1951 Universalist Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline

THE UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF AMERICA

THE LAWS OF FELLOWSHIP, GOVERNMENT AND DISCIPLINE 1951

Published by The Universalist Church of America

16 Beacon Street, Boston 8, Mass.


THE LAWS OF FELLOWSHIP, GOVERNMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF THE UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF AMERICA

ARTICLE I — CONDITIONS OF FELLOWSHIP

Fellowship in The Universalist Church of America shall be conditioned on acceptance of the general spirit and purpose of the Universalist faith. The Declaration of Principles set forth in Article II of the By-Laws of The Universalist Church of America is intended to indicate its essential nature, but neither that not any other formulary shall be imposed as a creedal test. Any candidate for the ministry, any parish, or any State Convention applying for fellowship, adjudged after suitable examination by a Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction as possessing the essential spirit of the Universalist faith, and acknowledging the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of The Universalist Church of America, may be admitted. Any such admission to fellowship shall carry with it liberty as to statement of the faith as guaranteed by the By-Laws of The Universalist Church of America.

ARTICLE II — COMMITTEES OF FELLOWSHIP

  1. Central Fellowship Committee. The powers of The Universalist Church of America with respect to fellowship shall be exercised by a Central Committee of Fellowship consisting of seven members elected by the General Assembly. At the first election following the adoption of this amendment four members shall be elected for a term of four years and three members shall be elected for a term of two years and thereafter, biennially, three or four members, in accordance with the number of those whose terms expire, shall be elected for a term of four years. Vacancies during a term shall be filled by the Board of Trustees for the balance of the biennium. The Secretary of The Universalist Church of America shall be ex officio the Secretary of the Central Committee of Fellowship.

  2. The powers of a State Convention with respect to fellowship shall be exercised by its Committee of Fellowship. Such Committee shall consist of three, five or seven persons, at the discretion of the State Convention, and a major part of the whole number of any such Committee shall be necessary for decision.

  3. The powers of the Central Committee of Fellowship and of a State Committee of Fellowship are as follows:

    1. To receive applications for License preliminary to Ordination and grant or reject them.

    2. To receive applications for Ordination and consider them, and, if the Committee shall authorize ordination, to appoint the clergyman who shall confer Fellowship, and to issue the certificate of Ordination.

    3. To grant probationary License and full Fellowship to clergymen coming from other Churches, as provided in Article III, Section 5, in the laws of Fellowship.

    4. To receive applications for the License of Lay Preachers, and grant or reject them.

    5. To grant letters of Transfer to clergymen removing to another jurisdiction.

    6. To grant Fellowship upon Letters of Transfer to clergyman removing into their jurisdiction.

    7. To withdraw Fellowship from parishes and clergymen under certain specific circumstances, admitted or proved.

    8. To grant Letters of Dismission and Recommendation to clergyman desiring them.

    9. To readmit to Fellowship clergyman out of Fellowship for causes not affecting moral character.

    10. To readmit to Fellowship clergyman out of Fellowship for causes affecting moral character, in the manner provided by Article V, Section 2, of the Laws of Fellowship.

    11. To act as courts for the trial of charges against parishes or of charges against clergyman of unministerial conduct.

  4. In addition to the powers enumerated in Section 3 of this Article, the Central Committee of Fellowship shall have power:

    1. To exercise original jurisdiction over parishes, clergyman and licentiates not within the jurisdiction of any State Convention.

    2. To withdraw Fellowship from any State Convention which does not fulfill the requirements of the Plan of Organization of the Universalist Church, or which violates the Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline.

    3. To grant Reciprocal Fellowship as provided in Article III, Section 6.

    4. To make rules in the interest of uniform procedure of State Committees of Fellowship.

    5. To act as the first court of appeal from decisions of State Committees of Fellowship.

    6. To exercise original jurisdiction in all cases of dispute between State Conventions or of complaints against a State Convention or its Committee of Fellowship.

    7. To authorize the official list of clergymen and parishes in fellowship with The Universalist Church of America as prepared from current lists of State Committees of Fellowship, and completed by that of the Central Committee where no State Committee exists, and to authorize the official list of State Conventions in fellowship with The Universalist Church of America.

  5. The decisions and regulations of the Central Committee of Fellowship shall be subject to appeal first, to the Trustees of The Universalist Church of America, and then to the General Assembly in session as Last Court of Appeal, and shall be reported to the Secretary of The Universalist Church of America for filing and record.

  6. Committees of Fellowship shall immediately notify the Secretary of The Universalist Church of America, and shall cause public notice to be given, in some paper of general denominational circulation, of all letters and Transfers of Fellowship, of Licenses and of Withdrawals of Fellowship granted by them, and of Licenses expired and terminated, and also immediately notify the Secretary of all applications for License or Fellowship which they have refused.

  7. If in any proceedings instituted under these rules it should be manifestly improper for any member or members of a Committee of Fellowship to act therein by reason of relationship to any of the parties concerned, or from any other cause whatsoever, then the Executive Committee of the State Convention, or the Board of Trustees of The Universalist Church of America, as the case may require, shall appoint in place of the person or persons thus ineligible one or more disinterested persons, who shall, for the purposes of the particular case, act with the remaining members thereof, or in lieu of the regular Committee if all the members are disqualified as above.

  8. Any action of a Committee of Fellowship which is in violation of the laws relating to its powers or of the rules for its government shall be of no effect.

  9. Any state convention desiring to do so may relinquish its rights to grant fellowship, and upon due notice the Central Committee of Fellowship shall assume its functions with full authority to act for it in all matters pertaining to fellowship.

ARTICLE III — ADMISSION TO FELLOWSHIP

  1. Any State Convention organized in accordance with the laws of The Universalist Church of America, applying for fellowship, may be admitted by vote of the General Assembly on recommendation of the Central Committee of Fellowship. Any Parish organized in accordance with the laws of The Universalist Church of America, applying for fellowship, may be admitted by vote of a state Convention or the General Assembly, as the case may be, on recommendation of the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction.

  2. All parishes located in a state in which an organized convention exists and all clergymen and licentiates residing therein shall be subject to the jurisdiction of that state, with the exception, during the period of their assignment, of clergymen assigned to general denominational activities. The action of any State Convention exercising its powers with respect to fellowship shall be considered as granting, refusing or withdrawing the fellowship of The Universalist Church of America, and unless reversed on appeal shall be final. Any parish in a state in which there is no organized convention may petition a nearby state convention to be accepted as subject to its jurisdiction and upon favorable vote of such convention, with the concurrence of the Central Committee of Fellowship, such jurisdiction may be assumed over both such parish and the minister of any such parish, such jurisdiction to continue until the parish, the convention or the Central Committee of Fellowship withdraws such consent.

  3. Upon the removal of any clergyman or licentiate in fellowship from one jurisdiction to another he shall send notice of such change to the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction. This Committee upon receiving such notice or otherwise learning of such removal shall forward to the Fellowship Committee in the new jurisdiction a letter of Transfer of such clergyman or licentiate, of which action advice shall be given him. The letter shall be signed by at least a majority of the members of the Committee that issues it, and any member not signing it shall, at the request of the Committee receiving it, state his reason for not doing so. If the latter Committee after interviewing him, shall be satisfied of his worthiness, it shall grant the said clergyman or licentiate fellowship in the new jurisdiction, and, unless charges are pending, such action shall not be delayed beyond three months.

    If a Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction, after receiving notice of the removal of a clergyman or licentiate from one jurisdiction to another, shall fail to issue a Letter of Transfer to the new jurisdiction within three months, or if the Committee of Fellowship of the new jurisdiction shall fail to not on such letter of Transfer within three months, the Central Committee of Fellowship shall, unless charges are pending, issue a Letter of Transfer and inform the respective Committee of Fellowship involved of the action.

    A Letter of Transfer shall not affect the relationship of a clergyman or licentiate to the jurisdiction by which it was issued until fellowship shall have been granted to him by another jurisdiction, and the committee accepting a Letter of Transfer shall give notice of its acceptance both to the Committee which issued it and to the person affected by it.

  4. Any ordained clergyman except those applying for Reciprocal Fellowship never before in Universalist fellowship who desires admission thereto shall present his written application to the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction, stating his personal faith, ecclesiastical experience, and reasons for seeking the fellowship of the Universalist Church. Notice of such application shall be given to the Central Committee of Fellowship at least thirty days prior to such examination and shall be published in one issue beforehand of a journal of general denominational circulation unless waived by the Central Committee of Fellowship. If, after suitable investigation, the Committee shall adjudge the applicant as possessing the essential spirit of the Universalist faith and the intellectual and spiritual qualities that promise useful service in the Universalist ministry, it may grant him license for one year, but may admit him into full fellowship only after a probationary period of one year.

  5. Any denomination permitting clergymen in the fellowship of The Universalist Church of America to be settled as pastors over its parishes, without surrender of Universalist fellowship, shall be accorded similar recognition by The Universalist Church of America, provided that clergyman availing themselves of this reciprocal fellowship shall have been recommended by the body having jurisdiction over their present fellowship, examined by the Universalist Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction, and shall also be accepted by the Central Fellowship Committee. Clergymen of this denomination availing themselves of such reciprocal fellowship shall not thereby forfeit their fellowship in The Universalist Church of America, it being provided, however, that such clergyman so long as they are pastors of parishes solely in other denominations shall not have the right to hold office in The Universalist Church of America or in a State Convention or the right to vote in the General Assembly or a State Convention; and provided, also, that clergymen in other denominations availing themselves of this privilege who are not pastors of parishes in Universalist Fellowship shall not have the right to hold office in The Universalist Church of America or in a State Convention or the right to vote in the General Assembly or a State Convention. In the case of federated churches, in which Universalists are organic components, clergyman of denominations not granting reciprocal fellowship may be granted a temporary letter of license equivalent in scope to the status enjoyed by the clergyman in his own denomination, renewable annually during his term of Universalist service.

  6. Any union parish formed by the combination of two or more denominational parishes, one of which is in Universalist Fellowship, must re-apply for Universalist fellowship. The parish receiving such fellowship shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of full fellowship provided that all other legal requirements are fulfilled.

ARTICLE IV — WITHDRAWAL OF FELLOWSHIP

  1. Fellowship may be withdrawn by the Fellowship Committee having jurisdiction for violation of or noncompliance with the conditions on which it is given, or for the causes following, viz:
  1. From a State Convention.

For not having at least four active parishes in fellowship or otherwise not fulfilling the Laws of The Universalist Church of America, or for violating the Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline.

  1. From a Parish.
    1. For settling as pastor, a clergyman not in fellowship or who has been refused fellowship or who has been disfellowshipped.

    2. For having less than twenty persons of 21 years or older resident and contributing to the support of the church.

    3. For failing to support no less than four public worship services annually.

  2. From a Clergyman.

    1. For becoming engrossed in secular business unconnected with denominational interests, unless because of ill-health, or advanced years; or engaged in any occupation incompatible with the profession of a Christian minister.

    2. For entering upon ministerial labor under the auspices of, or in Fellowship with, any other denomination, except as provided in Section 6 of Article III.

    3. For settling as pastor over a parish not in Universalist fellowship, or which has been refused fellowship, or from which fellowship has been withdrawn; it being provided that if, in the judgment of the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction, the circumstances in any case are sufficient to justify such a settlement, it shall have power to suspend this rule.

    4. For unministerial conduct, of which he shall confess himself guilty, or be duly convicted.

    5. For the good of the service, without charges and trial, provided that such action shall be taken only on unanimous agreement of the State Fellowship Committee having jurisdiction and with the unanimous agreement of the Central Fellowship Committee. In cases under the direct jurisdiction of the Central Fellowship Committee, such action must be by unanimous agreement of the Committee with the approval of the Board of Trustees of The Universalist Church of America, provided, however, that in the event of the clergyman whose case is under consideration being himself a member of the State Fellowship Committee, or Central Fellowship Committee, or Board of Trustees of The Universalist Church of America, his vote shall not be required for unanimous agreement.

  1. Any clergyman desiring to withdraw from fellowship and giving written notice thereof to the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction shall, if no charges be pending or preferred against him, be entitled to a certificate of good standing provided no reason be known to the Committee why the same should not be issued and notice of such action shall be duly published by the Committee.

ARTICLE V — RESTORATION TO FELLOWSHIP

  1. If any clergyman, after having withdrawn from fellowship or having been disfellowshipped for any other reason than reasons affecting his moral character, should desire restoration, he shall make written application to the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction, stating his place of residence, and all the facts of the case, and promising compliance with the conditions of Fellowship hereinbefore set forth; whereupon the Committee shall proceed, as is hereinbefore provided in Article II, Section 3.

  2. Any clergyman who is out of fellowship for reasons affecting his moral character may be restored by the following steps, provided that not less than three years have elapsed since his fellowship ceased, and that during the whole time he has conformed to the Laws of The Universalist Church of America, and has maintained a good moral character. He shall make written application to the Committee of Fellowship from which he withdrew or by which he was disfellowshipped. If, on due inquiry, such Committee shall be convinced that the best interests of the church will thereby be served it shall restore him to fellowship subject to appeal as herein provided and shall report its action to the Secretary of The Universalist Church of America.

ARTICLE VI — LETTERS OF LICENSE

  1. Letters of License, intended to be preliminary to ordination, for the term of one year, subject to renewal or revocation, authorizing such licentiates to preach, and, with the approval of the Central Committee of Fellowship, to administer Christian ordinances, may be granted by Committees of Fellowship having jurisdiction to such candidates as on due examination may be deemed worthy, provided they shall file with the Committee a certificate of membership in some Universalist church, and their assent to the faith of the Universalist Church.

  2. Probationary Letters of License for one year, subject to renewal or revocation, may be granted by Committees of Fellowship having jurisdiction to ordained clergyman not in Universalist fellowship who desire admission thereto, as provided in Article III, Section 5, of the Laws of Fellowship.

  3. Letters of License as Lay Preacher, authorizing such licentiates to preach, may be issued by Committees of Fellowship having jurisdiction for periods of three years, subject to renewal or revocation, to laymen who are members of a Universalist church and who apply therefor; provided that the church of which the applicant is a member and its pastor, or some department board of The Universalist church of America shall request in writing the granting of such a license, and provided, also, that the Committee acting shall, by examination, be satisfied of his fitness for the preacher’e office and of his acceptance of the spirit of the Universalist faith.

  4. In cases where circumstances may make it inconvenient or impracticalbe [sic] for a Committee of Fellowship to conduct directly an examination of a candidate for license, the Committee may appoint a special commission for that purpose, which shall report its findings and recommendations on which the Committee may act.

  5. Licenses under this Article shall be issued only to residents of the jurisdiction granting them, but they may be transferred upon removal of the licentiate to another jurisdiction, and shall remain in effect it the transfer be accepted by the Committee of Fellowship of the new jurisdiction. All licentiates shall, for purposes of membership in the General Assembly, be regarded as laymen.

ARTICLE VII — ORDINATION

  1. Ordination to the Christian ministry may be conferred on application by a parish for the ordination of a pastor-elect, or on a candidate’s personal application, by the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction. The Committee shall examine the candidate as to his fitness in purpose, character, training and ability for the ministry. The candidate shall submit a personal statement of his religious history and experience, controlling faith and motive, his reasons for seeking the ministerial fellowship of the Universalist Church, and such other matters as the Central Committee of Fellowship may prescribe. If, after such examination, notice of which shall have been given to the Central Committee of Fellowship at least thirty days prior to such examination, and shall have been published in one issue beforehand of a journal of general denominational circulation, unless waived by the Central Committee of Fellowship, the candidate shall be adjudged as possessing the essential spirit of the Universalist faith, the intellectual equipment and the personal and spiritual qualities which give promise of useful service in the ministry, the Committee shall authorize his ordination and appoint some clergyman in the Universalist fellowship to confer the fellowship of The Universalist Church of America at the time of the ordination service.

  2. An Ordination Vow of faithfulness to the Christian ministry and to the Universalist Church shall be included in the service of ordination. The following is suggested: "In the presence of Almighty God and this congregation I pledge my service to the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as proclaimed by the Universalist Church; and I promise a cheerful support of its laws. and constituted authorities."

  3. No candidate shall be ordained who has not served as a licentiate of the Universalist Church for at least one year, as provided in Article VI, Section 1, of the Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline. This year shall have been spent continuously in study with sufficient pastoral service or experience to satisfy the requirements of the Fellowship Committee. In the case of a candidate who has held a license as Lay Preacher for at least one year the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction shall have power to determine whether or not the service rendered by such a licentiate may be accepted as meeting the requirements of this Section.

  4. In cases where circumstances may make it inconvenient or impracticable for a Committee of Fellowship to conduct directly on examination of a candidate for ordination, the Committee may appoint a special commission for that purpose, which shall report its findings and recommendations on which the Committee may act.

  5. The educational requirement approved as desirable for ordination to the ministry of the Universalist Church is graduation from an approved college or university requiring four years of study and the completion of a minimum of ninety hours’ credit in theological subjects in an approved theological school.

  6. No candidate shall be ordained without satisfying one of the following requirements:

    1. He shall comply with the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article in institutions approved by the Central Committee of Fellowship.

    2. He shall have received from the Central Committee of Fellowship a certificate that in its opinion he has received an education substantially equivalent to graduation from Tufts or St. Lawrence University and to the successful completion of ninety hours of work in Tufts School of Religion or Canton Theological School.

    3. He shall have appeared before a special committee appointed by the Fellowship Committee having jurisdiction and approved by the Central Committee of Fellowship, been examined in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Central Committee of Fellowship, and the report in writing of the result of such examination shell satisfy both the Fellowship Committee having jurisdiction and the Central Committee of Fellowship that the candidate possesses the intellectual equipment and development deemed advisable and necessary for useful and successful service in the ministry.

    PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that the requirements of this Paragraph No. 6 shall not apply as to any person who on or prior to September 14, 1947 held a Letter of License as provided in Article VI, Section I above, or who on or before said data shall have studied in a theological school approved by the Central Committee of Fellowship.

ARTICLE VIII — DISCIPLINE

  1. Every clergyman shall be amenable to the ecclesiastical body in which he holds fellowship, and his removal shall not affect its authority over him until he has been formally admitted to fellowship in the jurisdiction to which he has removed.

  2. No clergyman shall be installed, or formally recognized, as the pastor of a parish, except as hereinafter provided, until he shall have been granted the fellowship of the jurisdiction in which said parish exists.

  3. A clergyman may be the pastor of several parishes in the same State, or in different States; but he must have the fellowship of the jurisdiction in which he resides.

  4. Any clergyman in fellowship in any State and desiring to take charge of a parish in an adjoining State shall be at liberty to do so, provided he shall file with the Secretary of the Committee of Fellowship of the latter State a certificate of his fellowship and good standing from the Secretary of the Committee of Fellowship in whose jurisdiction he resides.

  5. The several Committees of Fellowship are hereby respectively constituted tribunals for the adjudication of all complaints made to them against any clergyman or parish within their jurisdiction. After an impartial hearing of the cause, conducted in accordance with the mode of procedure hereinafter provided, it shall be the duty of said Committee to acquit, admonish, or withdraw fellowship, as in their judgment. the merits of the case may demand. Their action shall be final, except as provided in cases of appeal; and they shall make a full report thereupon to the ecclesiastical body under whose authority they act, at its next session.

  6. Bill of Complaint. All complaints or charges preferred against a clergyman or parish shall be made in writing, and entitled the Bill of Complaint. Said Bill shall be divided into distinct paragraphs, consecutively numbered, each paragraph embracing, as far as practicable, a single charge or cause of complaint. The Complainant shall file the Bill of Complaint with the chairman of the proper Committee of Fellowship, and shall also serve a copy thereof upon the party defendant. Any state committee of fellowship receiving such a Bill of Complaint shall promptly notify the Central Fellowship Committee thereof.

  7. Answer. The Defendant shall within such time as may be fixed by the Committee, but in any event not less than thirty days, after the date of the service upon him of the Bill of Complaint, file with the chairman of the Committee his answer thereto in writing, and shall also serve a copy thereof upon the Complainant. Said answer shall also be divided into distinct paragraphs, and reply to each paragraph of the Bill of Complaint. Failure to file answer within the time so fixed may be deemed an admission of the truth of the allegations in the complaint.

  8. Hearing. At or after the due date for filing the reply pleading, the Committee may either forthwith decide the case on the basis of the pleadings if the Committee finds them to be complete, or after a hearing at which parties not in default for failing to plead, may be heard, if the parties so request, or if the Committee thinks it necessary. The Committee shall fix a convenient time and place for the hearing, of which due notice shall be given to the parties Complainant and Defendant, and whereat the said parties, with counsel, if desired, shall appear, and the cause be duly heard. If, however, either or both parties desire to offer testimony, either may give notice thereof to the Committee. Said Committee shall, with as little delay as possible, appoint a competent Examiner to take the testimony, and shall notify the parties of such appointment.

  9. Conduct of Hearing by the Examiner. The Examiner, having arranged with the parties as to a convenient time and place therefor, shall proceed to take the testimony of all the witnesses produced before him, and such examination shall be private. The Complainant shall first produce all his testimony, and when he has closed, the Defendant shall in like manner produce his testimony. After which the Complainant may, if he desires it, offer testimony in rebuttal; and the Defendant may also offer testimony in surrebuttal. The witnesses shall be examined by the parties or their counsel. All the testimony shall be taken in writing. The depositions shall be signed by the respective witnesses, and be attested by the Examiner. Every document or paper offered in evidence shall be noted by the Examiner, and marked by him for identification, as Exhibit 1, 2, etc. If any evidence offered shall be objected to, the Examiner shall note the objection and the grounds thereof, and rule upon its admissibility. Either party may appeal from his decision to the Committee, as provided in the previous section. The Committee shall fix a convenient time and place for the final hearing, of which Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction and in case of such appeal from the exclusion of evidence, the nature of the proposed evidence and the grounds of objection thereto and of the decision of the Examiner shall be entered by him briefly on the record.

    9a. In its discretion the Committee may dispense with an Examiner and itself conduct such hearing as it deems necessary.

  10. Hearing on Appeal. Upon the termination of the hearing before the Examiner, he shall fasten together all the depositions and exhibits, and forthwith certify and transmit the same to the Secretary of the Committee. The Committee shall fix a time and place for a hearing upon questions raised by appeal from the decision of the Examiner, and if necessary shall result the case to him for the purpose of taking such testimony excluded by him as the Committee shall deem competent to the issue.

  11. Final Hearing. Upon the completion of the testimony the same shall be transmitted by by the Examiner to the secretary of the Committee, as provided in the previous section. The Committee shall fix a convenient time and place for the final hearing, of which due notice shall be given to the parties, and whereat the said parties, with counsel, if they desire it, shall appear, and the cause be duly heard.

  12. Decision. After the final hearing, the Committee shall proceed to certify in writing what facts they find to be proved, and their decision in the case; a copy of which finding and decision shall be at once transmitted to both the Complainant and Defendant. In case the fellowship of the Defendant be suspended or withdrawn, and no appeal to the Central Fellowship Committee be taken within the time prescribed by the laws regulating appeals, the Committee shall cause such sentences of suspension or withdrawal of fellowship to be published in at least one denominational paper.

  13. In case an appeal be taken to the Central Fellowship Committee which must be within thirty days after the decision is rendered, the Appellant shall certify the grounds of his appeal to the Secretary of that Committee at the time of taking his appeal. The said Secretary shall notify the Secretary of the Committee having jurisdiction that such appeal has been taken, and require it to send up the whole record of the case, comprising the Bill of Complaint, the Answer, the testimony, and the findings and decision of the Committee.

  14. If disputes or difficulties should arise between parishes or between a parish and its pastor, or between parishes and clergyman, or between clergyman, which the parties themselves shall be unable to arrange, the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction shall have power to inquire into the facts, and endeavor amicably to settle the case. If an amicable adjustment cannot be effected, or the case involves the necessity for censure, or withdrawal or suspension of fellowship, either party may file a Bill of Complaint, or Cross Bills may be filed by both parties, and the cause be proceeded with as hereinbefore provided.

  15. In case of rumors unfavorable affecting, the reputation of a clergyman[,] the Convention having jurisdiction, or the Trustees of The Universalist Church of America, as the case may be, shall consider their nature, and, if they deem them injurious to the Church, and the proceeding expedient, shall appoint some suitable person or persons to prefer charges and prosecute the same before the Committee of Fellowship having jurisdiction.

  16. Procedure in cases arising under Art. II, Sec. 14 (b) and Art. II, Sec. 4; (f) shall follow as far as practicable the course above set fourth.

  17. The General Superintendent shall be entitled to appear in beheld of The Universalist Church of America before any Committee of Fellowship, and to enter and prosecute an appeal from any decision of such Committee.

ARTICLE IX — APPEALS

  1. Parties aggrieved by any decision of a Committee of Fellowship shall have the right of appeal as provided in Article II, Section 4 and 5, of the Laws of Fellowship[,] Government and Discipline.

  2. An appeal from the decision of a lower court, to be allowed, must be taken within thirty days of the time at which such decision was rendered, and must be accompanied by a bond, with sufficient sureties, or by cash deposit, the amount to be determined by the Central Fellowship Committee, for the payment of the costs of the Court, if the appeal be not sustained. Notice of appeal shall be sent at once by the Secretary of the Committee of Fellowship from whose decision the appeal is taken, which shall have the effect to suspend the sentence pronounced by its court until reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal.

  3. Appeals shall be taken by notifying the body which made the decision and the opposing party or parties, and shall be perfected within such time thereafter as either the body or the appellate board may by order fix, and in any event not less than thirty days, by the appellant’s filing with the appellate body a statement of the case of his reasons for appeal, accompanied with the original documents or copies thereof which were filed in the lower court, and a copy of the decision of the lower court. The appellate body shall fix the time for hearing or for the submission of arguments, giving the parties reasonable opportunity to be heard; and shall promptly thereafter render its decision.

ARTICLE X — RECORDS

  1. Every Parish shall provide a book or register, to known as the Church Register, which shall be in the custody of the Pastor, Secretary, or other officer as may be found convenient, in which shall be recorded with particularity all Dedications of Children, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Funerals performed or attended in the Parish by the Pastor, or other minister; also, a list of Church Members, with the date of admission, transfer withdrawal, or decease.

  2. Every clergyman not in pastoral charge shall also keep a similar record of like services performed by him.

  3. If a clergyman be engaged in pastoral duties only a part of his time or be the Pastor of more than one Parish, he shall be careful to see that all services above named, which may be performed by him as Pastor, are entered upon the proper records, and that those which he performs outside of such pastoral charge are entered upon his own Register, as provided in the preceding section, in order that all such services may be duly reported, and yet not be reported twice.

  4. Every Parish shall also provide a book or register, to be known as the Parish Register, in which shall be recorded that names of the qualified voters of the Parish, with their residences and the dates of the reception, withdrawal or decease, and also the names of the families and persons regularly attending upon public worship. And it shall be the duty of every Pastor carefully to continue such record from time to time, for the use of himself and his successors.

ARTICLE XI — MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Our Divinity Schools, as a condition of receiving the benefits of our Scholarship system, shall instruct their students in the laws and rule of the Universalist Church.

  2. Every State Convention shall furnish the Secretary of The Universalist Church of America with a copy of its Charter, Constitution and By-Laws, and thereafter with a copy of all amendments thereto.

  3. In case of the removal of e member or members from one Parish to other territory, it shall be the duty of the Pastor or Parish Clerk to give notice of such removal to the Pastor or Clerk of the Parish into whose territory such removal is made.

  4. It shall he the duty of all clergymen and Parishes to institute and foster churches, and to establish and maintain Sunday Schools in all practicable cases. And wherever Sunday Schools exist it shall be the duty of all concerned in their control to seek to make them efficient as Schools of Christian Doctrine, in order that children baptized into the faith of the Universalist Church may be educated in the principles and doctrines thereof, and thus be trained and prepared for confirmation and church membership.

  5. In every church the Communion of the Lord‘s Supper shall be statedly observed at such times as the laws thereof prescribe; and at every such service all persons present, whether members or not, who may feel. it to be a duty or a privilege to do so, shall be invited to participate.

ARTICLE XII

Fellowship in The Universalist Church of America shell confer the right to interpret the general purpose and spirit of the Universalist faith as sanctioning refusal or all forms of military service if such refusal be based on conscientious grounds.

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