In addition to the Board of Trustees, a number of volunteers serve the congregation on committees, task forces, and in countless other ways. To reach any of these committees, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be forwarded.
Committees and Groups
Building & Grounds Committee (Contact: Martha Page and Peter Bluhm)
This committee maintains and preserves the church building and grounds in order to ensure that they are safe, functional, and inviting and support and enhance the congregation’s various functions, services, and activities. This includes:
- Managing both volunteers and contractors for the ongoing maintenance of and repairs to the building and grounds and for ad hoc projects,
- Developing long-range plans for UUMSB’s building and grounds in conjunction with other committees, including oversight of the kitchen, gardens, and audio-visual equipment, and
- Development of a Green Sanctuary program.
Committee on Ministry (Contact: Zoe Dalheim)
Caring Committee (Contact: Valerie Bluhm)
Facilities Use Committee (Contact: Karen Clark and Paula Duhon)
This committee provides oversight and ongoing guidance for the use of the church building and property, working closely with other UUMSB entities, especially the Building & Grounds Committee. The scope of its responsibilities includes:
- Facility use policies, procedures, forms, and rental rates (when applicable),
- Oversight of housekeeping and light maintenance activities,
- Parking policies and procedures,
- Oversight of the facility use calendar, including both regularly scheduled and special events usage,
- Ongoing matters related to current and future facility rental agreements,
- Coordination of supplies, furniture, and other portable equipment,
- Communication with external entities concerning facility use, including interested community groups, and
- Participation in budget development and monitoring of both related expense and income.
Finance Committee (Contact: Bill Young)
The objectives of this committee are:
- Solicit budgetary requests for the next fiscal year from standing committees, the minister and staff.
- Integrate budgetary requests and expected revenues into an operating budget,
- Develop a program budget for approval by the congregation,
- Conduct “Pledge Sunday” appeal and follow-up to secure all pledges,
- Evaluate pledge commitments and modify the operating budget and program budgets, as necessary,
- Present final program budget to the congregation for approval at the Annual Business Meeting, and
- Monitor church financial health monthly, or as needed, and provide feedback to the Board of Trustees.
Leadership Development/Nominating Committee (Contact: Dianna Downing, Bonnie Benson, and Karen Clark)
This committee is responsible for the development of leaders at all levels within the congregation as well as for selecting and presenting candidates for the Board of Trustees.
Membership and Growth Committee (Al Blake and Ray Garnett)
The objectives of this committee are:
- Growth of the congregation,
- Active participation of members of the congregation,
- Welcome visitors and encourage their return,
- Provide fellowship opportunities,
- Care for members experiencing difficulties, and
- Make our presence known in the community.
Lifespan Faith Development Committee (Contact: Rev. Carol)
The objectives of this committee are:
- Establish and maintain faith development education classes across the lifespan,
- Evaluate and select curriculum materials, and
- Oversee and support teachers.
Social Justice Team (Contact:Tommie Hutto-Blake)
The objectives of this committee are:
- Create awareness within our congregation of the current social / political issues that are pivotal in our nation’s life and in the world,
- Research facts and perspectives relevant to these issues providing sources of information to our congregation and the community,
- Provide a basis for making informed decisions, and
- Take action as a committee on social justice issues and/or make proposals on which the congregation can act.
Worship Committee (Contact: Marion Jansen)
The objectives of this committee are:
- Assist the minister in planning Sunday services,
- Contact outside speakers,
- Assist in services, and
- Promote balance in themes of services.
Bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire
(Revised July 1, 2016)
Article I – Name
The name of this religious society shall be: Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire.
Article II – Purposes and Principles
A. Our Covenant:
We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire, commit ourselves to provide support for our individual members and families of every variety in their emotional, spiritual, and intellectual lives; to promote the healthy growth of our congregation through full participation and creation of a welcoming environment for all people; and to unite in upholding and sharing the Unitarian Universalist principles.
We covenant to affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
B. Our Mission:
We come together from diverse traditions as a welcoming, religious community with shared values, seeking spiritual growth, lifelong religious education, and fellowship. We strive to promote justice, acceptance, and compassion in the world.Article III – Membership and Friends
Any person may become a member who is at least eighteen (18) years of age, is in sympathy with the purposes and programs of this congregation, has a general understanding of the history and traditions of Unitarian Universalism, is committed to demonstrating support through financial and/or personal participation in the congregation, and signs the membership book. It is specifically understood that membership is open to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, age, or national origin, in accordance with the above stipulations. Members have the right to vote in affairs of the congregation, and to hold elected office.
To remain a member, each member shall annually reaffirm his or her commitment to membership in writing. Membership may be withdrawn or converted to friend status upon written request from the member to the Secretary/Clerk of the Board of Trustees.
A member’s name shall be removed from the Membership Roll in case of: (1) the member’s death; (2) written request by the member to the Secretary/Clerk; (3) a period of inactivity over one year, pending review by the Board; or (4) removal by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board for actions that threaten the well-being of the Congregation.
B. Associate Members
Any person may become an associate member who has completed the Coming of Age Program and is in sympathy with the purposes and programs of this congregation, has a general understanding of the history and traditions of Unitarian Universalism, and signs the membership book. Upon reaching the age of 18, an associate member may request to become a member. Associate members have the right to vote in the affairs of this congregation and may be elected as a trustee. An associate member may not be elected as an officer. Associate members shall be carried, and so designated, in the directory provided they reaffirm their status annually. Associate members are considered members in all respects except that they cannot be officers of the congregation.
C. Friends of the Congregation
Any person in agreement with the purposes and principles herein who wishes to be affiliated with the congregation shall be considered a friend of the congregation at his or her request. A friend of the congregation shall have all the rights and privileges associated with the congregation except the right to vote or hold an elected or appointed position or chair committees. Friends shall be carried, and so designated, in the directory provided they reaffirm their status annually in writing.
Article IV – Affiliation
This congregation shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and of the appropriate regional entity. It is the intention of this congregation to make annual financial contributions equal to its full fair share as determined by the Association and the regional entity.
Article V – Governance
The congregation shall be governed by its members in accordance with the processes established herein. Members of the congregation shall have full authority over all congregational affairs as set forth in these bylaws. Meetings shall be conducted in general accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
A. Congregational Business Meetings
The business to be transacted at all business meetings shall include the type of meeting and quorum required and shall be sent to all members by mail or in some other printed form such as the congregation newsletter or email at least 15 days prior to the meeting.
Annual Congregational Business Meeting – shall be held each year in the month of May at such time and place as shall be fixed by the Board of Trustees. The annual business meeting shall be held for the purpose of electing members to the Board of Trustees; electing members of the Leadership Development/Nominating Committee; adopting the annual budget; and conducting other business as deemed important. Committees and staff shall submit yearly reports for review by the congregation prior to the meeting.
Special Business Meetings – shall be called at the written request of ten percent of the members (submitted in writing to the Board Secretary/Clerk) or by the Board of Trustees.
Emergency Meetings – may be called by the President, the Executive Committee, or the Minister after consultation with the Board of Trustees, without the usual written notification, as long as a reasonable attempt is made to notify the members.
B. Congregational Voting
A quorum of fifty percent of voting members shall be present at any business meeting in order to conduct votes on agenda items. Absentee ballots may be utilized for any decision. Members may request an absentee ballot from the Secretary/Clerk of the Board of Trustees to be filled out in accordance with the ballot instructions.
Elections – Elections shall be done at the Annual Congregational Business Meeting. Candidates shall be elected by a simple majority of the votes cast by the members present.
Adopting General Decisions – All issues requiring a vote, except for issues designated as a major decision or otherwise stated in these bylaws, shall require a simple majority of the vote of the members of the congregation present at the meeting.
Major Decisions – At any Congregational Business Meeting, any item under consideration, except election of candidates, may be designated as a major decision by a simple majority of the vote of the members of the congregation present at the meeting. Thereafter, adoption of the item so designated shall require a 2/3 vote of the total votes cast by members present. The following items are hereby designated as major decisions:
- Calling a Minister.
- Dissolution of the congregation.
- Commitment of funds in excess of $10,000 that are not identified in the annual budget unless funding is obtained outside of congregational funds.
- Purchase of real estate (property or building).
- Amending the voting requirements for major decisions.
- Amendments to the Bylaws.
Dismissals – The Minister or any elected official can be dismissed, after appropriate conflict resolution measures have been taken, by a quorum of fifty percent (50%)of the members of the congregation and a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members of the congregation present at the meeting.
Article VI – Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees (Board) shall be the organizational entity for conducting the operations of the congregation. The Board shall have general charge of the property of the congregation and the conduct of all of its business affairs and the control of its administration, including the appointment of committees as it may deem necessary. The responsibilities of the officers and trustees at large shall be defined in the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire (UUMSB) Handbook of Policies and Procedures. The Board shall meet on a regular basis, normally monthly. The Board shall publish the time and place of its regular monthly meetings. Minutes shall be recorded and made available to members of the congregation. Whenever, in the judgment of the President, a situation arises that requires the Board to act immediately, he or she may convene an emergency meeting, upon a reasonable attempt to notify all members of the Board. Meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be open to all members and friends of the congregation except when the Board declares an executive session at which time only the Executive Committee and those expressly invited by the Executive Committee shall be in attendance. Normally, executive session shall only be used for matters that require a high degree of privacy.
A. Composition of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees shall be comprised of four (4) officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary/Clerk) and three (3) Trustees at Large. The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the officers. All officers shall be members (not associate members) of the congregation and all trustees at large shall be members of the congregation, at the time of election or appointment to office and shall remain so while serving on the Board.
B. Election and Terms of Office
At each Annual Congregational Business Meeting, the congregation shall elect members of the Board of Trustees from a slate presented by the Leadership Development/Nominating Committee and from nominations made from the floor. The President, Vice President, Secretary/Clerk, and one (1) Trustee shall be elected in odd numbered years. The Treasurer and two (2) Trustees shall be elected in even numbered years. The terms of office of members of the Board elected at the Annual Congregational Business Meeting shall begin at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1st) with the following term limits:
- The President shall serve a two-year term of office and shall not succeed him- or herself after a full term.
- The Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary/Clerk shall serve a two-year term of office. Terms of office shall be limited to two (2) consecutive full two-year terms.
- A Trustee at Large shall serve a two-year term of office and shall be limited to two (2) consecutive full two-year terms.
All members of the Board shall serve until such time as their successors are duly elected or appointed, except in the event of the resignation or removal of a Board member. Any vacancy on the Board, except President, shall be temporarily filled until the next Annual Congregational Business Meeting, by a member of the congregation chosen by the Board. If the office of President is vacated, the Vice President shall assume the presidency until the next Annual Congregational Business Meeting. After completing the maximum term limit, a Board member can serve again immediately in a different capacity or after eleven months have passed in the same capacity. If for some reason a candidate can’t be found after all attempts have been made, an officer’s term may be extended for an additional year. This requires a unanimous vote of the Board after the Board has discussed the suitability of every member of the congregation, has personally contacted each potential candidate and has documented their decision not to be considered.
C. Board of Trustees and Executive Committee Decisions
Official meetings of the full Board shall require a quorum of at least fifty percent (50%) of the members to conduct business. Binding actions by the full Board shall require a simple majority of the members present. The Executive Committee of the Board (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary) may hold an official board meeting if needed. A quorum of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the Executive Committee of the Board is required to hold a meeting and any decisions made shall be unanimous.
Either the full Board or the Executive Committee of the Board may go into executive session when needed (examples include but are not limited to personnel matters, negotiations, or other confidential matters); those in attendance at executive sessions may be limited.
Article VII – Committees
Committees shall be established by the Board of Trustees who shall assure that committee operations meet the spirit and conditions of the purposes, principles and policies of the congregation. The committee chairperson who shall be a member or associate member of the congregation shall be responsible for presiding over meetings, submitting an annual report, making budget requests to the Board and for authorizing and managing the expenditure of funds allocated to the committee. Expenditures beyond the allocated amount shall require approval of the Board. Members of the committees shall be active participants in the congregation. Committee responsibilities, unless covered by the bylaws, shall be defined in the UUMSB Handbook of Policies and Procedures.
A. Standing and Temporary Committees
Standing committees shall be established by the Board of Trustees and identified in the UUMSB Handbook of Policies and Procedures along with their responsibilities. Temporary committees may be established by the Board of Trustees to address an issue or event outside the scope of authority of a standing committee. The following temporary committees – Bylaw Review, Mission/Covenant Review, Sabbatical, and Strategic Planning – shall be formed periodically in accordance with the UUMSB Handbook of Policies and Procedures. The following temporary committees such as – Bylaw Review, Mission/Covenant Review, Sabbatical, and Strategic Planning – shall be formed periodically in accordance with the UUMSB Handbook of Policies and Procedures.
B. Leadership Development / Nominating Committee
The Leadership Development / Nominating Committee shall be responsible for the development of leaders at all levels within the congregation as well as for selecting and presenting candidates for the Board of Trustees. Leadership Development / Nominating Committee shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws.
The Leadership Development / Nominating Committee shall consist of three (3) members of the congregation elected at its Annual Congregational Business Meeting. One (1) member or associate member shall be elected in even numbered years and two (2) members or associate members shall be elected in odd numbered years. Members of the committee shall serve a two-year term of office and shall not succeed themselves. Members of the committee may, however, serve on the committee again once eleven months have passed from their last date of service on the committee. In the event of a vacancy on the committee, the committee shall nominate a candidate to the Board for approval to fill the un-expired term. A member of the committee may not be nominated by the committee as a candidate for any elective position within six (6) months of his or her term on the committee except if nominated from the floor at an Annual Congregational Business Meeting. All deliberations of the committee shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to any other person at any time thereafter.
The Leadership Development / Nominating Committee shall identify and qualify potential candidates for each elective position to be filled at the Annual Congregational Business Meeting and select at least one candidate, by a majority vote of the full committee for the slate of candidates for election. This slate shall be presented to the Board of Trustees at their board meeting in April of each year.
C. Search Committee
A Ministerial Search Committee shall be initiated by the Board when necessary to select a candidate for a ministerial position within the congregation. The committee shall consist of a minimum of (5) members of the congregation who are elected at a special congregational meeting called for that purpose, from a slate prepared by theLeadership Development /Nominating Committee. All deliberations of the Search Committee shall be confidential. Upon selection of a candidate by a vote of 2/3 of the entire committee, the Search Committee shall inform the Board of its nominee.
Article VIII – Ministry
In general, the Minister shall provide overall religious leadership and guidance in accordance with the established purposes of this congregation, and shall be guaranteed freedom of the pulpit.
The minister is an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board of Trustees and may participate in all committees in the same capacity except the Leadership Development/Nominating Committee.
Upon recommendation of the Ministerial Search Committee, as defined in Article VII, a minister may be called by vote of the congregation.
The Minister may be dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Article V. In the event of the Minister’s dismissal, his or her salary and allowance shall be continued under the terms of the current employment agreement.
Should the Minister offer his or her resignation, three months’ notice shall be given at the time the resignation is made, except when the Board of Trustees may allow an interval of less time.
The Minister shall be in ministerial fellowship with the UUA, unless the Board of Trustees votes to allow for an exception.
Article IX – Fiscal Year
The fiscal year shall end June 30th.
Article X – Dissolution of the Congregation
In the case of dissolution of the congregation, all of its property, real and personal, after paying all just claims upon it, shall be conveyed to and vested in the Unitarian Universalist Association or its legal successor, and the Board of Trustees of the congregation shall perform all actions necessary to effectuate such conveyance.
Article XI – Amendment to the Bylaws
The bylaws, so far as allowed by law, may be amended or replaced at any meeting of the congregation in accordance with the provisions of Article V. Notice of any proposed change shall be contained in the notice of the meeting. Any change to Articles I and II shall be preceded by at least 6 months of study and discussion by the congregation.