Corner of 10th and Main
Osseo, Wisconsin 54758
Revised January 2016, updated January 2018
Article I – Name
The name of this church shall be “The United Church of Christ (Congregational) of Osseo, Wisconsin”. This church is subject to the laws of the State of Wisconsin relating to corporations not for profit.
Article II – Purpose
The purpose of this church shall be to worship God; to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to celebrate the Sacraments; to realize Christian Fellowship and unity within this church; to render loving service toward humanity; and to strive for righteousness, justice, and peace.
Article III. Polity
The government of this church is vested in its members who exercise the right of control in all its affairs, subject, however, to the laws of the state of Wisconsin relating to corporations not for profit.
This church shall be part of the United Church of Christ, and shall sustain that relationship to the United Church of Christ Northwest Association of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Conference.
This church will use the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ adopted July 4, 1961, and its extensions and interpretations as specified by the Wisconsin Conference and Northwest Association as the basis for its services and operations.
Article IV – Faith and Covenant
Section 1 – Faith
This church acknowledges as its sole head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of humankind. It acknowledges as brothers and sisters in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own. In accordance with the teachings of our Lord and the Practice prevailing among Evangelical Christians, it recognizes two Sacraments: Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
One expression of this Faith is the “Statement of Faith” approved by the Second General Synod of the United Church of Christ, July 9, 1959; or as amended by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ.
Section 2 – Covenant
We covenant with one another to seek and respond to the Word and the Will of God and to walk in the ways of the Lord, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the church to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while worshipping God, and striving for truth, justice, and peace. As did our fathers and mothers, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life
Through the adoption and implementation of Safe Sanctuary Procedures, we proactively strive to provide a safe sanctuary for all people in all areas of our congregational life. The Safe Sanctuary Procedures, adopted January 28, 2007, specify the complete set of procedures.
Article V. Membership
Section 1 – Qualifications
Membership in this church is open to all individuals who have been baptized, confirmed, or have made public confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Ministry of Outreach and Engagement will be responsible for making arrangements to receive individuals desiring membership and assist the pastor in preparing the individuals for membership. The pastor shall confirm that the individuals are qualified for membership. New members will be welcomed into membership at a worship service.
Section 2 – Responsibilities
Members shall pledge themselves to attend the regular worship services of the church and the celebration of the church and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; to live the Christian life; to share in the life and work of the church; to contribute to its support and benevolences; and to seek diligently the spiritual welfare of the membership and the community.
Section 3 – Privileges
Only members of the church may be elected to offices or positions on ministry boards of the church.
Section 4 – Transfer
Any member may, on his/her own request, be granted a letter of transfer to join a body not in fellowship with this church, and he/she will be removed from membership.
Section 5 – Termination
a. Member Termination By Request
If, because of change of faith or for other reasons not involving unchristian conduct, a member requests in writing to be released from his/her membership obligations, the church shall patiently endeavor to secure his/her continuance in its fellowship; but failing in such effort, the church may grant the request and terminate his/her membership. Such request shall be approved by the Pastor and the Council.
b. Member Inactivity
A member whose address has long been unknown, or who for a period of one year, has not attended the church’s worship services or contributed to its support, may be removed from the membership roll.
Before this is done, the Church Council will send a letter to the member to confirm that the member is not interested in continuing.
Students, away at school, who have active families, may stay on the membership roll until after they graduate.
c. Inappropriate Behavior by a Member
If a member persistently breaches his/her covenant vows, he/she will be given notice and offered a hearing before the Ministry of Outreach and Engagement. This Board and the pastor will make an effort to cause him/her to correct their inappropriate covenant actions. This Board may terminate his/her membership.
Section 6 – Restoration of Membership
If a member was terminated and then wanted to return, he/she would not be required to rejoin, but would need to meet with the pastor to be approved to rejoin, and then be re-installed.
Article VI. – Governing Body
The governing body of this church shall be the membership assembled in church meeting. A quorum shall consist of 10% of the membership. The vote of two-thirds of the ballots shall be the action of the church. There shall be no voting by proxy. If an absentee ballot is requested, application must be made to the Council 15 days before the meeting.
The Council quorum shall consist of a majority of the Council membership. A majority vote of the members present shall be the decision of the Council.
Article VII. Council
The Council shall be the executive body of this church. It shall be composed of the Pastor, the Moderator, the Clerk, the Financial Secretary, the Treasurer, the Secretary, and the Chairman of each of the following Boards:
The Ministry of Christian Education, The Ministry of Church Property, The Ministry of Mission, The Ministry of Outreach and Engagement, The Ministry of Stewardship, Women’s Fellowship and Ministry, and The Ministry of Worship Service.
The council shall organize itself each year as soon as possible after other boards have met and chosen their officers. The Moderator shall act as chairperson of all meetings. The clerk shall act as secretary and keep all minutes. The council shall elect a vice moderator.
When elected, officers of the church shall be installed at a worship service, the following Sunday after election.
The council shall fill vacancies on the council.
In addition to the stated Boards and Committees, the Council shall appoint such other committees, as it may deem necessary.
The Council shall be the policy-making body and shall transact the business of the church, make provision for determining and raising of the current expense budget as well as for Our Church’s Wide Mission and Benevolences, and provide for the auditing of the financial accounts of the church. All acts and deliberations of the Council are subject to the will of and revision of the governing body of the church.
The Council may authorize any extraordinary expenses if funds are available, but if borrowing exceeds $1,000.00 it must receive the approval of the governing body of the church.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the responsibility and authority for implementing policy, making financial decisions, managing all operations, and making church business decisions shall reside with the Council.
Article VIII – Boards
Section 1 – General Provisions
Each board shall have the right to organize itself into committees, assign duties among its members to carry out its responsibilities, and invite other members and friends of the church to serve on its committees.
Minutes of all board meetings shall be recorded and submitted to the Clerk in a timely manner for archiving and distribution to other boards and officers, as appropriate.
Each board, except for Women’s Fellowship and Ministry, shall have 3-year terms for its members, with over-lapping terms such that 1/3 of its members are elected annually by the church membership.
When elected, members of the various boards shall be installed at a worship service, the following Sunday after election.
Each board may invite others to serve on their board as non-elected volunteers.
Section 2 – Ministry of Christian Education
The Ministry of Christian Education shall consist of 9 members. They shall have general supervision and responsibility for programs and materials of the Church School including Vacation Bible School, Confirmation, selection of Church School Superintendent, and other officers as required of Church School, Youth Groups, Bible Camp, and other activities related to the Christian Education program at the church.
Section 3 – Ministry of Church Property
The Ministry of Church Property shall consist of 6 members. These trustees shall have the care and custody of the property of the church as a sacred trust, whether real or personal, in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation and Constitution.
Section 4 – Ministry of Missions
The Ministry of Missions shall consist of 6 members. The primary duty of this board is to educate the membership with regard to missions and promote programs with emphasis along these lines in all departments of the church’s life.
Section 5 – Ministry of Outreach and Engagement
Membership voted to abolish this committee at the Annual Meeting January 21, 2018. The work will continue to be done by a small group of members who are interested in maintaining the programming.
Section 6 – Ministry of Stewardship
Members voted to abolish this committee at the Annual Meeting, January 22, 2017.
Section 7 – Women’s Fellowship and Ministry
The Women’s Fellowship and Ministry board is organized at the discretion of the women of the church. The women of the church shall determine the purpose, activities, programs, and services of this board.
Section 8 – Ministry of Worship
The Ministry of Worship shall consist of 10 members. This board shall concern itself with the spiritual life of the church, counsel with the minister in regard to services of worship and assist in all areas where lay leadership is desired or required. Members of this board shall provide the elements for the Lord’s Supper and, when invited by the pastor, shall aid in their distribution. Members of this board shall take heed to the high calling of their office, guarding faithfully all the spiritual interests of the church maintaining order in the House of God, visiting the sick, and ministering to the edification and comfort of all.
Article IX – Pastor
It shall be the duty of the Pastoral Search committee appointed by the Council, to seek a candidate for a vacancy in the office of Pastor.
As soon as pastoral vacancy occurs, it shall be reported to the Association Minister.
In filling a vacancy or in searching supply ministers for the period of vacancy, the Pastoral Search Committee may seek the counsel of the Association Minister.
The Pastoral Search Committee shall present to the church the name of the candidate it recommends to fill the vacancy. A two-thirds affirmative vote of the church members present constitutes a call.
In the call, the terms of the relationship shall be stated, including the agreement of the church to participate in the Pension Fund of the United Church of Christ, the Ministers Health Insurance Program, and other terms agreed upon between the candidate and the committee. The minister, the church, the Association Minister shall each receive a copy of the call.
When a minister accepts a call to this church, the church and he/she shall join in requesting the Association arrange for a service of installation.
The Pastor shall be elected for an indefinite period. In order to terminate this relationship, three month’s notice shall be given by either the church or the pastor.
When either the church, by action of the governing body, or the pastor decides to terminate the relationship, the moderator shall send notice of such decision to the Association Minister for the appropriate action.
The minister shall be a non-voting member of all boards and committees of the church.
Article X – Property
The church may, in its corporate name, sue or be sued, acquire by purchase, gift devise, bequest or otherwise own, hold, invest, reinvest, or dispose of property both real and personal for such work as the church may undertake, and may purchase, own, receive, hold, manage, care for and transfer, rent, lease, mortgage or otherwise encumber, sell, assign, transfer and convey such property for the general purpose of the church; it may receive and hold in trust both real and personal property and invest and reinvest and hold in trust both real and personal property and invest and reinvest the same and make contracts for promoting the objects and purposes of the church.
Upon dissolution of the church, its assets and all property and interests of which it shall then possess, including any devise, or otherwise, shall be transferred to the Northwest Association, Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Article XI – Church Meetings
The Annual Meeting of the church shall be held on a date selected by the Council. At this meeting, the Council, each of the Boards, the officers of the church, the Pastor, and all church organizations shall submit their annual reports in writing. The Secretary shall send adequate notice of such meeting to the membership of the church at least ten days prior to the meeting.
Nomination for membership on the various boards and general offices of the church to be voted upon at the annual meeting of the congregation shall be made by the existing committee at least 30 days before the annual meeting. Letter shall give public notice of such nominations at least 2 weeks before the election. Other nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting at which the election is held.
Special church meetings may be called by the Council or by a petition to the Council signed by not less than 5% of the members of the church or by the Pastor and Moderator. The Council shall call a petition-requested meeting within three weeks from receipt of the petition and adequate notice of such meeting shall be sent to the membership of the church by the Secretary at least ten days prior to meeting.
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by the constitution and bylaws.
Article XII – Church Finances
The Council shall have an annual authority to use undesignated estate or other funds, if available, beyond regular giving for the needs of the church in an amount up to 10% of the annual budget.
Article XIII – Standing Committees
The purpose, duration, size, and appointment to serve on the
Standing Committees, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the constitution and
bylaws shall be the responsibility of the Council. The committees include, but are not limited
Safe Sanctuary Coordinator
Section 1 – Safe Sanctuary Coordinator
The Safe Sanctuary Coordinator (SSC) will server a three-year term. The SSC will be responsible for the background checks and applications for volunteers and staff who work with children or youth.
Section 2 – Advocacy Panel
The Advocacy Panel will consist of three unrelated adults (they must not be all the same gender). The Advocacy Panel will include the Moderator, the Vice-Moderator and the Church Treasurer, who will serve overlapping three-year terms, be appointed by the Ministry of Christian Education and approved by the Church Council. The Advocacy Panel will be responsible for the responses to any allegations of misconduct, coordinating investigations with Social Services, and documenting the Panel’s activity.
Section 3 – General
The Safe Sanctuary Procedures specifies the detailed responsibilities for the SSC, the Advocacy Panel, and the Pastor.
Section 4 – Personnel Committee
Membership voted to abolish this committee at the Annual Meeting, January 21, 2018. The church secretary will be evaluated and given guidance by the Pastor and the Moderator. The Trustee’s will give the Janitor guidance, but the Pastor will do evaluation with input from the Trustee’s.
Article XIV – Specified Funds
The separately established specified funds include: the Endowment Fund, the Memorial Fund, the Designated Gifts Fund, and the Un-Designated Gifts Fund. The accountability for these funds and the amounts put into and distributed from these accounts will be managed and tracked as specified in the following sections. The purpose of these funds is to enhance the mission and outreach of this church, apart from the general operation of the church, except as specifically noted within this Constitution and Bylaws.
The gifts to the church and its mission that are to be added to these funds may come from a variety of sources, including: bequests in wills, charitable remainder and other trusts, charitable gift annuities, assignment of life insurance, and transfers of property (cash, stocks, bonds real estate); and other gifts beyond regular pledge and general offering gifts. These gifts will be added to the appropriate fund as described the following sections.
Gifts that are identified by the giver for the Endowment Fund will be put into this Fund. Additions to this Fund are added to the Endowment Fund principal and are not to be specified for any particular purpose.
All principal amounts will be retained and only the income will be expended.
The Endowment Fund Committee shall consist of 3 members, and it shall be the custodian of this Fund. The committee shall have 3-year terms for its members, with over-lapping terms such that 1/3 of its members are elected annually by the church membership.
The Committee shall report on an annual basis to the governing body and shall render a full and complete audited account of the administration of the Fund during the preceding year.
The Committee may request other members of the congregation to serve as advisory members and, at the expense of Endowment Fund income, may provide for such professional counseling on investments or legal matters as it deems to be in the best interest of the Fund.
Other than a savings account or a certificate of deposit, recommendations to hold, sell, exchange, rent, lease, transfer, convert, invest, reinvest, and in all other respects to manage and control the assets of the Fund, including stocks, bonds, debentures, mortgages, notes, or other securities, as in their judgment and discretion they deem wise and prudent, are to be made by the Committee for approval by the governing body, with subsequent execution by the delegated members of the Committee.”
Income from this Fund shall be distributed as deemed necessary and/or feasible to accomplish the following purposes:
For capital improvements, debt reduction, or building program of the United Church of Christ, Congregational, Osseo.
For scholarships or grants to members of the United Church of Christ, Congregational, Osseo for the purpose of attending college, seminary, nursing or medical school; for church-related camping or leadership conferences; or such other training which enables members of this congregation to grow in the Christian faith and service to God’s people.
For outreach into the community including, but not limited to, grants to colleges, seminaries, social service agencies, institutions and agencies to which this congregation relates, and to special programs designed for those persons in our parish area who are in spiritual and/or economic need.
For the wider mission to the denomination at home and overseas, including, but not limited to, grants for new church development, professional leadership educational ministries, world mission, and capital financing, as well as ecumenical ministries.
Only in particular, temporary, difficult circumstances, may the congregation, by action in an announced meeting, use a portion of the Fund income for its own support services.
Memorial Gifts, as identified by the giver, will be put into this Fund. Accountability of gifts added to this Fund will be managed and distributed according to the giver’s intentions. Memorial Fund gifts that are not designated for a specific purpose will be expended for use as determined by the governing body, as recommended by the Memorial Fund Officer.
The Memorial Fund Officer shall report on an annual basis to the governing body and shall render a full and complete audited account of the administration of the Fund during the preceding year.
Designated Gifts Fund
Gifts, as identified by the giver, for a specific purpose and not identified as an endowment gift and not identified as a memorial gift, will be put into this Fund. Accountability of gifts added to this Fund will be managed and distributed according to the giver’s intentions, by the Church Treasurer, in coordination with the Council.
The Church Treasurer shall report on an annual basis to the governing body and shall render a full and complete audited account of the administration of the Fund during the preceding year.
Un-Designated Gifts Fund
Gifts, not identified by the giver for a specific purpose and not identified as an endowment gift and not identified as a memorial gift, will be put into this Fund. Accountability of gifts added to this Fund will be managed and distributed by the Church Treasurer, in coordination with the Council.
For amounts to be expended from this Fund in excess of 10% of the Church’s annual budget, the Treasurer, in coordination with the Council, will make a recommendation to the governing body at an announced meeting. The governing body must authorize such expenditure.
The Church Treasurer shall report on an annual basis to the governing body and shall render a full and complete audited account of the administration of the Fund during the preceding year.
Revised Constitution and Bylaws
This revised Constitution and Bylaws, recommended by the council and accepted by the congregation at a legally called congregational meeting, is hereby adopted.
United Church of Christ (Congregational) Osseo, Wisconsin
By: /s/ Rollie Colby Moderator and
/s/ Virginia Kittelson Clerk
Dated this 27th day of January 2008,
Updated this 17th day of January 2016, Updated this 23rd day of January 2018