Parish Bylaws

ST. ELIZABETH GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
PARISH BY-LAWS

Amended September 2018

By virtue of the authority granted in the uniform parish regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Part Three, Chapter One, Article 21, the Parish Assembly of the Saint Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida, adopts the provisions contained herein, same having been approved in advance by the Metropolitan of the Metropolis of Atlanta. In so adopting these provisions, the Parish Assembly recognizes that the provisions are to serve as bylaws that address themselves to the requirements of local needs of the community of the St. Elizabeth Greek Orthodox church in Gainesville. It is further recognized that by so adopting these provisions, they become appended to the Uniform Parish Regulations, and nothing contained herein is to be construed in a manner consistent with the spirit of said Regulations.


ARTICLE I

Name and purpose

The St. Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida, is the official name of the church and parish, a non-profit organization under the laws of the State of Florida (hereinafter referred to as “Parish”).

The Parish recognizes and adopts as its purpose the aims and purposes set forth in Part One, Article 15 of the Uniform Parish Regulations. In addition, it is the aim and purpose of the Parish to adapt those specific purposes to the specific needs of the Parish and to assume them as goals in fulfilling the lives of its members with the enrichment of the Orthodox Christian faith.

ARTICLE II

Parishioners

Any person, eighteen years of age or over, who was baptized according to the rites of the Church, or was received into the Church through Chrismation, who lives according to the Faith and canons of the Church, abides by the Uniform Parish Regulations and these appended bylaws, and fulfills his or her financial obligation to the Parish, and cooperates in every way towards the well being of the Parish is a member in good standing of the Parish (hereinafter referred to as “Parishioner”).

The definition of “fulfilling one’s financial obligation to the Parish” is by necessity a flexible one. Generally, for purposes of voting in Parish Assemblies and elections, one is considered to have fulfilled his or her stewardship and financial obligations to the Parish if he or she has pledged and paid an amount certain for the year prior to the current year and has pledged an amount to the Parish for the current year. However, in the event an individual refuses or neglects to pledge a specific amount, but he or she has committed himself or herself spiritually, morally and financially to the Greek Orthodox Faith and the parish and the records of the parish so reflect the financial commitment, he or she will be considered to have fulfilled his or her financial obligation and be eligible to vote. (Stewardship is recommended to be ten percent [10%] of one’s annual income as stated in the Holy Scripture to help meet the financial obligations of the Parish, the Metropolis and the Archdiocese.) New members to the Parish will have met their financial obligation to the Parish by merely pledging a certain sum for the current year. The same shall be true of persons not currently members in good standing.


ARTICLE III

Parish assembly

In addition to the guidelines and requirements relative to the conduct of Parish Assemblies specified in Article 31 of the Uniform Parish Regulations, the Parish adopts the following rules and regulations as controlling its local Parish Assemblies:

The presence of 15 (fifteen) parishioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business. The parishioners at a regular or special Parish Assembly meeting at which a quorum was present when initially convened may continue until adjournment to transact validly and properly all appropriate business and take any proper actions notwithstanding the fact that such attendance at such meeting may subsequently drop below 15 (fifteen) parishioners; provided that for any action which requires two thirds (2/3) vote at a first called meeting there must be at least 15 (fifteen) parishioners present to approve such action. If a quorum cannot be achieved, no vote can be taken. Within twenty-one (21) days, a Parish Assembly shall be called a second time. At such time, decisions may be taken by the number of parishioners in good standing present, with the exception of matters pertaining to the purchase, sale or encumbering of Parish property which shall require a quorum.

Regular meetings of the Parish Assembly shall be held during the first and fourth quarter of each year. Special Parish Assemblies may be convened as set out in Article VI, Section 2 of the Uniform Parish Regulations. 
At the fourth quarter Parish Assembly, the Parish Council shall submit a proposed Parish budget for the following year, which shall be subject to final approval at the next first quarter Parish Assembly, which shall reflect, at a minimum, the Fair Share Assessment of the Archdiocese. At the first quarter Parish Assembly the first order of business shall be a report by the immediate past President or Treasurer of the Parish Council providing a financial statement of the Parish for the immediately preceding year, said report to include a statement of receipts and expenditures derived from all properties owned by the Parish. At the first quarter Parish Assembly, a vote on the final approval of the proposed budget shall be required, with passage necessitating approval by majority.

The Parish Council shall publish all documentary material reflecting all reports on the budgets to be submitted at all Parish Assemblies and cause same to be mailed to all parishioners no later than 10 (ten) days prior to the first and fourth quarter Parish Assemblies.

Robert’s Rules of Order shall control the order of business only if Parish Assembly is unable to reach consensus, and to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations. Consensus is defined as broad unanimity, but does not require that all agree but rather that the participants can live with and support the decision or position. Consensus, not majority vote, is the expression of Christian fellowship where all actions reflect the positions of everyone.

ARTICLE IV

Parish Council

Membership.  The Parish Council shall consist of the priest, as the head of the Parish and 7 (seven) elected lay members. The priest shall not have a vote. While not a voting member, the priest has full standing as a member of the Parish Council, in order to administer cooperatively the Parish. A regular Parish Council meeting or a special Parish Council meeting may be held in the priest’s absence, if he is unable to attend and rescheduling is not practical, and such meeting will be deemed proper under these by-laws, and any action taken therein shall have full force and effect.


Terms of office. The members of the Parish Council are elected for a term no longer than 2 (two) years. In odd-numbered years, 4 (four) members and in even-numbered years, 3 (three) members of the Parish Council shall be elected at annual elections as provided therein and shall each serve until their successors are elected and qualified. Each Parish Council members shall be given a brief orientation as to their duties and responsibilities by the priest and the senior members of the Parish Council.

Officers. Annually, at its first meeting following the qualifying and swearing in of the Parish Council, the Parish Council shall elect from its number the following officers by a secret ballot: a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and such other officers as the Parish by-laws require. The term of office of the officers is to be 1 (one) year. In the event vacancies occur in the office of Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer, or other such officers as the Parish by-laws require, the Parish Council shall immediately elect a replacement to serve for the remainder of the term of office. In the event a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the Vice-President shall succeed to the office of President, and the Parish Council shall immediately select a replacement to serve as Vice-President for the remainder of the term of that office.


Duties. It shall be a duty of the Parish Council to coordinate those affairs of the Parish as set out herein in furtherance of the aim and purposes of the Church and in accordance with the dictates of the Uniform Parish Regulations, specifically Chapter One: Parish and Parish Organization, Articles 15, 24, 28, and 29 contained therein.


The Parish Council shall hold a regular meeting at least once a month, and shall hold special meetings whenever the Priest, the President or a majority of members of the Parish Council shall call a special meeting. Notification of a special meeting shall be given by the Secretary of the Parish Council at the direction of the President by oral notification or a majority of the Parish Council members in writing.


It shall maintain in a conspicuous place in the church, a current list of all members of the Parish currently fulfilling their financial obligations to the Parish, provided that said list does not indicate specific amounts pledged or paid by individual members.


It shall have the exclusive power to recommend to the Parish Assembly, by majority vote, the purchase, sale, or mortgage of Parish-held property, which is thereafter subject to approval of the Parish Assembly, as set out in Article 29, Section 1 of the Uniform Parish Regulations.


It shall have exclusive power to collect the revenues of the Parish against receipts for same and shall pay only by check the salaries of the Parish employees. It shall cooperate with and assist the Priest in maintaining the supplies necessary for church services. It shall make a semi-annual inventory of the church premises and the real property owned by the Parish for the purposes of preparing and maintaining a physical inventory of all Parish property. It shall annually determine and publish all fees, dues and charges deemed appropriate for use and any and all facilities owned by the Parish.

Vacancies. The Parish abides by Article 24, Sections 5 and 6 of the Uniform Parish Regulations relative to vacancies of Parish Council Members. Therefore, in the event a member of the Parish Council is absent without justifiable cause for 3 (three) consecutive meetings, he or she shall be considered relieved of his or her duties upon said third consecutive absence, and the Parish Council shall give written notice to said member, which notice shall be recorded in the minutes of the Parish Council. However, if said member shows justifiable cause for one or more said absences at the next regular meeting of the Parish Council, the Parish Council may elect by majority, secret ballot vote, to maintain said member on the Parish Council. If said member chooses to make no such showing, the Parish Council shall then proceed to fill the vacancy as set out in Article 24, Section 7 of the Uniform Parish Regulations.


Conduct of business. The presence of a majority of the members of the Parish Council shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for any meeting. Robert’s Rules of Order shall control the conduct of business, only if the Parish Council is unable to reach consensus, and when not inconsistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations. The business of the Parish Council shall be preceded and ended by a prayer and a reflection from the priest, if present. If the priest is not present, the President shall delegate an individual and/or individuals to say the opening and closing prayer. The President, in consultation with the priest, shall prepare an agenda to include, but not limited to the following: reading and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting; report from the President; report from the Vice-President; report from the Secretary; report from the Treasurer; committee reports and ministry reports and status; report from the priest on matters requiring Parish Council action; new business.


Organization of the Parish. The parish recognizes the existence of those organizations enumerated in Chapter One, Article 19, Section 3 of the Uniform Parish Regulations.
Elections of the Parish Council: The organization of the elections of the Parish Council shall follow the provisions in Article 25 of the Uniform Parish Regulations. In addition, a candidate to the Parish Council may be nominated in writing by two Parishioners, provided that the nominee has indicated his or her assent by countersigning the nomination. The nominations must be received by the Secretary of the Parish Council at least 15 (fifteen) days prior to the election. Relatives (spouse, siblings, parents, or children) may not run for or serve on the Parish Council at the same time.


ARTICLE V

Duties of officers and ministry liaisons (coordinators)

A) At least two Parish Council officers authorized by the Parish Council shall sign all checks made in payment for Parish expenditures. All checks shall be fully filled in and completed before signing.

B) President:

  • to be responsible for the proper administration of the Parish as prescribed by the Uniform Parish Regulations, these by-laws, he laws of the State of Florida and the Parish Assembly
  • to preside at all meetings of the Parish Council and the Parish Assembly in the absence of an elected chairman, as provided for in the Uniform Parish Regulations
  • to call special meetings of the Parish Council
  • to sign minutes of all meetings together with the Secretary and the Priest.
  • to execute on behalf of the Parish any contracts, mortgages, notes or other documents entered into within the authorities prescribed by the Uniform Parish Regulations, these by-laws, the State of Florida and the Parish Assembly
  • to appoint ad-hoc Committees for the purpose of carrying out such duties as may be assigned to each Committee, which cannot remain in effect for longer than one year, or the unexpired term of the President, whichever is shorter
  • to supervise the administrative functions of the Parish, including the duties of the office personnel.

 

C) Vice-president:

  • to act on any and all matters in the absence of the President

D) Secretary:

  • to oversee the keeping of the minutes of meetings of the Parish Council  and Parish Assembly
  • to supervise all parish correspondence
  • to ensure availability of the Parish Seal within the custody of the Priest
  • to maintain a record of church members and update this yearly
  • to forward copies of all announcements and notable correspondence to the Metropolis of Atlanta
  • to inform Parishioners by mail of all Parish Assembly meetings and elections in accordance with the stipulations of the bylaws

E) Treasurer:

  • to supervise collection of Parish funds and to deposit same with  depositories selected by the Parish Council, in the name of the Parish
  • to see that adequate records of Parish revenues and expenditures are properly and promptly recorded and to submit every month a balance sheet and a statement of receipts and expenditures to the Parish Council together with such additional financial information the Parish Council may request
  • to oversee the Parish accounting system and ensure its availability to the Parish Council upon request.
  • to call a meeting with the Board of Auditors prior to the end of each year to discuss the review of the accounting records of the Parish.

F) Ministries: the parish of the St. Elizabeth Greek-Orthodox church is a ministry-based organization, in which all programs and activity are managed and coordinated by the Parish Council. The following ministries are typically active in the Parish, but others can be created as needed: 

  1. Education and Youth ministry, which coordinates all aspects of the educational and cultural life of the Parish (Sunday School, Educational Program, etc.) and serve as Parish Council liaison to youth organizations, such as GOYA
  2. Religious ministry, which coordinates all aspects of church services (readers, choir, etc.)
  3. Stewardship ministry, which coordinates all aspects of obtaining pledges of time, talent, and treasure from Parishioners
  4. Outreach and welcoming ministry, which coordinates all efforts to recruit prospective members into the Parish and to make Parishioners feel welcome at church services and functions (welcoming people, home and hospital visitations, etc.)
  5. Budget and planning ministry, which coordinates the development of the Parish’s strategic plan for the future, as well as the monitoring of the annual Parish budget
  6. Facility ministry, which supervises the maintenance of Parish buildings and grounds
  7. New facility ministry, which coordinates all activities related to the building of the Parish Fellowship Hall.

ARTICLE VI

Board of Auditors

            The Board of Auditors, consisting of at least 3 (three) Parishioners, none of whom is a member of the Parish Council, elected for a term of 1 (one) year, shall have the following powers and duties:

A.     it shall audit quarterly the accounting records of the Parish, prepare a report of such audit, and present same to a meeting of the members of the Parish;

B.     it shall have access to the Parish records at all times. However, the Board of Auditors is not empowered to remove the Parish records from the business office of the Church;

C.     after the annual report of the revenues and expenditures of the Parish are prepared, the Board of Auditors for the term covered by the annual audit shall sign their approval of the report prior to submission to the members of the Parish;

D.     a physical count of all Church property shall be made during the last two weeks of December each year. In addition, an inventory of all documents and insurance policies shall be checked.

 

ARTICLE VII

Board of Elections

            The Board of Elections shall be composed of at least 3 (three) members, from those who are neither current Parish Council members, nor candidates for election to the Parish Council, to be elected by the Parish Assembly at the last meeting, and it shall the duty of the Board of Elections to conduct and supervise the annual election.

            The Board of Elections shall check with the priest to ensure that candidates are eligible to stand for election by being ecclesiastically and fiscally members-in-good-standing. The Board of Elections shall notify all eligible members concerning the elections, supervise the elections and tabulate and report the results. A vacancy on the Board of Elections shall be filled by the Parish Council by electing a successor therefore from amongst Parishioners in good standing.


ARTICLE VIII

Professional Services and Expenditures

A minimum of two closed bids shall be requested by the Parish Council or its designee for any professional services required by the Parish. The Parish Council shall decide on the most appropriate bid, reserving the right to reject any and all bids. For emergency repairs or maintenance services, the requirement for two closed bids may be waived if a service provider has a history of performing professional, quality services at a competitive price with the Parish.

Any expenditure by the Parish for any item or service costing more than $1,000.00 must be approved by the Parish Council. Any proposed expenditure by the Parish Council for any item costing more than $10,000.00 must be approved by the Parish Assembly.

All committees or boards of the Parish, except for the Board of Elections and the Board of Auditors shall be under the jurisdiction of the Priest and Parish Council.

Special committees may be approved by the Priest and Parish Council, by simple majority, to achieve a specific task (example: Festival Committee). The Priest and Parish Council shall, by simple majority, approve a chairman and the scope and responsibilities of the special committee. Special committees may request advanced funding from Parish bank accounts. Requests for funding must be approved by the Parish Council, along with a planned event budget. A special committee may be permitted to open a dedicated bank account with assistance from and under the direction of the Parish Treasurer after obtaining approval from the Parish Council. The Parish Treasurer must be named as an authorized signee on all bank accounts. The chairman of a special committee shall be approved by the Parish Council to use funds from its designated account without requiring pre-approval from the Parish Council, provided that funds are used within the scope of the committee’s assigned responsibilities and in accordance with the budget previously approved by the Parish Council. If the chairman and/or special committee wishes to make expenditures other than those budgeted, the chairman will provide an amended budget to the Parish Council for approval. The chairman shall be an authorized signer on a special committee bank account. The chairman is responsible for ensuring all operations are within the scope and budget of the special committee. The chairman of a special committee shall provide a detailed list of all income and expenditures (including copies of all bills paid and credit card purchases) to the Parish Treasurer on a monthly, recurring basis. At the conclusion of any special committee event which generates income and/or expenses, the chairman shall submit a final report, within 30 days of conclusion of the event, of all income and expenditures to the Parish Treasurer. The Priest and Parish Council, by simple majority, shall approve the allocation of net profit from fundraising events to the various bank accounts of the Parish.


ARTICLE IX

Amendments

            Amendments of these by-laws shall be considered only if 15 (fifteen) Parishioners recommend revision through petition to the Parish Council. Amendments can be introduced only by a two-third vote of voting members present and by voting at a special or regular meeting of the Parish Assembly, provided that notice of said meeting is given at least 14 (fourteen) days prior to same. Notice shall be given by mail to all Parishioners and copies of the proposed amendments are to be sent along with said notice.


Gainesville, September 2, 2018