Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

(UUCS)

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How does UUCS operate?
UUCS members of the congregation run this church. Our congregation contributes approximately 92% of the funds which are needed to run this church and contributes 100% of the volunteers that run this church.

Our Members:

  • approve the rules (i.e. the by-laws) by which we operate,
  • approve the calling of the minister,
  • elect the four officers, three trustees, and all elected committee positions of this church.

The congregation does all of this under the guiding Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) with which our congregation freely associates.

What do the UUCS By-Laws contain?
By-laws:

    • define our church as incorporated and as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Southeast District,
    • outline congregational structure,
    • specify the requirements for membership,
    • determine responsibilities, and
    • confer authority for carrying out the church business, including standing committees, trustees, and officers.

Our congregation’s by-laws specifically define the congregation’s voting requirements to:

  • call a new minister,
  • approve the annual budget, and
  • elect the church officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), and Trustees, and other elected committee positions.

Additionally, the by-laws define the steps for calling a congregational or Board meeting, and the requirements for any group to speak on an issue for the entire church.

What do the church policies cover?
Policies:
The Board reviews and adopts church policies that further define and confer authority for doing the business of the church not specified or covered in the by-laws. Privacy, Membership, and fund-raising are a few of the topics.
How do the Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) affect our church?
As a member organization of the UUA, our congregation subscribe to the goals of the Principles and Purposes of the UUA which provide the over-arching values by which our congregation functions and support the democratic process by which we operate (i.e. one member, one vote).
How does spending on behalf of the congregation occur?
The Board of Trustees proposes an annual budget of expenses and incomes at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation and Members approve a final version. The expenses in this budget are primarily paid-staff compensation related to other expenses for building maintenance, office, committee, and UUA-related spending. So, the answer is that the members of the congregation approve all spending categories.
What is the role of the paid staff of the church?
The church currently funds six paid positions:

  • Minister
  • Director of Religious Education
  • Music Director
  • Office Administrator
  • Sexton

The Members of the congregation call the Minister or the Board contracts for a minister. The Board reviews and approves the hiring of employees upon recommendation of the Personnel Committee. The Director of Religious Education, Music Director, Office Administrator, and Sexton are supervised by the Minister. The DRE supervises childcare workers. The church supports the tradition of the free pulpit, which means that the Ministers are free to express their own opinions from the pulpit. The Minister serves subject to the approval of the Board (contract employment) or the Members of the congregation, who can also vote to remove a “called” Minister.

What are the roles of the church President and other members of the Board of Trustees?
The Board of Trustees includes:

  • the four elected Officers,
  • three other Trustees-at-Large who are elected Members of the congregation, and
  • the (non-voting) Minister.

They are elected according to the by-laws at the annual congregational meeting, typically in May. The by-laws charge the Board with:

  • the responsibility for enacting Church policy consistent with the bylaws;
  • general charge of the Church property; and
  • the authority to conduct the business of the Church and to manage financial affairs.

The President and Secretary sign all church contracts. The President conducts the annual meeting and conducts all Board meetings.

What is the role of the Council of Committees?
The Council of Committees consists of the President-Elect, chairs, and representatives of the various committees/teams with the President-Elect serving as chair-person of the council. The council has the general responsibility for administrative coordination of the committees/teams and their respective programs. The council provides written monthly reports to the Board as well as an annual report summarizing the year’s activities that is submitted to the Board and made available to the congregation at the Annual Meeting.
Who can sign contracts on behalf of the church?
The Board of Trustees approves all legal papers and designates the President and Secretary to sign such papers; the President-Elect may act in place of the President and the Treasurer in place of the Secretary, if approved by the Board.
What is the role of individual congregational volunteers?
The volunteers are crucial to the life of the church. Without volunteers the church is unable to fully operate. Volunteers typically develop the ideas for church programs and activities, they then staff those programs and activities and related committees. All volunteers who are legal Members of the congregation have the same weight of voting rights at congregational meetings and are able to initiate action on behalf of the church.
What are the requirements for membership in the congregation?
The by-laws state that people who desire membership in this church merely have to do the following:

  • be in sympathy with the Church’s mission as set forth in the By-Laws;
  • have reached the age of at least fourteen (14) and, if under the age of eighteen (18), have written permission from parent or guardian;
  • have completed a course of study approved by the Membership Team or have discussed becoming a Member with the Minister or person designated by the Minister;
  • have made a financial contribution of record to the operating fund;
  • have confirmed understanding that such a financial contribution of record is required annually of all Members (refer to Section 6); and then
  • have signed the Membership Book.

We encourage Members to share their time, talents, and treasures with us.

To what extent does the UUA govern our operations?
UU congregations operate independently and autonomously, but we also benefit from our association with other UU congregations, i.e., the UUA. Examples of these benefits include:

  • the help of the UUA’s district staff,
  • religious education curriculum development,
  • recruitment processes for ministers and religious educators, and
  • the accreditation of UUA ministers. Though the UUA facilitates ministerial searches, the choice of
  • ministers and staff rests entirely with the church.
What funding does UUCS receive from the UUA?
None. We receive no money from the UUA nor do we receive any subsidization of our paid staff from the UUA. However, as noted above, we do receive valuable services, as needed, from the District and UUA organizations and we contribute a fixed percentage (7%) of certified expenditures.