Universalist General Convention Model Parish Constitution

[The General Convention recommends the following Plans for the organization of a Universalist Parish and Church.
[Every Parish should be incorporated. Its church property should be deeded to the State Convention if that body is authorized to hold and convey real estate, (otherwise to the General Convention), and reconveyed to the Parish with such conditions as will prevent its alienation or perversion from its original purpose. (See page [sic, blank]). In some states the Clerk is required by law to be sworn.
[These By-Laws embody what is usually contained in both Constitution and By-Laws, and are all that is needful when parishes are legally incorporated.]




This organization shall be known as the [ ] Universalist Parish of [ ].


1. This Parish acknowledges the ecclesiastical authority of the Universalist General Convention and the jurisdiction of the [ ] Universalist Convention; and regards itself as pledged to coöperate in such measures for raising funds and for fostering and extending all the interests of the Church as the General and State Conventions may prescribe.


1. Assent to the Profession of Faith adopted by the General Convention shall be essential to membership in this Church, 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.
2. Any person of good character who assents to said Profession of Faith, and contributes to the support of this Parish, may become a member by vote of a majority of its members, and by signing these By-Laws.
3. Membership shall be annulled without formal vote, on failure of any member to make payment to the Treasurer for the term of one year; provided, if there should be a time when no Sunday services are held by the Parish that time shall not be included.


1. The members of this Parish shall meet annually annual on the [ ] of [ ] of which meeting at least two weeks’ previous notice shall be given.
2. At said meeting the Officers of the Parish for the ensuing year shall be elected, and such other legal business transacted as may be deemed expedient.
3. Special meetings may be called by the Trustees, and shall be upon written application of five members of the Parish.
4. [ ] members shall constitute a quorum at any Parish meeting.


1. The officers of the Parish shall be a Moderator, a Clerk, a Treasurer, and a Standing Committee of [ ], who shall together constitute the Trustees. These officers shall be elected by ballot.


No Clergyman shall be called to, or continue in, the pastoral charge of this Parish, unless he has the fellowship of the Universalist General Convention.
In case of vacancy, the Trustees shall have the power to supply the pulpit.


This Parish shall contribute each year, according to its ability, to the funds of the General and State Conventions, in conformity with their laws.


1. Of the Moderator. — He shall preside at all meetings of the Parish and Trustees, and appoint all Committees, unless otherwise ordered, and perform all other duties belonging to his office. In his absence, a Moderator pro tem. shall be appointed.
2. Of the Clerk. — He shall keep a record of all the meetings and proceedings of the Parish and Trustees; notify all officers and members of their election; give due notice of all meetings of the Parish or its officers; have the custody of all books, papers, etc. belonging to the Parish, the care of which is not otherwise provided for. He shall prepare the reports which the Parish is required by the General Convention to make.
3. Of the Treasurer. — He shall receive all moneys belonging to the Parish, and pay all orders duly upon him. He shall keep accounts of his transactions in the books of the Parish, which shall be annually examined by a Committee of the Trustees, and shall make a report to the annual meeting. He shall have the custody of all evidence of property belonging to the Parish.
4. Of the Trustees. — It shall be their duty to provide for the collection of all the revenues of the Parish; foster the interests of the Church an Sunday-school; make suitable provision for the comfort and convenience of the congregation, and attend generally to the temporal concerns of the Parish; but they shall have no authority to transfer real estate, or to contract for any repairs or alteration of the property of the Church, the expense of which shall exceed the sum of [ ] dollars, without express power given for that purpose by a Parish meeting.
They shall meet on [ ] next succeeding their election, to enter upon the duties of their office; and shall hold regular monthly meetings (and may also hold special meetings) at such time as to them shall seem expedient.
At their first meeting, a Committee of three shall be appointed, to be called the House Committee, who shall, under the direction of the Trustees, have the immediate supervision and care of the Church building; they shall also let the pews and sittings in the Church, or secure such subscriptions as may be necessary for Church expenses.


In case of the dissolution of this Parish for any cause, all its property, real or personal, subject to all just and legal claims upon it, shall vest in the [ ] Universalist Convention, to be held in trust for the benefit of a future Universalist Parish in this neighborhood, or for furthering the cause of Universalism in some other way.


These By-Laws may be altered or amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at any regular meeting, provided that due notice has been given of the change provided.