Universalist General Convention Constitution

From the Manual of the Universalist General Convention: Charter, Constitution, and By-Laws, Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline, and Forms Recommended for Adoption by Subordinate Organizations. (New York: Universalist General Convention, 1891.)


of the

General Convention.


To establish union, fellowship, and an efficient organization, and to secure a uniform system of government, and the various ends for which the Christian Church exists, we the Universalists of the United States and Canada, form ourselves into a General Convention, and ordain for it the following Constitution:


This body shall be known as The Universalist General Convention.



1. This Convention shall be composed of the Presidents (or, in their absence, the Vice-Presidents) and Secretaries of the several State Conventions in its fellowship, and of delegates as hereinafter provided.

2. Each State Convention shall be entitled to one clerical and two lay delegates; or, having an aggregate of fifty Parishes and Clergymen, to two clerical and four lay delegates; and for every additional twenty-five Parishes and Clergymen, to one clerical and two lay delegates.* If there be organized Universalist Parishes in any State or Territory which has no Convention, they may unite to choose one delegate, and if there be but one such Parish, it shall likewise be entitled to one delegate.

3. To be counted in this basis of representation, every Parish must maintain its legal existence and support public worship regularly; and every Clergyman must be engaged in the work of the ministry, unless disabled by years or sickness.

4. This Convention shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its members.

5. Members from seven States (not less in the aggregate than twenty-five persons) shall be a quorum to do business, but a less number may adjourn and demand the attendance of absentees.



1. This Convention shall have jurisdiction over the State Conventions in its fellowship.

2. Assent to the Profession of Faith, adopted by this body at its session at Winchester, N. H., A. D. 1803, shall be essential to fellowship with this Convention, to wit:

Art. I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind.

Art. II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.

Art. III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men.

3. It shall determine the rules of its proceedings, and ordain such laws and adopt such measures as may be necessary
to secure the objects set forth in the Preamble of this Constitution.

4. It shall be the ultimate tribunal by which shall be adjudicated all cases of dispute and difficulty between State
Conventions, and a Court of Final Appeal before which may be brought cases of discipline and questions of government not provided for and settled by subordinate bodies.

5. It shall have power to adopt such By-Laws as may be necessary for the efficiency of this Constitution.

6. In those States and Territories where no Conventions are organized, and in the District of Columbia, it shall exercise the same jurisdiction as is exercised by State Conventions where they exist.

7. It shall have power to raise funds, and to hold and disburse whatever funds may be entrusted to its care: It
being provided,
that all moneys and other property given to constitute its Permanent Funds shall be carefully invested or
held, and the proceeds be sacredly devoted to the purposes designated by the donors.

8. It shall have the power to require all organizations and clergymen subject to its jurisdiction to furnish such statistical or other reports as its By-Laws or special action may prescribe.


1. The officers of this Convention shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Board of Trustees, all of whom shall be elected by ballot.

2. The President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected at each regular Session; and the Secretary and Treasurer shall be subject to removal for cause by the Board of Trustees.

3. The Board of Trustees shall consist of eleven members, the Secretary of the Convention being a member ex
. Five members shall be chosen biennially, to hold office for four years.

4. In all elections, a majority of votes shall be required to elect; and all officers shall continue in office until their successors shall be chosen and qualified.

5. The Board of Trustees shall have power to fill all vacancies in the offices of the Convention, however occasioned, until its next regular Session.

6. No moneys shall be paid by the Board of Trustees, or by their agents, expect under the authority of an appropriation by the Convention.



1. This Convention shall meet biennially on the Wednesday preceding the fourth Sunday in October, at 10 o’clock, A. M., at such place as shall have been duly appointed. If no place has been thus appointed, the Board of Trustees shall designate the place; and they may also change the time, or place, whenever, in their judgment, a change is necessary.

2. Special sessions may be called by the Board of Trustees as provided in the By-Laws


This Constitution may be amended by a vote of two-third of the members of the Convention,* at any regular session: Provided, that the amendment shall be ratified at the next regular session by a similar vote.

*Add to the number of ministers in fellowship the number of parishes in fellowship, having the qualifications set forth in § 3; if the sum is 50, the State Convention will be entitled to two clerical and four lay delegates to the General Convention; if 75, to three clerical and six lay delegates; if 100, to four clerical and eight lay; if 125, to five clerical and ten lay; if 150, to six clerical and twelve lay; if 175, to seven clerical and fourteen lay; if 200, to eight clerical and sixteen lay; if 225, to nine clerical and eighteen lay; if 250, to ten clerical and twenty lay.

necessarily every Sunday; but at stated periods.

*See By-Laws, Article
V. § 2.