Governance and Ministry Proposal

Governance and Ministry Proposal, Approved at Congregational Meeting on Nov. 6th,  2022

Rationale for proposed changes

In our current structure, five of the council members are representatives of committees who serve for just one year. This structure makes it hard for the council to have continuity, address bigger picture issues, and set priorities together. 

With this proposed new structure, council members would serve for a longer term and would be able to focus on governance and the mission of the whole congregation. Committees would focus on the work of their area of ministry without the additional work of providing a council representative. Additional changes would help the council to carry out the work of governance and mission as they tend to personnel and budget matters.

The Congregation Council would include

  • Vice President 
  • President
  • Past President (not Treasurer)
  • Secretary 
  • Pastor
  • 5 at large members who are not representatives of the standing committees (rather than 5 committee representatives as it is now).  Each at large member of council would be a liaison to a committee. They would not need to attend committee meetings each month but would stay in contact with the chair to facilitate communication between the committee and the council. 
  • The treasurer would not serve on the council but would provide written as well numerical reports about the finances each month. The treasurer would come to council meetings occasionally and in December.

Terms of service:

  • Council members would all serve 3 year terms, 2 term limit. When elected as Vice President, the term would be for 3 years, 1 as VP, 1 as President, 1 as Past President.
  • Terms would be staggered to allow for continuity on the Congregation Council


  • 3 members
  • 3 year terms, 2 term limit
  • The chair would normally be the longest serving member, would serve as chair for one year
  • Committees would still send a report to the Council each month but would not need to provide a member of the council. A committee representative could attend a Council meeting to speak to an issue the committee would like the Council to address. The Council liaison would stay in touch with the committee chair and could speak on their behalf at council as well.

Other changes:

The Organizational Support Committee (OSC) would not continue. The trial OSC had been charged with budgeting, audit, position description, insurance and facilities use. The central work of budgeting is the responsibility of the council. The central work of writing position descriptions is the responsibility of those charged with personnel. The OSC has been a committee on the periphery, they are not a standing committee and not connected to the council. They don’t have enough awareness of the priorities of the council and congregation to be charged with budgeting and personnel matters. Insurance and facilities use issues can be addressed by the Facilities and Grounds committee especially now that there is a Facilities Caretaker on staff. 

A Personnel Committee would be established

One of the responsibilities of a congregation council is personnel. The council can delegate that responsibility to a personnel committee that is directly under the authority of the council. The Executive Committee has been doing personnel work but it has many other responsibilities. We need designated people to focus on staffing issues.

  • The Personnel Committee and Pastor would do the reviews of lay staff.
  • The Executive Committee would do the review of the pastor.
  • The Personnel Committee would be made up of 3 people with staggered terms.  
  • The VP would meet with the personnel committee to connect the committee with the Council.

Budget Process 

Another responsibility of a congregation council is establishing and overseeing the budget, the ministry priorities of the congregation. The Property and Management Committee used to do this but it is better for a group charged with tending to the overall mission to work on budget. The whole Council needs to be involved in this process. Here are the steps that would be used:

  • Each year the Council would review the whole ministry and identify priorities.
  • This review would enable the Stewardship Committee to develop a campaign to fund those priorities.
  • Committees, groups, and staff would be asked to identify funding needs for their specific area, as part of the larger priorities determined by the Congregation Council.
  • The Treasurer would receive these funding needs.
  • The Treasurer and Pastor would work on a budget proposal and identify all the issues that need to be discussed by the Council. 
  • December each year would be dedicated to a budget meeting with the Council and Treasurer..

Facilities and Grounds (formerly Property and Grounds Committee)

Facilities and Grounds would take back facilities use and insurance issues. (These had been assigned to the trial OSC. The heavy load of the former Property and Management Committee was lessened by letting go of budgeting issues and by hiring a Facilities Caretaker.

The proposal is to try this for two years on a trial basis and reevaluate in the fall of 2024