December 3, 2017 version
ARTICLE ONE: Name and Purpose
The name of this religious organization shall be Circle Sanctuary, Incorporated. It may be referred to as Circle Sanctuary or as Circle, and for purposes of the Constitution and Bylaws may be referred to as the Church.
The purpose of the Church shall be that set down in Article Three of the Church’s Constitution.
ARTICLE TWO: Government
The government of the Church shall be vested in the Board of Directors (referred to hereafter as the Board). The Church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical authority. The Board shall act in overseeing the affairs of the Church, and officiating in cases of dispute.
The Board shall consist of at least three and no more than thirteen people, all of whom must be Members in good standing in the Church, of no less than eighteen years of age, and capable of travel to the Church’s permanent office for regular meetings. Names, titles, and contact information for all Directors shall be published. Directors may be either Officers, Board-Appointed Members, or Elected Board Members. All officers shall be seated on the Board. Officers may receive just compensation for their services as directed by a resolution of the Board.
Officers and Board-Appointed Members shall be appointed to serve 5-year terms subject to a vote of reappointment by a minimum of ¾ of the Board. No term limits exist for such positions. The exception to this is the position of the Founding President and Founding Vice-President, described later in this document. If the body of Officers and Board-Appointed Members deem it necessary and agree unanimously, they may create seats for Elected Board Members and fix the duration of terms for the same.
Elected Board Members must be eligible for Board membership as set out above. The powers of Elected Board Members shall be equal to those of Officers and Board-Appointed Members, except that they may not vote to create or remove seats for Elected Board Members. Elections for Elected Board Members will be managed by the Board.
In the event that an Officer, Board-Appointed Member or Elected Board Member fails to abide by the Constitution, Bylaws, or Code of Ethics of the Church, the President shall call a special meeting of the Board to discuss the case and subsequent action. The Board Member in question may either be placed on probation for a period of time to be determined by the Board, or be removed from the Board entirely. If placed on probation, the Board Member in question must give ample evidence that she/he has chosen to act in accordance with the Constitution, Bylaws, and Code of Ethics of the Church by the end of the probationary period. At the end of the probationary period, the Board shall meet to determine whether the terms of the probation have been satisfied, and may choose to reinstate the Board Member or dismiss the same from the Board. In the event that such a decision is not unanimous, the President shall make the final decision. The Founding President or Founding Vice-President may not be removed from office.
An Officer or Board-Appointed Member wishing to retire or resign from the Board must give at least 30 days notice to the President. At a special meeting called for this purpose, the Officers shall decide whether or not to fill the vacant position. If the Board would fall under the minimum of three Board Members by failing to fill the position, then the position must be filled.
An Elected Board Member wishing to retire or resign must give at least 30 days notice to the President. At a special meeting called for this purpose, the Board shall decide whether or not to fill the vacant position and if so shall conduct a new election. The Board shall decide at that time whether the election will be merely to fulfill the former Elected Board Member’s term, or to complete a full term.
With the exception of Founding President and Founding Vice-President, any Officer may be removed or replaced by a unanimous vote of the Board at a special meeting called for this purpose.
All Board Members shall attend all regular and special Board meetings, or give a proxy in writing to another Board Member.
The Church shall maintain bank accounts as needed, and any checks or drafts must be signed by the President, Vice-President or Treasurer. Any contracts or other legally-binding instruments must be signed by the President or Vice-President, or someone designated in writing by the President or Vice-President to do so.
ARTICLE THREE: Officers
The Officers of the Church and their duties shall be:
Founding President: Shall serve in this capacity for life, or until resigning or retiring. The Founding President shall call to order and conduct all meetings of the Church, and shall preside in all official matters.
President: Shall be one who has been ordained as a Church Minister and appointed by the Board to serve in this capacity, once the Founding President no longer serves in this capacity. The President shall serve in this capacity for a 5-year term subject to a vote of reappointment by the Board. No term limits exist for reappointments to 5-year terms. The President shall call to order and conduct all meetings of the Church, and shall preside in all official matters.
Founding Vice-President: Shall serve in this capacity for life, or until resigning or retiring. The Founding Vice-President shall assume the position of President in the event that the Founding President terminates that post for any reason. The Founding Vice-President shall serve in the capacity of President for life or until resigning or retiring.
Vice-President: Shall be one who has been ordained as a Church Minister and appointed by the Board to serve in this capacity. The Vice-President shall serve in this capacity for a 5-year term subject to a vote of reappointment by the Board. No term limits exist for reappointments to 5-year terms. In the event that the President is incapacitated or has deceased, the Vice-President shall be President throughout the remainder of the term of the President. At that time, the Board shall appoint a President for a new 5-year term. In the event that the Vice-President has become President, or is incapacitated or has deceased, the Board shall appoint a new Vice-President to complete the term. The Vice-President shall assist the President in running meetings and conducting official business of the Church.
Secretary: Shall be appointed by the Board to serve in this capacity. The Secretary shall serve in this capacity for a 5-year term subject to a vote of reappointment by the Board. No term limits exist for reappointments to 5-year terms. The Secretary shall keep records of meetings, carry out correspondence of the Church, and perform other duties designated by the Board.
Treasurer: Shall be appointed by the Board to serve in this capacity. The Treasurer shall serve in this capacity for a 5-year term subject to a vote of reappointment by the Board. No term limits exist for reappointments to 5-year terms. The Treasurer shall keep track of Church monies and speak to Church financial matters at Church business meetings.
ARTICLE FOUR: Ministers
Any Minister of the Church shall meet the following qualifications:
- Be a Member in good standing as outlined in Article Five.
- Complete the Minister Training Program conducted by Circle Sanctuary and approved by the Board and Minister Credentialing Committee.
- Undergo examination and approval by the Minister Credentialing Committee.
- Participate in an Ordination Rite conducted by a Circle Sanctuary Minister appointed by the President.
The Minister Credentialing Committee shall be composed of existing Ministers who have been selected by the Church President.
The duties of a Minister are as follows:
- To conduct religious ceremonies, which may include but are not limited to: seasonal and full moon worship services and festivals, handfastings, baby blessings, funerals, burials, and other Rites of Passage.
- To counsel Church Members and others in need of spiritual counseling, and perform rites of support for life transitions, personal healing and other purposes.
- To teach Church Members and others spiritual concepts, and approaches for spiritual living and advancement.
- To advocate for religious freedom and dispel misconceptions about Paganism and Nature Spirituality by engaging with media and other outlets as needed.
- To engage in specialty ministries (e.g. hospital, hospice, military, prison, campus, interfaith, others) and thus serve people who may not otherwise have access to a healthy and sound path of spiritual growth.
- To carry out other duties and perform other services as deemed appropriate by the President of the Church, serving both their home communities and the work of Circle Sanctuary.
ARTICLE FIVE: Membership
The Board shall set out requirements for Church Membership, and designate a Membership Coordinator to review, approve, and maintain Membership rosters. If questions arise about a Member’s conduct, the Board is empowered to conduct an inquiry and adjudicate accordingly.
Church Members are entitled to one vote each in voting matters concerning the affairs of the Church. Voting matters and mechanisms shall be determined by the Board.
ARTICLE SIX: Meetings
An Annual Meeting shall be held on or near the last weekend of October as part of the Samhain Festival. All Directors, Officers and Members shall be notified of the day, time and location of the Annual Meeting at least two weeks in advance. All Officers and Directors shall be present or have designated a proxy in writing. All Members in good standing, as described in Article Five, are entitled to one vote each in any voting matter.
A Board meeting shall be held on or near the last weekend of October and April, at a time and place agreed upon by all Directors. All Directors must be present or designate a proxy in writing.
Special Meetings may be called at the request of any Director, and shall be held at a time, date and location agreeable to all. All Directors shall be notified in advance of any special meeting, and all rules of an Annual Meeting shall apply.
Records of all Annual Meetings and Board meetings shall be kept by the Church Secretary or a designated alternate. Evidence of these meetings shall be stated in resolutions and minutes kept by the Church Secretary, and must be made available to Directors and Church Members upon request in a timely fashion.
ARTICLE SEVEN: Financial Assessments
The Church shall have the power to assess its Membership for support of the Church by the following methods:
- Annual or monthly donations
- Membership Dues
- Fees for services rendered to Members or non-members
- Fundraising projects
- Any other method approved by the Board that does not interfere with the Church’s compliance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future federal tax code.
ARTICLE EIGHT: Religious Authority
The religious authority of the Board shall be absolute and not subject to review by the Membership.
ARTICLE NINE: Amendments
These Bylaws may be altered or amended by a ¾ vote of the Board. In addition, the Church’s Constitution may be altered or amended by a ¾ vote of the Board. A current copy of the Constitution and Bylaws shall be filed in the Corporate records as well as with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions, as required by law, and shall be published for the benefit of Church Members and other interested parties.