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Constitution and Code

Article 1. Name
Section 1. The name of this Church shall be First Congregational United Church of
Christ, hereinafter called “Church.” This Constitution and Code of Regulations is adopted
pursuant to Section 1702.11 of the Ohio Revised Code for the Church, a non-profit
corporation organized in accordance with the laws of the State of Ohio.
Article 2. Object and Purpose
Section 1. Object. The object of this Church shall be to bind together followers of
Jesus Christ for the purpose of sharing in the worship of God and making God’s will
dominant in the lives of people, individually and collectively, especially as that will is set
forth in the life, teaching, and death of Jesus Christ. The Church is organized and at all
times shall be operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes within the
meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
Section 2. Mission. The mission of this Church is to be a spiritual leader in the
community. The church is to be of service by living and teaching the Word of God and by
opening its doors to the community. We covenant with and support the wider mission of
the United Church of Christ. All are welcome.


Section 3. Vision. At First Congregational UCC, we are dedicated to being a
viable, visible, nurturing and active member of our community. Through our committed
staff, pastor and lay leaders, we shall be a welcoming and faithful witness to God, Jesus
Christ and the Holy Spirit in this day and in this community. We will be recognized for our
outstanding worship, children’s programs, family life development, and the place where
members of this community of all faith backgrounds feel welcome. This Church is open
and accessible to all in the community and provides for spiritual growth and Christian
fellowship in a welcoming environment.


Article 3. Polity
Section 1. The government of this Church is vested in its members, who exercise
the right of control in all its affairs, subject in legal matters to the laws of the State of
Ohio. While this Church is governed or controlled by no ecclesiastical authority other than
its own members, it accepts the obligations of mutual counsel, comity and cooperation
involved in the free fellowship of the United Church of Christ and pledges itself to share its
common aims and work; while affirming the liberty of our Churches and the validity of our
ministry, we hold to the unity and catholicity of the United Church of Christ and will unite
with all its branches in hearty cooperation. We will earnestly seek, as far as in us lies,
that the prayer of our Lord for His Disciples may be answered, “That all may be one.”
Section 2. Fiscal Year. The Fiscal Year of the church shall be January 1 through
December 31.2


Article 4. Covenant and Faith
Section 1. Covenant. The basis of membership in this church is a simple
covenant of Christian living, not divisive in its statement, or exclusive in its spirit, but
capable of acceptance by all followers of Jesus Christ:
“Believing in Jesus Christ, the interpreter of God to people, we accept His teachings
as the guiding principles of our lives, and consecrate ourselves and our Church to their
fulfillment. We, therefore, join and covenant one with another to worship, work and serve
together that we may express through our church and our individual lives the love and
faith taught by Jesus Christ.”
Section 2. Faith. Though not requiring creedal uniformity on the part of its
members, and holding this covenant of Christian living as the basis of fellowship, this
Church gives its approval to the following, “Statement of Faith,” adopted by the General
Synod in 1982.
“We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our
brother, and to whose deeds we testify:
God calls the world into being creates humankind in his own image and sets before
him the ways of life and death.
God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared
through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to
us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world
creation to its creator.
God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the Church of Jesus
Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races.
God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be
servants in the service of the human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and
resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in
his passion and victory.
God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of
grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial
and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God. Amen.”


Article 5. Written Policies and Agreement Documents. The Church has
several written policies and agreement documents which help to regulate the use of the
building both by members of the Church and Society and by outside individuals and
groups. These documents are kept in the Secretary’s office and distributed to interested
parties by either the Secretary or the Pastor. Other documents may be created and
approved as needed by the Church Council
Section 1. Wedding Policy. The wedding policy enumerates the expectations for
both the bride and groom regarding planning their wedding, as well as the use of the
building and any fees involved for the rehearsal, service, and reception. 3
Section 2. Building Use Agreement. The building use agreement enumerates
the expectations of both Church and Society members to use the building for non-Churchrelated
events, and for use of the building by outside individuals and organizations.
Section 3. Safe Church Policy. The safe church policy states that as a
community of Christian faith, the Church is committed to creating and maintaining
programs, facilities and a community in which members, friends, staff and volunteers can
worship, learn and work together in an atmosphere free from all forms of discrimination,
harassment, exploitation or intimidation.
Section 4. Handbook of the Pastoral Relations Committee. The Handbook
contains the guidelines that shall govern the way that the Pastoral Relations Committee
carries out their work. The Committee serves in two (2) primary ways: as an advisory
group to the Pastor and as support for the Pastor’s leadership, all functioning to increase
the effectiveness of the ministry to the church.
Section 5. Employee Handbook. The handbook is an outline of the personnel
policies and procedures at First Congregational United Church of Christ. This handbook
applies to employees of the church and does not pertain to the Pastor.
Article 6. Communion and Baptism
Section 1. Communion. Communion shall ordinarily be celebrated monthly on
the first Sunday of each month, Maundy Thursday, Easter and any other time determined
by the Pastor according to the current program of the church. The invitation shall be such
as to include all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.
Section 2. Baptism. Baptism shall ordinarily be administered in regular worship
services of the Church or at any other time determined by the Pastor. In the case of infant
baptism, one parent must be a member of the Church.


Article 7. Membership
Section 7.1 - Full Membership
1. The members of the Church shall include all persons who desire to confess their
faith in Jesus Christ and express their purpose to live the Christian way, and who publicly
accept the covenant of Christian living contained in Article 4, Section 1. Candidates for
membership who are physically unable to make public confessions of faith may do so in a
private service conducted by the Pastor of the Church.
2. The Church welcomes into membership those who present accredited letters
from other Christian churches, attesting their membership in good standing, those who
wish to reaffirm their faith in Jesus Christ, or those who complete a confirmation class. We
welcome all persons who have been baptized by any mode.
3. No person shall become a member of the Church unless that person is elected by
a majority vote of the members of the Church present at the candidate’s public confession
of faith. A candidate’s public confession of faith shall take place during a regularly
scheduled worship service of the Church. This requirement shall be waived for persons
who are physically unable to make a public confession of faith.4
4. Candidates for membership who have not been baptized will be baptized during
the service in which they are voted into membership, or as soon thereafter as possible.
5. A candidate for membership shall attend a new member class instructed by the
Pastor or his/her designee before being voted into membership and before the service of
welcome into the congregation. The content of the class will include, but not limited to,
instruction on what the Church is about, how our Church functions, polity and structure of
the UCC and this Constitution and Code of Regulations. The length and number of the
class will be determined by the Pastor. The new member class will be offered two times
per year.
6. A member who desires a letter of transfer to another church shall be given a
letter written by the Church Secretary and signed by the Pastor. Any member having
joined another Church shall, upon verification by the Secretary, be removed from the roll.
7. Any member of the Church who has neither attended its regular services
(excluding those who are physically unable to attend) nor contributed to its support in the
past year may, at the recommendation of the Diaconate, be placed on the Reserve Roll
during the Membership review done every three (3) years. He/she may be restored to the
active membership of the Church when he/she shall again manifest his/her interest in its
life by attending regular services or contributing to its support. People on the Reserve
Roll no longer have the privilege to vote on church matters, serve as an officer of the
church, or on boards where membership is required.
8. Powers Reserved to the Members. Certain authority and powers of the Church
are reserved to the Members and the action of the Members with respect to such matters
shall be final. The Members shall have the exclusive authority and power to:
a. amend this document.
b. initiate and approve any merger, consolidation, reorganization or change in
denominational affiliation of the Church.
c. approve the dissolution of the Church and the distribution of assets upon
dissolution.
d. approve the sale, purchases, exchange, mortgage, use as surety or other
disposition of the land and buildings owned by the Church or any organization of
which the Church is the controlling member. The preceding actions will require a
three-quarters (3/4) affirmative vote of the Members.
e. call a Pastor.
Section 7.2 - Member of the Society. We welcome members of the community
to affiliate with this Church through becoming a member of the Society. He/she may do
so by making his/her wishes known to the Pastor. A member of the Society shall have the
privilege of voice without vote at all meetings of the Congregation, and may serve on the
Board of Trustees and Board of Christian Education, Nominating Committee, and on any
Ministry Team. They may not serve as an Officer of the Church, on the Diaconate, or any
Standing Committee, or as a Delegate to the meetings of the Wider UCC Church.5


Article 8. Quorum
Section 1. The number of the Members of the Church who are present at a
meeting of Members shall constitute a quorum; provided, however, that a quorum shall
not exist if a meeting is attended by less than twenty (20) Members or one-fifth (1/5) of
the total number of active members of the Church, whichever is lesser. The total number
of active members will be determined using the average number of people attending
worship per Diaconate records.
Section 2. Manner of Voting. At any scheduled meeting of Members at which a
quorum is present, the Members may take action by the affirmative vote of a simple
majority of the Members who are at the meeting. Exclusions to this are revisions of this
document, the calling of a pastor, and ownership and disposal of any property owned by
the Church. Society members shall have voice but no vote at all Congregational Meetings.


Article 9. Meetings
Section 1. Annual Business Meeting. The Annual Business Meeting of the
Church shall be held on the second Sunday of January or as scheduled by the Church
Council. Notice of such meeting shall be called by the Moderator or Vice-Moderator and
given in writing by the Church Secretary which can include the Sunday bulletin, monthly
Newsletter, Website or any other means currently used by the church and read from the
pulpit on the two preceding Sundays. The purpose of the meeting shall be the election of
Officers and Boards, the consideration of reports, approval of a budget, and for such other
business as may be brought before the meeting, excluding personnel issues. The meeting
shall be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 2. Special Meetings. Business may be transacted at any regular meeting
of the Church, or at a special meeting called by the Moderator or Vice-Moderator or
Pastor. The business to be transacted at any special meeting shall be limited to that set
forth in the notice of meeting. Special meetings dealing with any officer including the
pastor will be scheduled by majority vote of the Church Council. The meeting shall be
conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order.


Article 10. Officers of the Church. The Officers of the Church shall be – Pastor,
Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer (when a member of the church) and
Contributions Secretary.
Section 1.1 - Pastor. The pastor shall have control of the pulpit and the exercise
of public worship, including administering the sacraments in cooperation with the
Diaconate. The pastor shall have charge of the spiritual welfare of the congregation
including preaching and teaching the Gospel. The pastor shall be an ex-officio member
and advisor of all Boards, committees and organizations of the church. He/she shall be a
voting member and advisor of the Church Council. The pastor shall have the use of a
Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, the proceeds for which will come from the Christmas Eve
offering.
Section 1.2 – Pastoral Vacancies. When a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, the
Church Council shall immediately notify the Association Conference Minister of the
Northwest Ohio Association of the Ohio Conference, United Church of Christ (NWOA) and 6
oversee the process of obtaining interim ministerial service. The Council shall elect a
Search Committee of five (5) Members formed for the purpose of filling the pastoral
vacancy. The committee, in association and cooperation with the NWOA, will search for
an available pastor who, in their judgment, is a good match and should be called to the
pastorate. The Search Committee shall elect a chair, a secretary, and a chaplain. The
chair shall be responsible for keeping the committee moving forward in their business,
report the progress of the committee to the congregation in written form in the monthly
Newsletter, and be a part of the Call Agreement Committee. The secretary will be the
liaison between the Committee and the NWOA and congregation and will inform the
Church Secretary when a meeting of the congregation needs to be called. The Call
Agreement Committee shall be composed of the Chair of the Search Committee, the
Moderator, the Vice Moderator, the Treasurer, the Contributions Secretary, and two
Members of the congregation who shall be appointed by the Church Council. The task of
this committee will be to determine the terms of the call agreement. These shall include:
the terms of the relationship, including the base salary, housing allowance (or utility
allowance, if the parsonage will be used), automobile reimbursement, any other
compensation. They shall obtain a copy of the latest Clergy Compensation Guidelines from
the NWOA and consult them before beginning their work. All of these items will be placed
in writing, approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Church Council members present at
a regular Council meeting, or a meeting called for the purpose of voting on the call
agreement. The Council approved Call Agreement will then be presented to and approved
by the congregation at a meeting called for that purpose. The meeting shall be called by
the Moderator or Vice Moderator. Notice will be given in writing by the Church Secretary
which can include the Sunday bulletin, monthly Newsletter, Website or any other means
currently used by the church and read from the pulpit on the two preceding Sundays. The
call agreement information shall be included in the Church’s Profile, which is completed
and used for the purposes of calling a minister.
Section 1.3 – Calling the Pastor. The pastor shall be called for an indefinite
period of time by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Members of the Church who are present
at an official meeting held for that purpose. The Church Secretary under the direction of
the Chair of the Search Committee shall provide the Members with written detailed notice
of such meeting not less than seven (7) or more than thirty (30) days prior to its
commencement. In the call, the terms of the relationship shall be stated in writing
including the base salary, housing allowance (or utility allowance), if the parsonage will be
used, automobile reimbursement, annuity, insurance, vacation, continuing education,
study leave, moving expenses, Sabbatical and any other compensation. The minister, the
church, and the Northwest Ohio Association shall each receive a copy of the call
agreement. The pastor shall join the church at the earliest possible date by transfer of
membership from another UCC congregation. In addition, the pastor shall, at the request
of the NWOA Church and Ministry Committee, meet with that committee in order to have
his/her standing transferred to this Association. In addition, when the pastor has been
elected and has accepted the call, the Church Council shall invite the NWOA to participate7
in a service of Installation, recognizing the pastor in accordance with the polity of the
United Church of Christ.
Section 1.4 - Ending a Pastorate. While the terms of the pastor shall be
indefinite, the church may at any time by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the
members of the church at a duly called congregational meeting, request the resignation
with the expectation that it will become effective within ninety (90) days. In the case of a
voluntary ending of a pastorate, the pastor shall be expected to give the Church Council
at least ninety (90) days’ notice of the pastor’s decision to leave the church, unless
otherwise agreed upon by both the pastor and the Church Council.
Section 2.1 - Election of Officers. Only members of the Church may hold
elected office in the Church. The Moderator and Vice Moderator positions shall be elected
for one-year terms by the Members of the Church at their Annual Meeting, or at a special
meeting called for such purpose.
The Treasurer is a paid but not elected position.
Neither the Contributions Secretary nor the Clerk shall be elected positions but be
reaffirmed yearly by both the holder of the office and by the Members of the Church at
the Annual Meeting. If a vacancy occurs the Nominating Committee will present a
replacement for the position. A vote will then be taken by the Members at a special
Congregational meeting called for that purpose. Officers of the Church may serve on one
(1) Board but may not be the Chair of that Board.
Section 2.2 - Terms of Office. The elected Officers of the church shall begin their
term of office at the Annual Meeting of the Members and shall hold office until the next
Annual Meeting of the Members. Terms of office for less than a full year will be counted
as a full year.
If a vacancy occurs the Nominating Committee will present a replacement for the
position. A vote will then be taken by the Members at a special Congregational meeting
called for that purpose.
Section 2.3 - Delegation of Duties. The specific duties and responsibilities of
each Officer of the Church is enumerated below:
Section 3. Moderator. The Moderator is the Lay Leader of the Church. The
Moderator of the Church shall preside at all Congregational Meetings of the Church and
the Church Council. He/she shall work with the Pastor and Officers of the Church to
further the work of the Church. The Moderator shall serve a term of one (1) year and not
be elected to succeed him/herself after serving one (1) term. He/she shall have the
following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Moderator shall meet once a month with the Pastor to share overviews of the
Church’s well-being.
2. The Moderator shall be pro-active in advising the Pastor on parish and
community traditions and introducing the Pastor to the wider community.
3. The Moderator shall sign all legal and binding documents on behalf of the Church
after Church Council approval.8
4. The Moderator shall announce a quorum is present at all Church meetings where
a vote is to be taken, including all Church Council and Congregational Meetings.
5. The Moderator shall be the Chair of the Personnel Committee and a member of
the Pastoral Relations, Budget and Investment Committees.
6. He/she shall be the Chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee during their year of
service as Immediate Past Moderator.
Section 4. Vice-Moderator. The Vice-Moderator of the Church shall serve a one
(1) year term as Vice-Moderator and then become Moderator the following year. Should
a vacancy occur in the Moderator’s position the Vice-Moderator shall automatically assume
the Moderator’s position. He/she shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Vice-Moderator of the Church shall preside at meetings of the church when
the Moderator requests.
2. He/she shall work with the Moderator, Pastor and Officers of the Church to
further the work of the Church.
3. He/she shall assist the Moderator in any requested task.
4. The Vice-Moderator is a member of the Personnel and Budget Committees.
Section 5. Clerk. The Clerk of the Church shall be elected at the Annual Meeting
and reaffirmed annually. He/she shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Clerk shall faithfully record minutes of the Church Council and submit said
minutes to the members of the Church Council and the Church Secretary within one week
after the meeting.
2. The Clerk shall faithfully record minutes of all Congregational Meetings, including
Special Meetings and the Annual Meeting. The Clerk shall submit minutes of all these
meetings to the Church Secretary for inclusion in the yearly Annual Report.
Section 6. Treasurer. The Treasurer of the Church is a full-time paid position and
as such follows the guidelines set in the Employee’s Handbook of the First Congregational
United Church of Christ with respect to hiring, benefits and employment reviews. The
Treasurer shall have a contract approved by Church Council. If the Treasurer is not a
member of the church, the position will not be considered an Officer of the Church.
He/she shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Treasurer shall disburse all monies of the Church and organizations electing
to have their finances handled by him/her, including but not limited to the Church School,
the Women’s Fellowship and the Berlin Heights Community Center.
2. The Treasurer shall be the endorser of all checks unless otherwise directed by
the Church Council.
3. The Treasurer shall pay all bills of the Church that are necessary for the day-today
operation of the church and shall have the authority to seek the best possible rates
for all utilities. Bills that are not in the day-to-day operation of the church and exceed the
spending limit set by the Church Council shall be paid with the consultation and approval
of the Church Council.
4. The Treasurer shall be responsible for a true and accurate accounting of the
financial transactions and reconciling all transactions with monthly bank statements. 9
5. The Treasurer shall be responsible for filing all required IRS forms for the church
and the Berlin Heights Community Center.
6. The Treasurer and the Contributions Secretary shall count the offering for each
week. The offering will be deposited and the accounting completed before the following week’s
offering. If either is unavailable, one (1) member of the Diaconate may help count. If both
the Contributions Secretary and the Treasurer are absent at a worship service where an
offering is collected, a member of the Diaconate will be responsible to secure the
collection in the safe in the church office until such time as the Treasurer and/or
Contributions Secretary is available to count the collection. There shall be no immediate
family combinations counting the offering. The offering will be deposited immediately after
being counted.
7. The Treasurer works with the Contributions Secretary to help maintain
contribution and financial records.
8. The Treasurer shall create and distribute paychecks for the church staff, the
Berlin Heights Community Center, After School Club staff, and maintain payroll records.
9. The Treasurer shall be the Chair of the Budget Committee and a member of the
Investment Committee.
10. The Treasurer shall submit a written and oral report at the monthly meeting of
the Church Council, and Annual Meeting of the Church.
Section 7. Contributions Secretary. The Contributions Secretary of the Church
works with the Treasurer to maintain accurate financial records for the Church. He/she
shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Contributions Secretary shall keep a faithful and accurate record of all
contributions and special offerings.
2. He/she shall be responsible for depositing all monies of the church and keeping a
record of these deposits.
3. He/she shall also be responsible for reconciling all deposits with the monthly
bank statement.
4. The Contributions Secretary shall keep an accurate account with each contributor
and furnish each contributor with a statement of their accounts. These statements will be
given out quarterly and will include pledged as well as non-pledged contributors.
5. He/she shall furnish the Clerk and The Christian Enlistment Committee with a list
of current contributors upon request and shall provide the Christian Enlistment Committee
with a report of pledged monies after the Annual Stewardship Drive.
6. The Treasurer and the Contributions Secretary shall count the offering for each
week. The offering will be deposited and the accounting completed before the following week’s
offering. If either is unavailable, one (1) member of the Diaconate may help count. If both
the Contributions Secretary and the Treasurer are absent at a worship service where an
offering is collected, a member of the Diaconate will be responsible to secure the
collection in the safe in the church office until such time as the Treasurer and/or
Contributions Secretary is available to count the collection. There shall be no immediate
family combinations counting the offering. The offering will be deposited immediately after
being counted. 10
7. He/she shall work with the Treasurer to maintain contribution and financial
records.
8. The Contributions Secretary is a member of the Budget and Investment
Committees.
9. He/she shall submit a written and oral report at the monthly meeting of the
Board of Trustees, Church Council, and Annual Meeting of the Church.


Article 11. Other Paid Positions. In order to ensure the smooth operation of the
Church, paid non-officer positions shall be established. These positions are integral to the
work of the Church. The guidelines set forth in the Council approved Employees Handbook
shall be followed with respect to hiring, benefits and employment reviews for these
positions.
Section 1. Church Secretary. The Church Secretary shall have the following
duties and responsibilities:
1. The Church Secretary shall keep a faithful record of all members, with the dates
of their admission and/or transfers, baptisms and deaths.
2. The Church Secretary shall maintain updated contact information including
addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
3. The Church Secretary shall provide written notice of any Congregational meeting.
4. The Church Secretary shall follow the duties and responsibilities outlined in
his/her Council approved contract.
 Section 2. Other positions. Additional paid positions may be established as
needed by action of the Church Council with their duties and responsibilities enumerated
in a written, Council approved contract.


Article 12. Church Council. The voting members of the Church Council shall be the
Pastor, Moderator, the Vice Moderator, the Clerk, the Treasurer (when a member of the
Church), the Contribution Secretary, the Sunday School Superintendent, the Chairs of the
Diaconate, Trustees and Christian Education Boards, Chair of the Women’s Fellowship, and
Chairs of the Point of Light, Christian Enlistment and Fund Raising Ministry Teams. The
following members of the Church Council will have voice but no vote: Treasurer (when
not a member of the Church), Scout Charter Representative, Scout Institutional Head and
Berlin Heights Community Center Representative. A quorum shall be the presence of a
simple majority of the voting members of the Church Council and voting shall be done as
a simple majority of those present. The Church Council shall have the following duties and
responsibilities:
1. The Church Council shall have the authority to act for the Church between
meetings of the Congregation, including signing articles of incorporation. It shall act as an
advisory body in the whole program of the Church, promote new membership therein, and
shall coordinate the activities of the other organizations within the Church and with the
First Congregational Church and Society. Major policy matters will be taken before a
Congregational meeting.
2. The Council shall also have the sole authority by majority vote of Council
attendees present at a duly-called meeting to appoint the Auditing Committee, 11
Nominating Committee, the Chair and Member at Large for the Investment Committee.
Council shall also appoint the Scout Charter Representative and the Institutional Head.
These positions may be reaffirmed yearly. Members shall be appointed as necessary to
replace members who no longer wish to serve. New members of these committees will be
appointed at the February meeting of the Church Council. The Church Council shall
receive written and oral reports from the Auditing Committee at their June meeting and
take appropriate action on these reports.
3. The Council shall be responsible for the care of finances and the payment of all
debts. The Council shall set a spending limit each year for the Treasurer, above which
approval must be obtained from the Church Council for work to be done.
4. The Church Council will meet once a month to maintain open lines of
communication. Special meetings may be called to deal with specific business that needs
to be dealt with in a timely manner. These meetings may be called by the Moderator, in
consultation with the Vice-Moderator.
5. The Church Council shall be presented with and take action on a proposed
budget for the following year. This budget will be presented to the Church Council at their
October meeting by the Budget Committee. They shall receive salary increase
recommendations from both the Pastoral Relations and Personnel Committees and add to
the budget as necessary. They will vote on this budget at that meeting, making changes
as necessary to the document. This document shall be given to the Treasurer to make
these final changes and place the proposed budget in the Annual Report.
6. The Council, at their May meeting, shall review the financial position of the
Church and decide if a second Stewardship Drive is necessary. If they deem one to be
necessary, they shall ask the Christian Enlistment Ministry Team to organize and
implement a second drive.
7. At least three-quarters (3/4) of the Church Council members shall be members
of the Church.
8. The presence of a majority of all the Church Council members then in office shall
constitute a quorum. At any meeting of the Church Council at which a quorum is present,
the Church Council may take action by the affirmative vote of at least a simple majority of
the Church Council members present.
9. The Council shall be responsible for the hiring and termination of church
employees excluding the Pastor.
10. The Church Council shall appoint a search team for interim ministers and shall
approve the selection of interim ministers. The Council may also terminate employment
agreements with interim ministers.
11. The Church Council shall appoint members to fill all vacancies in elected
positions, excluding Officers, occurring between Annual Meetings. Vacancies in the
positions of the Officers will be voted on by the congregation.
12. The Church Council shall review the Constitution and Code of Regulations every
five (5) years and make recommendations for any changes to the Church members at the
next regular Annual Meeting, unless earlier action is deemed necessary by the Church 12
Council. In this case, a special meeting will be called with the sole activity to be voting on
these recommendations.
13. The Church Council shall review the report of the Nominating Committee at
their December meeting.


Article 13. Scout Representatives
Section 1. Charter Representative. The Charter Representative shall be
appointed by Church Council as required by all Cub, Boy, and Adventure Scout units, and
shall be a Church member in good standing. The Charter Representative shall be
authorized to approve with signature all adult scout leaders’ applications, diligently report
all new leaders to Church Council, and give the Institution copy of the application to the
Church Secretary to be filed in the Church office. The Charter Representative shall be the
liaison between the scout unit and the Church. He/she shall make a Charter presentation
along with the Scoutmaster at Church Council annually. He/she may multiple register in
any leadership position in the scout unit except the Committee Chair. The Charter
Representative may not be the Intuitional Head.
Section 2. Institutional Head – The Institutional Head shall be appointed by
Church as required by Cub, Boy and Venture Scout units, and shall be a Church member
in good standing. He/she shall have the authority to approve all adult scout leaders’
applications in the absence of the Charter Representative. The Intuitional Head may not
be the Charter Representative.


Article 14. Berlin Heights Community Center Representative. The Berlin
Heights Community Center is a subsidiary corporation of the First Congregational United
Church of Christ of Berlin Heights and is recognized by the state of Ohio as a 501(c)(3)
Non-Profit Corporation operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The
building was purchased through generous community donations. The Community Center
is overseen by a group of Board members. Because of their mutual interest in the Berlin
Heights Community Center, it is important there be on-going communication between the
Community Center Board and the Church Council of the First Congregational UCC.
Therefore, a representative elected by the Berlin Heights Community Center Board
members will attend Church Council meetings. The representative is a non-voting
member, but will inform the Council of activities of the Berlin Heights Community Center,
and will partake in discussions with the Council, about any activities of mutual interest.
The representative will inform the Berlin Heights Community Center Board members of
said discussions and actions related to them.


Article 15. Boards of the Church.
Section 1. Number of Official Boards. There shall be three (3) Boards of the
Church: The Diaconate, the Board of Christian Education, and the Board of Trustees.
Section 2. Election of Board Members and Terms of Office. All Board
members shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Church for a term of three (3)
years; one year in the case of someone 21 years of age or younger. They shall not be 13
elected to succeed themselves after serving a full term. They may be elected again for
service on the same Board after a period of one year. Chairs of all Boards shall be
members of the Church. Chairs of all boards shall attend all Church Council meeting and
attend all Council Retreats when held. If a Board Chair is unable to attend a meeting or
retreat, they will be responsible to send a representative in their place. A report will be
made to their Board by whoever attends the meeting and retreat. The Chair or a Board
member shall represent the Board at the Annual Meeting of the Church or any called
special meetings of the church. The duties, functions and responsibilities of each Board
are enumerated in the sections that follow.
Section 3. Diaconate. There will be eight (8) Deacons. All members of the
Diaconate shall be members of the Church. They shall have the following duties, functions
and responsibilities:
1. Assist the pastor in the spiritual care of the congregation by visiting and/or
calling the sick and shut-ins.
2. Schedule the following participants in the worship service: liturgists, scripture
readers, Children’s Moment, acolytes, and ushers/greeters.
3. Order flowers for Easter, Christmas and any other special occasions (done
through the Church Secretary)
4. Schedule participants to provide refreshments to the Social Hour, except the
first Sunday of the month when it is the responsibility of the Congregation.
5. Prepare the Communion table and elements; serve communion to the
congregation and clean up the sanctuary after the Communion service.
6. Collect the offering during regular and special services.
7. The Treasurer and the Contributions Secretary shall count the offering for each
week. If either is unavailable, one (1) member of the Diaconate may help count. If both
the Contributions Secretary and the Treasurer are absent at a worship service where an
offering is collected, the Chair or his/her designee from the Diaconate will be responsible
to secure the collection in the safe in the church office until such time as the Treasurer
and/or Contributions Secretary is available to count the collection. There shall be no
immediate family combinations counting the offering. The offering will be deposited
immediately after being counted.
8. Make sure that all candles in the sanctuary are functional; replace as
necessary.
9. Prepare the sanctuary for regular service, including making sure there are
flowers on the Table.
10. Prepare the sanctuary for special services including making sure there are
flowers on the Table. Special services include Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Easter,
All Saint’s Sunday, Christmas Eve, weddings, funerals and baptisms, and any other
Sundays as specified by the Pastor.
11. Change the paraments in the sanctuary based on the Church season and
special Sunday – see the list provided by the Church Secretary for the color to use.
12. Welcome visitors and ask them to sign the guest registry.14
13. Record attendance on the pad in the Narthex
14. Ring the bell to begin the worship service
15. Coordinate with the Church Secretary to order supplies needed for worship.
16. They shall provide a nursery during the regular Sunday service abiding by the
Safe Church Policy.
17. They shall advertise services including special services.
18. The Diaconate shall review and update the membership roll every three (3)
years. They shall request giving statements from the Contributions Secretary and consult
the attendance records. Any overt expression of interest, such as offering service,
fellowship or financial support, shall qualify a person to continue active membership. Any
member of the Church who has neither attended its regular services nor contributed to its
support in the past year may, at the recommendation of the Diaconate, be placed on the
Reserve Roll. He/she may be restored to the active membership of the Church when
he/she shall again manifest his/her interest in its life by attending regular services or
contributing to its support. People on the Reserve Roll no longer have the privilege to
vote on church matters, serve as an officer of the church, or on boards where
membership is required.
19. Take minutes of all meetings, providing a copy to all members of the Diaconate
and to the Church Secretary within a week after the meeting.
20. Provide articles to the newsletter editor as appropriate.
Section 4. Board of Christian Education. The Board of Christian Education shall
have authority over the educational program of the Church in consultation with the Pastor
including but not limited to the Church School. The Board of Christian Education shall
consist of five (5) persons. At least four (4) shall be Members of the Church. One (1)
Society member may serve on the Board of Christian Education. They will abide by the
Safe Church Policy. The Church School Superintendent shall be an ex-officio member of
this Board. The Board of Christian Education will meet monthly. The Board of Christian
Education shall have the following duties, functions and responsibilities:
1. Organization and implementation of the Church School program including Adult
Church School.
2. Organization and implementation of the Vacation Bible School program.
3. Encourage family participation in the life of the church.
4. Encourage children to participate in the wider mission of the church.
Section 4.1 - Church School Superintendent. The Church School Superintendent shall
be the Executive Officer of the Church School, under the guidance of the Board of
Christian Education. He/she shall have the following duties and responsibilities. The Chair
of the Board of Christian Education will assume the duties of the Sunday School
Superintendent when he/she is not in attendance.
1. The Church School Superintendent will conduct the opening of Church School
and take attendance.15
2. He/she shall supervise and count the offering each Sunday and give it to the
Contributions Secretary.
3. He/she shall be a voting member of the Church Council and attend the Annual
Council Retreat.
Section 5. Board of Trustees. There shall be three (3) Trustees of the Church
one (1) of whom may be a Society member. The Board of Trustees shall have the care
and oversight of the church property including all buildings, contents and grounds. They
shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. The Board shall meet at least six (6) times a year. They shall take minutes of all
meetings, providing a copy to all members of the Trustees and to the Church Secretary
within a week after the meeting.
2. The Treasurer will report the balance of the Building Fund to the Trustees in writing or
in person at each Trustee meeting.
3. When the need arises, the Board of Trustees shall take action in the raising of funds
above and beyond the balance of the Building Fund for special projects.
4. They shall provide a list of preferred contractors to the pastor/secretary for
emergency repairs of the church building, parsonage building, the contents of either, and
all grounds.
5. They shall lead the cause of accessibility for all.
6. They shall provide articles to the newsletter editor as appropriate.
7. The Chair or a Board Member shall represent the Board of Trustees at all Council
Meetings to report on the state of the buildings and grounds and any projects currently
underway or anticipated.


Article 16. Association/Conference Delegates. There shall be two (2) delegates
that shall be members of the church. They are elected at the Annual Meeting for a two
(2) year term and can be reaffirmed for another two (2) year term. The delegates shall
represent our church at all United Church of Christ wider missions events including the
Northwest Ohio Association and the Ohio Conference Annual Meetings and the N.W.O.A
Lakeshore and Firelands Region gatherings. They shall have the following duties, functions
and responsibilities.
1. The delegates shall know the business to be acted upon before arrival at
meetings and be prepared to report actions to the Church Council upon return.
2. The delegates shall promote Association, Conference and Region special missions
opportunities locally.
3. The delegates shall have voice and vote with their conscience at the wider church
functions while representing this church.
4. Registration, mileage, food and lodging expenses will be paid by the Church.


Article 17. Standing Committees. Standing Committees do not have term limits
and are not voted on. All Standing Committees shall be represented on Church Council
with the exception of the Auditing, Nominating and Music Committees.16
Section 1. Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee shall consist of the
Moderator, Vice Moderator and the Pastor. They shall deal with all staff excluding the
Pastor. Their purpose shall be to recommend the hiring of church employees to the
Church Council. They shall hear and act upon contract issues, grievances of salaried
personnel, concerns of the congregation, and to be a source of support for staff members.
All business meetings must remain closed and confidential. Each staff member may bring
one chosen member of the Church or Society for support. Each member of the
congregation with a concern shall be heard by the committee on an individual basis and
by appointment only. Staff performance review shall be conducted before the Council
meets to review the proposed budget of the Church at their October meeting. The
committee shall make recommendations to the Church Council before their October
meeting on salary increases, and/or contract changes, sabbaticals, needed tools and/or
special training of each trade. All letters to the committee must be signed to be acted on
by the committee. The committee shall meet at least quarterly.
Section 2. Pastoral Relations Committee. The Pastoral Relations Committee
will consist of the Moderator, ex-officio, the immediate past Moderator and one person
chosen by the Pastor who all of whom will serve a one (1) year term. The Committee
serves in two (2) primary ways: as an advisory group to the Pastor and as support for the
Pastor’s leadership, all functioning to increase the effectiveness of the ministry to the
church. The Committee shall meet at least quarterly and all business shall be conducted
in a confidential manner. All matters brought to the Committee must be presented in
writing and signed.
1. As an advisory group, to share ideas, dreams, hopes, expectations and concerns
of the congregation with the Pastor.
2. As support for the Pastor: to interpret roles, functions, and needs of the Pastor
to the congregation.
3. To help plan the Pastor’s Sabbatical including expenses.
4. To work with the Search Committee to ensure a smooth transition of contractual
issues and leadership when a new Pastor is called.
5. To recommend annually to the Budget Committee adjustments in the Pastor’s
salary or benefits.
6. To follow the guidelines stated in the Pastoral Relations Committee Handbook.
Section 3. Budget Committee. The Budget Committee shall consist of the
Moderator, Vice Moderator, Treasurer (Chair), Contributions Secretary, and the Pastor.
Section 3.1 The Budget Committee will prepare the proposed budget for the
following calendar year. The Treasurer shall be the Chair of the Budget Committee. The
procedure for doing this is as follows: a meeting of the Committee is planned for no later
than the second week of September. At that meeting the Treasurer and the Contributions
Secretary will present data about income and expenditures to the Committee. Decisions
about salary increases and increases in other areas of the budget shall be made at this
time. If a proposed budget is not completed at that meeting, future meeting(s) are
planned so that a complete and finalized draft budget is ready to be presented to the
Council at their October meeting. A copy of the finalized draft budget will be presented to 17
the Christian Enlistment Team, along with a goal for the Stewardship Drive. The Treasurer
shall prepare a written proposed budget for the October meeting of the Council. At that
meeting, the chair of the Budget Committee will present in writing the proposed budget to
the Council for their questioning, debate and approval. Changes to the proposed budget
resulting from that meeting will be made by the Treasurer and the proposed budget will
become part of the Annual Report, where it will be presented to the Members at the
Annual Meeting for their approval.
Section 4. Investment Committee. There shall be four (4) voting members of
the Investment Committee: a Chair, the Contribution Secretary, the Treasurer, and a
Member-at-Large. The Pastor and Moderator shall serve as ex-officio members on the
Committee. The Chair and Member-at-Large shall reaffirm yearly. The Church Council
shall be responsible for filling the positions of Chair and Member-at-Large in the event
that these positions become vacant. This committee is responsible for the care, control,
and custody of the Endowment and Memorial Funds. They shall meet at least twice a year
to renew the performance of these funds and decide, in consultation with a financial
advisor, to make any change in the allocation of funds. The Committee may decide to use
monies from the Endowment Fund and the Memorial Fund, with the approval from the
families involved, to finance capital improvements to the church, or to support the
church’s operations.
Section 5. Women’s Fellowship. This committee is an autonomous committee.
The purpose of this group shall be to enlist the women of this community in a fellowship
of worship, education, service, and giving for the cause of Christ in the community and
throughout the world. To fulfill this purpose, the following committees shall be
maintained:
1. Family Life and Education
2. Spiritual Life and Evangelism
3. Missionary Education
4. House, Church and Kitchen
5. Nominating
6. Food Service
Women’s Fellowship shall meet monthly to provide worship and fellowship for the women
of the church and community. Programs shall be planned for each meeting as well as
devotions and prayer. A directory of members of the Women’s Fellowship shall be
maintained.
Section 5.1. Officers. The Women’s Fellowship shall have the following officers:
President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Section 5.2. Executive Board. All officers and committee chairs are members of
the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall meet monthly.
Article 18. Ministry Teams. Ministry Teams are self-appointed, do not have term
limits and are not voted on. Ministry Teams are open to all Society members. Chairs shall
be members of the Church. Point of Light, Christian Enlistment and Fundraising Ministry
Teams shall be represented on Church Council by their Chairs.18
Section 1. Point of Light Missions. Point of Light Missions was formed to serve
as a hands-on mission group. It does work locally, nationally and internationally. The
focus is on helping others. It shall have the following duties, functions and
responsibilities:
1. They shall have the supervision of the raising and distribution of the special UCC
offerings: One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church,
Christmas Fund.
2. Work with and aid Angels Closet.
3. Manage the Hunger Task Force by collecting donations and supplying certificates
for food.
4. Manage Fair Trade items.
Mission Statement: “Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Point of Light Missions – It’s
where you take the light that matters.”
Section 2. Christian Enlistment. The Christian Enlistment Team was formed to
coordinate and implement the Annual Stewardship Drive. The Budget Committee will
provide a copy of the proposed Budget for the following year after their September
meeting, indicating the goal needed for the Stewardship Drive. The Christian Enlistment
Team shall have the following duties, functions and responsibilities:
1. Involve the community in the mission of the Wider Church by organizing and
promoting the following: American Red Cross Blood Drive and the Salvation Army Red
Kettle Drive and any other mission work that they would like to initiate.
2. Involve the congregation in the missions of the Church by selecting a theme for
the Annual Stewardship Drive.
3. Schedule and recruit participants for Stewardship Moments for each of the four
weeks prior to Stewardship Sunday.
4. Provide Pledge and Time and Talent Cards to the congregation. They shall give
the pledge cards to the Contributions Secretary and tally the results of the Time and
Talent Cards and present the results at a meeting of the Church Council.
5. They shall receive a report from the Contributions Secretary after the Annual
Stewardship Drive indicating the total number of pledges received and the names of those
who pledged.
6. They shall send follow-up Thank You cards to those who pledged, and send
reminder cards to those who have not yet pledged.
7. They shall schedule and recruit participants for Stewardship Moments every
quarter during the year.
8. The Christian Enlistment Team shall provide the Fundraising Committee with a
goal for the fundraising needed for the year.
9. They shall organize and implement a second Stewardship Drive if directed to do
so by the Church Council at their June meeting.
Section 3. Fund Raising. The Fund Raising Team was formed to coordinate fund
raising activities to benefit the general operating fund. It shall have the following duties,
functions and responsibilities:19
1. Organizing fund raisers for the general operating fund by using goals established
by the Budget Committee and the Christian Enlistment Ministry Team.
2. Involve members by using their time and talent and resources to achieve the
goals established by the Fund Raising Ministry Team.
Section 5. Music Ministry Team. The Music Ministry Team is comprised of those
members who have an interest in the role of music in worship and in the life of the
Church. Under the direction of the Pastor, the Music Ministry Team has the following
duties and responsibilities:
1. Choose the hymns and praise music for regular and special services.
2. Coordinate the special music throughout the year.
3. Responsible for the hiring and supervision of paid musicians for all worship
services.
Section 6. Prayer Circle. The Prayer Circle shall meet weekly to pray for those
who have asked for prayer in our Congregation and the wider community. The Church
Secretary will provide a written list of these people as known by the church office. The
Prayer Circle will inform the Church Secretary of any changes that need to be made to this
list.
Section 7. The LEOs (Let’s Eat Out). The LEOs is a social group comprised of
persons within the Congregation who do not have a partner, or their partner cannot
participate for various reasons. The monthly activities of the group are planned by its
members and can include going out to eat together, taking trips, going to movies, or
attending social events.


Article 19 - Positions to be appointed by Church Council
Section 1. Auditing Committee. The Council shall appoint up to three (3)
members to be on the Auditing Committee to replace any members currently on the
Committee who no longer wish to serve. Only Members shall be appointed to this
Committee. Their duties, functions and responsibilities include:
1. Performing a yearly audit of all the Church finances. They shall work closely with
the Contributions Secretary and the Treasurer to obtain all the financial records of all
income and payments made. They shall perform this audit within the first five months of
the New Year.
2. They shall provide written and oral reports to the Church Council at the Church
Council’s June Meeting.
3. They shall provide a written report to the Congregation in the Annual Report. At
least one member of the Committee shall be present at the Congregational Annual
Meeting to answer any questions that the Congregation might have of the audit.
Section 2. Nominating Committee. The Church Council shall appoint up to
three (3) members, one of whom may be a Society Member, to be on the Nominating
Committee to replace any members currently on the Committee who no longer wish to
serve. They shall have the following duties, functions and responsibilities:
1. Nominate a slate of Officers of the Church and Board Members annually to be
presented to the members at the regular Congregational Annual Meeting in January.20
2. In the case of a vacancy in the elected positions of Moderator and Vice
Moderator, the Committee shall nominate a replacement who shall be elected at a Special
Congregational Meeting called for that purpose.
3. Contact yearly before the Congregational Annual Meeting, people who serve in
the following positions to reaffirm their willingness to continue serving in their present
capacity: Clerk, Contributions Secretary, Sunday School Superintendent, and members of
the Nominating, Music and Auditing Committees, the Chair and Member-at-Large for the
Investment Committee, and the Association/Conference Delegates.
4. The Committee will begin their work no later than September and have their
completed written report to the Church Secretary by the end of December. This report
will be available for review by the Church Council at their December meeting.
Section 3. Investment Committee Chair and Member-at-Large. The
Church Council shall appoint members to be the Chair and a Member-at-Large to serve on
the Investment Committee if those persons holding these positions no longer wish to
serve. They shall be full voting members of the Investment Committee with the same
duties, functions and responsibilities.


Article 20. Amendments
Section 1. This constitution may be altered/amended at a meeting of which due
notice shall be given on the preceding Sunday. The proposed amendments may be
approved by a three-quarters (3/4) vote of those members present.
Section 2. This Constitution/Code will be reviewed and/or revised every five (5)
years or as deemed necessary by the Church Council. The Church Council may appoint a
Committee for this purpose.

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