Sample Parish Constitution
Articles of Incorporation
The name of this Non-Profit organization, by permission of the Primate of The
Evangelical Catholic Church, shall be: (Name of Parish or Mission) Evangelical
This Non-Profit corporation is organized exclusively:
A. For religious, charitable, and educational purposes and as a tax
exempt organization under Section 501(a) and Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provisions of any future federal tax law), including the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code;
B. To hold property in common for such exclusive purpose, acquiring,
holding and utilizing such property and other assets as a subordinate membership unit of and in trust for the central organization, The Evangelical Catholic Church (an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation), which central organization shall have the power and authority of general oversight, supervision and ownership over the property, funds and assets of this organization.
C. To constitute a lawful congregation of believers adhering to the
Symbolical Writings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as received and defined by The Evangelical Catholic Church, and to engage in worship services and other activities toward the greater glory and honor of God in Holy Trinity within the liturgical and sacramental discipline of worship and service and in such text and form as approved by the Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
D. To serve as a subordinate membership unit of The Evangelical
Catholic Church in training the members affiliated with this corporation
to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the principles, attitudes, traditions and doctrine of our Holy Religion by especially promoting the systematic study of The Holy Bible and the Lutheran Confessions and a continual growth in Christian knowledge and grace through the establishment, construction, and maintenance of confraternities, soldalities, worship facilities, schools, publishing houses, multi-media centers, libraries, and radio and television broadcasting systems.
E. To proclaim and propagate the Evangelical Catholic Faith, especially
through the Means of Grace, and to assist, guide, direct, and promote the spiritual
growth and development of all members of the corporation;
F. To print, publish, purchase, sell, and otherwise disseminate Bibles,
books, periodicals, literature, music, and other supplies for The Church and Her
institutions and members.
G. To establish and conduct all such enterprises and endeavors and to
exercise such further powers as may be necessary or expedient to carry out the lawful objects and purposes for which the corporation is organized.
A. The corporation shall have two classes of members:
1. Board of Trustee members, which shall be voting members;
2. Congregational members.
B. Congregational Members
1. Congregational Membership in this organization is open to
any person, male or female, without regard to race or national origin, economic status, age or other personal or economic attributes or status, who has received a valid baptism and chrismation and adheres to the Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, Canons and Confession of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
2. Individuals wishing to affiliate with this corporation
as congregational members are received into fellowship by the Parish Pastor through:
a. Baptism by water in The Name of The Father, The Son, and The
Holy Spirit (if not already validly baptized);
b. Chrismation (if not already validly confirmed);
c. Transfer from another Catholic parish upon receipt of a letter of transfer from the former parish attesting that the prospective member is in a state of saving grace;
d. Renewal of Faith. Lapsed Catholics may be admitted upon showing evidence of a renewal of faith meeting with the Pastor's acceptance.
3. No congregational member shall by virtue of such membership acquire
any right, title, or interest in or to any property belonging to or used by this
4. Congregational membership may be terminated by the Pastor at his
discretion, for cause, and appeal in such cases shall lie to the Ordinary or to the
Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church whose decision shall be final.
5. The Ordinary or Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church may assign individuals to this corporation as congregational members since all lay members of The Evangelical Catholic Church must hold local congregational membership.
C. Board of Trustee Members
1. The business and affairs of this corporation shall be conducted
by a Board of Trustees.
2. The Board of Trustees shall be the only voting members of the corporation.
3. The Board of Trustee members of this corporation shall be:
a. The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, an Arizona
Non-Profit Corporation, ex officio;
b. The Pastor of
the congregation when the congregation has a Pastor, otherwise a Cleric of rank,
named and appointed by the Ordinary;
c. The Ordinary of the
diocese in which this congregation is situated (should the congregation be placed
into a diocese other than that headed by the Primate of The Evangelical Catholic
Church), as Chief Executive Officer;
d. Such other person
or persons, clerical or lay, as shall be named and appointed by the Ordinary.
4. The Board of Trustees shall number no less than the minimum required by the laws of the State in which this congregation is domiciled.
A. This corporation and ecclesiastical organization is to exist perpetually,
and within the subordinate membership and under the general oversight and ownership of The Evangelical Catholic Church, a Non-Profit Corporation registered in the State of Arizona, and none of the funds, property, assets or population of this organization may be alienated therefrom without the prior written permission of The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
B. No part of the net earnings of this corporation shall inure to the
benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, trustees, officers, or other private
persons, except that this corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payment and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article II above. No substantial part of the activities of this corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
1. The funds, property and assets acquired by this corporation
may be used toward the purposes stated herein and within context of the Canons of The Evangelical Catholic Church, Her Articles, By-Laws and administrative, legislative and ecclesiastical Norms, to which this present organization owes its existence, and on the understanding that this corporation is regarded as holding such funds, assets and property in trust for the central organization, The Evangelical Catholic Church, which funds, assets and property shall never be alienated without the prior written consent of The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
2. Should this corporation dissolve, the Board of Trustees, after paying
or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the corporation,
shall secure and convey title and control of all remaining assets to The Evangelical Catholic Church, an Arizona Non-Profit corporation. In no event shall the assets be distributed to any member, trustee or officer of the corporation or any private individual.
3. The Pastor of this congregation, appointed by the Ordinary from a
list of nominees submitted to him by the members of the congregation, is responsible for the spiritual, physical, financial, and administrative welfare of this congregation. He acts under the direct supervision and guidance of the Bishop to whom he is incardinated.
C. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation
shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by (a) a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any corresponding provision of any future federal revenue law or (b) a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding provision of any future federal revenue law.
D. The private property of the incorporators, members, trustees and
officers of the corporation shall be forever exempt from and not liable for, the
debts and obligations of the corporation of any kind whatsoever. The corporation
shall indemnify each person who is or was an incorporator, member, trustee or officer of the corporation against all expenses incurred by them, and each of them, including but not limited to legal fees, judgments and penalties which may be incurred, rendered or levied in any legal action brought against any of them for or on account of any action or omission alleged to have been committed while acting within the scope of employment of the corporation.
E. In all instances the Board of Trustees of this corporation shall
strive to protect the lawful interests of the central organization, The Evangelical Catholic Church, which central organization through its Primate shall exercise at all times a reasonable supervision and control of the affairs ecclesiastical and temporal of this corporation.
© 1993, The Evangelical
Catholic Church, All Rights Reserved
B y - L a w s :
(Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church
In the Name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit. Amen.
Desiring to associate with The Evangelical Catholic Church, an
Arizona Non-Profit Corporation, as a subordinate membership unit, under the spiritual and ecclesiastical direction and government of the Most Reverend Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church; to be bound to and exist perpetually as a subordinate membership unit of the same, both in civil law and ecclesiastical law; accepting and adhering to the Constitution, Canons, Administrative, Legislative and Ecclesiastical Norms and By-Laws, the faith, doctrine and order of The
Evangelical Catholic Church, we the undersigned adopt the following Articles as the By-Laws of this organization, (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church.
Article I: Name & Incorporation
The name of this non-profit organization, by permission of the Primate of
The Evangelical Catholic Church, shall be (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church. The principal office of this non-profit corporation, incorporated under the laws of the State of _____________, is to be located in the City of _______________, in the County of ______________, in the State of _____________.
Article II: Purpose
The purpose of this congregation shall be to proclaim and propagate the Evangelical Catholic Faith, especially through the Means of Grace, to provide pastoral care to its members, to teach the Word of God, to provide for the Christian training of all members, to extend the kingdom of God, and to coöperate in the programs and missions approved by The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Article III: Confession of Faith
(Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church, and every
member, believes and accepts without reservation:
Section 1: The teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Apostles, and
the first Öcumenical Councils of the undivided Church;
Section 2: The prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of The Old and of
The New Testaments as the sole rule and standard according to which all dogma together with all teachers should be estimated and judged (F.C., Ep. 1, Trig. pg. 777);
Section 3: The three Catholic and Öcumenical Creeds as correct
expressionsof the unanimous, universal Christian Faith and confession of the Orthodox and True Church, namely, The Apostles' Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Athanasian Creed (F.C., Ep. 2, Trig. pg. 777);
Section 4: The Symbolical Writings of The Evangelical Catholic
Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of The Word of God, namely, The Unaltered Augsburg Confession, The Apology of The Augsburg Confession, The Smalcald Articles, The Small and Large Catechisms of Dr. Martin Luther, and The Formula of Concord.
Article IV: Parish Organization
Section 1: The business and affairs of this parish, a non-profit organization, shall be managed by the clergyman assigned this function by the Ordinary (the Bishop under whose supervision and control this parish is placed), who shall serve under the guidance and direct supervision of the Bishop to whom he is incardinated.
Section 2: The Pastoral Office
Part a: The Pastor/Vicar is the official representative of the Bishop in his assigned parish.
Part b: In all matters involving Canon law, spiritual function, sacerdotal
rights, privileges, and duties, the Priest is under the direct supervision of the
Bishop to whom he is incardinated.
Part c: When the parish is considered to be self-supporting financially
by the Ordinary, it shall have only one Pastor, generally designated its Rector,
who shall be appointed by the Ordinary from a list of candidates nominated by the
Congregational Membership of (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church.
Part d: When the parish is considered to be a mission (not self-supporting financially), it shall be served by a Priest or Deacon designated its Vicar, who shall be appointed by the Ordinary.
Part e: The Pastor/Vicar, as head of the Parish, is entrusted with the
archives, the Parish Seal, baptismal records and other sacramental records; books, vestments and articles and objects of any and all kind used in the performance of the functions of the parish. The Pastor/Vicar shall:
1. Keep accurate records of all baptisms, marriages, communions,
confirmations, funerals, etc.
2. Submit annual reports to The Ordinary (or more frequently if the Ordinary so directs) of:
Section 3: When deemed appropriate by the Rector, or the Ordinary in the absence of a Rector, and with the Ordinary's approval, there shall be two parish Wardens: a Senior Warden, a Junior Warden.
(i) All Eucharistic celebrations at which he presided or assisted,
giving date, place, attendance, collection, etc.
(ii) Communions taken to the sick, infirm, shut-in, elderly.
(iii) All baptisms, giving pertinent data (e.g., name of baptized, date and place of birth, full legal name of both parents, sponsors'
(iv) All marriages, giving pertinent data and submitting a copy of the marriage certificate.
(v) All sacraments administered, giving all pertinent data.
(vi) All income received, excluding honoraria.
(vii) All disbursements on behalf of the parish.
3. Preside at all parish meetings.
4. Decline all invitations to serve in any capacity in a parish which has a Pastor unless the invitation is issued by the Bishop of the inviting parish.
Part f: As a member of Holy Orders actively engaged in an approved ministry and canonically incardinated to his Ordinary, the Pastor/Vicar shall be entitled to those benefits approved by the Ordinary. Normally his benefits would include: a monthly stipend, residence and other compensation; in case of illness or disability, and in the absence of an insured salary continuation plan, continuation of salary at 100% for three months and at 50% for 30 days thereafter; 15 paid personal vacation days each 12 months; medical/hospitalization insurance, as approved by The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Part g: Any priest assigned to the Parish to assist the Pastor shall
be designated Curate. When more than one priest is assigned to support the Pastor's ministry the priest with the greatest number of years as a priest under the jurisidiction of The Evangelical Catholic Church shall be designated the Senior Curate, the second priest shall then be designated the Junior Curate. Curates shall serve and function within the congregation entirely under the direction and supervision of the Rector, while remainig responsible to their Ordinary in all things.
Part h: The Pastor/Vicar shall visit the home of each parishioner at
least once each year, and shall arrange to visit with each family to bless their
homes during the Epiphany Season.
Part i: The Pastor/Vicar shall restrict his ministry to the confines
of the jurisdiction belonging to the Bishop to which he is incardinated.
1. He is not permitted to invite to this parish any Bishop other
than his own Ordinary and The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, whomsoever that Bishop may be; all such invitations must be directed through the Ordinary, who alone has the right to issue such invitations.
2. The Pastor/Vicar shall not permit clergy from any jurisdiction other
than The Evangelical Catholic Church and jurisdictions with which The Evangelical Catholic Church is in full communion and fellowship to serve in (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church in any capacity without the prior knowledge and written approval of his Ordinary.
3. The Pastor/Vicar is encouraged to affiliate with local ministerial and clergy associations to the extent that such does not involve communio
4. The Pastor/Vicar may accept invitations from clergy of other jurisdictions to preach, give addresses or lectures, or to read Holy Scripture, but in all such instances communio in sacris shall be strictly avoided. On such occasions he should wear clericals or choir vestments, but under no circumstances should he assist at or receive Holy Communion, neither should he
wear the stole or other Eucharistic vestments.
Part a: Wardens shall be chrismated male members in good standing
of the parish.
Part b: The Senior Warden shall be appointed by the Ordinary on the
nomination of the Pastor; when there is no parish Pastor, the Senior Warden shall
be appointed by the Ordinary.
Part c: The Junior Warden shall be appointed by the Pastor; when there
is no parish Pastor, the Junior Warden shall be appointed by the Ordinary.
Part d: Both Wardens shall serve for a term of one year. Ordinarily
no Warden shall be reäppointed more than once in succession to the same office, unless the first appointment was for less than a full year.
Part e: Specific duties of the Senior and Junior Wardens shall be assigned them from time to time by the Rector or Vicar of the parish.
Section 4: To facilitate the realization of its objects and to create
and maintain a sense of Christian unity and fellowship, The Rector (or Ordinary,
when there is no Rector) may establish a Parish Board.
Part a: The Parish Board shall normally consist of the Pastor/Vicar,
the Senior and Junior Wardens, and one or more other lay members of the parish, of either sex, who shall be appointed by the Pastor (or Ordinary when there is no parish Pastor).
Part b: The total membership of the Parish Board shall ideally consist
of one Board member for every twenty-five lay members of the parish, but should not be less than four members when possible.
Part c: The Parish Board is not empowered to act in any sense as a "board of directors;" rather, its purpose is to consult with, advise, and assist the Pastor or Vicar in his work. The Pastor/Vicar shall be Chairman of the Board and the Senior Warden shall serve as the Vice-Chairman. The Pastor/Vicar may appoint a member as Secretary.
Part d: The Parish Board shall meet at the call of the Pastor/Vicar;
no meeting of the Parish Board shall be held without the Pastor's/Vicar's prior knowledge and consent.
Part e: In taking the consensus of the members of the Parish Board,
the presiding officer may, if he so desires, call for a "vote." The Pastor/Vicar, however, shall not be bound by the outcome of such statement of opinion.
Article V: Administration
Section 1: In order to better fulfill its God-given mandate and ministry
and to realize its organizational purposes, (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church shall be a subordinate membership unit of The Evangelical Catholic Church, an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation. It shall be subject to the polity and discipline of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Section 2: In the fulfillment of its purposes as a subordinate membership
unit of The Evangelical Catholic Church, this parish is empowered to:
Part a: Acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, bequest,
purchase, or other lawful means;
Article VI: Congregational Membership
Part b: Hold title to and use its property for any and all activities
consistent with its purpose;
Part c: Sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its
property by any lawful means;
Part d: Enter into contracts;
Part e: Sue and be sued;
Part f: Establish and maintain funds and trusts;
Part g: Accept donations, testamentary legacies and bequests;
Part h: Acquire, hold and use such funds, assets, property and other
income and resources in trust for the central organization, The Evangelical
Catholic Church (an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation), which shall in all instances maintain and exercise a reasonable management and control over the affairs of this subordinate membership unit.
Section 1: Those members of the laity wishing to associate with
(Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church are received into fellowship by the parish Pastor/Vicar through:
Part a: Baptism by water in The Name of The Father, The Son,
and The Holy Spirit (if not already validly baptized).
Part b: Chrismation (if not already validly confirmed). Chrismation
is normally administered immediately after Baptism, but in the case of an adult convert already possessed of valid Baptism but not valid Chrismation, the rite takes place only after regular attendance at a catechetical instruction class in which the doctrine of our Holy Religion is studied and discussed and the convert reaches the point where he can wholly give his free subscription to the doctrinal confession of The Evangelical Catholic Church and (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church as recorded in Article III of these By-Laws.
Part c: Transfer from another Catholic parish upon receipt of a letter
of transfer from the former parish attesting that the prospective member is in a
state of saving grace.
Part d: Renewal of Faith -- lapsed Catholics may be admitted upon showing evidence of a renewal of faith meeting with the Pastor's acceptance.
Section 2: No Congregational Member shall by virtue of membership in
(Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church acquire any right, title, or interest in or to any property belonging to or used by (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church or The Evangelical Catholic Church (an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation).
Section 3: Congregational Membership may be terminated by the Pastor/Vicar at his discretion, for cause and after consultation with his Ordinary. Appeal in such cases shall lie to the Ordinary, whose decision shall be final.
Section 4: The Ordinary and The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church may assign individuals to membership in (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church as Congregational Members since all lay members of The Evangelical Catholic Church must hold local Congregational Membership.
Article VII: Board of Trustee Membership
Section 1: The Board of Trustee members of (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church shall be:
Part a: The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, an Arizona
Non-Profit Corporation, ex officio;
Part b: The Pastor or Vicar of (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church when one has been assigned, otherwise a Cleric of rank, named and appointed by The Ordinary;
Part c: The Ordinary of the diocese in which (Name of Parish or
Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church is situated, as Chief Executive Officer;
Part d: Such other person or persons, clerical or lay, as shall be named
and appointed by The Ordinary.
Section 2: The Board of Trustees shall be charged with the supervision
of all parish property and financial affairs, and to that end it shall:
Part a: Have the custody and control of the corporate property
and make such rules and regulations as it may deem expedient for the maintenance and improvement of the parish property. The Board of Trustees may sell, mortgage, lease, or otherwise convey and dispose of the property of the corporation, but only with the prior written approval of The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Part b: Sign legal documents, make contracts, and represent the parish
in court when necessary.
Part c: Appoint annually from among the Congregational Membership or
its own members the Treasurer of the corporation from a list submitted by the Pastor/Vicar, with full power to remove him, subject to the laws of Christian charity and the lawful interests of the central organization, The Evangelical Catholic Church, which central organization shall exercise at all times a reasonable supervision and control over the ecclesiastical and temporal affairs of this corporation.
Part d: Appoint such officers and committees (e.g., financial
secretary, stewardship committee, etc.) as are necessary to carry out its
duties (including the corporation Secretary when there is no Parish Pastor/Vicar),
subject to review by the central organization.
Section 3: The Pastor/Vicar is primarily responsible for the spiritual,
physical, financial, and administrative welfare of this parish; he establishes the
character of life and goals for (Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church.
Part a: The Pastor/Vicar may organize his parish in any manner
he deems appropriate, with the advise of The Board of Trustees and the permission of his Ordinary.
Part b: He shall serve as the Administrative Officer of The Board of
Trustees and as President of this corporation.
Part c: With the prior consent of the Ordinary, the Pastor/Vicar shall appoint a Board of Trustee Member to serve as Secretary of the corporation, who shall serve in such office until a successor is appointed.
Article VIII: Amendments
Section 1: The Pastor/Vicar (or with the Pastor's consent, the Parish
Board) may formulate and adopt proposed amendments to these By-Laws or to The Articles of Incorporation, which must then be presented by the Pastor/Vicar to The Board of Trustees for approval or rejection.
Section 2: Proposed amendments to these By-Laws or to The Articles of Incorporation, presented by the Pastor/Vicar to The Board of Trustees and receiving The Board of Trustee's approval, shall then be presented to The Primate and The Board of Directors of The Evangelical Catholic Church for final adoption.
Section 3: At least twelve (12) months must elapse between the meeting
of The Board of Trustees which presents a proposed amendment to these By-Laws or to The Articles of Incorporation and the date the approved amendment is promulgated by The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church as effective. At any time during this twelve-month period, The Pastor/Vicar may withdraw his proposed amendment. Once a proposed amendment receives the approval and consent of The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, after consultation with The Board of Directors of The Evangelical Catholic Church, such approved amendment shall then be properly presented by The Board of Trustees of
(Name of Parish/Mission) Evangelical Catholic Church to the appropriate civil authorities for registration.
© 1993, The Evangelical Catholic Church, All Rights Reserved
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