[It must be understood that in religious organizations of whatever kind, reference must be had to the requirements of statute law. The following Drafts are submitted for adoption in their present form, only where the statutes will permit. In other cases they should be carefully modified to meet the requirements of state law.]
[The General Convention recommends the following for adoption by State Conventions. Every State Convention should be incorporated, and should obtain power to hold real and personal property to a sufficient amount, and free to transfer the same for its purpose; also to acquire unused property of Universalist parishes in the State.]
ARTICLE I. TITLE.
This body shall be known as The [ ] Universalist Convention.
ARTICLE II. HOW CONSTITUTED.
1. This Convention shall be composed, - i. Of all ordained Universalist Clergymen residing in the State of [ ], duly admitted to its fellowship, and actively engaged unless disabled by years of sickness, in the work of the ministry.
ii. Of the Officers of the Convention.
iii. Of Lay Delegates, to be chosen by the Parishes in its fellowship as shall be prescribed in the By-Laws.
2. This Convention shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members, and [ ] shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; but a less number may adjourn from time to time, and demand the attendance of absentees.
ARTICLE III. POWERS.
1. This Convention is a part of the Universalist Church; acknowledges the ecclesiastical authority of the Universalist General Convention; accedes to and will comply with the Laws established by the said General Convention; and recognizes its obligation to enlist and coöperate in such measures for raising funds, and for fostering and encouraging all the interests of the Church, as the General Convention may adopt or prescribe.
2. Within the limits of the State of [ ], in accordance with, and subject to the laws of the Universalist Church, this Convention shall have jurisdiction over all Universalist Clergymen and denominational bodies; and shall devote special attention to all matters of denominational concern.
ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS.
1. The officers of this Convention shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and [ ] Trustees, who shall together constitute the Executive Committee: - It being provided, That after the first election of Trustees under this Constitution, they shall be divided by lot into three classes - the first, to hold office for one year; the second, two years; the third, three years; and thereafter, [ ] shall be elected annually, to hold office for three years.
There shall also be a Committee of Fellowship, of whom [ ] shall be clergymen, and [ ] laymen.
With the exception of the Trustees as above provided, all these Officers shall be elected annually, and all Officers shall continue in office until their successors are chosen and qualified.
2. Elections shall be by ballot; and in all elections, a majority of votes shall be required to elect.
3. The Executive Committee shall have power to fill all vacancies in their Board, however occasioned, until the next annual Session of the Convention.
ARTICLE V. SESSIONS.
1. This Convention shall meet annually on the [ ] day of [ ] at [ ] o’clock. The place may be fixed by the Convention, or if not so fixed, by the Executive Committee, who shall have power to change the place and time of the meeting when in their judgment a change shall become expedient.
ARTICLE VI. REPRESENTATION IN THE GENERAL CONVENTION.
The Convention shall choose delegates to the Universalist General Convention as prescribed by the laws of the Church.
ARTICLE VII. DISSOLUTION.
In case of dissolution, all the property of this Convention, including funds held in trust or otherwise, shall be transferred to the Universalist General Convention, to be held in trust for the purposes for which they were originally set apart or appropriated.
ARTICLE VIII. AMENDMENTS.
Amendments to this Constitution may be made at any annual Session of the Convention, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present. Provided, that public notice of such proposed amendment shall have been given at least one month previous to such annual session.
I. DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS.
1. Of the President. - He shall preside at all meetings of the Convention and of the Executive Committee, and appoint all Committees unless otherwise ordered.
In his absence the Vice-President shall perform his duties.
2. Of the Secretary. - He shall record the proceedings of the Convention, and of the Executive Committee, and have custody of all the books and papers belonging to the Convention, the case of which is not otherwise provided for, under such regulations as the Convention may prescribe.
He shall give due notice of all Sessions of the Convention and of the Executive Committee, and of all proposed amendments to the Constitution as therein set forth.
He shall give written notice of their appointment to all persons elected, or appointed, to any duty, stating the duty to be preformed.
He shall conduct the correspondence of the Convention, and attest its public acts and all orders drawn upon the Treasurer.
He shall transmit annually to the Secretary of the General Convention the reports in manner and form required by that body; and shall also certify by him the same of the Delegates appointed to the General Convention.
3. Of the Treasurer. - He shall receive all monies belonging to the Convention, pay all orders which may be duly drawn on him, and invest the funds of the Convention as the Executive Committee may direct.
He shall hold the evidences of stock and other property belonging to the Convention.
He shall keep accounts of his transactions in the books of the Convention, and an abstract of said accounts shall be annually laid before the Convention, certified by the Auditing Committee.
The Executive Committee may require of him to give security for the faithful performance of his duties, in such sum as may be deemed proper.
4. Of the Executive Committee. - They shall have the general management of the affairs of the Convention during the recess; and shall have power to adopt all needful measures for promoting its interests.
They shall execute all measures for raising funds which may be authorized by the Convention; direct all investments by the Treasurer; and authorize disbursements.
They shall make due arrangements for the order of proceedings and for the religious meetings at the Sessions of the Convention, subject to its approval.
They shall annually appoint an Auditing Committee, who shall examine the accounts of the Treasurer.
They shall keep a record of their proceedings, and annually report them with such suggestions as to the condition and wants of the Church, as they may deem expedient.
A majority of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.
1. Special Sessions of this Convention may be ordered by the Executive Committee, as such time and place as they may appoint; and they shall call such sessions at the written request of at least one-fifth of the persons who were entitled to seats at the preceding Annual Session.
Public notice of any Special Session, stating its purpose, shall be given by the Secretary, at least three weeks before the time fixed therefor.
The Delegates elected to the preceding Annual Session shall be delegates to any Special Session, unless others have been chosen in their places. The names of such new Delegates shll be certified to the Secretary on or before the day fixed for the Session.
2. During the Sessions of the Convention, all meetings for public religious services shall be under its control, and the aim shall be to foster an interest in its proceedings and in Church work, and to permit nothing that will divert attention from them. At each regular Session the Lord’s Supper shall be administered. Nothing shall be allowed to exclude or remove the Convention from the most commodious and desirable portion of the edifice wherein the Session has been called.
III. LAY DELEGATES.
Each Parish shall be entitled to one lay delegate at the Sessions of this Convention; and for each [ ] families contributing to the Parish expenses to an additional lay delegate. The names of such Delegates shall be reported to the Secretary of this Convention prior to the Session for which they shall have been chosen.
IV. RIGHTS OF COMMITTEES.
Members of Committees, making reports, shall be entitled to the privilees of the floor (except the right vote), whenever their reports are under consideration.
1. At the hour designated for the meeting of the Convention, in the absence of the President and Vice-President, the Secretary, (or in his absence, any member) shall call the meeting to order, and cause the Session to be opened with prayer.
2. The business of the Convention shall thenceforth proceed according to the General Order.
VI. ORDER OF BUSINESS.
1. The Convention having been called to order, the Session shall be opened with prayer.
2. Calling the Roll of Members.
3. Reading the Minutes of the preceding day.
4. Appointment of Committees for the Session.
5. Report of the Treasurer.
6. Report of the Executive Committee.
7. Report of the Committee of Fellowship.
8. Reports of the Committees of the Session.
9. Unfinished Business.
10. Reports of Special Committees.
11. New Business.
12. Before the final adjournment, the records, or such portion thereof as have not been read, shall be read and approved.
1. The following Committees for the Session shall be appointed, each to consist of three members, viz: -
i. On Election, to whom shall be referred the credentials of Delegates, and questions of contested seats.
ii. On Religious Services, who shall superintend the arrangements made by the Executive Committee, and make such others as may be necessary, subject to the approval of the Convention.
iii. On Nomination, who shall report the names of persons for Officers, and for Delegates to the General Convention.
2. The Committee of Fellowship, shall exercise the powers conferred by the laws of the Universalist Church upon such Committees.
Every Parish in the fellowship of this Convention shall contribute each year, according to its ability, in aid of the funds of the Convention and of the General Convention, according to the laws of the said Convention touching this subject.
These By-Laws may be altered or amended at any Session of the Convention, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at each Session.