Constitution and By-Laws
(Drafted November 1999 C.E.)
ARTICLE I Name
The name of this church shall be the North Carolina Piedmont Church of Wicca
ARTICLE II Affiliation
The church is not affiliated with any governing religious body. The church will always strive to cooperate with others of like or different faith while maintaining its privilege of self-rule.
ARTICLE III Confession of Faith
The church believes in the privilege of all to seek and follow that which is right in their own faith. The church holds faith in the Wiccan Rede "An it harm none, do as ye will" and in such necessary corollaries and axioms as the rede entails.
ARTICLE IV Purpose
Section 1. The purpose of the church shall be to unite Wiccans in fellowship for spiritual development and for the winning of all people to greater knowledge and service to our fellows.
Section 2. In order to achieve this purpose, the church, in the unity of minds, shall use the gifts that God, Goddess, and the Universe have given it.
ARTICLE V Membership
Membership in the church is granted to all who apply, declare their acceptance of the Rede as a guide for life, and seek the greater knowledge.
ARTICLE VI Officers
The officers of the church shall be a chancellor, a vice-chancellor, a secretary, and a treasurer.
ARTICLE VII Church Council
Section 1. The general administration of the church shall be vested in a body known as the Church Council. In circumstances or where law requires action(s) by "Trustees" the council shall be known as "the Board of Trustees" and the members of it as "trustees."
Section 2. The council shall consist of up to thirteen (13) members, as specified in the bylaws, including the High Priest and High Priestess, who shall be ex-officio members of the council.
Section 3. The council shall organize itself including the election of church officers in a manner specified in the bylaws.
ARTICLE VIII Business Meetings
Section 1. Regular business meetings shall be held at stated intervals, but not less than semiannually. The annual business meeting shall be held as near the anniversary of the church founding as feasible. At the annual meeting, written progress reports shall be submitted by the High Priest, High Priestess, and by each committee of the church. The treasurer for the church and each of its organizations shall submit financial reports. Officers of the council for the ensuing year shall be elected by ballot.
Section 2. Members shall be informed of all church business meetings not less than one week prior to the meeting. Such information shall include the date, time of meeting, and an agenda of business to be transacted.
ARTICLE IX Property
In the event of dissolution, the property and all assets of the church shall become and be the property of The Great State of North Carolina for use as the state sees fit for the recreation and education of her residents.
ARTICLE X Amendments
Amendments in harmony with this constitution and not in conflict with Wiccan principles and practices, may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting in an annual meeting of the church, providing the proposed amendment was presented in written form at the preceding business meeting.
ARTICLE I Membership
Section 1. Admission into membership.
a)Application for membership.
A written application for membership shall be placed with the Chancellor or the secretary of the council. Applications need only state the name by which the member wishes to be known and acceptance of the constitution, by-laws, and Rede of the church.
b)Transfer of membership.
Applicants from other Wiccan churches shall submit letters of transfer when available, to the Chancellor and/or the secretary of council, who shall act upon the application according to the requirements of paragraph a) of this section.
c)Reception of new members.
New members of the church shall be welcomed at the next service or business meeting of the church and shall make public confession of their acceptance of the Wiccan Rede as a guide to live by.
d)Classes of membership.
Officers and members of council of this church or any congregation of this church will be known as Church Elders. Elders of the church are charged with the overall business management of the church under the leadership of the Chancellor. The spiritual and educational needs of the membership are attending by the Clergy known as Priest or Priestess who are ordained in accord with the provisions of these by-laws. From among the Clergy, the council will appoint one Priest and one Priestess to serve the congregation at the leisure of the council in the position of High Priest and High Priestess. Together the High Priestess and High Priest are known as the senior clergy, each equally responsible for the spiritual and educational needs of the church and community. All other members, accepted by the council for membership and in good standing will be known as initiates. Initiates may ascend to any office of the church in accord with the provisions of these by-laws.
Section 2. Children of members.
Children of the members of the church and its constituency shall be nurtured under its spiritual care when so desired by the child's parents. At the time they choose to do so, children may make application for membership as specified in Article I1,a) above
Section 2.1 Associate membership.
Any person desiring an association with the church yet not wishing to be a full member, make application in the manner of Article I1a above for associate membership. Associate members are granted all rights and privileges of members with the sole exception that they may not ascend to the clergy and may not hold office in the Church.
Section 3. Responsibility of membership.
All members accept responsibility for their own actions as they reflect upon the name of the church. Members are responsible for living life in a manner that inspires respect for the church. Members respect the faith of all people and the right of all to choose a path which is correct for them.
Section 4. Discipline.
Members who willfully neglect their duties as outlined in Section 3 above shall be admonished by the council. If this admonition is not heeded, they shall be dealt with as erring members.
Any member known to err in conduct which brings discredit on the church shall be counseled. If he or she does not heed this counsel, the matter shall be brought to the attention of the council. If he or she fails to heed the counsel of the council, the error shall be brought before a congregational business meeting. Discipline shall then be administered with due regard for the welfare of the individual as well as the church.
c)Dismissal of members.
Dismissal of a member under paragraphs a) and b) of this section must be acted on by the church, which alone has the authority. A two-thirds vote of those present and voting at a congregational business meeting is necessary for such action.
d)Forfeiture of rights.
A member who has been properly dismissed from the church, or has withdrawn membership, has forfeited all rights and privileges of membership in the church.
The church council shall have the responsibility of contacting non-active members prior to each annual meeting to determine their intention with regard to membership. Further action may be taken at the annual meeting. All members of the church are required to have contact with the church at least once each year.
Section 5. Transfer of members.
Members who move to another community should soon thereafter identify themselves with the local Wiccan church. If there is no Wiccan church, they should identify themselves with some other similar church. Application for transfer of membership shall be made in writing to the chancellor , who shall issue the transfer to the church with which a member is joining. Withdrawal of such membership shall be reported through the council to the next congregational business meeting, where it shall be made a matter of record.
Section 6. Removal of membership.
Request for withdrawal from membership in the church shall be made in writing to the chancellor or the council. All requests for removal from membership of any member will be verified with the member and will be so honored. Membership may also be withdrawn from non-active members who have not had contact with the church for a period greater than one year, per section 4e above.
Section 7. Nonmember friends.
The church as a part of its total constituency shall enroll nonmember friends. The church and its clergy shall serve them in all their spiritual needs, and they shall be encouraged to consider this as their church home. They shall be kept informed of the activities of the church.
Section 8. Minors
Minors shall not be admitted as members of the church without parental or guardian consent.
ARTICLE II Clergy
Section 1. Qualifications.
The clergy of the church shall include those members that have studied within the church for a period of one year and one day, or whose experience, within the church or as an individual, is deemed by the council to be sufficient, and have accepted a calling to the clergy. On request of any member of the church that meets that requirement, the Chancellor or the council may give an examination. Such examination may be written or oral and may include any such material as the council may from time to time establish as requisite knowledge of the clergy of this church. Any member requesting admission to the clergy that does not meet the requirements of the examination will be guided and aided by the Chancellor until they are accepted. They shall by virtue of their call be members of the church and will be known as Priest or Priestess.
Section 2. Duties.
The clergy shall be devoted to the service of the church, teaching what they know, administering ceremony, and faithfully giving themselves to the needs of the church. They shall provide the church with an accurate record of their ministerial acts and present a written report to the congregational annual business meeting. They shall practice good administrative procedures and cooperate with the church council. They shall be ex officio members of the council and all committees of the church. All clergy of the church are expected to perform those rites and services normally expected of ministers whenever asked to do so.
Section 3. Co-operation.
The clergy shall, both in word and precept, work in harmony with the Chancellor, the council, and the membership of the church.
Section 4. Ordination.
The clergy shall be ordained at a regular or special church business meeting oe service, the purpose of which shall be announced two weeks in advance. The clergy shall be nominated and accepted by council.
Section 5. Charges against a Priest or Priestess.
Charges against a clergyman shall be submitted in writing to the church council, charging a clergyman with indiscretion, immorality, doctrinal error, unethical behavior, or disloyalty to the church. If in the judgment of the church council there is substance to the charges, the council will offer a hearing where the accused and accuser may state their points. Once the case is stated by each the accused and the accuser and any available witnesses or testimony is heard, the Council will make a decision regarding what action to take. The decision of the council will be final.
ARTICLE III Officers
Section 1. Qualifications.
Officers of the church shall be members in good standing who are active in the support of the total works of the church. They shall serve both as corporate officers of the church and of the church council.
Section 2. Duties.
The chancellor shall preside at all business meetings of the church and of the council. The chancellor shall take care to confer with the senior clergy in preparing the agenda for such meetings, and to utilize the counsel that the clergy may give by virtue of training, experience, and calling. The chancellor shall be responsible for leadership of the church services.
The vice-chancellor shall assume the duties of the chancellor in his or her absence, assist in his or her duties, and undertake other tasks as assigned by the chair, the council, or the clergy.
The secretary shall keep and preserve the minutes of all congregational business meetings of the church and meetings of the council, and shall conduct and preserve all official correspondence as shall be delegated. The secretary shall also be responsible for the official seal and documents of the church as well as the records of membership.
The treasurer shall be responsible for all funds committed to him or her and shall make disbursements as authorized by the church or the council. The treasurer shall also present a written report of the receipts and expenditures to each regular meeting of the council and to each congregational business meeting.
Section 3. Election and tenure.
The chancellor, vice-chancellor, secretary, and treasurer shall be elected at an annual congregational business meeting for terms of three years. They shall not be elected to serve more than two consecutive full terms in the same office.
Section 4. Vacancies.
Such vacancies as occur among the church officers may be filled by appointment of the chancellor, with the concurrence of the council. The appointee will serve until the next annual congregational business meeting; if an un-expired term continues beyond the date of that meeting, the position will be filled by election as under Section 3 above. Such appointive service will not disqualify a person from serving two full terms under the terms of Section 3.
Section 5. Discipline.
Should an officer neglect his or her duties or become a hindrance to the works of the church, that officer shall be admonished by the council and/or the chancellor in a manner consistent with Article I, Section 4 of these bylaws. Should such admonition not be heeded, a vote of two-thirds of the council, with the concurrence of the senior clergy, will be sufficient to remove that person from office, the vacancy to be filled as under Section 4 above.
ARTICLE IV Church Council
Section 1. Qualifications
Members of the council shall be members in good standing who are active in the total works of the church.
Section 2. Size, composition, election, and tenure.
The council shall consist of up to thirteen (13) members, not including the clergy, who are ex-officio members. Those members shall include the church officers, elected in accordance with Article III, Section 3 of these bylaws, and other members, elected as the chairs of administrative committees as defined elsewhere in these bylaws. Members shall serve for terms of three years in such a manner that the terms of approximately one-third of the members shall expire each year. They shall not be elected to more than two consecutive full terms.
Section 3. Duties.
The council in its administrative responsibility in co-operation with the clergy shall fulfill the functions defined by the constitution and bylaws, including the following:
a) Supervise church membership, in conjunction with the senior clergy.
b) Assist the clergy in nurturing the spiritual life of the church, in cooperation with the chair of the council.
c) Establish administrative and program policies in conformity with the spirit of the church constitution.
d) Evaluate the total church program on a continuing basis.
e) Recommend the annual budget, as proposed by the executive committee, and review stewardship opportunities for the church.
f) Review and approve the schedule of the church activities and personnel.
g) Appoint administrative committees and church workers as defined by the bylaws and as the council may deem appropriate.
Section 4. Administrative committees.
Implementation of policies and programs established by congregational or council action may be accomplished through the following administrative committees, each of whose chairs shall be a member of the council as established under Section 2 above:
a) Ritual Committee.
b) Finance Committee.
c) Outreach Committee.
d) Community Service Committee.
e) Long-Range Planning Committee.
The council member who serves as chair of a committee assumes responsibility for directing all congregational activities that fall within that functional category, in cooperation with the clergy.
ARTICLE V Committees
Section 1. Executive committee.
The executive committee, consisting of the church chancellor, the vice chancellor, the secretary, and the treasurer, together with the senior clergy, shall strive to promote effective working relations and communication in the church. The committee shall have no legislative power, but shall function in an advisory capacity to the council, unless the council or the church shall have assigned specific responsibilities to it.
Section 2. Nominating committee.
The nominating committee shall consist of not less than three (3) members, including at least one member of the church council and one non-member of the council. These members shall be elected at the quarterly business meeting prior to the annual meeting. The senior clergy shall be ex-officio members of the committee. After being convened by the church chancellor, committee members shall elect their own chair and secretary. The responsibility of the committee shall include the following:
a)Prepare a ballot for the annual meeting of the congregation listing at least one qualified candidate for each office to be filled.
b)Confirm the willingness of each candidate to serve before listing his or her name on the ballot.
c)Present a complete ballot to the annual meeting of the congregation. This shall constitute completion of the committee assignment, unless it be given specific responsibilities at said annual meeting.
Section 3. Ritual committee.
The Ritual committee shall consist of the clergy members of the executive committee and two members of the congregation selected by the council. It shall meet at least annually in keeping with the program and purpose of the church. The appointive members shall serve terms of two years.
Section 4. Special committees and task forces.
Special committees or task forces for specific purposes may be appointed by any duly constituted business meeting of the congregation or by the council according to need, but shall be automatically terminated at the next annual meeting unless specifically extended by said annual meeting.
Section 5. Long-range planning committee.
The long-range planning committee shall consist of at least one member of the council's executive committee who is designated by the church chancellor. The committee chair shall be a voting member of the council, and the senior clergy shall be an ex-officio member of the planning committee.Its designated representative from the executive committee shall serve no more than three years.
The responsibilities of the committee shall include the following:
a)Annually formulate, update, and/or revise a five-year plan for the church, presenting a report and plan to the congregation for its review and approval at the annual meeting or at a special meeting that has been called for the purpose.
b)After such approval has been obtained, annually prepare an implementation strategy for the then-current five-year plan, delivering it to the semi-annual meeting of the church for its review and concurrence.
c)Provide advice and support to the council and to the other committees of the church, which shall have the responsibility for implementation; and incorporate into each subsequent review of the five-year plan such changes as have been deemed necessary or undertaken by those other committees.
ARTICLE VI Meetings
Section 1. Public services.
Public services shall be conducted regularly when deemed appropriate.
Section 2. Celebrating the Sabbats and Esbats
The congregation of the church will come together as a whole on each of the Sabbats for the purpose of celebrating the day. The Ritual Committee is charged with planning the location, activities and liturgy of the celebration. The celebration of Esbats will be co-ordinated by the Ritual Committe and will occur at the council's discrestion at such time and place as determined by the Committee.
Section 3. Congregational business meetings.
Congregational business meetings shall be held regularly and not less than annually, as specified in Article VIII of the constitution. The chancellor of the church in consultation may call special business meetings with the senior clergy or by the council.
Section 4. Church council and administrative meetings.
Regular meetings of the council shall be held not less than quarterly. Administrative committees, special committees, and task forces shall meet not less than at a frequency specified by the council. Their respective chairs may call special meetings of the council, the executive committee, the administrative committees, and the task forces.
Section 5. Organizational meetings.
Meetings and activities of the organizations of the church shall be planned and conducted regularly under the direction and supervision of the council.
ARTICLE VII General Provisions
Section 1. Quorum.
a) Fifteen percent of the membership present and voting at a business meeting properly called shall constitute a quorum.
b) The quorum for the council, committee, and task force meetings shall be a majority of their respective memberships.
Section 2. Rules of Order.
All business meetings of the church and of the boards, committees, and organizations of the church shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order.
ARTICLE VIII Amendments
Section 1. Amendments.
Amendments to these bylaws not in conflict with the constitution may be adopted at any regular congregational business meeting, or at a special business meeting called for that purpose, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, providing that such amendments have been presented in writing to the council and at a preceding regular congregational business meeting.