BYLAWS OF UNITY CHURCH OF DES MOINES
ARTICLE I - Name
The legal name of this association shall be Unity Church of Des Moines Inc. The board and minister(s) may designate other names for common use as deemed appropriate.
ARTICLE II - Purpose
Section 1. Statement of Purpose. The purpose of Unity Church of Des Moines, an Iowa nonprofit corporation, is to teach the universal principles of Truth, as taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ and interpreted by Unity and the Association of Unity Churches, a nonprofit corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Georgia with headquarters at Lee's Summit, Missouri, hereinafter referred to as the Association.
Section 2. Accomplishment of Purpose. In the accomplishment of this purpose, Unity Church of Des Moines shall endeavor to conduct services of worship and classes of instruction and to demonstrate the principles of Truth by using them in the operation of the ministry and to adopt other means that in the judgment of the minister will further the principles of practical Christianity among people everywhere.
Section 3. Association of Unity Churches. Unity Church of Des Moines shall be a vital part of the worldwide Unity movement and a member of the Association of Unity Churches. Any member of this ministry may call upon the resources and support of the Association through its senior minister or co-ministers, Board of Trustees, staff, or through direct communication with the Association.
In the spirit of cooperation, the operation and conduct of this ministry shall comply with the regulations and policies of the Association as outlined in the Association Bylaws, insofar as they do not conflict with the laws of the State of Iowa.
A. Participation. This ministry may have its voice heard and its wishes expressed in the membership meetings of the Association, and its members may participate in workshops, seminars, and classes designed to encourage and foster their spiritual development and that of the ministry.
B. Resources. This ministry can benefit from its membership in the Association and its corresponding region through direct support, materials, and coaching regarding organization, finances, music, adult and youth education, church growth programs, ethics compliance, and other topics related to church function.
C. Leadership. This ministry shall have as its leader an ordained or licensed Unity
minister(s) approved for ministry employment by the Association or a person serving under special dispensation approved by the Association. For the purpose of these bylaws, the term "minister" shall include a person serving under special dispensation of the Association.
D. Teaching. The principles of practical Christianity shall be taught through this ministry using methods, textbooks, literature, and other materials approved by the Association.
E. Mailings. Copies of printed matter mailed by this ministry to its membership shall be sent to the offices of the Association, if required by the Association.
F. Reports. The ministry shall make annual reports to the Association as required.
ARTICLE III - Office and Official Records
Section 1. Principal Office. The principal executive office of the corporation will be fixed by the Board of Trustees. Said office shall be in the County of Polk, State of Iowa, or at such other place within the State of Iowa, as the Board of Trustees hereafter shall designate. The Corporation may also have offices at such other place or places, as the Board of Trustees may from time to time designate.
Section 2. Official Records. Records of membership, finances, donations, corporate minutes, and other records required by law or as designated by the Board of Trustees shall be maintained at the principal office of the corporation. Confidential documents are available only for use by the minister(s), board members, or designated professional staff. Other documents are available to active members upon request.
Section 1. Qualifications. A member of Unity Church of Des Moines will endeavor to live in accord with the principles of love, truth and practical Christianity as taught by Unity and further the work of this ministry through active interest, love, and support. Classes in Unity principles and practices and other commitments may be required as determined by the minister(s) and board of trustees.
Section 2. Election of Members. Anyone desiring membership in Unity Church of Des Moines will file an application for membership with the ministry office. Upon completion of the requirements in Section 1, the application will be presented to the Board of Trustees at its next regular meeting. A majority vote of the trustees present and voting will be required for the applicant to become an active member. The applicant will be notified of the board's action by the minister or other designated board member. All staff ministers and licensed Unity teachers are considered members of this ministry.
Section 3. Classes of Members. There shall be two classes of members of this ministry: active and inactive. Active members have full membership rights and may participate and vote in any membership meeting.
A. Active Membership.
1. New Members. After acceptance as a new member, each member shall have voting rights at all membership meetings up through and including the next regularly scheduled annual membership meeting after joining the church.
2 Existing Members. To retain active membership rights, each member must indicate a desire to remain a member by presenting to the church a yearly membership renewal declaration or such other document or method of demonstrating active interest, love, and support as approved by the Board of Trustees.
2. Inactive Members. If no current membership declaration or approved document is on file prior to the annual membership meeting, that person becomes inactive and cannot serve on the Board of Trustees or vote at any membership meeting.
4. Membership Maintenance. Periodically, as determined by the Board of Trustees, the Secretary shall cause to be reviewed the official membership database, for the purpose of establishing or maintaining the current active membership. During this process, those individuals whose membership has been inactive for less than two years will be contacted by mail or electronic means. The Board Secretary will retain those who respond with a desire to remain on the membership list and remove those who respond with a desire to not remain on the membership list, and those who do not respond. Individuals whose membership has been inactive for more than two years , and all those individuals that have addresses that are over one hundred (100) miles from Unity Church of Des Moines' principal executive office as designated per ARTICLE III, Section 1. may be removed from the membership database. In certain cases, individuals may be retained on the list as inactive members at the discretion of the board.
B. Reinstatement of Inactive Membership.
1. Reinstatement within two years. If a member who has become inactive wishes to return to active status within the first two years after becoming an inactive member, such a member who meets membership qualifications and provides a membership renewal declaration or document approved by the Board of Trustees shall be reinstated as an active member. In order to vote at a membership meeting such members must fulfill these requirements at least six (6) weeks before a membership meeting.
2. Reinstatement after two years. If a member has been inactive for two years or more and desires to become an active member again, such a membe3r must reapply for active membership in the same manner required of new members.
C. Removal of Membership for Cause. A member may be removed for cause by the Board of Trustees prior to any vote concerning removal. The member in question must be notified by certified mail at least ten (10) days prior to the Board of Trustees meeting of the charges that may lead to removal of membership and thereafter be given an opportunity for a hearing before the Board. A two-thirds (2/3rds) vote shall be required for removal of membership, provided that the senior minister or co-ministers are in agreement with this action.
Section 4. Powers of Active Members. Each active member of Unity Church of Des Moines shall have the following powers:
A. To vote at any membership meeting at which the member is present;
B. To serves on ministry teams if selected; speak in debate at any membership meeting according to the rules provided for debate;
C. To offer suggestions to the ministers or Board of Trustees as may seem advisable for the good of this ministry;
D. To contact the Association regional representative or the Association directly for guidance, support, or information on available resources;
E. To participate in all activities and programs of the ministry.
ARTICLE V - Meetings
Section 1. Annual Meetings. There shall be one annual membership meeting each year.
A. Date and Location of Annual Meeting. The annual membership meeting shall be held at the principal executive office of the ministry on or near the third Sunday in October (in no event earlier than September 30 or later than the third Sunday in November) at a time established by agreement between the senior minister or co-ministers and Board of Trustees, or in absence of a minister(s) by the Board of Trustees.
B. Notice. Written notice stating the date, time, and place of the annual meeting will be mailed (Postmarked for legal purposes) to all active members at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting.
C. Quorum. Those active members present will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any annual membership meeting.
D. Presiding Officer. The President of the Board of Trustees shall serve as the presiding officer of the annual membership meeting.
E. Participation. The right to speak in debate, make motions, and vote during annual meetings shall be restricted to those active members present. The right of other persons to speak during membership meetings may be extended by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the active members present and voting. Association representatives have a right to speak when they have been invited by the senior minister or co-ministers, the Board of Trustees, or any active member.
F. Voting. Unless otherwise provided in these bylaws, a majority vote of the active
members present and voting will be necessary for approval or disapproval of the action being voted upon. Proxy, absentee, or electronic (Internet, e-mail, fax, etc.) voting are not allowed.
G. Power and Authority. Annual membership meetings shall have the power and authority to do all of the following:
1. Elect members to the Board of Trustees;
2. Approve proposed amendments to these bylaws;
3. Approve by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote any expenditure regarding the sale, pledge, or proposed financing of real property belonging to this ministry that exceeds twenty-five-thousand dollars ($25,000) or 25% of the previous year's income, whichever is greater;
4. Elect a member and an alternate, to serve on the Nominating Ministry Team;
5. Override any action of the Board of Trustees provided that notice of the action to be voted upon is submitted to all active members in writing ten (10) days prior to the meeting and is approved by a three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the active members present and voting;
6. Remove by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote any or all trustee(s) from the Board of Trustees;
7. Vote on any matters officially brought to the attention of the membership.
H. Prayer. In any annual membership meeting, the Board President, minister(s), and Association of Unity Churches Peacemaking Representative, or any member may request that action on an item of business be suspended while the membership enters into a time of prayer on the issue. Upon such request the President will provide a period of prayer and silence.
Section 2. Special Membership Meetings.
A. Requesting Special Meetings. Any time the affairs of this ministry warrant, a special membership meeting may be requested by the senior minister or co-ministers; a majority vote of the entire number of trustees currently serving on the Board of Trustees; or a petition signed by one-tenth (1/10th) of the active membership submitted to the Board of Trustees.
B. Calling Special Meetings. Upon a receiving a proper request for a special membership meeting, the President of the Board of Trustees shall call the meeting on behalf of the requesting party within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the request. The location, notice, quorum, presiding officer, participation, voting, and prayer provisions for special membership meetings shall be the same as those for annual meetings.
C. Special Meeting Business. Business conducted at a special meeting shall be limited to the pre-stated purpose(s) given in the meeting notice.
ARTICLE VI - Board of Trustees
Section 1. Membership. The Board of Trustees shall be composed of the senior minister or co-ministers and no fewer than six (6) other trustees elected from among the active membership of Unity Church of Des Moines at the annual membership meeting.
Section 2. Term of Office. Elected trustees will hold office for three years, or until their successors have been elected and assumed office. Trustees elected at any annual membership meeting shall take office at the conclusion of the annual membership meeting at which they were elected. No elected trustee will serve more than two consecutive terms without an interval of one year between terms. Any person who serves on the Board for more than half of a term shall be credited with having served a full term.
Section 3. Prohibition of Service. The following persons are prohibited from serving on the Board of Trustees: any active Licensed Unity Teacher; relatives, significant others or household members of any Board member or Licensed Unity Teacher; individuals receiving compensation from the ministry with the exception of the senior minister or co-ministers; or relatives, significant others or household members of an individual receiving compensation from the ministry.
Section 4. Regular Board Meetings. Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees will be held at the principal executive offices of this ministry during the third (3rd) week of each month, unless otherwise specified by the board.
Section 5. Special Board Meetings. Special meetings of the Board will be called by the President of the Board if requested by the senior minister or co-ministers; if requested by two or more trustees; or if the President of the Board deems it necessary. Any request for a special Board meeting shall be made in writing to the Board Secretary. All current board members, including the senior minister or co-ministers, shall be given notice of any special board meeting at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. The attendance of any member of the Board at the meeting shall serve as a waiver of this notice requirement.
Section 6. Quorum. A majority of the total number of trustees currently serving shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 7. Ministers) Attendance. The senior minister or co-ministers has/have the right to attend all board meetings, with the exception of those meetings or portions thereof that pertain to determinations of the minister's salary and/or review of the ministers work record.
Section 8. Prayer. It is important that in addition to adhering to the normal procedures for legal functioning set forth in these bylaws, that the spiritual principles taught by Unity be utilized in the handling of decisions before the Board of Trustees. During the discussion of an item of business, any trustee may request time for prayer about the issue. Upon such request, the President shall provide a period of prayer and silence.
Section 9. Duties and Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. As representatives of the membership, the Board of Trustees shall:
A. Uphold the spiritual purpose of this ministry as stated in Article II of these bylaws;
B. Uphold the highest and best interests of the membership in conducting the business of this ministry;
C. Be conversant with these bylaws and establish policy for the operation of this ministry;
D. Be faithful in attendance at services as well as board and membership meetings of this ministry;
E. Determine the business needs of this ministry and authorize payment of funds for those purposes;
F. Administer the real and personal property of this ministry;
G. Make decisions regarding the sale, pledge, or proposed financing of real property belonging to this ministry provided that all decisions concerning the sale, pledge, or proposed financing of real property exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or 25% of the previous year's income, whichever is greater shall be presented to the membership at a properly constituted membership meeting for final approval;
H. Employ a licensed or ordained Unity minister(s) through cooperation with the employment management procedures of the Association of Unity Churches;
I. After a ministry and its senior minister or co-ministers have sought to reconcile differences and cooperated with the procedures and guidance of the Association, the Board of Trustees may terminate the employment of a senior minister or co-ministers by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote;
J. As recommended by the senior minister or co-ministers, determine staff positions and authorize funds for their financial support;
K. Establish the dates for the beginning and ending of the fiscal year;
L. Cause to be prepared each year a complete financial statement with disclosures that will set forth the financial conditions and operations of the ministry;
M. Secure a fidelity bond or theft and dishonesty insurance for persons handling church funds;
N. Approve applicants for membership;
O. Provide for the maintenance of the official membership database for the purpose of, but not limited to, accurately establishing the active membership of those attending and voting at membership meetings.
P. Fill any open (unexpired) term of any trustee;
Q. Elect officers of the board and their successors to fill any unexpired term when necessary;
R. Create such ministry teams as needed to support the functions and responsibilities of the board;
S. Advise the President of the Board on appointments to ministry teams;
T. Seek Association assistance in the event of a dispute adversely affecting the ministry;
U. Attend and actively participate in ongoing board education programs;
V. Consider other issues brought to their attention by the ministers or members of the board;
w. Keep or cause to be kept accurate records of gifts to the ministry in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations;
X. Issue or cause to be issued necessary 1099 and W-2 forms in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations;
Y. Acknowledge in writing contributions in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations;
Z. Secure liability insurance for all Board of Trustee members and minister(s); and
AA. Take such other actions as may be deemed necessary for the best interests of this ministry.
Section 10. Nomination and Election.
A. Qualifications. To be eligible to be elected to the Board of Trustees, a person must be an active member of Unity Church of Des Moines. In addition, candidates for election shall endeavor to live in accord with principles of love, truth and practical Christianity as taught by Unity; work to further the purposes of this ministry through active interest, love, and support; be a sincere and continuing student of Unity always remaining conversant with its teachings; and shall have demonstrated leadership capabilities. Additional classes in Unity principles and practices and other commitments may be required as determined by the minister(s) and board of trustees.
B. Nominating Ministry Team.
1. Selection. A Nominating Ministry Team will be formed at least three months prior to the annual membership meeting. The ministry team will consist of the senior minister or co-ministers and three active members selected in the following manner:
a. At the annual membership meeting, the membership shall from among the active membership of the ministry shall elect one member and one alternate to serve on the Nominating Ministry Team for the following year's election. In the event the person elected to serve becomes unavailable, the alternate shall serve. If the alternate also become unavailable to serve, the board will elect a person from among the active members who is not a current member of the board to fill the vacancy.
b. The board will elect one of its trustees to serve on the Nominating Ministry Team.
c. Together with the senior minister or co-ministers, the above two ministry team members will select a third person from among the active members to serve on the Nominating Ministry team and be its chairperson.
d. In the event of an interim board, the Nominating Ministry Team shall complete its selection process within thirty (30) days from the establishment of the interim board.
2. Duties and Responsibilities. The Nominating Ministry Team will initiate a search for at least two qualified candidates for nomination as members to serve full terms on the Board of Trustees. In the case of an open (unexpired) term or terms, the Nominating Ministry Team will also search for an appropriate number of candidates to fill these terms. The report of the Nominating Ministry Team will be sent to all active members at least ten (10) days prior to the annual membership meeting.
C. Nomination Procedure. The presiding officer of the annual membership meeting shall:
1. Read Article V Section 10C and 10D of these bylaws just prior to beginning the process of nomination and election;
2. Call upon the Chairperson of the Nominating Ministry Team to offer the ministry team's nominations; and
3. Call for additional nominations from the floor to serve full and/or open (unexpired) terms on the board.
D. Election Procedure. The election shall be by ballot. The first ballot will be to select the board members serving full terms. An additional ballot will be used to select board members filling open (unexpired) terms if needed. The result of the vote(s) shall be counted by two board members and will be announced to the annual meeting by the secretary.
1. Full Terms: The two nominees for full terms receiving the largest number of votes will be elected to full three (3) year terms. Nominees not elected to full terms may also choose to be eligible for election to open (unexpired) terms.
2. Open (unexpired) Terms: The election will proceed in the same manner as the election of full term board members. Interim board members or nominees fulfilling open terms will serve for the extent of the open term. If the open term is longer than half of a normal 3 year term, they will be eligible for one more full term. If the open term is less than half of a normal 3 year term, they will be eligible for 2 more full terms per Article VI, Sec 10, B, 2.
Section 11. Removal from Office by the Board of Trustees. Any trustee may resign at any time. In addition, any trustee may be removed by the Board of Trustees due to unexcused absences from three successive regular board meetings or because of a failure to fulfill the duties of the office.
Section 12. Vacancies. Should a vacancy occur among the elected members of the Board of Trustees, the board may select a qualified replacement to fill the position. A majority vote shall be necessary for election. The term of service for any replacement shall expire on the date of the next annual meeting. Replacement or interim board members may be elected to serve the balance of the unexpired term at the next annual membership meeting per Article VI, section 10, D
Section 13. Board of Trustees - Officers. The officers of the Board of Trustees shall be a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. All officers will be selected in a manner determined by the board at the first board meeting after the annual meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose of selecting officers. The term of office shall be one year or until successors are elected.
Section 16. Duties of Officers.
A. President The president shall preside at all Board of Trustees meetings; preside at all membership meetings; appoint members of ministry teams with the advice of the board; serve as an ex officio member of ail ministry teams except the Nominating Ministry Team; sign such papers and documents upon proper authorization as may be necessary; and be responsible for the planning of board orientations, retreats, and workshops.
B. Vice President The vice president shall assist the president in the performance of that officer's duties; perform all the duties of the president of the board in the absence of the president; and succeed to the office of president in case the office of the president becomes vacant. In such a case, a new vice president will be elected from among the remaining trustees to fill the remainder of the unexpired term.
C. Secretary. The secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept, an accurate record of the minutes of all board and membership meetings; hold in custody and be responsible for all reports, contracts, other legal papers, and the minute books, which items will be kept at the principal executive office of the ministry at all times or in such other depository as prescribed by the board; attend to all official business as directed by the board; keep or cause to be kept accurate active and inactive membership lists; and send or cause to be sent yearly membership renewal cards to all active or inactive members.
D. Treasurer. The treasurer shall be custodian of all funds belonging to this ministry; pay out or cause to be paid out, funds authorized by the board; keep, or cause to be kept, a record of all financial transactions; submit a monthly financial report at each regular Board meeting; submit a financial report covering the last complete fiscal year to the annual membership meeting; and account for, or cause to be accounted for by the appointment of qualified persons, ail funds received being responsible to assure that they are deposited in accounts authorized by the board. When counting ministry funds there should be at least two (2) persons present.
ARTICLE VII - Administration, Management and Leadership
Section 1. Administration. The administration of Unity Church of Des Moines shall be vested in the senior minister or co-ministers as the administrative director(s), and the Board of Trustees elected from the membership.
Section 2. Minister(s).
A. Senior Minister or Co-ministers. The senior minister or co-ministers will be duly licensed or ordained Unity minister(s).
1. Duties. As the spiritual leader(s) of this ministry, the senior minister or co-ministers will be responsible for the scheduling, conduct, and content of services, classes, and all other activities that further the purpose of this ministry. As administrative directors), these minister(s) shall:
a. Be responsible for the complete functioning of this ministry, including the hiring and termination of all employees including associate or assistant ministers;
b. Serve as voting member(s) of the Board of Trustees on all matters except their own employment, or that of their successor(s);
c. Create ministry teams related to these duties;
d. Appoint the members of such ministry teams;
e. Serve as ex officio members of all ministry teams;
f. Be responsible for seeking the Association's assistance in the event of a dispute adversely affecting the ministry.
2. Selection. The Board of Trustees shall select the senior minister or co-ministers following the employment procedures for ministerial personnel of the Association.
3. Compensation. The compensation of the senior minister or co-ministers employed by this ministry shall be set by the Board of Trustees.
B. Associate and/or Assistant Ministers. Associate and/or assistant minister(s) will be duly licensed or ordained Unity minister(s) who function(s) with less responsibility than the senior minister or co-ministers.
1. Duties. The associate and/or assistant minister(s) will perform the duties and fulfill the responsibilities assigned them by the senior or co-ministers.
2. Compensation. To the extent funded by the board, the compensation of the
associate and/or assistant minister(s) shall be fixed by the senior minister or co-minister(s).
Section 3. Definitions.
A. A Unity Ministry. A member ministry in the Association of Unity Churches recognized by the Association will have a duly ordained or licensed Unity minister, or a person serving under special dispensation as its Spiritual Leader.
B. Senior Minister. A Unity minister duly ordained, licensed [or serving under special dispensation] by the Association of Unity Churches (or Unity School of Christianity prior to July 1,1966), who assumes the spiritual and administrative leadership role in a member ministry. This leader works in conjunction with the Board of Trustees of the member ministry, and is to oversee the teaching, preaching (lessons), worship services, healing, counseling, prayer, administrative, and fellowship activities of the ministry.
C. Co-Minister. In shared partnership ministries, a Unity minister duly ordained or licensed by the Association of Unity Churches (or Unity School of Christianity prior to July 1, 1966), who equally assumes the spiritual and administrative leadership role with another co-minister in a member ministry. These leaders work in conjunction with the Board of Trustees of the member ministry, and oversee the teaching, preaching (lessons), worship services, healing, counseling, prayer, administrative, and fellowship activities of the ministry.
D. Associate Minister. In ministries with more than one minister, a Unity minister duly ordained or licensed by the Association of Unity Churches (or Unity School of Christianity prior to July 1,1966), serving in a member ministry. The Associate Minister may be equal in ability, but functions with less responsibility than the Senior Minister or Co-Ministers. The Associate Minister reports to the Senior Minister, who determines the scope of the associate's responsibilities.
E. Assistant Minister. In ministries with more than one minister, a Unity minister duly ordained or licensed by the Association of Unity Churches (or Unity School of Christianity prior to July 1,1966), serving in a member ministry. The skills and/or experience of the Assistant Minister may be less than those of the Senior Minister. The assistant may be placed in a specialized service area of the ministry, i.e., pastoral visitation, or administrative support. The skills of the assistant are, therefore, allowed to develop for a more comprehensive range of ministry service of the assistant, and the ministry.
ARTICLE VIII - Ministry Teams
With the exception of the Nominating Ministry Team, ministry teams may be appointed by the President of the Board or the senior minister or co-ministers for their respective areas of responsibility.
ARTICLE IX - Dissolution
In the event that this corporation is dissolved, all property and funds remaining after the payment of the debts of the corporation will be delivered to the Association of Unity Churches, a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Georgia, for religious and educational purposes. Such funds or property will be for the use and benefit of the Association as may be determined by the Board of Trustees of the Association, in alignment with current policies and procedures. The Association will make available according to its current policies and procedures, funds for the reestablishment of a Unity ministry in Des Moines, Iowa. Should the Association no longer exist, any assets remaining of this corporation after dissolution will be disposed of by a court of competent jurisdiction of the County in which the principal executive offices of the corporation are then located and shall be used exclusively for such purposes or distributed to such organization or organizations, as said court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for purposes set out in Section 5.01 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1964.
ARTICLE X - Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the meetings of this corporation in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the corporation may adopt.
ARTICLE XI-Amendment of Bylaws
Any amendment(s) to or general revision of these bylaws may be adopted at any annual or special membership meeting provided that written notice setting forth the exact wording of such proposed amendment(s) or general revision has been mailed to all active members at least ten (10) days prior meeting at which they will be considered. An affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4ths) of the active members present and voting will be necessary to adopt any amendment(s) to or general revision of these bylaws.
Signed by Board Secretary Date of Adoption