By-Laws

BY-LAWS OF THE PRAIRYERTH UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP

ILLINOIS

 As amended October 23, 1999

ARTICLE  I  NAME

The name of this corporation is the Prairyerth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

ARTICLE  II   PURPOSE                       

1.  The purpose of the Fellowship is bring people in harmony with themselves, each other, and the Earth through the teachings and healing practices of Earth-centered traditions, recognizing the Oneness of mind, body and spirit.

2.  The Prairyerth Fellowship recognizes the interconnectedness of all of Nature and the ability of each individual to make a difference, therefore it also recognizes those called to practice spiritual healing ministries and empowers those members called to be lay spiritual healers.

3.  Members subscribe to the following bond of union: "We pledge ourselves to a fellowship that recognizes the Earth as home, that acknowledges the unity of life while affirming each entity as a unique and irreplaceable resource in the web of all existence.  We resolve to seek our own truth with love and acceptance for others in an endeavor to enrich and sustain one another.”

 

ARTICLE  III  MEMBERSHIP

1.  Any person may become a voting member of this society who is in sympathy with its purpose, has signed the Fellowship by-laws, has indicated which Council he or she will vote in, and makes an annual contribution of record.  It is specifically understood that membership is open to all qualified persons twenty-one years or older regardless of race, national origin, sex, affectional or sexual orientation.  Non-voting youth membership is open to all persons sixteen to twenty-one years of age.

2.  New voting members may vote in congregational meetings forty-five days after pledging membership and receipt of a recorded contribution to the Fellowship treasury.

3.  Voting membership must be maintained by a recorded contribution to the Fellowship treasury or a letter of intention to retain membership, either of which must be dated within the current Fellowship fiscal year and received two weeks prior to the annual meeting .

4.  Every voting member has the right to one vote.

5.  Membership shall terminate upon receipt of written resignation or by failure to reaffirm membership as provided above.

 

ARTICLE  IV DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION

This Fellowship is a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Association, the Central Midwest District of the U.U.A., and the Chicago Area Unitarian-Universalist Council.

 

ARTICLE  V       FELLOWSHIP POLICY

1.  Ultimate authority in all Fellowship questions resides in voting members assembled at regular or special congregational meetings.

2.  The January 1 through December 31st budget is presented and approved at a regular Fellowship meeting held annually around the beginning of November at a time and place to be appointed by the Board of Trustees.

3.  Special Fellowship meetings shall be called by the Board of Trustees or on written petition of ten members of  the Fellowship.  A petition for a special meeting may designate two calendar weeks within which the Board shall set the exact time.

4.  Notice of all Fellowship meetings must be sent to members during the period ten to twenty-one days before such meetings.

5.  A regular Fellowship meeting may consider any topic, but cannot decide questions of the sale or purchase of real estate, disbanding of the Fellowship, or a change in denominational affiliation, unless the possibility of such a vote has been published in the notice.

6.  A special Fellowship meeting may consider only topics included in the notice published for that meeting.  If the special meeting has been called by a petition of the members, the agenda shall include all items requested in the petition and may include additional items as determined by the Board.

7.  Provision shall be made for absentee and/or absentee ballots for all members living more than 100 miles where the annual and special Fellowship meetings are held.  Only members can hold proxy ballots, and no member may hold more than five proxy ballots.

8.  A quorum for the conduct of business shall be twenty-five percent (25%) of the voting membership including absentee and proxy ballots.

 

ARTICLE VI       COUNCILS

1.  There will be four Councils in the Prairyerth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  Each has a specific area of influence and a charge from the the Fellowship. Voting members of Prairyerth shall designate which Council they shall be identified with as a voting member  when they join the Fellowship. Council Membership may be changed by written request to membership chair.

2.  The Prairyerth membership will sit in Council at least one month before the annual meeting to select officers, committee chairs, and two representatives to the Board of trustees.  At other times, members can participate in any Council’s activities, committees, etc.

3.  A Council representative may be chosen from the membership at large, but upon acceptance of the position, must resign his or her current Council and become a member of the Council he or she represents.  This process is called adoption.  This cross-fertilization keeps Prairyerth vital and growing.

4.  Each Council will have its own officers, schedule of meetings, organizational structure, and committees to carry out its responsibilities.  The trustees will serve as president and vice president of their respective Council.

5.  Trustees may be recalled by their Council with notice at a special meeting called for this purpose.  The vote to recall shall be a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present and voting.

6.  The Councils

Council of the Earth

The environmental and social action Council develops programs on Earth Centered Traditions & Earth Stewardship to serve the greater good and to work with existing organizations outside Prairyerth in healing the Earth and improving the lives of its People. The education Council both for Prairyerth and the larger community is charged with interacting with other Earth-centered traditions, cross pollinating ideas, and developing educational programs and a teacher/speaker’s bureau to serve as a resource for ourselves, other Unitarian Universalists, and the world at large.                                                     

 

Council of Healers

Council cares for the health of the membership and others who seek their help, through a counseling and caring ministry.  The Council also reviews and recommends lay spiritual healers to the Board of Trustees for annual recognition.  Spiritual healing ministry within Prairyerth is defined as bringing people in harmony with themselves, each other and the Earth.  Prairyerth lay spiritual healers must be voting members of the Fellowship, but do not have to be voting members of this council.

Wisdom Council

The worship council recommends lay spiritual leaders to the Board of Trustees for approval, oversees their actions, reviews and recertifies them annually.  The council is responsible for Prairyerth ceremonies, festivals; rituals; mens, womens, and drum circles; and all rites of passage, including marriage. Prairyerth lay spiritual leaders must be voting members of the Fellowship, but do not have to voting members of this council.

 

Seventh Generation Council

This planning council considers future needs, growth, responsibilities, and opportunities facing the Prairyerth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, including the special needs of children within the society, and the fiscal growth and health of the community. Charged with building and maintaining the Prairyerth community and membership roster, this Council runs annual meeting retreats and gatherings with the participation of other councils.  Working with the treasurer, the council’s financial committee prepares budgets for Board of Trustees and membership approval.  This council recommends future plans and directions, is responsible for fund-raising, and for communicating the dreams, goals and activities of Prairyerth to the larger world community.


ARTICLE VII      THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

1.  Between Fellowship meetings, the Board of Trustees is empowered to act for the congregation.  The Board is specifically charged with executing all legal contracts.  The Board recognizes, or not, candidates recommended by the Councils for lay spiritual leadership and for healing ministries.  All members of the Board of Trustees shall be members of the Fellowship.

2.  The Board of Trustees shall meet every other month at the time and place of its choosing.  Any member of the Board may call a special meeting on three days notice.

3.  A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the members of the Board.

4.  Regular Board meetings shall be open to all members of the Fellowship.  Executive sessions may be held when prudent, but final action must be taken in open session, except on lawsuits.

5.  The budget approved by the Fellowship shall be binding. In extenuating circumstances and in any one fiscal year, the Board shall be empowered to make non-budgeted expenditures of not more than ten (10%) percent of the total current operating expense budget. Such deviations from the budget shall be clearly and accurately reported in the minutes of the meeting in which the action was taken.  Expenditures not in conformance with the above limitation shall require congregational approval.

6.  The Board at its discretion shall provide for the bonding of the Church Treasurer.  The Board shall provide for auditing of the Fellowship financial records at the close of the Treasurer's regular term.

7.  Officers and Trustees unable to attend two-thirds (2/3) of the Board meetings in a fiscal year may be asked to resign by the Board.

8. Officers may be recalled by the Fellowship with notice at a regular annual meeting or at a special congregational meeting called for this purpose.  The vote to effect recall shall be a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present and voting.

 

ARTICLE VIII     BOARD OF TRUSTEE OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES

1.  President - The President shall be the chief executive of the Fellowship and may act for the congregation or the Board between meetings subject to review by the Board and/or the congregation.  When present, the President shall preside at all meetings of the Fellowship or Board.  The President does not vote except to break ties.

2  Vice President- The Vice President shall act in the absence of the President.

3. Secretary - The Secretary shall keep the official minutes, the documents of the Fellowship and the Board, and the official roll of voting members.  The Secretary shall handle correspondence as directed by the Board or the President.  In the absence of the Secretary, the presiding officer may designate an acting Secretary.  (The acting Secretary shall not thereby obtain a vote on the Board.)

4.  Treasurer - The Treasurer shall have charge of the funds of the Fellowship and shall pay the obligations of the Fellowship, so long as such obligations are within the approved expenditures. Expenditures exceeding any budgeted item in any one fiscal year must be approved by the Board. The Treasurer shall prepare a report for each meeting of the Board of Trustees.  The outgoing Treasurer shall present a report on the financial condition of the Fellowship to the fall meeting of the Fellowship, be responsible for the December 31st. yearly closing, and instruct the new Treasurer in the care and preparation of the financial records. The Treasurer’s term shall be from election through the end of the full fiscal year of the budget he or she is responsible for preparing.  A newly elected Treasurer is responsible for working with the Council of the Next Seven Generations and the finance committee in preparing the next year’s budget for approval at the fall meeting.

 

ARTICLE IX       PAID STAFF AND OTHERS

1.  An "Endowment and Special Gifts Fund" shall be established and a committee of three members of the Fellowship, elected by the Fellowship, shall invest and administer these monies.  The Endowment and Special Gifts Committee shall report to the Fellowship at the November meeting.  Expenditures of any part of the principal of the Endowment and Special Gifts Fund shall be approved by the Fellowship with responsibility residing with the Board of Trustees for presenting the need for such expenditures to the congregation; such congregational approval shall be by a simple majority.  Undesignated monies, gifts and bequests given to the Fellowship shall be received into the general operating fund unless the Board of Trustees chooses to transfer them to the Endowment and Special Gifts Fund.

2.  The Board of Trustees may make appointments it deems advisable.

3.  The Board of Trustees may select and contract with, provided the Fellowship approves the budgeted cost, Fellowship employees, including, but not necessarily, and not restricted to, an Administrative Director, a Congregational Manager, and an Events Planner.

4.  Paid staff need not be members of the congregation.

5. The Board of Trustees shall elect the lay delegates to the U.U.A. General Assemblies and other official denominational meetings.

 

ARTICLE X        ELECTIONS

1.  Trustees each serve a two year term with the exception of the elected Treasurer as set forth in Article VIII, paragraph 4.

2.  The officers of the Board of Trustees shall be nominated from the representatives of the Councils and shall consist of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer and approved by the congregation at the annual meeting by a simple majority.

3.  Trustees are chosen by their respective Councils as set down in Article VI.

4.  When Vacancies occur in elected trusteeships, that Council shall then send written notice notifying its membership of a special election to elect a new alternate Trustee within six weeks of vacancy.

5. Trustees shall take office immediately following the meeting at which they are elected as set down in Article VI, except the Treasurer as specified in Article VIII, paragraph 4.

6.  Each Board of Trustees shall present one nominee from the Fellowship for the Endowment Special Gifts Committee for a three year term.  They are then elected at the Spring Meeting by the Fellowship.

7.  Nominations may be made from the floor for any position within the qualifications set down in these By-laws, with the full consent of the person nominated.

8.  When more than one nomination has been made for any position, election shall be by written ballot.  A majority of members present and voting shall be necessary for election, and in the event that no candidate receives a majority, a run-off election shall be held.

 

ARTICLE XI  AMENDMENTS

These By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote at a Fellowship meeting at which a quorum is present, provided that the proposed amendment shall have been published in the official notice of the meeting.

 

ARTICLE XII  PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE

Meetings of the full Fellowship and the Board shall be conducted in accord with the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order.


ARTICLE XIII  DISSOLUTION

Should this corporation cease to function and the membership vote to disband, any assets of the corporation shall be transferred to the Midwest Unitarian-Universalist Foundation for its general purposes, this transfer to be made in full compliance with applicable laws.  If the Midwest Unitarian-Universalist Foundation is not in existence at the time of dissolution of this corporation, then any assets of the corporation shall be transferred to the Unitarian-Universalist Association.