CHURCH-PARISH.

[In some parts of the country it is the custom to secure the incorporation of Churches. The Church becomes the Parish, and is at once a financial corporation and an ecclesiastical body. For such Parishes as desire to accomplish both purposes by one organization, the following By-Laws will serve.

[Every such Church should be incorporated. Its property should be deeded to the State Convention, if that body is authorized to hold and convey real estate, and reconveyed to the Church with such conditions as will prevent its alienation or perversion from its original purpose. (See page 73.)

[These By-Laws embody what is usually contained in both Constitution and By-Laws, and are all that is needful when Churches are legally incorporated.]

ARTICLE I.

NAME.

This organization shall be known as the [ ] Universalist Church of [ ].

ARTICLE II.

ALLEGIANCE.

This Church acknowledges the ecclesiastical authority of the Universalist General Convention and the jurisdiction of the [ ] Universalist Convention; and regards itself as pledged to coöperate in such measures for raising funds and for fostering and extending all the interests of the Church as the General and State Conventions may prescribe.

ARTICLE III.

MEMBERSHIP.

1. Assent to the Profession of Faith adopted by the Universalist General Convention, [sic] shall be essential to membership in this Church, to wit:

Art. I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind.

Art. II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.

Art. III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men.

2. Any person desiring to become a member must apply to the Pastor and Deacons, who shall, if they approve, lay the same before the Church, at its next meeting, when the applicant may be admitted by the vote of the Church. He shall subsequently be publicly recognized by the Pastor, upon his assent to the Profession of Faith and Covenant of the Church. In case of the illness of the candidate the recognition may be private.

3. Any member may withdraw from the Church by written notice to the Clerk, who shall communicate the fact to the Church at its next meeting. If a letter of commendation is desired, it may be given in such a form as the Church may approve; or in case of reasonable objection such letter may be withheld.

4. No member who does not contribute to the support of the Church, or has failed to do so for the term of one year, shall have the right to vote upon financial questions, or for the Trustees of the Church.

5. Persons contributing to the support of the Church may become Associate Members by a majority vote of the Church, and by signing these By-Laws. They shall have the right to vote upon all financial questions, and for the Trustees of the Church, and upon no other questions. Associate membership shall be annulled without formal vote, on failure to contribute to the Treasury for the term of one year.

ARTICLE IV.

OFFICERS.

1. The officers of the Church shall be a Pastor, [ ] Deacons, and a Board of Trustees consisting of a Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, and a standing committee of [ ]. The Deacons shall hold office during good behavior; the Board of Trustees shall be elected annually. All elections shall be by ballot.

ARTICLE V.

MEETINGS.

1. The annual meeting shall be held on the [ ] of [ ] of each year. At such meeting the Trustees for the ensuing year shall be chosen, and such other legal business transacted as may be deemed expedient.

2. Regular meetings shall be held on the [ ] preceding each Communion Sunday.

3. Special meetings may be called by the Trustees or the Deacons, upon written application of three members.

4. Due announcements of all meetings shall be made from the pulpit, or by personal or written notice to the members; and [ ] members shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.

ARTICLE VI.

THE PASTOR.

No Clergyman shall be called to, or continue in, the pastoral charge of this Church, unless he has the fellowship of the Universalist General Convention. In case of vacancy, the Trustees shall have the power to supply the pulpit.

ARTICLE VII.

THE COMMUNION.

The Communion of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed on the [ ] Sunday of [ ]. At every such service, all lovers of the Saviour who may feel it either a duty or a privilege to do so shall be invite to participate.

ARTICLE VIII.

DISCIPLINE.

1. All complaints against members shall be made to the Deacons, who shall be guided in the performance of their duty by the Gospel rule as recorded in Matthew xviii. 15-17.

2. The Deacons shall inquire into all charges, hearing both parties, and having power to acquit or condemn the accused. In case of condemnation the judgment may be temporary or final suspension.

3. If any member feels aggrieved by either the acquittal or condemnation of an accused party, he may appeal to the Church; who shall choose by ballot, and by a majority of the whole number voting, without open nomination, a Committee of Appeal. Such Committee shall retry the case, and its decision shall be final.

4. If it should be manifestly improper for either [sic] Deacon to act in any investigation, the Church may appoint a substitute for such case.

ARTICLE IX.

CONVENTION FUNDS.

This Church shall contribute each year, according to its ability, to the funds of the General and State Conventions, in conformity with their laws.

ARTICLE X.

DUTIES OF OFFICERS.

1. Of the Moderator. - He shall preside at all meetings of the Church; appoint all Committees, unless otherwise ordered, and perform all other duties belonging to his office. In his absence, a Moderator pro tem. shall be appointed.

2. Of the Clerk. - He shall keep a record of all the meetings and proceedings of the Church and Trustees, subject to their control, with a list of the names and residences of the members; notify all officers and members of their election; give due notice of all meetings of the Church or its Trustees; prepare the reports which the Church is required by the General Convention to make, properly and seasonably; have the custody of all books and papers belonging to the Church, the care of which is not otherwise provided for, and perform any other duties pertaining to his office.

3. Of the Treasurer. - He shall have charge of all the funds of the Church, and pay all bills duly audited by the Trustees. He shall also pay all orders drawn by the Pastor and one of the Deacons for Communion or charitable purposes upon funds in his hands for such purposes. He shall keep accounts of his transactions in the books of the Church, which shall be annually examined by a Committee of the Trustees, and shall report to the annual meeting. He shall have the custody of all evidence of property belonging to the Church.

4. Of the Trustees. - It shall be their duty to provide for the collection of all the revenues of the Church; foster the interests of the Church an Sunday-school; make suitable provision for the comfort and convenience of the congregation, and attend generally to the temporal concerns of the church; but they shall have no authority to transfer real estate, or to contract for any repairs or alteration of the property of the Church, the expense of which shall exceed the sum of [ ] dollars, without express power given for that purpose by a Church meeting.

They shall meeting on [ ] next succeeding their election, to enter upon the duties of their office; and shall hold regular monthly meetings (and may also hold special meetings_ at such time as to them shall seem expedient.

At their first meeting, a Committee of three shall be appointed, to be called the House Committee, who shall, under the direction of the Trustees, have the immediate supervision and care of the Church building; they shall also let the pews and sittings in the Church, or secure such subscriptions as may be necessary for Church expenses.

5. Of the Deacons. - They shall assist the Pastor in the administration of the ordinances and in the general supervision of the affairs of the Church; act as a Committee of Inquiry on all propositions for membership; serve as a Committee of Discipline of the Church, visit and administer to the wants of necessitous members of the Church and Congregation; and have authority, with the Pastor, to draw on the Treasurer for means to relieve the distressed, and for Communion expenses.

ARTICLE XI.

CHILDREN AND THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.

1. This Church regards it as the duty of all Christians to present their children for baptism or dedication, and to train them in a consciousness of their Christian obligations; and expects that, at a suitable age, those thus baptized or dedicated in connection with it, will become candidates for confirmation in their Church relations.

2. The second Sunday in June shall be observed as Children’s Sunday, as recommended by the General Convention.

3. The members of this Church shall foster the Sunday School by personal membership or by labor on its behalf.

ARTICLE XII.

STATISTICS.

A Register shall be provided, in which shall be recorded the names of the members and associate members of the Church, with their residences and dates of their reception, withdrawal, or decease; the names of all the families and persons regularly attending upon public worship, as well as those contributing to its support; and all baptisms, dedications, marriages, funerals, etc., performed or attended by the Pastor.

ARTICLE XIII.

DISSOLUTION.

In case of the dissolution of this Parish for any cause, all its property, real or personal, subject to all just and legal claims upon it, shall vest in the [ ] Universalist Convention, to be held in trust for the benefit of a future Universalist Parish in this neighborhood, or for furthering the cause of Universalism in some other way.

ARTICLE XIV.

AMENDMENTS.

These By-Laws may be altered or amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at any regular meeting, provided that due notice has been given of the change provided.

PROFESSION OF FAITH.

Art. I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind.

Art. II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.

Art. III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men.

COVENANT.

Cherishing these truths, we covenant and promise that we will, by the study of the Scriptures, by prayer, and other available helps to Christian culture, earnestly endeavor to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, walking with the Church in love and helpfulness.