INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF COMMUNITY CHURCHES
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

PREAMBLE

History
          In 1950, the Biennial Council of the Peoples Church of Christ and Community Centers led by Dr. Joseph M. Evans and the National Council of Community Churches led by the Rev. Roy A. Burkhardt joined in a historic merger. At the time, their joining represented the largest interracial merger of religious bodies in America. The new creation was the International Council of Community Churches. Member churches united to be a fellowship of ecumenically minded, freedom-loving churches cooperating in fulfilling the mission of the Church in the world.
          As a post-denominational movement, the Council has witnessed and worked for Christian unity, justice and reconciliation in human society. That is the work we consistently carry into the future.

Vision
          The Council is an international, intercultural, interracial and inclusive fellowship of churches and ministry centers which seeks to realize Christian unity in local, national, and world relations. The Council seeks fellowship, mutual support, and common ministries that reflect the unity of all who see themselves within the Christian tradition. The Council seeks:

To be faithful to the prayer of Jesus Christ that “they may all be one;”
To witness to the inclusive love of God that overcomes all divisions;
To love and serve God, God’s people, and God’s creation;
To seek and share the truth;
To build toward a new world of peace;
To affirm individual freedom of conscience;
To affirm communities of justice, mercy, and love; and.
To be an integral partner in the worldwide ecumenical movement. 

Relationships
            The Council is at its heart relationships among individuals, churches and centers in the service of our common purpose and mission. Through the Council local churches and ministry centers find it possible to find and develop connection with the wider church through the ecumenical movement. In mutual encouragement and resourcing through the Council, local ministries are strengthened.

ARTICLE 1 – NAME
The name of this organization shall be the International Council of Community Churches.

ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
The Council serves as an international, interracial, communion of churches and ministry centers which seeks to realize Christian unity in local, national, and world relations.

ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
A. Qualifications for Membership
          Any historically established, chartered or incorporated church or ministry center that identifies itself as being within the Christian tradition and that signifies its willingness to support the purpose of the Council by participation in Council activities and by financial support of the Council may apply for membership in the Council.
B. Standards for Membership
     1.  Standards for membership shall be those recommended by the Board of Directors and endorsed by the Annual Conference.
     2.  Standards for membership shall be communicated to member churches and centers at least once annually by such means as the Board of Directors may direct.
 
ARTICLE IV – ANNUAL CONFERENCE
A. Purpose
          The Annual Conference and other Council gatherings shall serve as opportunities for fellowship, worship, support, ministry, education, and spiritual growth.
B. Gatherings
     1.  The Council shall gather in Annual Conference at a time, date and place determined by the Board of Directors.
     2.  The Council may establish other singular or periodic gatherings for community churches located within particular national or continental locales by action of the Board of Directors.
C. Voting Delegates
     1.  Each member church or ministry center may be represented at Annual Conference by up to two voting delegates, only one of whom may be an ordained cleric.
     2.  The Board of Directors shall establish the procedures by which a church or center may certify the persons who shall be its voting delegates at Annual Conference.
D. Business Sessions
     1.  The voting delegates gathered at Annual Conference shall elect officers and other members of the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees, approve the next year’s annual budget, and provide direction for the Council’s life and fellowship.
     2.  Matters of business at the Annual Conference, except the revision of the Constitution and Bylaws, shall be determined by a simple majority vote of delegates present and voting.
 
ARTICLE V – OFFICERS
A. General Regulations
     1. The officers of the Council shall serve in the duties outlined here and in such other duties applicable to their offices as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Council.
     2. Each position defined in this article shall have term limits as defined, with the exception that if in the case of necessity the Annual Conference may elect an individual to not more than one additional consecutive year in office.
     3. As nearly as may be possible, an equal number of terms of office shall expire each year.
     4. In the event of the incapacity of any officer, the President (or in the event of the incapacity of the President, the Secretary) shall convene a meeting of the Board of Directors to appoint a person to act in the place of the incapacitated officer, who will serve until the next Annual Conference.
B. The President
     1. The President shall be elected by the voting delegates at Annual Conference for a term of one year, with a maximum of two consecutive terms. The President shall serve as the elected leader of the Council.
     2. The President shall:
          a. Preside at meetings of the Board of Directors, the Council Advisory Cabinet, and business meetings of the Annual Conference. If the President is absent from a meeting of any of these bodies, the body shall elect a President pro tempore to preside at its meeting.
          b. Appoint, with the approval of the Board of Directors, the moderators and members of committees as specified in Article IX.
          c. Nominate for appointment by the Board of Directors, persons to fill vacancies in the elective and appointive bodies of the Council until the next Annual Conference.
          d. Assign responsibilities to officers and others to fulfill the work of the Council, and provide general encouragement and oversight to committees in order that their responsibilities may be fulfilled.
          e. Nominate for appointment by the Board of Directors, a corporate resident agent as required by the laws of the State of Illinois.
          f. Represent the Council when possible in relation to other religious and public bodies.
          g. Call special meetings of the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and Council Advisory Cabinet when necessary.
C. The Secretary
     1. The Secretary shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Secretary shall:
          a. Attend and develop minutes for all meetings of the Board of Directors and all business meetings of the Annual Conference.
          b. Be custodian of all records and reports and insure that there is a maintained archive of materials developed in relation to the Council.
          c. Have special responsibility for developing and maintaining archival deposits at one or more libraries located at educational institutions or other places, in cooperation with the Council’s committees on history, heritage and informational services.
          d. In the event of the incapacity of the President, convene a meeting of the Board of Directors to appoint a person to act in the place of the President, who will serve until the next Annual Conference.
          e. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
D. The Treasurer
     1. The Treasurer shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Treasurer shall:
          a. Prepare and present monthly reports on the Council’s finances, in cooperation with the Executive Minister and other Council staff, to the Board of Directors;
          b. Prepare and present periodic reports on the Council’s finances, in cooperation with the Executive Minister, to the Board of Trustees and to the Council Advisory Cabinet.
          c. Prepare and present annual reports on the Council’s finances, in cooperation with the Executive Minister, to the Annual Conference.
          d. Have special responsibility for developing agendas for meetings of the Council Advisory Cabinet in conjunction with the President and the Executive Minister.
          e. Arrange for an annual financial review or audit of the finances of the Council.
E. The Vice President for Planning
     1. The Vice President for Planning shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Planning shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for planning the Annual Conference, and for developing other plans to enhance the Council’s life and ministry.
          c. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          d. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
F. The Vice President for Regional Relationships
     1. The Vice President for Regional Relationships shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Regional Relationships shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for developing, maintaining and enhancing relationships between member churches and centers and their regional associations.
          c. Preside over meetings of the Board of Trustees.
          d. Make recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding the size, composition and boundaries of regions.
          e. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          f.  Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
G. The Vice President for Financial Development
     1. The Vice President for Financial Development shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Financial Development shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for encouraging member churches and centers in their support of the Council and its ministries.
          c. Develop additional sources of funding including grants from individuals, foundations, corporations and associations.
          d. Consult with the Council Advisory Cabinet in matters related to financial development.
          e. Prepare a proposed annual budget for submission to the Board of Directors and to the Annual Conference.
          f.  Upon vote of her/his committee, add or delete names of agencies and institutions to or from the Council’s list of endorsed mission agencies and institutions.
          g. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          h. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
H. The Vice President for Membership Enlistment
     1. The Vice President for Membership Enlistment shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Membership Enlistment shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for enlisting new member churches and centers into Council membership.
          c. Develop and execute programs of marketing to prospective member churches using all available means of networking and communication.
          d. Develop and execute planned programs of direct contact with prospective member churches and centers.
          e. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          f.  Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
I. The Vice President for Membership Services
     1. The Vice President for Membership Services shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Membership Services shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility to review, develop and enhance services provided to member churches and centers by the Council and its regions.
          c. Conduct periodic formal and informal surveys of clergy and laity to determine the effectiveness of existing services and to solicit proposals for new services provided to member churches and centers.
          d. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          e. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
J. The Vice President for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
     1. The Vice President Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility to maintain the Council’s relationships with other religious bodies through bilateral and multilateral dialogues.
          c. Perform the duties commonly expected of an Ecumenical Officer at gatherings of conciliar organizations, and appoint a proxy to represent the Council at gatherings which the Vice President for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations cannot attend.
          d. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          e. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
K. The Vice President for Leadership Development
     1. The Vice President for Leadership Development shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Leadership Development shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for the development of leadership skills and aptitudes among laity and clergy, for the benefit of the member churches and centers of the Council, and for the benefit of the Council.
          c. Develop and implement programs, and recommend programs developed by others, for leadership development.
          d. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          e. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
L. The Vice President for Informational Services and Outreach
     1. The Vice President for Informational Services and Outreach shall be elected by the voting delegates at annual conference for a term of two years, with a maximum of three consecutive terms.
     2. The Vice President for Informational Services and Outreach shall:
          a. Enlist a committee to assist in the tasks assigned to this office.
          b. Have special responsibility for publishing, using all available media: news to the general public about the Council and its member churches and centers; sermons, worship materials and other information that may be useful to member churches and centers; and other materials relevant to the Council, its vision and mission, and its programming.
          c. Cooperate with other officers in developing means and methods of publication via all available media of materials that will assist their initiatives.
          d. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          e. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
M. Representative of the Auxiliaries
     1. The officers or their appointees of all Auxiliaries accredited by the Council’s Board of Directors shall meet annually at Annual Conference to appoint a joint representative to the Board of Directors.
     2. The Representative of the Auxiliaries shall serve a one year term of office, and may be reappointed without limitation of terms.
     3. The Auxiliaries shall endeavor to rotate responsibility for representation among the Auxiliary organizations.
     4. The Representative of the Auxiliaries shall:
          a. Bring to the Board of Directors the concerns, recommendations and reports on planned activities of all the Auxiliary organizations.
          b. Make reports to all the Auxiliary organizations on the proceeding of each meeting of the Board of Directors the Representative attends.
          c. Perform other duties assigned by the President.
          d. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
N. Immediate Past President
            The immediate past President of the Council shall serve on the Board of Directors until the current President’s term concludes. In the event of the incapacity of the immediate past President, that person’s immediate predecessor as President of the Council may be invited to fill this position by the Board of Directors.
O. Executive Minister
            The Executive Minister shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors with voice but without vote.

ARTICLE VI – BOARD OF TRUSTEES
A. Membership
     1. The Board of Trustees shall consist of the President; the Vice President for Regional Relationships; the Vice President for Membership Enlistment, the Vice President for Membership Services; the Secretary; International Trustees as described in this article; and US regional Trustees elected by Annual Conference. The Executive Minister shall serve as member ex officio of this body.
     2. There may be one International Trustee from each nation outside the US that has seven or more member churches or centers as defined in this Constitution and bylaws; whose churches and centers elect a Trustee by democratic means; and whose churches and centers communicate the results of any such election to Council staff. Any group of churches that joins the Council as a single entity shall be counted as one body for the purpose of determining the number of churches and centers that are located in a nation. In the case of indeterminate or changing national boundaries, the Board of Directors shall determine for Council purposes the national location or affiliation of member churches and centers.
     3. The number of US regional Trustees and the geographic boundaries of their respective regions shall be established by the Board of Directors. Such regions shall be arranged in a manner that places as nearly as may be practical, an equal number of churches and centers in each region. The Board of Directors shall review and reassign the boundaries of regions at least once every 15 years.
     4. Persons elected as US regional Trustees or as International Trustees shall serve for a single term of five years, and shall not be eligible for re-election to the same office until one calendar year has elapsed. Persons appointed or elected to fill unexpired terms shall in no case serve more than seven consecutive years.
     5. Persons elected as US regional Trustees shall be elected at Annual Conference with terms of office beginning immediately upon the adjournment sine die of the Annual Conference at which they were elected. The Council shall seek to express its diversity in the selection of US regional Trustees. The terms of office of persons elected as International Trustees shall begin immediately upon the final adjournment of the Annual Conference after which they are elected.
B. Individual Duties of Trustees
     Each Trustee shall:
     1. Be responsible for visiting in person or by electronic means each church and center in her/his territory a minimum of once each year, encouraging the involvement and participation of each church and center in Council-related meetings and activities.
     2. Encourage the formation, growth and health of geographic fellowships of community churches in her/his territory, and cooperate with the elected officers of such fellowships in developing meetings and activities that meet the needs of churches and centers.
     3. Report to each meeting of the Board of Trustees in writing on geographical fellowship meetings and activities within the Trustee’s territory, and on the Trustee’s activities including visits to churches and centers on behalf of the Council.
     4. Report to each meeting of the Board of Trustees in writing on the health, growth, progress and needs of Council churches and centers within the Trustee’s territory.
     5. Represent the Council upon the request of the President or the Executive Minister.
C. Board Duties
     The Board of Trustees shall:
     1. Receive reports from its own members at each regular meeting regarding the health, growth, progress and needs of the Council’s churches and centers, and on meetings and activities of geographical fellowships, making use of these reports to strengthen relationships among member churches and centers and encourage their individual and joint ministries.
     2. Transmit reports, recommendations and information to the Board of Directors for review or action, and for inclusion in the Council’s annual reports and records.
     3. Act upon other matters as may be determined by the Council’s constitution and bylaws, and as may be assigned by the Annual Conference.
D. Meetings
     1. The Board of Trustees shall meet not less than three times each year: twice by electronic means, and once in conjunction with the Annual Conference. The meeting related to Annual Conference may consist of more than one session.
     2. Each member of the Board of Trustees listed above is entitled to one vote on any motion that may come before the Board. Proxies are not permitted. Absentee ballots are not permitted. In matters of special urgency, the President may call for a special ballot by postal or electronic mail.
     3. Council staff shall attend meetings to provide services to the Board, except that the Board may by majority vote enter into executive session.
 
ARTICLE VII – BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A. Membership
The Board of Directors shall consist of officers of the Council described in Article V.
B. Duties
     The Board of Directors shall
     1. Monitor the program, finances and staff functioning of the Council, and shall make recommendations to the Board of Trustees and to the Annual Conference on policy and on other matters as specified by this Constitution and bylaws.
     2. Prepare a proposed annual budget to be recommended to the Annual Conference, and provide for regular audits of the Council’s finances.
     3. Act as nominating committee for the Council, seeking to represent the diverse Council membership and to fulfill the vision and mission of the Council through the best choice of nominees.
     4. Oversee the maintenance of a complete and current listing of the Council’s member churches and centers.
     5. Recognize the ministerial credentials of individual clergy, and establish policies and procedures for such recognition that ensure the integrity of the Council’s mission and reputation.
     6. Make decisions regarding the venue for each Annual Conference.
     7. Appoint a planning committee for each Annual Conference to be led by the Vice President for Planning, and receive reports from planning committee meetings at each of its meetings.
     8. Appoint a Personnel Committee with responsibility to conduct performance and compensation reviews for Council staff.
     9. Establish other committees as needed, as specified in Article VIII.
     10. Administer the trust funds of the Council, making disbursements directly or through a Vice Presidential committee as the Board may instruct.
     11. Provide general oversight and encouragement to the Executive Minister and other Council staff, maintaining regular communication with them through the President and such other persons as the board may direct.
     12. Upon nomination from the President, appoint a corporate resident agent, perform those legal and business functions prescribed to boards of directors of non-profit corporations under the laws of the State of Illinois, and carry out other functions required under state or federal law.
C. Meetings
     1. The Board of Directors shall meet in regular session at least five times each year by electronic or other means, and once in conjunction with the Annual Conference. The meeting related to Annual Conference may consist of more than one session. The President may call special meetings of this body.
     2. Each member of the Board of Directors is entitled to one vote on any motion that may come before the Board. Proxies are not permitted. Absentee ballots are not permitted. In matters of special urgency, the President may call for a special ballot by postal or electronic mail.
     3. Council staff may attend meetings to provide services to the committee, except that the committee may by majority vote enter into executive session.
D. Executive Committee
            The Board of Directors may appoint an Executive Committee consisting of the President of the Council and such other members of the Board as it may direct, and delegate specific duties to the Executive Committee, provided that actions taken by the Executive Committee shall be reported to the Board of Directors and approved or overruled by the Board at its next meeting.

ARTICLE VIII – COMMITTEES
     A. Committees in addition to those specified in this Constitution and Bylaws may be established by the Board of Directors provided that the name and purpose of each such committee, its membership size and its termination date are specified.
     B. Committee members shall be nominated by the President and appointed by the Board of Directors.
     C. The President shall be ex-officio, a member of all committees, and shall be notified of their meetings. The President may appoint a proxy to attend meetings of a committee on her/his behalf.
     D. No person shall serve on more than two committees at any one time.
     E. Committees may invite Council staff to attend meetings, to provide staff support as appropriate.

ARTICLE IX – COUNCIL STAFF
     A. The Board of Directors may employ or call to ministry, staff members to support the life and work of the Council. The President shall nominate and the Board of Directors appoint, a search committee for the purpose of searching out, reviewing the resumes of, interviewing, and making proposals regarding individuals to fill such positions as the Annual Conference has approved and for which positions budget provisions have been made.
     B. When the Board employs an individual, that person shall be provided with a job description, and shall be required to sign a letter of call or employment contract with the Council. Such letter of call or contract shall specify duties, compensation, periodic performance and compensation review, termination, and other provisions common to such instruments.
     C. The chief staff officer of the Council may be a layperson or an ordained cleric, and shall be designated by the title “Executive Minister” or such other title as the Board of Directors may direct, with duties as follows:
          1. The Executive Minister shall provide pastoral support to professional church leaders of the Council.
          2. The Executive Minister shall upon invitation provide assistance and support to churches and centers in pastoral transition and to churches and centers facing other challenges.
          3. The Executive Minister shall consult with and cooperate with the President and each of the Vice Presidents of the Council in fulfilling the duties and functions of each office. The Executive Minister shall:
               a. In consultation with the Vice President for Planning, inspect and review possible sites for Annual Conferences, and seek out program leadership for Annual Conferences.
               b. In consultation with the Vice President for Regional Relationships provide support for the Board of Trustees and for regional fellowships of community churches.
               c. In consultation with the Vice President for Financial Development make appeals for financial support of the Council from churches and centers, individuals, foundations and other sources.
               d. In consultation with the Vice President for Membership Enlistment, interpret the benefits of Council membership to prospective churches and centers.
               e. In consultation with the Vice President for Membership Services, develop and implement plans to provide added-value services to member churches and centers.
               f.  In consultation with the Vice President for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, engage in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues both multilateral and bilateral, and represent the Council in ecumenical and interfaith conciliar bodies.
               g. In consultation with the Vice President for Leadership Development, develop and implement programs that engage clergy and laity in activities that advance their insight and skills in helping the Council to achieve its purpose and vision.
               h. In consultation with the Vice President for Informational Services and Outreach, publicize the activities of the Council and provide through a variety of media, materials that support the Council, its churches and centers, and its purpose and vision.
          4. The Executive Minister or such other person as the Board of Directors may designate shall represent the Council as “head of communion” in ecumenical bodies that require such a designation.
          5. The Executive Minister shall submit to each meeting of the Board of Directors written and oral reports on her/his activities on behalf of the Council.
          6. The Executive Minister shall perform such other duties as the Board of Directors may specify.
     D. The personnel committee and/or its appointee(s) shall meet not less than annually with each staff member to review past performance, establish goals for the coming year, and to discuss general questions related to the staff member’s service to the Council. 

ARTICLE X – CLERGY
            The Board of Directors shall insure that a formal list of ordained clergy related to the Council is developed and maintained with appropriate documentation. The Council shall honor and accept the ordination of women and men by recognized Christian communities or bodies. Termination of standing with such groups shall not be required or implied by the Council’s acceptance. The Council shall affirm and accept the ordination of men and women by its member bodies.

ARTICLE XI – GEOGRAPHIC FELLOWSHIPS  
            The Council shall encourage and support the formation and maintenance of fellowships of community churches in specific geographical locales. Such fellowships:
     A. May invite other churches and centers not currently affiliated with the Council into their membership, provided that such churches and centers are informed and reminded about the benefits of Council membership on a regular basis;
     B. Shall meet on a periodic basis, with meeting schedules arranged on a predictable schedule insofar as possible, to encourage maximum attendance and participation;
     C. Shall provide programs and events that will assist member churches and centers by providing opportunities for fellowship, worship, support, education, and spiritual growth.
     D. Shall include in their meeting agendas, reports and informational sharing on events and developments important to the Council’s life.
     E. Shall make reports on their meetings and activities to the Council for sharing with the entire community church movement. 

ARTICLE XII – PARLIMENTARY AUTHORITY
          The rules of parliamentary practice as found in the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the business meetings of the Annual Conference, the meetings of the Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors and the various committees and commissions, unless differently specified in this Constitution and By-Laws.

ARTICLE XIII- AMENDMENTS
     A. This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at an Annual Conference by a two-third majority vote of those delegates present and voting subject to the following provisions.
     B. A proposed amendment must first be submitted to the Board of Directors at least ninety days before the next regular Annual Conference. The Board of Directors shall cause the proposed amendment to be sent by postal mail to member churches and centers at least sixty days prior to the next Annual Conference.
     C. The Board of Directors may make recommendations to the Annual Conference regarding any proposed amendment, but the approval of the Board shall not be required prior to dissemination of the proposal to the churches and center or to consideration of the proposal by the Annual Conference.

ARTICLE XIV – DISSOLUTION
     A. The International Council of Community Churches may, upon recommendation of the Board of Directors be dissolved at an Annual Conference by a two-thirds vote of current and active churches and centers.
     B. In the event of the dissolution of the International Council of Community Churches, after all obligations have been satisfied all assets shall be distributed to religious and charitable organizations with objectives consistent with those of the Council as determined by the Board of Directors.

 

Approved July 24, 2013