Office of General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) serves the National Setting and the Conferences of the United Church of Christ. 

The General Counsel also serves as the Secretary to the United Church of Christ Board. OGC provides legal counsel and training on a variety of matters including governance, contracts, abuse prevention policies, and intellectual property compliance.  OGC also oversees the United Church of Christ federal group tax exemption and provides proof of tax-exempt status to Local Churches and Conferences.

Heather E. Kimmel, General Counsel

Heather E. Kimmel is the General Counsel of the United Church of Christ.  She has been serving in that capacity since December 1, 2015.  She joined the Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel in 2013.  Before joining the National Setting of the United Church of Christ, she was an attorney at two large law firms and served as a federal judicial clerk.

Cindy Gaffney, Paralegal

Cindy Gaffney joined the Office of General Counsel of the United Church of Christ as a paralegal in 2018 after having worked over 20 years as an Intellectual Property Paralegal.  Prior to working in Intellectual Property, Cindy worked in the areas of probate law and litigation.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and an Associate of Applied Science degree.  She earned her paralegal certificate from Lakeland Community College.

Church Resources

Supreme Court Amicus Briefs

The Office of General Counsel coordinates the participation of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ as an amicus, or friend of the court, in litigation where the General Synod can provide context or a viewpoint that may be helpful to a court in rendering its decision.  Participation as an amicus is generally limited to cases raising issues on which the General Synod has taken a position.

The American Legion et al v. American Humanist Assoc. et al.
No. 17-1717, No. 18-18 / 1/30/2019

Dept. of Commerce v. State of New York
18-966 / 4/1/2019

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (consolidated docket)
17-1618, 17-1623, 18-107 / 7/3/2019

Espinoza, et al v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, et al
18-1195 / 11/15/2019

June Medical Services LLC v. Russo
18-1323, 18-1460 / 12/2/2019

Whole Women’s Health v. Smith
18-50730 Fifth Circuit / 1/10/2019

Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al v. USA
18-36082 Ninth Circuit / 2/28/2019

Dousa v. US Dept. of Homeland Security et al
19cv1255-LAB S.District CA / 12/20/2019

Whole Women’s Health v. Smith
18-50730 Fifth Circuit / 1/10/2019

Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al v. USA
18-36082 Ninth Circuit / 2/28/2019

Dousa v. US Dept. of Homeland Security et al
19cv1255-LAB S.District C / 12/20/2019

Trump v. Pennsylvania
19-431, 19-454 / 4/8/2020

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia
19-123 / 8/21/2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn NY v. Cuomo
20A90 / 11/17/2020

Agudath Israel of America v. Cuomo
20A90 / 11/17/2020

All Saints’ Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al
20-534, 20-536 / 11/23/2020

Gish v. Newsom
20A120 / 1/12/2021

South Bay United Pentecostal Church et al v. Newsom
20A136 / 1/27/2021

Harvest Rock Church, Inc. et al v. Newsom
20A137 / 1/28/2021

Rranxburgaj v. Mayorkas
20-1010 / 2/26/2021

State Nonprofit Corporate Codes

Many churches, though not all, are governed by the nonprofit corporation statute of the state in which the church was incorporated.  Below are links to the nonprofit corporation statutes for all fifty states.  

  • Some states do not have separate nonprofit corporation statutes and the links will go to the general corporation statute. 
  • Your church may be incorporated under a statute specific to religious corporations, or may not be incorporated at all, so different laws may apply.
  • Please consult an attorney if you have questions about what laws apply to your church.

Alabama View (select Title 10, Chapter 3A)

Alaska View (Chapter 20)

Arizona View (Chapter 24)

Arkansas View (Title 4, Subtitle 3, Chapter 28)

California View (Division 2)

Colorado View (Title 7, Article 20)

Connecticut View

Delaware View (no separate nonprofit corporation statute)

Florida View

Georgia View (Title 14, Chapter 3)

Hawaii View (link to table of contents)

Idaho View

Illinois View

Indiana View (Article 17)

Iowa View

Kansas – 1 View

Kansas – 2 View

Kentucky View

Louisiana View (Title 12, Chapter 2)

Maine View

Maryland View (Corporations & Associations, Title 2; also see Title 5 Subtitle 2 Nonstock Corporations)

Massachusetts View

Michigan View

Minnesota View

Mississippi View (Title 79, Chapter 11)

Missouri View

Montana View

Nebraska View

Nevada View

Nevada View

New Hampshire View

New Jersey View (Title 15A)

New Mexico View (Title 53, Article 8)

New York View

North Carolina View

Ohio View

Oklahoma View (18-1001 et seq.; see also 18-541 et seq. and 18-851 et seq.)

Oregon View

Pennsylvania View (Title 15, sec. 5101 et seq.)

Rhode Island View

South Carolina View

South Dakota View

Tennessee View (Title 46, Chapter 51 et seq.)

Texas View (Title 2, Chapter 22)

Utah View

Vermont View

Virginia View

Washington View

Washington, D.C. View

West Virginia View

Wisconsin View

Wyoming View (Title 17, Chapter 19)

Information Disclaimer:

OGC writes and compiles information with United Church of Christ settings specifically in mind.  Information on these pages should not be relied upon as legal advice, and your access to this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   Local Churches and United Church of Christ pastors in need of legal advice may contact their Conference for assistance with a referral to an attorney.