authorization is appropriate, what steps are to be taken toward authorization.  Normally a covenant of discernment leading to authorization is expected to be for not less than two years.

103 The Association and the local church are in a mutual covenant with the Member in Discernment to offer support, counsel, and direction during this time of decision making and preparation.

104 A Member in Discernment who is called to authorized ministry will follow a plan of preparation for that ministry which has been prepared with the Association Committee on Ministry. With respect to ordained ministry, a bachelor’s degree and Master of Divinity may be included in the plan.

Ordained Ministry

105 Not more than six months prior to the completion of theological preparation for authorization, a Member in Discernment preparing for the ordained ministry applies with his or her Local Church to its Association for approval as a candidate for ordination. If the service of ordination is to be performed within an Association other than that of the Member, the procedure, including that described in the following paragraph, is initiated by that Association after consultation with the Association which is in covenant with the Member in Discernment.

106 The Committee on Ministry of the Association examines the Member in Discernment with respect to Christian faith; character; ability to do the work expected; preparation to meet the responsibilities of the office; educational and theological attainments; and knowledge of the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ. If, following this examination, the committee is satisfied with the fitness of the Member in Discernment, it makes an affirmative recommendation to the Association. In turn, upon receipt of this recommendation, the Association may opt for further examination or proceed immediately to authorize the ordination, subject to a call recognized by the Association.  

107 Ordination by an Association of the United Church of Christ, in cooperation with the Local Church, confers ordained ministerial standing as an Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ and status as an Ordained Ministerial Partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

108 After the ordination or in anticipation of it, a certificate is issued bearing the signatures of the proper officers of the Association and the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

Ordained Ministerial Standing

109 An Ordained Minister moving from the bounds of one Association to another applies for a transfer of ordained ministerial standing to the new Association.

110 An Ordained Minister engaged in local church ministry has standing in the Association in which the Local Church served has standing. An Ordained Minister engaged in other than local church ministry has standing in the Association where his or her Local Church membership is held.

111 An Ordained Minister engaged in a ministry requiring prolonged absence from the United States, or one that does not permit a fixed residence, is entitled to have ordained ministerial standing in the Association of his or her choice.

112 An Ordained Minister who withdraws from active service in the ordained ministry prior to retirement applies to his or her Association for leave of absence. The Association may grant such leave of absence for one year at a time. Except in special cases such leave of absence is not granted for more than five years in succession.

113 An Ordained Minister retiring from active service by reason of age or disability retains ordained ministerial standing in the Association of his or her choice.

114 An Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ serving a Local Church not affiliated with the United Church of Christ or the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) or serving a local church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) without ordained ministerial partner standing retains ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ so long as his or her Association approves.

115 The church membership of an authorized minister serving in local church ministry shall be in the Local Church served.  The church membership of an authorized minister serving in a setting other than local church ministry, or of an authorized minister without fixed residence shall be in a Local Church of the United Church of Christ in the Association where he or she holds or seeks authorized ministerial standing.

Ordained Ministers from Other Denominations

116 A person has ordained ministerial partner standing in the United Church of Christ only when serving a United Church of Christ calling body.

117 Upon demonstrating knowledge of, and appreciation for, the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ to the Association in which the person resides, an Ordained Ministerial Partner may seek a call in the United Church of Christ.

118 An Ordained Ministerial Partner who accepts a call in the United Church of Christ applies for ordained ministerial partner standing to the Association in which Local Church membership is held.

119 When an Ordained Ministerial Partner accepts a call to a Local Church, the Partner and the Local Church join in requesting the Association to arrange for a service of installation.

120 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in an Association shall hold membership in a Local Church of the United Church of Christ.

121 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in an Association shall maintain ordained ministerial standing within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Region in which the United Church of Christ calling body is located.

122 A person who has ordained ministerial partner standing in the United Church of Christ, and who accepts a call in another Association, shall apply for a transfer of ordained ministerial partner standing to the new Association.

123 When a disciplinary review is instituted in relation to a person holding ordained ministerial partner standing in the United Church of Christ, the Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in which the person’s ordained ministerial standing is maintained shall be informed and invited to participate in the procedures.

124 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) shall maintain ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ. Ordained ministerial standing shall be held in the Association in which local church membership is held.

125 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) shall hold local church membership in a local church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

126 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) shall relate to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for his or her primary support and accountability in ordained ministry.

127 A person who holds ordained ministerial partner standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is subject to periodic review by the Association in which ordained ministerial standing is maintained.

128 When a disciplinary procedure is instituted by a Region in relation to a person holding ordained ministerial partner standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ Association in which standing is held shall be informed and invited to participate. The Association may accept the procedures and outcome of the Region or utilize its own procedures to determine the person’s ongoing standing in the United Church of Christ.

129 When a person no longer has ordained ministerial standing in either the United Church of Christ or Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), that person is no longer an Ordained Ministerial Partner and ordained ministerial partner standing is nullified.

130 An ordained minister of another denomination who desires to enter the ordained ministry of the United Church of Christ applies for Privilege of Call to the Association within whose bounds he or she resides.

131 The Committee on Ministry of the Association examines the applicant as to his or her abilities, reasons for desiring to enter the ordained ministry of the United Church of Christ, educational and theological attainments, knowledge of the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ, and Christian faith and experience. If the applicant is found to be qualified, the Association grants Privilege of Call, thereby commending said applicant for placement in the United Church of Christ. Privilege of Call shall be granted for a period of one year and may be renewed. After accepting a call, the Ordained Minister applies for ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ to the Association of which the Local Church extending the call is a part.

132 A certificate granting Privilege of Call is issued bearing the signatures of the proper officer of the Association and the General Minister and President.

133 An ordained minister of another denomination other than the Christian

Church (Disciples of Christ) who wishes to retain ordained ministerial standing in that denomination and who has become pastor of a Local Church of the United Church of Christ, or serves in a Covenanted, Affiliated or Associated Ministry of the United Church of Christ, or has become pastor of a yoked charge or a federated church one part of which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, or has been called to an ecumenical ministry one constituent of which is the United Church of Christ, may apply to the Association for dual ordained ministerial standing which is limited to duration of that pastorate or that responsibility, and during that period may have all the rights and privileges of such membership.

Commissioned Ministers

134 A Member in Discernment seeking initial recognition and authorization as a Commissioned Minister applies with his or her Local Church to the Association of which that church is a member.

135 The Committee on Ministry of the Association examines the Member in Discernment with respect to Christian faith, character, ability to do the work expected and preparation to meet the responsibilities of the office to be filled, and make its recommendation of fitness to the Association. If upon acceptance of the recommendation or upon further examination and decision by the Association itself, the applicant is found to be qualified, commissioning thereby is authorized.

136 A certificate designating the applicant as Commissioned Minister is issued bearing the signatures of proper officers of the Association and the General Minister and President.

137 A Commissioned Minister is listed separately from Ordained Ministers and from Licensed Ministers on the rolls of the Association which has commissioned him or her.

138 A Commissioned Minister moving from the bounds of one Association to another and who continues in the specific church-related ministry, applies for a transfer of the commission to the new Association.

139 A Commissioned Minister seeking to be commissioned for a new or different church-related ministry applies to the Association for commissioning for the new ministry.

140 A Commissioned Minister who ceases to function in the specific church-related ministry to which he or she was commissioned resigns the commission or applies to the Association for leave of absence. Leave of absence is granted for one year at a time, but not more than three consecutive years.

141 A Commissioned Minister who retires from service as a Commissioned Minister may be recognized by the Association as a Retired Commissioned Minister of the United Church of Christ. Voting membership in that Association is thereby granted. Such recognition is regularly reviewed. 

Licensed Ministers

142 A Member in Discernment seeking recognition and authorization as a Licensed Minister applies with his or her Local Church to the Association of which that church is a member.

143 The Committee on Ministry of the Association examines the Member in Discernment with respect to Christian faith, character, ability to do the work expected, preparation to meet the responsibilities of the office, educational and theological attainments, and knowledge of the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ. If the applicant is found to be qualified, a license is granted by the Association for not more than one year to serve in a designated Local Church or within that Association. Following a review by the Committee on Ministry, the license may be renewed annually for two more years after which the Association may grant the license for a time determined to be appropriate.

144 At the request of the Local Church which the person serves, the Association may grant the Licensed Minister the right to administer the sacraments and rites of the Church for this Local Church.

145 A Licensed Minister is listed separately from Ordained Ministers and from Commissioned Ministers on the rolls of the Association which has licensed him or her.

146 A Licensed Minister who retires from service as a Licensed Minister may be recognized by the Association as a Retired Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ. Voting membership in that Association is thereby granted. Such recognition is regularly reviewed. 

Calling, Installing and Terminating a Pastor

147 It is the responsibility of a committee of the Local Church to seek a candidate for a vacancy in the office of pastor.

148 In filling a vacancy or in securing pastoral services during the period of a vacancy, the committee of the Local Church, through its Conference Minister, obtains counsel and access to the services of the “Search and Call” process of the United Church of Christ.

149 The committee of a Local Church requests the Conference Minister to secure relevant information about any Ordained Minister, Ordained Ministerial Partner, or Licensed Minister whom it wishes to consider or who requests to be considered for the vacancy.

150 Any Ordained Minister, Ordained Ministerial Partner, or Licensed Minister may confer with the Conference Minister concerning a pastoral vacancy. At the Ordained Minister’s request or at the request of the Ordained Ministerial Partner, his or her name shall be submitted by the Conference Minister for consideration by the committee of any Local Church where there is a pastoral vacancy.

151 All vacancies within the Conference shall be reported promptly to the designated administrative office in the office of the General Minister and President by the Conference Minister.

152 The Committee of the Local Church presents to the church the name of a candidate it recommends to fill the vacancy. The Local Church determines whether or not it wishes to call the person recommended.

153 In the call the terms of the pastoral relationship are stated, including the agreement of the Local Church to participate in the pension fund on the pastor’s behalf. The pastor, the Local Church, Association Committee on Ministry, and the Conference Minister should each receive a copy of the call. The Conference Minister shall inform the designated administrative office in the office of the General Minister and President when the call has been accepted.

154 When an Ordained Minister or Licensed Minister accepts a call to a Local Church, the Minister and the church join in requesting the Association to arrange for a service of installation or recognition.

155 Report of the service of installation or recognition is signed by the proper officer of the Association and by the Conference Minister, and is forwarded to the designated administrative office in the office of the General Minister and President.

156 When a pastor or a Local Church decides to terminate the pastoral relationship, notice of the decision is sent to the Conference Minister and the Association. The Association takes action appropriate to the dissolution of the pastoral relationship. The Conference Minister promptly informs the designated administrative office in the office of the General Minister and President of these actions.

Ministerial Accountability

157 All authorized ministers of the United Church of Christ are active partners in a covenant of mutual accountability with their Association of standing, their Local Church, and, in the case of those serving in settings other than a local church, with their calling body. Such a covenant includes, but is not limited to, mutual support and care, continued discernment of call, and lifelong learning.

158 All authorizations for ordained ministerial standing, for ordained ministerial partner standing, and for commissioned and licensed ministry granted by an Association are subject to oversight by that Association, including periodic consultation and review.

159 The discipline of Ordained Ministers, persons with ordained ministerial partner standing, Commissioned Ministers, and Licensed Ministers is the responsibility of the Association in which their current ecclesiastical authorization is held.

ARTICLE II. ASSOCIATIONS AND CONFERENCES

Associations

160 An Association elects officers and elects or appoints such committees as it deems necessary for the transaction of its business and the correlation of its work with that of the Conference and the General Synod.

161 An Association determines its own method for securing financial support.

162 An Association is concerned with the welfare of all Local Churches within its boundaries.

163 An Association seeks ways and means to assist Local Churches when they are undergoing unusual difficulties requiring help beyond their own resources.

164 An Association offers encouragement, guidance, and assistance in the organization of new Local Churches.

165 An Association, with the counsel of the Conference, receives Local Churches into the United Church of Christ.

166 An Association covenants with members of the United Church of Christ within that Association as together they discern God’s call to authorized ministry and prepare for ordination, commissioning or licensing.

167 An Association ordains, commissions, and licenses qualified candidates; grants standing as a covenantal relationship with ordained ministers, licensed ministers, commissioned ministers, and persons with ordained ministerial partner standing; certifies to, transfers, and terminates ordained ministerial standing, ordained ministerial partner standing, commissioned ministerial standing and licenses; installs Ordained Ministers and persons with ordained ministerial partner standing; covenants with licensed ministers, commissioned ministers, and the local churches to which they are called; grants privilege of call and leaves of absence; reviews and disciplines Ordained, Commissioned, and Licensed Ministers and persons with ordained ministerial partner standing; and verifies that an Ordained Ministerial Partner has demonstrated knowledge of, and appreciation for, the history, polity, and practices of the United Church of Christ.

168 An Association receives and acts upon business referred to it by its Local Churches, its Conference, the General Synod, and other bodies.

169 An Association may petition and overture its Conference or the General Synod.

Conferences

170 A Conference elects officers and elects or appoints such committees as it deems necessary for the transaction of its business and the correlation of its work with that of the General Synod.

171 A Conference employs such salaried personnel as its program may require.

172 A Conference receives and acts upon business, requests, counsel, and references from Local Churches, Associations, the General Synod, and other bodies.

173 A Conference provides names to the General Synod Nominating Committee as requested.

174 A Conference may petition and overture the General Synod.

175 A Conference chooses delegates and alternate delegates to the General Synod in accordance with the Constitution of the United Church of Christ and these Bylaws.

176 A Conference receives from the Local Churches contributions for Our Church’s Wider Mission and keeps detailed record of the same.

177 A Conference consults on a regular basis with the General Minister and President, or his or her designee, acting on behalf of the General Synod, to reach mutual agreement upon the percentage, or the dollar amount, of the undesignated gifts for Our Church’s Wider Mission to be retained for its own support.

178 Upon the basis of the agreed upon percentage, or dollar amount, the Conference each month retains the amount necessary for its own support and forwards the balance to the treasury office of the national setting.

179 A Conference, in the interest of the Local Churches, discharges those duties and provides those services which will strengthen the witness of the United Church of Christ, such as:

a) Coordinating the work and witness of the Local Churches and Associations;
b) Rendering counsel to Local Churches and ministers in situations calling for help beyond their own resources;
c) Rendering an advisory service to Local Churches and to ministers with reference to pastoral placement;
d) Establishing and maintaining Conference offices, Conference centers, institutions, and other agencies needful to its growth and welfare;
e) Sponsoring in-service training for ministers; and
f) Conducting conferences, retreats, clinics, and workshops.

180 A Conference maintains ecumenical and interfaith relations within its boundaries with other Christian fellowships to the end that mutual understanding and cooperation may be advanced.

ARTICLE III. GENERAL SYNOD

Meetings of the General Synod

181 Regular meetings of the General Synod shall be held biennially.

182 Special meetings of the General Synod may be called by resolution of the General Synod, by the United Church of Christ Board, or upon receipt of a petition from at least seven Conferences. A special meeting so petitioned shall be convened not earlier than sixty days nor later than one hundred and twenty days after the petition is received by the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. The petition and the call for a special meeting shall contain a statement of the purpose of the meeting. In any special meeting only such business may be transacted as is specified in the call.

183 The time and place of all meetings of the General Synod shall be determined by the United Church of Christ Board unless otherwise directed by the General Synod.

184 The call for any meeting of the General Synod shall be signed by the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. Such call shall be issued at least six months prior to a regular meeting and at least forty-five days prior to a special meeting of the General Synod. All calls shall be sent to the Conferences and the Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries, and notice of these calls shall be transmitted to the Local Churches.

185 All proceedings of the General Synod shall, unless otherwise provided for, be governed by the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, as amended.

186 Expenses of General Synod delegates, including travel expenses for meetings of the General Synod, shall be the responsibility of the sending groups, except expenses of Conference voting delegates as negotiated with the Conferences shall be borne by the General Synod.

Membership of the General Synod

187 The membership of the General Synod shall consist of voting delegates and associate delegates. Visitors shall be welcome.

188 Voting Delegates Voting delegates shall consist of Conference delegates, all members of the United Church of Christ Board, delegates named by the Historically Underrepresented Groups, and the Officers of the United Church of Christ, as these are hereinafter defined. Each voting delegate to General Synod shall be entitled to a single vote at the General Synod.

189 Conference Delegates The number of Conference delegates shall be allocated to each Conference by the United Church of Christ Board on the basis of the number of persons who have membership in the Local Churches of the Conference. There shall not, however, be fewer than three delegates allocated to any Conference. The total number of Conference delegates in any biennium shall not be fewer than 675 nor more than 725.  Delegates and alternate delegates shall be chosen by each Conference from among its authorized ministers in full standing and persons with ordained ministerial partner standing and the members of its Local Churches. Conferences may initiate and consider nominations from the Associations. From each Conference, except in Conferences having three delegates, (a) lay persons shall constitute at least fifty percent of the delegates and (b) the delegation shall reflect the United Church of Christ’s commitment to affirmative action; it shall be representative of racial and ethnic persons (Blacks, Hispanics,  American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders), women and youth and young adults (at least twenty percent of each delegation shall be under 30 years of age at the time of the commencing of their terms, and where possible, be represented equally by (1) youth, persons of high school age; and (2) young adults, persons graduated from high school or over 19 years of age). In Conferences with three delegates the above requirements for representation are recommended but shall not be mandatory. Despite any lack of exact compliance with these requirements, actions of a General Synod which is constituted in substantial compliance with these representation requirements, as determined by the United Church of Christ Board, shall be valid.

190 The term of Conference delegates, other than any elected to fill unexpired terms, shall begin at the opening of the next regular meeting of the General Synod following their election and shall continue for a period of four years, terminating at the opening of the third regular meeting of the General Synod following such election; provided, however, that each Conference delegation shall be divided into two classes with terms expiring in alternate bienniums. When the number in one class from a given Conference exceeds the number in the other class by more than one, the Conference shall at the earliest possible opportunity make use of a two-year term for one delegate or fill any delegate vacancy that may occur in such a way as to equalize the two classes. No delegate who has served a second consecutive four-year term shall again be elected until after at least two years have elapsed. Delegates shall be members of all regular and special meetings of the General Synod which are held during their term of office unless they have become separated from the Conference which elected them.

191 United Church of Christ Board Delegates The members of the United Church of Christ Board shall be voting delegates at the General Synod, and their term shall be concurrent with their terms as members of the United Church of Christ Board.

192 Historically Underrepresented Groups Delegates There shall be thirty-two (32) Historically Underrepresented Groups delegates, four (4) from each of the Historically Underrepresented Groups: Council for American Indian Ministry; Council for Hispanic Ministries; Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice; Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries; United Black Christians; UCC Disabilities Ministries; Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries; and United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns. The term of Historically Underrepresented Groups delegates, other than any elected to fill unexpired terms, shall begin at the opening of the next regular meeting of the General Synod following their election and shall continue for a period of four years, terminating at the opening of the third regular meeting of the General Synod following such election. No delegate who has served a second consecutive four-year term shall again be elected until after at least two years have elapsed.  

193 Officers of the Church The General Minister and President, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, and Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries shall be voting delegates at the General Synod.

194 Associate Delegates Unless otherwise serving as a voting delegate to General Synod, the chairperson of the governing body and the principal minister(s) or executive(s) of each Conference; the chairperson of each Task Force created by the General Synod not otherwise represented on the United Church of Christ Board; the chairperson of each General Synod standing committee; a representative of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ); and one representative of each of the seminaries of the United Church of Christ not otherwise represented, chosen by the seminary, shall be Associate Delegates, with voice but without vote.

195 Ecumenical Delegates In each biennium the United Church of Christ Board may invite a representative from each of its U.S. full communion partners as an associate delegate to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. In addition, the United Church of Christ Board may invite a representative from up to three (3) other partner churches in the United States. These representatives shall be accorded the same privileges as Associate Delegates. Board and lodging for the Ecumenical Delegates shall be borne by the General Synod or through other appropriate financial means.

Moderators of the General Synod

196 The Moderator shall be elected by the General Synod. The office of Moderator shall be filled alternately by lay persons and authorized ministers or persons with ordained ministerial partner standing. The Moderator shall take office upon the adjournment of the regular meeting at which he or she is elected and shall hold office through the next regular meeting or until a successor has been qualified and installed.

197 The Moderator shall preside at the sessions of the General Synod.

198 There shall be elected an Assistant Moderator of the General Synod to assist the Moderator in presiding at sessions of the General Synod. The Assistant Moderator shall take office upon adjournment of the regular meeting at which he or she was elected and shall hold office through the next regular meeting. The Assistant Moderator will be eligible for nomination and election to the position of Moderator, upon completion of the term of Assistant Moderator.

199 The Moderator and Assistant Moderator shall include an authorized minister or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing and a layperson, and shall reflect the diversity to which the United Church of Christ is committed.

Committees of the General Synod

200 The General Synod shall have such Committees as it may deem necessary, including but not limited to those named hereafter.

201 Nominating Committee The Nominating Committee shall consist of 16 members elected by the General Synod as follows:

a) Ten members will be elected from a pool of nominees provided by the Conferences, as follows: At least nine months before each regular meeting of the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board shall invite each Conference not currently represented on the Nominating Committee to submit the name of an authorized minister or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing and the name of a layperson for possible membership on the Nominating Committee as an at-large member. The United Church of Christ Board shall submit these names, to the General Synod. Not more than one of the at-large members of the Nominating Committee shall be from any one Conference. Notwithstanding this requirement, if a member of the Nominating Committee moves to a Conference from which there is another member of the Committee currently serving, the member moving to the Conference currently served by another member shall continue to serve as a member of the Nominating Committee until the end of the biennium. The position on the Nominating Committee held by the member who moved becomes vacant at the end of the biennium during which the above change in Conference occurs.

b) Four members will be elected from a pool of nominees provided by the following groups: the Council for American Indian Ministry; the Council for Hispanic Ministries; Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice; Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries; United Black Christians; the United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns; UCC Disabilities Ministries; and the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. At least nine months before each regular meeting of the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board shall invite each of the eight groups not currently represented on the Nominating Committee to submit the names of an authorized minister or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing and a layperson for possible membership on the Nominating Committee. The United Church of Christ Board shall submit to the General Synod for election the number of names needed to maintain four members from these groups on the Nominating Committee. Two members will be an authorized minister or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing and two members will be laypersons. The Conference affiliations of the representatives from these groups will not affect the determination of the Conference affiliation of the at-large members elected in accordance with paragraph 201a.

c) Two members will be elected from among the members of the United Church of Christ Board.

d) The diversity of the Nominating Committee shall reflect the diversity of the United Church of Christ Board, as set forth in paragraph 223.

e) A member of the Nominating Committee who has served a full term shall not be eligible for re-election until a biennium has elapsed. Terms of members shall begin at the close of the General Synod at which the members have been elected and continue to the close of the third regular General Synod after their election. The Chairperson of the Nominating Committee shall be named by the United Church of Christ Board from the members of the Nominating Committee within six months after each regular meeting of the General Synod.

202 The Nominating Committee of General Synod, prior to the call for nominations, reviews the make-up of the continuing membership of the United Church of Christ Board and determines the needed nominations.  In its call for suggestions of names, the Nominating Committee will indicate the criteria consistent with the provisions of these Bylaws which will be used for filling positions on the United Church of Christ Board. Each Conference or group to be represented shall provide at least two names for each of the positions.

203 The Nominating Committee shall make all nominations for election by the General Synod for which the Constitution and Bylaws do not otherwise provide. The Nominating Committee shall consider, but not be limited to, such attributes as candidates’ leadership, a wide range of life experience and background including socio-economic, cultural competency, financial knowledge, fund raising experience, community building skills, commitment to justice, and understanding of good governance. The Nominating Committee shall maintain records of suggested nominees and their qualifications.

204 The Nominating Committee is responsible for ensuring that the membership of the United Church of Christ Board embodies the commitment of the United Church of Christ to diversity and balance, both in its overall composition and in its internal segments. In order to achieve this end, the Nominating Committee may, if necessary, approach any group submitting and/or recommending names with the request that they assist in that task by presenting additional names.

205 When selecting candidates for offices, the Nominating Committee shall consider all names submitted.

206 The Nominating Committee shall submit its report to the General Synod at least twenty-four hours before the elections are scheduled to take place, unless the General Synod, by a three-fourths vote, consents to an earlier election.

207 Credentials Committee The Credentials Committee shall consist of ten delegates to the General Synod, five of whom shall come from each of the two classes of General Synod delegates. At least three months before each regular meeting of the General Synod the United Church of Christ Board shall appoint five members from the latest class of delegates and shall designate one of the ten members of the Committee as chairperson. Terms of members shall be for four years, beginning with their appointment and terminating with the appointment of their successors. The Credentials Committee will review the composition of the Conference Delegations for compliance with the composition requirements of paragraph 189 and is empowered to request changes in membership to Conference Delegations so that said delegations and the Delegation as a Whole will be in compliance with the provisions of paragraph 189.

208 Budget Committee, Business Committee, and Committee of Reference
The Budget Committee, the Business Committee, and the Committee of Reference at each regular and special meeting of the General Synod shall be the United Church of Christ Board or persons designated by the United Church of Christ Board from its own membership. The role and scope of the Budget Committee, Business Committee and the Committee of Reference shall be determined by the United Church of Christ Board under authority of paragraphs 227-232.

Officers of the Church and of the General Synod

209 The General Synod shall call by election, from among the members of the United Church of Christ, the following Officers of the United Church of Christ who shall also be members of the Collegium of Officers, the Mission Planning Council, the United Church of Christ Board, and General Synod: General Minister and President, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, and Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries.

210 Every Officer of the United Church of Christ serves at the will of the General Synod, and may be terminated as an Officer of the United Church of Christ by the United Church of Christ Board acting as the General Synod ad interim in accordance with the United Church of Christ Board’s procedures. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if an Officer of the United Church of Christ is also the Executive Minister of a Covenanted Ministry, the United Church of Christ Board acting as the General Synod ad interim may terminate such Executive Minister as an Officer of the Church, only after consultation with the Board of Directors of such Covenanted Ministry. Responsibility for the termination of an Executive Minister as executive officer of a Covenanted Ministry rests with the Board of Directors of that Covenanted Ministry.

211 The term of each Officer of the United Church of Christ shall be four years, not to exceed three terms, and shall commence within ninety days following call by election by the General Synod. Officers shall hold office until their successors have been elected and qualified and have assumed the duties of their office. Officers may be reelected, but not more than twice, in accordance with the rules and procedures of their respective Covenanted Ministries, subject to the call by election of the General Synod.

General Minister and President

212 The General Minister and President, who shall be an Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing, is called to ministry in and on behalf of the United Church of Christ upon election by the General Synod.

a)  Spiritual Leader of the Church:
The General Minister and President is the spiritual leader and pastor of the Church, charged with the care and nurture of the spiritual life of the Church. The General Minister and President is responsible for the unity and well-being of the Church, and for nurturing its covenantal life and ecumenical and interfaith relationships, and facilitating the visioning, planning, coordination and implementation of the total mission of the United Church of Christ.

b) Theological Interpreter:
The General Minister and President is the principal leader in interpreting the theological perspectives and values of the United Church of Christ as guided by the General Synod and in consultation with the Collegium. The General Minister and President is the chief representative of the United Church of Christ in the public square and at ecumenical, interdenominational and interfaith tables.

c) Convener:
The General Minister and President will convene and preside at the meetings of the Collegium. She or he is responsible for coordinated communication, fund raising and planning in collaboration with the Executive Ministers. She or he is a member of the Mission Planning Council.

d) Chief Executive Officer:
The General Minister and President is the Chief Executive Officer of the General Synod and is its principal spokesperson. The General Minister and President serves as the corporate President of the United Church of Christ Board, each of the Covenanted Ministries, the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ, and all other corporations related to the Covenanted Ministries. The General Minister and President oversees the administration of the national setting offices.

The General Minister and President serves as an ex-officio member of the United Church of Christ Board and accordingly as a member of the Board of Directors of each Covenanted Ministry. The General Minister and President serves as an ex-officio member in all meetings of the Affiliated and Associated Ministries. The General Minister and President shall serve as an ex-officio member, with voice, but not vote, in the meetings of all Commissions, Councils, and Committees of the United Church of Christ, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ; except that he or she shall not participate in the work of the Search Committee for the General Minister and President. The General Minister and President shall be the official representative of the Church in ecumenical, interdenominational, and interfaith relations. The General Minister and President may appoint a representative for such occasions as he or she deems advisable.

213 The General Minister and President is accountable to the General Synod and the United Church of Christ Board, acting as General Synod ad interim.

214 The candidate for the position of General Minister and President is nominated for an initial term by a search committee of the United Church of Christ, broadly representative of the Church, and appointed by the United Church of Christ Board. The search committee includes one Executive Minister of a Covenanted Ministry selected by the Collegium of Officers; at least one Conference Minister named by the Council of Conference Ministers; one representative of the Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries to be selected from the COREM members on the United Church of Christ Board each with voice and vote. At least one member shall be a youth or young adult. The affirmative action commitment of the Church is to be fully respected in the search process and diversity maintained in the membership of the Collegium of Officers. The candidate chosen by the search committee is confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the United Church of Christ Board before his or her name is placed before the General Synod. Only one nominee may be presented for election, and nominations may not be made from the floor. An affirmative vote of at least sixty percent of the General Synod is necessary for election and call. The General Minister and President does not participate in the work of the search committee choosing a successor. She or he is evaluated regularly through a process approved by the United Church of Christ Board. The evaluation process includes an Executive Minister of a Covenanted Ministry on a rotating basis. In the event that the General Minister and President is unable to discharge the responsibilities of that Office, or if there is a vacancy in that Office, the United Church of Christ Board shall name one of the Executive Ministers to serve as Acting General Minister and President until the General Minister and President returns to service or is replaced by a successor elected by the General Synod after a search process.
Executive Ministers of Justice and Witness Ministries, Local Church Ministries, and Wider Church Ministries.

215 Each Executive Minister is the principal minister and chief executive officer of one of the Covenanted Ministries and is responsible for guiding and leading that Ministry’s activities under the direction of its Board of Directors and as may be prescribed in the articles of incorporation, rules, and bylaws of that Covenanted Ministry. The Executive Minister may be a lay person, an authorized minister, or a person with ordained ministerial partner standing. Each Executive Minister serves as an ex-officio member of the United Church of Christ Board and accordingly as a member of the Board of Directors of each Covenanted Ministry.

216 Each Executive Minister will oversee the programmatic work of a Covenanted Ministry, which shall be carried out in accordance with the policies, planning, and broad oversight of the United Church of Christ Board as provided in these Bylaws. With the General Minister and President, each Executive Minister will be involved in the overall functions of the national setting, including visioning and planning, communications, development and management of budgets, development and leadership of staff, and implementation of policies adopted by the General Synod and the United Church of Christ Board.

217 Each Executive Minister will be accountable to the General Synod through the United Church of Christ Board.  Each Executive Minister serves at the will of the Board of Directors of the Covenanted Ministry to which she or he is accountable and may be terminated as an Executive Minister by that body in accordance with its procedures after consultation with the United Church of Christ Board, acting as General Synod ad interim.

218 As an Officer of the Church, each Executive Minister is a member of the Collegium of Officers and the Mission Planning Council.

219 Each Executive Minister is to be nominated for an initial term by a search committee of the United Church of Christ broadly representative of the Church, appointed by and from the Board of Directors of the Covenanted Ministry to which she or he is accountable. The search committee shall include the General Minister and President; one Conference Minister, named by the Council of Conference Ministers; and one representative of the Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries to be selected from the COREM members on the Board of Directors, each with voice and vote. At least one member shall be a youth or young adult. The affirmative action commitment of the Church is to be fully respected in the search process and diversity maintained in the membership of the Collegium of Officers. The candidate chosen by the search committee is to be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the appropriate Board of Directors before his or her name is placed in nomination before the General Synod. Only one nominee may be presented for election, and nominations may not be made from the floor. An affirmative vote of at least sixty percent of the General Synod is necessary for the call by election. An Executive Minister does not participate in the work of the search committee choosing a successor. The Executive Minister is evaluated regularly by a process approved by the appropriate Board of Directors. The evaluation process shall include the General Minister and President, with voice and vote. Terms of office shall begin within ninety days following their election. An Executive Minister shall hold office until her or his successor has been elected and qualified and has assumed the duties of the Office.

220 In the event that an Executive Minister is unable to discharge the responsibilities of that position, or if there is a vacancy in the office, the Board of Directors of that Covenanted Ministry, in consultation with the General Minister and President, shall appoint an Acting Executive Minister according to the rules and procedures of each Covenanted Ministry. Said Board of Directors shall recommend its Acting Executive Minister to the United Church of Christ Board acting as General Synod ad interim for appointment as an Acting Officer of the Church. An Acting Executive Minister shall serve until the Executive Minister returns to service, or is replaced by a successor called by election by the General Synod.

United Church of Christ Board

221 The United Church of Christ Board continues the work of, and acts as agent for, predecessor bodies, and continues other ministries, as specified in paragraph 57 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ and as described in its articles of incorporation.

222 The United Church of Christ Board shall consist of fifty-two (52) members elected by the General Synod. Thirty-six (36) members shall serve in at-large positions and sixteen (16) members shall be ex-officio members with voice and vote. The composition of the United Church of Christ Board shall embody the commitment of the United Church of Christ to be a multicultural and multiracial Church, reflecting the racial and ethnic diversity of society with a balance of leadership between women and men, open and accessible to all. All members of the United Church of Christ Board shall be voting members, except as legally proscribed and noted below.

223 The thirty-six at-large members, nominated by the General Synod Nominating Committee, and elected by the General Synod as members of the United Church of Christ Board, shall reflect the following composition:

• Fifty percent (50%) or more shall be persons of color.
• Fifty percent (50%) or more shall be women.
• One third (1/3) shall be authorized ministers or persons with ordained ministerial partner standing. 
• One third (1/3) shall be laymen.
• One third (1/3) shall be laywomen.
• Twenty percent (20%) shall be under thirty (30) years of age at the time of election.
To the extent possible, the under 30 years of age members shall include both youth of high school age and young adults. All such members shall be voting members except as legally proscribed.
• At least one (1) member shall be a person who self-identifies as having a disability.
• At least one (1) member shall be a person who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

a) At-large members shall serve one term of six years, which shall commence at the close of the General Synod at which the person is elected and qualified and shall terminate at the close of the General Synod in which a successor is elected and qualified. At-large members shall be divided into three classes of twelve members each, with a class of twelve members being elected at each General Synod. No at-large member who has served more than one-half of a full term shall be nominated to serve again until at least two years have elapsed. Nominations for the at-large positions shall be solicited from all entities and organizations within the United Church of Christ. There shall not be more than three at-large members from any one Conference at the time of an individual’s election.

b) In the initial election of at-large members by the Twenty-ninth General Synod, twelve (12) at-large members shall be elected for a term of two (2) years, to include two (2) members to be elected from among the last serving members prior to the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the Executive Council and each of the Boards of Directors of Office of General Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries, and Justice and Witness Ministries, and two (2) members to be elected from among the Historically Under-Represented Groups. Twelve (12) at-large members shall be elected for one term of four (4) years, and twelve (12) at-large members shall be elected for one term of six (6) years.

c) The General Synod Nominating Committee nominates these persons after submission of names, according to the procedures established in ¶202–206 of these Bylaws, and criteria determined by the Nominating Committee. In order to fulfill its responsibilities to ensure that the membership of the United Church of Christ Board reflects the diversity to which the United Church of Christ is committed, the Nominating Committee may ask for additional names to be submitted.

224 Ex-Officio members of the United Church of Christ Board with voice and vote, affirmed by vote of the General Synod, shall include:

a) The Officers of the United Church of Christ.
b) The Moderator and the Assistant Moderator of the General Synod.
c) One member designated by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to serve a term of two years. Any such member shall be eligible to serve up to two additional terms and not to exceed three terms.
d) Six (6) principal ministers of Conferences, one to be elected from each Region by the Council of Conference Ministers for a term of two years, not to exceed two consecutive terms. If any such member ceases during his or her term of office on the United Church of Christ Board to be the principal minister of a Conference within the Region from which said member was elected, a vacancy shall be thereby created to be filled by election by the Council of Conference Ministers.
e) The Executive of the United Church Funds, Inc.
f) The Executive of The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ
g) The Executive of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries

225 Although members of the United Church of Christ Board may be nominated or selected by particular groups, each member serves on behalf of, and bears responsibility for, the well-being of the whole Church.

226 The United Church of Christ Board shall elect, from its members who are elected by General Synod, a chairperson and a vice-chairperson according to its own Standing Rules.

Responsibilities of the United Church of Christ Board

227 The United Church of Christ Board shall act for the General Synod ad interim, and, in cooperation with the Collegium of Officers, shall provide coordination and evaluation of the work of the Church and shall carry out such other responsibilities as may be from time to time delegated to it by the General Synod or as provided for in these Bylaws or the Constitution.

a) The United Church of Christ Board shall be responsible for strategic planning and policymaking. The Ministry Committees and the Committees of the United Church of Christ Board shall make recommendations to the members of the United Church of Christ Board for strategic planning, policymaking and oversight purposes. Under the leadership of the Executive Ministers, the United Church of Christ Board’s Ministry Committees shall make recommendations to the members of the United Church of Christ Board regarding the programmatic work of the Covenanted Ministries. As provided in paragraph 243e, the United Church of Christ Board shall receive recommendations regarding the annual draw rate on invested funds that may be used to carry out the mission entrusted to the Covenanted Ministries. As provided in paragraph 243e, recommendations as to the annual draw rate and as to the allocation of the annual dollar amounts resulting from the application of the annual draw rate to each of the restricted endowment funds and to each of the historic donor intended uses of each of the unrestricted endowment funds referred to in paragraph 243f shall not be modified by the United Church of Christ Board except upon two affirmative votes, each of not less than eighty five percent (85%) of the members present of the full Board at one or more meetings of the full Board with not less than twelve (12) hours between the two affirmative votes in order to ensure adequate discernment by the full Board. 

b) The United Church of Christ Board is responsible for policies relating to the mission of the United Church of Christ in its national setting. It shall support the on-going work of the General Synod through its various ministries, planning for and encouraging cooperation among those ministries, with Local Churches, Associations, and Conferences, and with other expressions of the Church which contribute to and embody God’s mission in Jesus Christ. It shall support the spiritual and financial health of the Church, and shall ensure the presence and implementation of policies which contribute to the health of the Covenanted Ministries in relationship with one another and their accountability to General Synod. It shall receive reports from the Collegium of Officers and provide oversight and support for the work of that body. It shall facilitate the business of General Synod and assume such other tasks as may be assigned to it by the General Synod. It shall be a focal point for decision-making, overall planning and evaluation, and budgeting in the national setting. It shall receive and report upon divergent points of view and maintain an open channel for the consideration of minority or dissenting opinion. It shall submit a report of its work to the General Synod at each regular meeting. In cooperation with the Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries it shall make an annual informational report to the Local Churches and the Conferences about the total program of the Church in the national setting.

228 Vacancies occurring in offices, commissions, or committees of the General Synod, or in the membership of the United Church of Christ Board, shall, unless otherwise provided, be filled by the United Church of Christ Board acting as the General Synod ad interim, such actions to be reported to the next General Synod.

229 The United Church of Christ Board shall make such elections, nominations or appointments as these Bylaws or action of the General Synod may require.

230 Acting as the Budget Committee for the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board shall determine the allocation of funds from Our Church’s Wider Mission.  The United Church of Christ Board, acting as the Budget Committee, shall also receive and review the past and projected use of OCWM funds allocated to each Covenanted Ministry and recommend the OCWM threshold amount for the biennium.

231 The United Church of Christ Board shall be an incorporated body in order to ensure that it may effectively and expeditiously perform all legal functions of the General Synod and all of its other functions as provided for in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ. The membership of the Corporation shall consist of those persons described in paragraphs 222-224 of the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, who shall be elected or affirmed in the manner therein provided and who shall have the right to vote only to the extent granted by such paragraphs. Those members shall also be the Directors of the Corporation. The Corporation shall have such officers as required by law and as provided in these Bylaws. The Corporation may adopt for its government and the management of its affairs bylaws and rules not inconsistent with its Articles of Incorporation nor with the Constitution, Bylaws, Rules and regulations of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ.

232 The United Church of Christ Board shall serve as the Business Committee and Committee of Reference of the General Synod during its sessions, and as such shall prepare the agenda and schedule for all meetings of the General Synod, recommend changes therein during sessions, and appoint committees not otherwise provided.

Administration of the National Setting Offices

233 The General Minister and President shall oversee the administration of the national setting offices. The General Minister and President is responsible for selecting a Chief Administrative Officer and a Chief Financial Officer in consultation with the Collegium. Both the Chief Administrative Officer and the Chief Financial Officer shall report directly to the General Minister and President, who is accountable to the United Church of Christ Board.

234 The Chief Administrative Officer will have day-to-day responsibility for the overall administrative work of the national setting offices. The Chief Administrative Officer shall serve as the corporate Secretary of the United Church of Christ Board, each of the Covenanted Ministries, the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ, and all other corporations within the national setting.

235 The Chief Financial Officer will oversee the financial functions of the national setting offices. The Chief Financial Officer shall serve as the corporate Treasurer of the United Church of Christ Board, each of the Covenanted Ministries, the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ, and all other corporations related to the Covenanted Ministries. The customary responsibilities and functions of a corporate secretary and treasurer of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ shall be assigned to the Chief Administrative Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, respectively.

Ministry Committees 

236 The United Church of Christ Board membership shall divide itself into three Ministry Committees: Local Church, Justice and Witness, and Wider Church. Each Ministry Committee shall make recommendations to the members of the United Church of Christ Board regarding the program functions of the Covenanted Ministry for which it is named. The Ministry Committees will honor the diversity of commitments of the United Church of Christ and work in covenant with each other. To the extent possible while still maintaining diversity and expertise needed on the Ministry Committees, each United Church of Christ Board member will be assigned to a Ministry Committee based on that individual’s experience, expertise, personal passion and spiritual calling. For the Wider Church Ministry Committee, individuals also will be considered based on the role that they may serve as members of the Common Global Ministries Board, the mission partnership between the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The composition of each Ministry Committee shall embody the commitment of the United Church of Christ to a multicultural and multiracial Church, with a balance of leadership between women and men, open and accessible to all. Each Ministry Committee will elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson, subject to the requirement that at least one of these positions must be held by a person of color in each Ministry Committee. 

Committees of the United Church of Christ Board

237 The United Church of Christ Board shall have such other Committees as it may deem necessary, including but not limited to those named hereafter, and each may draw on expertise beyond the Board if necessary.

Executive Committee

238 The Executive Committee shall consist of twelve (12) members of the United Church of Christ Board, as follows:

a) Chairperson and vice-chairperson of the United Church of Christ Board
b) One representative from each of the three Ministry Committees of the United Church of Christ Board
c) The Officers of the United Church of Christ
d) One Conference Minister
e) One member of the Finance and Budget Committee
f) One additional member

239 The Executive Committee shall have the responsibility to ensure that visioning and strategic planning be done on behalf of the national setting of the Church. It will lead the United Church of Christ Board in developing and articulating comprehensive and integrated strategies and goals for the national setting. The Executive Committee will facilitate the United Church of Christ Board’s identification of concerns and ideas related to communications, identity, fundraising, fund development, strategic planning, evangelism, and other critical issues for the life of the whole Church. The decision-making power and authority of the Executive Committee shall be governed by the standing rules of the United Church of Christ Board.   

Finance and Budget Committee

240 The Finance and Budget Committee shall consist of up to twelve (12) members of the United Church of Christ Board, including:

a) Chairperson or vice-chairperson of the United Church of Christ Board
b) Two representatives with financial expertise from each of the Ministry Committees of the United Church of Christ Board
c) General Minister and President

241 The duties and responsibilities of the Committee include:

a) Reviewing the annual available resources and being responsible for financial planning.
b) Reviewing the proposed Annual Budget recommended by the Collegium in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer and other key staff and mission partners, such as Common Global Ministries.
c) Recommending the Annual Budget to the United Church of Christ Board.
d) Receiving and reviewing regular financial reports.

Investment and Endowment Committee

242 The Investment and Endowment Committee shall consist of up to fourteen (14) members and shall be members of the United Church of Christ Board (except as noted below), including:

a) Two (2) representatives from each of the Ministry Committees of the United Church of Christ Board, selected by each Committee
b) The Officers of the United Church of Christ
c) The Executive of the United Church Funds, Inc., with voice but without vote
d) The United Church of Christ Board, by vote of its membership, may add up to three individuals with legal and/or investment expertise who are not members of the United Church of Christ Board but are members of the United Church of Christ. 

243 The duties and responsibilities of the Committee include:

a) Assuring that the legacy/historic restrictions on the use of restricted funds and the intended use restrictions of the unrestricted funds of each of the historic ministries are monitored, accounted for, maintained and reported to the United Church of Christ Board annually. The Committee shall monitor and oversee the allocation of both restricted and unrestricted funds to ensure that they will be allocated based on donor intent, whenever that can be determined and to provide the full Board an overview of all funds in order to encourage the most effective collaborative and holistic use of those funds to meet the missional needs of the Church. 
b) Recommending to the United Church of Christ Board investment policies including investment screens that reflect the commitment of the United Church of Christ to corporate social responsibility.
c) Managing the investment of the endowed funds and other assets including real property in accordance with investment policies approved by the United Church of Christ Board.
d) Monitoring and reporting on the management of invested funds to the United Church of Christ Board.
e) Recommending to the United Church of Christ Board the annual draw rate on invested funds that may be used to carry out the mission entrusted to the Covenanted Ministries. Recommendations as to the annual draw rate and as to the allocation of the annual dollar amounts resulting from the application of the annual draw rate to each of the restricted endowment funds and to each of the historic donor intended uses of each of the unrestricted endowment funds referred to in paragraph 243f shall not be modified by the United Church of Christ Board except upon two affirmative votes, each of not less than eighty-five percent (85%) of the members present of the full Board at one or more meetings of the full Board with not less than twelve (12) hours between the two affirmative votes in order to ensure adequate discernment by the full Board. 
f) Reviewing, monitoring and recommending to the United Church of Christ Board the allocation of the annual dollar amounts resulting from the application of the spending rate to each of the restricted endowment funds and to each of the historic donor intended uses of each of the unrestricted endowment funds.
g) Providing Board representation to the Investment Committee of the United Church Funds, Inc.

Audit Committee

244 The Audit Committee shall consist of such members as determined by the United Church of Christ Board, provided that members of the Board must comprise a majority of the members of the Audit Committee. The United Church of Christ Board, by vote of its membership, may include on the Audit Committee individuals with legal and/or financial expertise who are not members of the United Church of Christ Board but are members of the United Church of Christ. All Committee members shall be voting members.

245 The duties and responsibilities of the Committee include:

a) Selecting the audit firm to perform the annual financial audit.
b) Receiving and reviewing the audit report from the auditors and reporting to the United Church of Christ Board.

246 Regions. The United Church of Christ Board shall make an appropriate assignment of the several Conferences into Regions. The Regions as thus determined shall form the basis for Conference representation on national bodies wherever required by the Bylaws.

Organization of the United Church of Christ Board

247 The United Church of Christ Board shall organize itself as it deems necessary to carry out its responsibilities and fulfill its mandates.

Advisory Commissions

248 The United Church of Christ Board may provide for special advisory commissions on subjects of pervasive interest to the entire Church on which the United Church of Christ Board and/or the General Minister and President need policy or substantive advice. Members of such commissions shall be appointed by the United Church of Christ Board and shall include at least one member of the United Church of Christ Board. The chairperson shall be designated by the chairperson of the United Church of Christ Board.

249 Common Services In covenant with the Covenanted Ministries, the United Church of Christ Board, through and by the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ, shall provide for common services, including, but not limited to, common treasury services, accounting services, personnel services, logistical services, information services and office support services. It shall also provide for a common salary program and shall provide common personnel policies.

250 Each Covenanted Ministry shall use the aforementioned common services, program and policies whenever legally permissible and otherwise appropriate, all as determined by its own Board of Directors.

251 A nonprofit corporation shall be formed for the purpose of providing the above-described common services. The corporation, to be named the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ, shall be governed by its articles of incorporation, rules, and bylaws, and the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ. The General Minister and President shall be the principal executive and the Chief Administrative Officer shall be the operational executive of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ. The number of directors of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ shall be nine, consisting of:

i. Two representatives of, and selected by, Local Church Ministries;
ii. Two representatives of, and selected by, Justice and Witness Ministries;
iii. Two representatives of, and selected by, Wider Church Ministries;
iv. General Minister and President;
v. Chief Administrative Officer; and
vi. Chief Financial Officer

The directors of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ shall be the members of the corporation. The Board of Directors shall appoint such committees, with such responsibilities, as it deems necessary to carry out its work. The corporate officers of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ shall be the following:

(i) General Minister and President, who as President of this corporation shall be accountable to the Board of Directors;
(ii) Chief Administrative Officer, who as Secretary of this corporation shall report to the General Minister and President;
(iii) Chief Financial Officer, who as Treasurer of this corporation shall report to the General Minister and President.

252 Policy decisions related to the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ shall be the responsibility of the Board of Directors of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ.

ARTICLE IV. ORGANIZATION

253 The work of the United Church of Christ and its General Synod shall be carried out by the United Church of Christ Board, the Covenanted, Affiliated, Associated Ministries, Councils, and other such bodies as may from time to time be created by, or related to, the General Synod or the United Church of Christ Board.

COVENANTED MINISTRIES

254 The Covenanted Ministries are Local Church Ministries, Justice and Witness Ministries, and Wider Church Ministries.

LOCAL CHURCH MINISTRIES

255 Purpose and Mission The purpose and mission of Local Church Ministries shall be to encourage and support the Local Churches of the United Church of Christ in the fulfillment of God’s mission. It continues the work of, and acts as agent for, predecessor bodies, and continues other ministries, as specified in paragraph 65 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ and as described in its articles of incorporation. The program, administrative, and financial development functions of Local Church Ministries shall be carried out in cooperation with the United Church of Christ Board. Through its Local Church Ministry Committee working with the Executive Minister and its Committees, the United Church of Christ Board shall oversee these functions, which will be coordinated and implemented by staff assigned by the Collegium. Local Church Ministries shall retain responsibility for all legacies and other property received, maintained or held by it, and shall have sole authority to approve any use, expenditure or disposal of its legacies or other property.

256 In overseeing the purpose and mission of Local Church Ministries, the United Church of Christ Board shall encourage local churches to shape their life and mission in partnership with one another, with other expressions of the Church, and with ecumenical and interfaith communities. The United Church of Christ Board will work to promote the vocation of all members, leadership of laity and clergy, and facilitate a system of placement. The United Church of Christ Board will nurture stewards, and will coordinate and promote denomination-wide mission funding.  The United Church of Christ Board will work with local churches in striving for the vitality of local churches as inclusive and accessible communities of mission, evangelism, church development, education, unity, worship, nurture, and justice so that the good news of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed in word and deed.

257 The United Church of Christ Board shall work in interactive partnership with Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and national expressions of the Church.

258 Governance and Leadership Pursuant to paragraphs 58–63 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, Local Church Ministries shall be incorporated and governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the members of the United Church of Christ Board. Its executive officer shall be an Executive Minister, who is also an Officer of the Church, called by election of the General Synod. It shall act pursuant to the provisions as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, its own articles of incorporation and bylaws, and by the rules of its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of Local Church Ministries performs the functions normally associated with boards of directors, and such additional tasks necessary to carry out its purposes and mandates, including the formation of associated auxiliary corporations. Pursuant to paragraph 60 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, it has legal corporate status for the purpose of holding, receiving, and managing unrestricted, restricted, and designated allocated funds, and funds donated to it from all sources. It is responsible for its articles of incorporation and required corporate documents, and establishes its own rules and bylaws. It has responsibility for organizing its ministries in order to carry out its mandates, for providing necessary staffing, and for determining the manner and site(s) of its office(s). The Board of Directors may grant authority to sub-units, ministry teams, or other appropriate entities, to speak and act on its behalf within its own broad policy statements and those of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Board of Directors may form task groups representing a variety of groups of the Church necessary for implementing its mission.

259 Members of the Board of Directors of Local Church Ministries serve on behalf of the whole Church.

JUSTICE AND WITNESS MINISTRIES

260 Purpose and Mission The purpose and mission of Justice and Witness Ministries shall be to enable and encourage Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and national expressions of the United Church of Christ to engage in God’s mission globally by direct action for the integrity of creation, justice, and peace. It continues the work of, and acts as agent for, predecessor bodies, and continues other ministries, as specified in paragraph 66 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ and as described in its articles of incorporation. The program, administrative, and financial development functions of Justice and Witness Ministries shall be carried out in cooperation with the United Church of Christ Board. Through its Justice and Witness Ministry Committee working with the Executive Minister and its Committees, the United Church of Christ Board shall oversee these functions, which will be coordinated and implemented by staff assigned by the Collegium. Justice and Witness Ministries shall retain responsibility for all legacies and other property received, maintained or held by it, and shall have sole authority to approve any use, expenditure or disposal of its legacies or other property.

261 In overseeing the purpose and mission of Justice and Witness Ministries, the United Church of Christ Board shall encourage the Church in all of its expressions to speak prophetically on matters of justice, power, and public policy. The United Church of Christ Board shall assist the Church in all of its expressions to confront racism, sexism, ageism, classism, and other expressions of injustice and alienation in the Church and in the society. The United Church of Christ Board shall provide support for the Church’s ministry of service on behalf of those who are poor, the forgotten and the oppressed, and for those marginalized by stigma and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or their disabilities, including mental illness. The United Church of Christ Board may provide public witness on behalf of the justice and witness policies of the General Synod.

262 The United Church of Christ Board shall work in interactive partnership with Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, national expressions of the Church, and with ecumenical and interfaith groups, and community organizations.

263 Governance and Leadership Pursuant to paragraphs 58–63 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries shall be incorporated and governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the members of the United Church of Christ Board. Its executive officer shall be an Executive Minister, who is also an Officer of the Church, called by election of the General Synod. It shall act pursuant to the provisions as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, its own articles of incorporation and bylaws, and by the rules of its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of Justice and Witness Ministries performs the functions normally associated with boards of directors, and such additional tasks necessary to carry out its purposes and mandates, including the formation of associated auxiliary corporations. Pursuant to paragraph 60 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, it has legal corporate status for the purpose of holding, receiving, and managing unrestricted, restricted, and designated allocated funds, and funds donated to it from all sources. It is responsible for its articles of incorporation and required corporate documents, and establishes its own rules and bylaws. It has responsibility for organizing its ministries in order to carry out its mandates, for providing necessary staffing, and for determining the manner and site(s) of its office(s).The Board of Directors may grant authority to sub-units, ministry teams, or other appropriate entities, to speak and act on its behalf within its own broad policy statements and those of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Board of Directors may form task groups representing a variety of groups of the Church necessary for implementing its mission.

264 Members of the Board of Directors of Justice and Witness Ministries serve on behalf of the whole Church.

WIDER CHURCH MINISTRIES

265 Purpose and Mission The purpose and mission of Wider Church Ministries shall be to encourage and support Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and national expressions of the United Church of Christ to participate in the global, multiracial, multicultural church, accessible to all, and to support United Church of Christ ministries around the world and the nation. It continues the work of, and acts as agent for, predecessor bodies and continues other ministries, as specified in paragraph 67 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ and as described in its articles of incorporation. The program, administrative, and financial development functions of Wider Church Ministries shall be carried out in cooperation with the United Church of Christ Board. Through its Wider Church Ministry Committee working with the Executive Minister and its Committees, the United Church of Christ Board shall oversee these functions, which will be coordinated and implemented by staff assigned by the Collegium. Wider Church Ministries shall retain responsibility for all legacies and other property received, maintained or held by it, and shall have sole authority to approve any use, expenditure or disposal of its legacies or other property.

266 In overseeing the purpose and mission of Wider Church Ministries, the United Church of Christ Board shall strengthen relationships with partner churches and oversee participation in the Common Global Ministries Board in joint venture with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The United Church of Christ Board shall provide support for institutional ministries in health care, education, disaster relief, and social services in the United States and internationally. It shall also coordinate volunteer ministries in all expressions of the Church. In cooperation with partner churches it shall promote interfaith dialogue and global education and advocacy issues. Through the Common Global Ministries Board, the United Church of Christ Board shall oversee the sending and receiving of missionaries.

267 The United Church of Christ Board shall work in interactive partnership with Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, and national expressions of the Church and of the ecumenical and interfaith bodies.

268 Governance and Leadership Pursuant to paragraphs 58–63 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, Wider Church Ministries shall be incorporated and governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the members of the United Church of Christ Board. Its executive officer shall be an Executive Minister, who is also an Officer of the Church, called by election of the General Synod. It shall act pursuant to the provisions as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, its own articles of incorporation and bylaws, and by the rules of its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of Wider Church Ministries performs the functions normally associated with boards of directors, and such additional tasks necessary to carry out its purposes and mandates, including the formation of associated auxiliary corporations. Pursuant to paragraph 60 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, it has legal corporate status for the purpose of holding, receiving, and managing unrestricted, restricted, and designated allocated funds, and funds donated to it from all sources. It is responsible for its articles of incorporation and required corporate documents, and establishes its own rules and bylaws. It has responsibility for organizing its ministries in order to carry out its mandates, for providing necessary staffing, and for determining the manner and site(s) of its office(s).The Board of Directors may grant authority to sub-units, ministry teams, or other appropriate entities, to speak and act on its behalf within its own broad policy statements and those of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Board of Directors may form task groups representing a variety of groups of the Church necessary for implementing its mission.

269 Members of the Board of Directors of Wider Church Ministries serve on behalf of the whole Church.

COLLEGIUM OF OFFICERS

270 The Collegium of Officers, defined in Article IV of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, supports and consults with the United Church of Christ Board and the Covenanted Ministries in carrying out their work in a spirit of coordination and cooperation. It is responsible for providing leadership for mission programming in the United Church of Christ and for the proper implementation of General Synod actions. Composed of the Officers of the United Church of Christ meeting as peers, the Collegium of Officers provides a setting for mutual accountability, mutual reporting, and for assessing the on-going programs of the United Church of Christ. The Collegium of Officers coordinates research, long-range planning, and program evaluation. It meets regularly with the Cabinet of the Council of Conference Ministers.

271 The Collegium of Officers is convened by the General Minister and President as the presiding officer and consults with the United Church of Christ Board and the General Synod. It shall consult regularly with the leaders of the Affiliated and Associated Ministries of the United Church of Christ.

MISSION PLANNING COUNCIL

272 The Mission Planning Council provides a multi-missional setting which brings together the Officers of the United Church of Christ, and principal staff of the United Church of Christ Board and the Covenanted, Associated, and Affiliated Ministries of the United Church of Christ, for planning coordinated ministries and for visioning and exploring new perspectives over a wide range of mission, theological, ecumenical, spiritual, stewardship, financial, justice, communications, gender, disability, and racial issues and concerns. The Mission Planning Council is responsible for the coordination and correlation of mission and purpose and for maintaining mutual trust, mutual accountability, and the wise use of leadership and talents. It is designed to encourage cooperation and sharing of talents among the Ministries. The Mission Planning Council may invite others to participate, including representatives of Conferences and partner churches, as it deems appropriate. The Collegium of Officers coordinates the tasks, meetings, agendas, and follow-up actions of the Mission Planning Council.

AFFILIATED MINISTRY

273 Pursuant to paragraph 68, 70 and 71 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ is an Affiliated Ministry of the United Church of Christ and serves the Church and its United Church of Christ Board and Covenanted Ministries as a separate corporation.

274 The purpose of The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ is to make available ministerial welfare activities and a system of employee benefit programs designed to assist authorized ministers and lay workers in achieving financial security during working and retirement years.

275 The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ continues as a nonprofit membership corporation which determines its own governance and leadership. The Pension Boards—United Church of Christ will have membership on the United Church of Christ Board.

ASSOCIATED MINISTRY

276 Pursuant to paragraph 69, 72 and 73 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ, the United Church Funds, Inc., is an Associated Ministry of the United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ, and serves the Church, the United Church of Christ Board and the Covenanted Ministries as a separate corporation related to the United Church of Christ Board.

277 The purpose of the United Church Funds, Inc. is to provide a means by which individuals and organizations of the Church may further exercise their stewardship of resources for the sake of strengthening the mission of the Church as set forth in paragraph 72 of the Constitution of the United Church of Christ.

278 The United Church Funds, Inc. will work cooperatively with the United Church of Christ Board to facilitate comprehensive financial planning and development; and will continue its relationship with The Pension Boards–United Church of Christ. It shall have membership the United Church of Christ Board.

279 The corporate membership of the United Church Funds, Inc. shall consist of fifteen persons nominated and elected by the United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ for terms of six years, one-third to be elected each biennium and to serve until their respective successors are elected and qualified. The General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ and the chairperson of the United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ shall be ex-officio members with vote. At least two of the members elected each biennium shall not be members of The United Church Funds, Inc. at the time of their election. The United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ may remove a member of the United Church Funds, Inc. and shall fill vacancies for unexpired terms.

Other Provisions

280 No person shall serve in more than one General Synod elected position simultaneously. Further, no employee of a Covenanted, Associated, or Affiliated Ministry shall serve as a voting member of the United Church of Christ Board, except in an ex-officio capacity, or as otherwise set forth in these Bylaws.

281 All members of the United Church of Christ Board, with the exception of the representatives from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), shall be members of the United Church of Christ.

ARTICLE V. INDEMNIFICATION

282 Any Officer of the United Church of Christ, or any member, including officers and directors, of the General Synod, the United Church of Christ Board or the Councils, Commissions, and Committees of the General Synod may, to the full extent allowed by law, be indemnified by the United Church of Christ Board against all judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement of, and against all reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, actually and necessarily, incurred in defense of any lawsuit, proceeding or prosecution (including appeal thereof) wherein such person is made a party by reason of being such officer or member to the extent such person is not otherwise indemnified by another entity. This provision shall also extend to any lawsuit, proceeding, or prosecution in which such officer or member is made a party in such person’s capacity as an officer or member of another organization in which the person serves at the request of any of the above entities or bodies.

283 In all other lawsuits, proceedings, or prosecutions, indemnity shall not be made unless the officer or member acted in good faith and for a purpose which the person reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the Entity or body of which he or she is an officer or member and in criminal actions or proceedings only upon the additional requirement that the person had no reasonable cause to believe that the operative conduct or inaction was unlawful.

284 These indemnity provisions shall also operate for the benefit of anyone duly serving in a representative capacity for such member or officer.

285 The United Church of Christ Board is authorized to purchase insurance providing indemnification pursuant to the provisions of the preceding. Any such contract of insurance may afford coverage for matters as to which the United Church of Christ Board may not give indemnity.

ARTICLE VI. OTHER BODIES

The following groups are identified as related in covenant to the United Church of Christ, through a primary relationship with the United Church of Christ Board.

COUNCILS

286 Council for American Indian Ministry Created by the Eighth General Synod in 1971 (71-GS-77) and given its present mandate by the Sixteenth General Synod in 1987 (87-GS-58), the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) is a national body with primary responsibility for providing Christian ministry and witness in American Indian settings, and is a resource to the whole United Church of Christ in understanding and supporting American Indian churches and communities. The Council for American Indian Ministry supports and gives general direction to the American Indian members and congregations of the United Church of Christ, advocating with them, through CAIM’s Recognized Unit of Ministry, to embody their own cultures and values and to be vital parts of the United Church of Christ and the Conferences in which they are located. The Council for American Indian Ministry encourages and supports the identification, enlistment, and support of American Indian candidates for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ. Working with American Indian people throughout the United Church of Christ, the Council seeks to develop broad bases of visibility, nurture and support for American Indian people, communities, and churches. The Sixteenth General Synod vote calls for CAIM to be accountable to the General Synod through the United Church of Christ Board and to be funded from one-third of the net income of the neighbors in need offering.

287 Council for Higher Education The Council for Higher Education (CHE) shall be composed of the academies, colleges, and theological schools that indicate their desire to be recognized as related to the United Church of Christ and that are accepted by the Council as conforming to its standards; and of representative(s) from the United Church of Christ Board. For purposes of business and policy making, member academies, colleges, and theological schools shall be represented by each institution’s executive head or other key officer as designated by each institution’s executive head. The Council shall organize with its own chairperson, secretary, and any other officers needed to carry on its work. All officers shall be executive heads of their institutions. The Council shall be administratively related to the General Synod through the United Church of Christ Board; this provision not precluding the Council’s right to direct access to the General Synod concerning any matters in which it may feel that its interests in program or budget require the exercise of such access. The Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries shall be an advisory member of the Council with voice but without vote. The Council shall be organized in two sub-sections: College and Academy Section, and Seminary Section. The Council for Higher Education shall advance and interpret higher education in the United Church of Christ, including the cultivation of closer relationships between the educational institutions and the church, the expression of the connection between faith and knowledge in those institutions, and, in cooperation with the United Church of Christ Board, the promotion of education as an integral part of the Church’s mission.

288 Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries Created by the Fourteenth General Synod (83-GS-43) the Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries (COREM) provides a place where racial and ethnic groups can develop their common agenda, collaborate with appropriate program and mission bodies of the United Church of Christ so that resources for racial and ethnic ministries will be effective and relevant, discern appropriate ways by which the many and varied gifts of racial and ethnic groups may be made available to the Church, and advocate for racial and ethnic concerns within the United Church of Christ. It is composed of two representatives each from the Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministry (PAAM), the Council for Hispanic Ministries (CHM), the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM), United Black Christians (UBC), and Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ), who are accountable to the groups that send them. COREM is accountable to the United Church of Christ Board of the United Church of Christ.

289 Council for Theological Education The Council for Theological Education (CTE) shall be responsible for fostering mutual accountability between the United Church of Christ and the Seminaries of the United Church of Christ, for periodic reviews of the criteria for being designated as a Seminary of the United Church of Christ, and for the general well-being of the relationship between the seminaries and the United Church of Christ. The Council will exercise care for the Seminaries, explore ways by which theological education contributes to the leadership needs of the Church, foster cooperation among the Seminaries, and facilitate communication and appropriate engagement between the Seminaries of the United Church of Christ and Historically Related Seminaries and with other seminaries which provide theological education for persons preparing for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ. Seminaries of the United Church of Christ retain full membership and responsibility in the Council for Higher Education and its seminary section. The Council will provide comment to the United Church of Christ Board whenever the United Church of Christ Board prepares to recommend a seminary for recognition as a Seminary of the United Church of Christ. The Council shall be composed of the President and one additional representative from each of the Seminaries of the United Church of Christ, a representative from one of the Historically Related Seminaries, two representatives from the Council of Conference Ministers elected by that Council, two conference staff persons who relate to a Committee on Ministry and/or work with the search and call process from a conference not otherwise represented on the Council, four persons who serve on a Committee on Ministry, the General Minister and President, and the Executive Minister from Local Church Ministries. The Collegium will assign staff members as necessary to support the programmatic work of the Council. An intentional effort will be made to ensure that those who have been historically under-represented be present in the membership of the Council. The Council shall meet annually and shall elect its own officers each biennium.

290 Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries The Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM) shall serve to advocate, support programs, and be a resource for youth and young adult ministries throughout the United Church of Christ and shall report to the United Church of Christ Board and to the General Synod on issues, developments, and concerns in youth and young adult ministries in church and society. It shall monitor to ensure that the unique gifts and talents of youth and young adults are present in all aspects of the life of the Church. It shall inform, envision, and shape national youth and young adult ministry priorities across the Church. The Council and its membership will act as a resource regarding youth and young adult ministry opportunities across the Church (including but not limited to internships, mission trips, Regional Youth Events, National Youth Event, and General Synod). The Council shall organize itself as needed in order to carry out its work and shall have direct access to the United Church of Christ Board and the General Synod in areas of program and budget. The Council’s composition shall reflect the United Church of Christ’s commitment to having a diversity of perspectives in church governance.

291 Council of Conference Ministers The Council of Conference Ministers (CCM) shall be composed of the Conference Ministers of the several Conferences. The General Minister and President shall be a member ex-officio, without vote, of the Council and its Cabinet. It shall select a chairperson and such other officers and committees as it shall deem necessary. It shall elect from its members those who are to serve on the United Church of Christ Board and in other representative positions, distributing those positions among the Regions. It shall maintain a close relationship with the Officers of the Church, the United Church of Christ Board, and national units the Covenanted Ministries, the Affiliated Ministry, and the Associated Ministry with respect to matters affecting the life of the Church.

292 Historical Council The Historical Council (HC) shall be composed of twelve members, three elected by each of the Historical Societies, Congregational Christian and Evangelical and Reformed, and six at large appointed by the United Church of Christ Board. One-third shall be named each biennium for a term of six years, to serve until their respective successors are named and qualified, and not to exceed two terms. The United Church of Christ Board will name from these twelve members the chairperson. The Council shall meet at the call of the General Minister and President or the chairperson. It shall act in an advisory capacity to the General Minister and President and the United Church of Christ Board in overseeing the archives of the United Church of Christ and of the two Historical Societies, in expressing interest and concern for all archival collections related to the several heritages of the denomination, in recommending the amount to be allocated in the contributions budget for the Historical Societies, and in reminding the United Church of Christ of its traditions. The Council shall receive financial support through the United Church of Christ Board and staff support as assigned by the General Minister and President.

293 Council for Health and Human Service Ministries The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM) was recognized by the Fifteenth General Synod as an organization composed of institutions and programs in health and welfare related to the United Church of Christ and accepted by the CHHSM as conforming to its standards. The CHHSM is organized with its own Directorate and Officers. The purposes and functions of the CHHSM shall include: 1) The support and nurture for its member institutions and programs in fulfillment of their ministries as part of the mission of the United Church of Christ; 2) Representation of the ministries of its member institutions and programs to the General Synod and United Church of Christ Board  in the conduct of the mission of the United Church of Christ in health and welfare; 3) Cooperation with the Conferences and the United Church of Christ Board in the process of Conference recognition of health and human service ministries, monitoring the authorization to seek funds within Conferences, and approval of requests to conduct capital campaigns; 4) Provision, annually, to the United Church of Christ Board, the names of those member institutions and programs which conform to the standards set by CHHSM; 5) Cooperation with the United Church of Christ Board in collecting information on institutions and programs in health and welfare to be listed in the United Church of Christ Yearbook; and 6) Participation in secular, ecumenical, and inter-faith networks in the field of health and welfare.

SELF-CREATED GROUPS

294 Council for Hispanic Ministries The Council for Hispanic Ministries (CHM) is an autonomous body working cooperatively with Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, Regions and other Ministries of the United Church of Christ. It offers a perspective that honors the context and culture of its members while encouraging inter-cultural, inter-faith, and international dialogue among all constituencies. The Council shall promote its mission within the United Church of Christ and work with the Church to monitor boards and ministries that deal with concerns and issues important to Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas in the USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico and other nations of the Caribbean and Central and South America.

295 Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ) is a group which brings together clergy who advocate on behalf of African Americans in church and society, providing a caucus of ministers for fellowship, for sharing mutual concerns, and for actions regarding the agenda of the black constituency within the United Church of Christ. MRSEJ challenges, monitors, initiates, and supports the cause of African American involvement to the fullest possible measure in the life of the United Church of Christ.

296 UCC Disabilities Ministries The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) strives for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the life and mission of the Church. The UCCDM encourages Local Churches to be open, inclusive, affirming, and accessible in their buildings, worship, education, fellowship, and service so that they may proclaim God’s word to and with all persons, including those with disabilities. It seeks to enable all members of the United Church of Christ to affirm the theological/biblical affirmations of the wholeness of all people, and to recognize the ministry to and with persons with disabilities as a part of the ministry of all the baptized. The UCCDM is composed of between twenty-five and fifty active and associate members. These representatives include persons with disabilities, members of families of persons with disabilities, experts on disabilities, and other persons from the United Church of Christ who support the purposes of the UCCDM.

297 Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries (PAAM), organized in 1974 and recognized by the Tenth General Synod, advocates for the presence, participation and contributions of PAAM in the life of the United Church of Christ and serves its constituent members and churches, initiating and supporting their life, and working for greater representation in wider church settings. It seeks to strengthen local churches, to nurture and develop lay and clergy leadership for the church, and to address issues of justice. As an advocate group for the rights of people, PAAM is involved in issues of the rights of Pacific Islander and Asian people in the United States and in the United Church of Christ and works in the areas of rights for women and children, the poor on welfare, institutional racism, and political prisoners.

298 United Black Christians United Black Christians (UBC) is a special interest group which represents over 50,000 African-American members of the United Church of Christ. It stands in the affirmation that each person has gifts to offer to the Church, and that each is entitled to full rights and privileges as children of God. UBC dedicates itself to providing voice for all African-American members of the United Church of Christ, seeking to witness to, and preserve the history and legacy of the African-American people and churches. UBC is an active advocate for liberation and social justice at home and abroad.

299 United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns (The Coalition) is composed of members and friends of the United Church of Christ who affirm the good news that all persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions are loved and empowered by God. The Coalition actively works to combat prejudice and seeks justice for, and the full inclusion and involvement of, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians in all expressions of the United Church of Christ. In its leadership and outreach, The Coalition is committed to ending exclusion based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, race, age, size, class and/or ableness. It promotes mutual ministries of pastoral care, education, and advocacy within the United Church of Christ and society as a whole; encourages Local Churches, Associations and Conferences to become “Open and Affirming” (ONA); and organizes within Conferences to make resources of The Coalition available to all.

300 Relationships Unless otherwise designated in these Bylaws, each of the aforementioned bodies shall have a primary relationship with the United Church of Christ Board which shall serve as its primary linkage to the national expressions of the United Church of Christ, to which it shall report annually. This primary relationship shall be defined by the United Church of Christ Board in consultation with the respective group. The designated relationship shall be reviewed each biennium by the appropriate partners, and may be changed upon the mutual consent of those partners, and so declared by vote of the United Church of Christ Board. The Collegium of Officers shall be responsible for initiating said review.

The Constitution of the United Church of Christ was declared in force by the Third General Synod on July 4, 1961. It has been amended by General Synods in 1965, 1969, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2011.

The Bylaws were adopted by the Third General Synod on July 4, 1961.They have been amended by General Synods in 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2011.

Published by the Executive Council for the United Church of Christ.

Additional copies may be obtained from United Church of Church Resources, Inc., at 800-537-3394 or FAX 216-736-2206, at $4.50 each, or $4.00 each for ten or more copies, plus shipping and handling.

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CONTACT INFO

Mr. Lee Foley
Chief Administrative Officer
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-2192
foleyl@ucc.org