Pebble Hill Church Bylaws
PEBBLE HILL CHURCH BYLAWS (Revision: September 2001)
ARTICLE ONE: NAME AND ADDRESS.
Section 1. The name of our non-profit religious organization, incorporated in 1997, is PEBBLE
Section 2. The meeting place of Pebble
Church is the Red Barn, located at 320 Edison-Furlong Road, between Rts. 611 and 263 in Doylestown
Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Section 3. The mailing address of Pebble
Church is 320 Edison-Furlong Road, Doylestown, PA
ARTICLE TWO: STATEMENT OF PURPOSE.
Church is a non-profit religious organization, founded in 1967 and incorporated in 1977. Its purpose is to encourage and support members in their individual religious and spiritual growth and expression, and to acknowledge its members as ministers to one another. Pebble
Church is committed to peace and is an official member of the national network of Peace Sites under a program sponsored by SANE of New Jersey. Pebble
Church was founded and nurtured by the Reformed Church in America and is now an inclusive interfaith ministry.
ARTICLE THREE: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership at Pebble
Church is a growth-process. The process is a series of intentional decisions which begins by taking the initial step of coming to one of the Pebble
Church celebrations or events. This first step is often an observation "come-and-see" stage.
Section 2. The second step is a personal examination of the compatibility of one's values with the mission of Pebble
Church. This is accomplished by participation in the church community.
Section 3. The third step is the clear intention to make a commitment to the church community and the decision to become a member of Pebble
Church. One may declare his or her intention to become a member at any time of the year in consultation with the Coordinating Minister, or one may do it by attending one of the membership meetings set up for that specific purpose.
Section 4. The final step is the membership affirmation stage. At this time a person makes their commitment to Pebble
Church. This affirmation usually takes place during Sunday worship celebration (referred to as "New Member Sundays") when new members sign the Pebble Hill Membership Book as a symbol of their commitment, but this may be done at any time by meeting with the Coordinating Minister and signing the Membership Book. This makes a person a full member of Pebble
Church with the privilege of voting in church elections and serving on the church council. A membership orientation will be held prior to each "New Member Sunday". There will be three "New Member Sundays" per year.
Section 5. When parents become members of the church, their minor children are recognized as family members of Pebble
Church, but do not receive voting privileges and are not able to serve on the church council. When children of church members are at an age to be able to make a choice regarding their membership in a church, they make a personal commitment to become full members with voting privileges by going through the membership process as outlined in sections 2, 3, and 4 above.
Section 6. Membership privileges as defined in these bylaws will only be extended to Active Members. Active Membership is defined as follows: A member who has signed the Membership Book and has not asked their membership to be made inactive and has identifiably responded to at least one of three successive membership mailings and Pebble Hill has a current and valid mailing address located no further than 100 air miles from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, except as provided below. Any active member who has relocated beyond 100 air miles from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and who would otherwise be declared thereby an Inactive Member may, upon request, continue to be considered an active member. Such intention may be revisited by the church, by mail, every one to three years. Members who have had their membership status changed to inactive, can have their membership reactivated by contacting the Church's Secretary or the Coordinating Minister, except as provided for below. Members who have been asked by Church Council to leave the community will be removed as active members. In this case, their reinstatement to active membership will require Church Council action. Except in cases where the Church does not possess a current and valid mailing address, no active member shall be changed to inactive status without being given notice of this change by regular mail.
ARTICLE FOUR: THE CHURCH COUNCIL.
Section 1. The Church Council is the board of directors of Pebble
Church. It is responsible for the well-being and care of the life, work and people of the church community and, more specifically, for all programs, celebrations and events. It is additionally responsible for all personnel, buildings, property and finances of the church community. All business of Pebble
Church is transacted by the Church Council.
Section 2. The Church Council may authorize one or more of its members to act on behalf of the Church Council.
Section 3. The Church Council is composed of ten elected members of Pebble
Church, the Coordinating Minister, and the appointed positions of Secretary and Treasurer (who may already be elected Church Council members) and Youth representatives.
Section 4. In addition to the 11 to 13-member voting Church Council, three non-voting youth positions are available to younger members of Pebble
Church who are willing to make this commitment. These persons are encouraged to make their interest known and will be appointed at the annual organizational meeting of the Church Council.
Section 5. The council meets at least once a month at a time and date set by the consensus of council members at the annual organizational meeting. The Council President, Vice President, or a majority of Council members, may call special meetings when necessary.
Section 6. Members of Church Council shall conduct themselves so as to avoid any conflict of interest. No Council member may vote on any issue which may particularly affect that Council member, or members of his or her immediate family. No Officer of the Church may authorize any matter in an administrative role which may particularly affect them or members of their immediate family.
Section 7. Council meetings are open to the community and everyone is encouraged to attend. There may be instances where for confidentiality reasons, a meeting, or a portion of a meeting, may be considered closed. This shall be constituted as Executive Session and will only be open to voting Council Members and any individuals specifically requested to attend. The attending council members shall make the determination that Executive Session should be invoked.
Section 8. Notwithstanding Sections 3 and 4 above, following approval of the bylaws change to move from a 15 to 18 voting member Council to an 11 to 13 voting member Council, Church Council will issue special procedures which will govern the transition, including the provisions for the size of Council, until the transition is made complete. Under this transition, the rights of incumbent office holders shall not be abridged.
ARTICLE FIVE: NOMINATION AND ELECTION TO THE CHURCH COUNCIL.
Section 1. Church Council and interested volunteers from the church community will constitute the nominating committee for new members of the Council.
Section 2. In July, the nominating committee will discuss a list of Council candidates for the upcoming year. Solicitation shall also be made of the Church community for qualified candidates. The Church Council will consider approval of the list of candidates at the regularly scheduled August Council meeting. An election will be held in September. Ballots will be counted no later than the last Sunday in September, so that newly elected members can be notified to attend the first Church Council meeting in October. The new Church Council will be announced at Celebration on the first Sunday of October. The annual organizational meeting of the new Church Council will be held in October.
Section 3. Only persons who are members of Pebble
Church, and who meet the requirements of the State of Pennsylvania for corporate board members, may be nominated and elected to the Church Council.
Section 4. The candidates are introduced to the church community on Sunday mornings during the month of September and in the Sunday Bulletin and/or church newsletter sent through the mail, if possible.
Section 5. Ballots are distributed by mail or hand delivered at Sunday Celebration, and may be returned by mail or placed into a designated box at the Church. Ballots shall be tabulated by disinterested Church members. In the case that the election includes open Council seats for both complete and incomplete terms, the seats for the complete terms will be filled first, by those receiving the most votes. Seats for partial terms will be filled thereafter, in decreasing order of their remaining term lengths, by those receiving, in each case, the next most votes.
Section 6. Only persons who are members of Pebble
Church with voting privileges as defined in Article 3 of these bylaws, may vote in church elections.
Section 7. Persons are elected to the Church Council for a two-year term. Each year one-half of the Church Council (5 seats) will normally be elected, so that the terms of office always remain staggered among elected Council members. Persons may serve on the Church Council, if duly elected, for consecutive terms but, except as provided for below, in no case will anyone be elected to serve on the Council for more than two consecutive two-year terms without at least a one-year period not serving on the Church Council. An exception to the above will occur if a person is elected or appointed to a partial term of office and serves less than half of a normal term. In such a case, this person, if duly elected, may serve two additional two-year terms.
Section 8. If at any time during a Church Council member's term, he or she becomes unable to fulfill her or his commitment to Church Council, he or she may request a leave of absence or submit a letter of resignation. Church Council members will notify the President of Church Council if they are unable to attend a meeting. If, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, Church Council members fail to attend three consecutive Church Council meetings, it will be considered that they have resigned and their position will be filled according to Section 9 below.
Section 9. A vacancy may be filled at any time through an appointment by the Church Council. Usually the Church Council will appoint the candidate from the previous election who received the next-highest number of votes, but the Church Council may consider other choices as well. Another option open to the Church Council is to wait until the next Church Council election. The decision to fill a vacancy on Church Council, whether by appointment or election, shall not change the term of office for that Council position.
Section 10. If a person was appointed or elected to the Church Council to fill an unexpired term, of half of a normal term or more, that person is eligible for nomination to one additional full term. If a person was appointed or elected to the Church Council to fill an incomplete term, of less than half of a normal term, that person is eligible for nomination to two additional full terms.
ARTICLE SIX: OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
Section 1. The officers of Pebble
Church are the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. With the exception of the Treasurer, all offices are held for one year, and are filled by election among the Council members at the annual organizational meeting. All officers may be considered for re-election.
Section 2. The President of the Church Council is directly responsible for the ongoing work of the Church Council. The President of the Church Council works in direct relationship with the Coordinating Minister, members of the Council, and the church community. The agenda for Council meetings is set by the President in conjunction with the Coordinating Minister. The President presides at Church Council meetings, unless s/he empowers others to preside. The office also includes various supervisory, caring and coordination functions and is authorized to make emergency decisions when necessary and report such actions to the Church Council at the next available opportunity. Whenever practical, the concurrence of two other Council members shall be sought before an emergency action is taken. Emergency actions shall relate to the safety of people, the protection of property, the continuance of Church operations or the requirements of courts of law or enforcement agencies.
Section 3. The Vice President of the Church Council assists the President as directed by the President and serves as a liaison to the church community. The Vice President presides at Council meetings in the President's absence.
Section 4. [Section Deleted]
Section 5. The Treasurer is appointed by the Council at its annual organizational meeting for a three-year term. The Treasurer functions as a full member of the Council and works in direct relationship with the Coordinating Minister, the President of the Council and the Bookkeeper. The Treasurer is responsible for all financial disbursement and for continuous awareness of the income and expenses of the church. The Treasurer may already be an elected member of the Council.
Section 6. The Secretary is appointed by the Council at its annual organizational meeting for a one-year term. The Secretary functions as a full member of the Council and works in direct relationship with the Coordinating Minister and the President of the Council. The Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the minutes of all the regular and special meetings of the Council are properly recorded and preserved, signing documents when so designated by the Council, and, when requested, writing official correspondence. In addition, the Secretary is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the list of Active Membership and making Council aware of membership reactivation requests. The Secretary is the Church officer responsible for conducting Council elections. The Secretary shall also receive petitions for Church community meetings and bylaws changes sought by members of the Church as provided for in Article 8, Section 2 and Article 13, Section 4. The Secretary may already be an elected member of the Council.
ARTICLE SEVEN: COORDINATING MINISTER.
Section 1. The Coordinating Minister is responsible to the Church Council and works in direct relationship with the President of the Church Council. The Coordinating Minister is responsible for coordinating the various aspects of ministry within the perspective of the total life and ministry of Pebble Hill Church.
Section 2. The Coordinating Minister is a member of the Pebble
Church. The Coordinating Minister's performance will be subject to review once a year. The Coordinating Minister's salary and benefits are reviewed once a year during the development of the new year's budget. Any recommended changes are submitted to the Church Council with the budget for approval.
Section 3. The focus of the Coordinating Minister is upon encouraging and enabling a shared and mutual ministry with all the community of Pebble
Church. The Coordinating Minister aims to unify the diverse aspects of our individual ministries, integrating them into the total life and purpose of Pebble
Church. The Coordinating Minister is to function as a catalyst and an enabler both within the church community and outside of it. S/he will encourage individual people as well as the community to explore, reflect, understand, share, discover meanings, innovate and grow.
Section 4. When a vacancy occurs in the position of the Coordinating Minister, the Church Council appoints a Ministry Study Task Force from the church membership to study the purpose, goals, and ministry of Pebble Hill Church, to determine the needs of the church community and define the qualifications of the position. Notwithstanding the above, Council shall have independent authority to hire an interim Minister or consultants to assist this effort.
Section 5. A special Search Task Force is appointed by the Church Council to search for a candidate to fill a vacancy in the position of Coordinating Minister. This special search task force will work closely with the Ministry Study Task Force and the Church Council. The Church Council will oversee the activities of these two groups. All studies and recommendations will be presented to the Church Council.
Section 6. After reviewing the candidates, the Church Council will recommend and present their selection to the church community which will have the opportunity to approve their selection in a manner determined by the Church Council.
Section 7. Council, or an authorized sub-committee of Council, will periodically review the performance of the paid staff and the full Council will have complete control over the hiring and firing practices.
Section 8. Council will have the full authority to create additional or eliminate existing paid staff positions.
Section 9. Council, or an authorized sub-committee of Council, will periodically review the performance of the volunteer staff and the full Council will have complete control over the installation and removal practices.
Section 10. Council will have the full authority to create additional or eliminate existing volunteer staff positions.
ARTICLE EIGHT: CHURCH COMMUNITY MEETINGS.
Section 1. When needed, the Church Council may call a church community meeting comprised of all the members of the church community. Normally, these meetings will take place on Sunday, following the worship celebration. Whenever possible, the church community will be given two weeks advance notice of such meetings. The President or Vice-President of Church Council or the Coordinating Minister (or designee) will moderate such meetings.
Section 2. Church Community Meetings may also be called by petition, presented to the Church's Secretary, containing the signatures of fifteen (15) active members to discuss items stated in the petition.
ARTICLE NINE: ONGOING RESPONSIBILITIES.
Section 1. The Financial Task Force is appointed by the Church Council prior to the annual budget meeting. Members serve for one year and are eligible for reappointment. The task force includes a chairperson, the President and/or the Vice President of Church Council, the Treasurer, the Bookkeeper, other interested members of the Church Council, and interested volunteers from the church community. The task force meets at the discretion of the President and/or Vice President of Church Council. It is in charge of the whole area of finances and recommends financial policy to the Church Council. It is responsible for developing a budget and budget interpretation, which it presents to the Church Council for approval.
Section 2. The Church Council and the Treasurer are in charge of seeing that Pebble
Church carries out all financial obligations, including the receiving and paying of all bills. The Treasurer and the President are able to open bank accounts. The Treasurer, the President and others designated by Council are able to sign for Church funds. The Church will carry insurance to bond these individuals.
Section 3. The Worship Celebration Coordinator is appointed by the Church Council at its annual organizational meeting for a one-year term. The Worship Celebration Coordinator is responsible to the Church Council and is eligible for reappointment. The Worship Celebration Coordinator is responsible for aiding the Coordinating Minister or any person or persons leading a worship celebration. This person is responsible for including the people of the church community into the planning and creation of celebrations.
Section 4. The Bookkeeper is appointed by Church Council at its annual organizational meeting for a three-year term. The Bookkeeper serves on the Financial Task Force, is responsible to the Church Council, and is eligible for reappointment. The Bookkeeper is responsible for the collection, bookkeeping, records and financial statistics related to all pledges, offerings, special gifts, receipts from events, etc. The Bookkeeper works with the Financial Task Force and the Church Council, so that a total financial picture is always kept before the Church Council.
Section 5. The Children's Coordination Task Force is appointed by the Church Council from community members. It is responsible to the Church Council, and its members are eligible for reappointment. This task force is responsible for coordinating the inclusion of children in the total life and work of Pebble Hill Church. The task force includes the Children's Coordinator, at least one Church Council member, other interested Church Council members and interested volunteers from the church community.
Section 6. The Church Council may create and define various Task Forces and ad hoc committees as needed. These committees will report regularly to the Church Council and the Church Council may disband the committees when their function is no longer needed.
Section 7. In principle, each Council member shall serve as an active and participating member of an approved Council committee. In the absence of the committee chair or another committee member designated by the committee to do so, such Council member shall act as the liaison between their committee and Council for the purpose of transmitting needed information as to the committee's activities.
Section 8. The School of Sacred Ministries ("the School") is a largely self-governing entity within the Church. Its purpose is to function as an academic and educational training program for adult ministerial candidates and others seeking intensified spiritual study. The relationship between the School, Church Council and the Church Community as well as the School's operating authority will be formalized by means of the School's charter which shall be approved by both the School's leadership and Church Council. Church Council will appoint members to act as liaison between Council and the School.
ARTICLE TEN: COMMUNITY INPUT.
Section 1. All persons in Pebble Hill Church are urged to create, dream and recommend new ideas and directions of ministry, workshops, retreats, celebrations, programs and areas of involvement. The organization of Pebble Hill Church is flexible to readily and happily respond to spontaneous, new and innovative ideas, and is committed to full participation by community members.
Section 2. A person or group of persons may suggest an idea to any member of Church Council and it will be put on the agenda for consideration. Or, any person or group of persons may attend a Church Council meeting and will be given an opportunity to present their idea or dream and it can be acted upon at that time or referred to an appropriate committee for further study. Church Council is open to participation from all the people of Pebble Hill Church.
ARTICLE ELEVEN: PUTTING OUR PURPOSE INTO PRACTICE.
Section 1. In putting our purpose into practice, we shall design all our activities, programs, celebrations, and community work such that we constantly evaluate and consider how what we do affects everyone else, both within our church community and in the broader community, in regards to our spiritual growth, a celebrative life, inclusivity, human dignity, stewardship, peace, love, and justice.
ARTICLE TWELVE: MATTERS OF PROCEDURE.
Section 1. Since Pebble Hill Church is a Community, we function by general consensus at all meetings, with the exception of meetings of the Church Council and membership meetings called to discuss changes to the bylaws, or membership meetings to act on calling a new Coordinating Minister. General consensus meetings include meetings of the Church Community task forces, committees, planning sessions, and any other meeting related in any way to Pebble Hill Church. Decisions at meetings of the Church Council may be made by consensus or by an affirmative vote of a majority of Council members present, with a minimum of five (5) affirmative votes required, provided that at least one Church Council member requests that a vote be taken. A quorum of the Church Council shall be a majority of the total Church Council members.
ARTICLE THIRTEEN: AMENDMENTS, ADDITIONS, AND DELETIONS TO BYLAWS
Section 1. These bylaws may be modified with amendments, additions, or deletions, by an affirmative vote of 80% of the members in attendance at a meeting of the church membership.
Section 2. At least 21 days prior to this membership meeting, the members shall be notified by mail with a summary of the proposed changes to the bylaws and of their opportunity to receive a copy of the complete text of the proposed changes. The complete text of the proposed changes shall be posted at the church and available to any member requesting them.
Section 3. A notice of the time, date and location of the membership meeting for the purpose of amending the bylaws shall be announced in the Sunday program for three consecutive Sundays preceding the meeting. Notification shall include a summary of the proposed changes to the bylaws.
Section 4. Only members can propose an amendment, addition or deletion. A member must first present the proposal, in writing, to the Church Council. The Church Council must approve changes to the bylaws before they are presented to the members, except as provided for below. A proposed change to the bylaws may be presented at a membership meeting, contrary to the prior expressed desire of Church Council, if such proposal is presented attached to a petition signed by forty (40) active church members, calling on Church Council to call a membership meeting for the purpose of voting on the proposed change. Such petition must be presented to the Church's Secretary. Said meeting will be conducted in accordance with all applicable sections of this article.