Bylaws

Bylaws Template

Ministry bylaws support a ministry in establishing order and clarity and governing with integrity.  They provide the structure for the organization in working effectively to thrive in fulfilling its mission.  They also establish the relationship between the individual Unity ministry and Unity Worldwide Ministries.

To support our ministries in developing effective bylaws, the Bylaws Ministry Team has created a Bylaws Template for a Unity Ministry.  This is a revision of the previous Recommended Bylaws for a Unity Ministry.  To see a comparison of this document with the new template see: Bylaws Template Comparison.  
 
We also have a new policy requiring member ministries to request pre-approval of bylaws changes from Unity Worldwide Ministries.  This policy goes into effect January 1, 2020, and ministries will have until January 1, 2023 to bring their bylaws into harmony with the template. This policy was developed due to a number of situations that have arisen that have created confusion and upheaval for a ministry or have placed the ministry out of alignment with Unity Worldwide Ministries.
 
Our intention with this new policy is to work collaboratively with ministries to support good governance and alignment with UWM.  We believe that many request for bylaws changes will be approved easily.  In situations in which requests do not support the previous stated intention, we want to work collaboratively to create bylaws that support the ministry, establish good governance, and allow us to work harmoniously together in furthering the work of Unity in the world. 
 
Timeline for implementation
  • The new bylaws template has been approved by the UWM board, and we are giving ministries until September 1, 2019 to review this template and send recommendations for revisions to Member Services CFoster@unity.org.  These recommendations will be reviewed by the UWM Bylaws Ministry Team.  The template will be revised as deemed necessary and made available to our member ministries
  • The bylaws policy goes into effect January 1, 2020
  • Member ministries have until January 1, 2023 to review the template, receive approval for changes, and submit their final bylaws to UWM’s Member Services.
Bylaws FAQs

Do we need to adopt the template word for word? 

  • No, you are not required to adopt the template exactly as is.  We are requiring you to submit proposed changes to UWM Member Services prior to bringing them to the congregation for vote.  This allows us to dialogue and collaborate with you in creating bylaws that serve you well.
With today’s technology and people traveling a great deal, some of our members cannot be present for membership meetings, but they want to be engaged in the decision-making process.  Why does the template not allow for absentee voting?
  • This concern has been brought up, and we are working on creating a clause that would support absentee voting.  This would be included in the revision process that will be done by the bylaws team after September 1.  The absentee voting clause would be offered as an option for ministries to adopted on an individual basis and based upon the facts and circumstances in the ministry.  If you have a clause for absentee voting that you would like to share with us, please send it to CFoster@unity.org.
Is there any literature you can direct me to regarding the reasons a paid employee should not sit on the board? 
There many reasons a board member cannot be paid, as it is a conflict of interest for them to do so. Here are a few:
  1. The minister works for the board, therefore no board member can be an employee. This is an obvious conflict of interest.
  2. The minister has the right to fire them for cause.
  3. If they were allowed (and they should not be because of number 1 above). They would need to recuse themselves from financial discussions, because it may be perceived that any discussion of the board may be overly influenced by their interest in the music department. It would not be only music that they would need to recuse from, yet instead anything that involved money.
  4. They would not be able to be involved in a discussion about the minister’s job performance or salary adjustments and benefits.
  5. There is an IRS provision called inurement. It is not allowable for individuals to benefit from non-profit funds of an organization. An employee has a job description and function to perform, the Board is a representative of the membership. These two items are in opposition to one another.
Is it necessary for us to use Robert’s Rules of Order in running meetings?
Other well-defined and structured processes will be considered.  A significant advantage to using Robert’s Rules is that they have clearly defined processes for handling specific situations.  For instance, Robert’s Rules speaks to conflict of interest in this way:
 
ABSTAINING FROM VOTING ON A QUESTION OF DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST. No member should vote on a question in which he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization. For example, if a motion proposes that the organization enter into a contract with a commercial firm of which a member of the organization is an officer and from which contract he would derive personal pecuniary profit, the member should abstain from voting on the motion. However, no member can be compelled to refrain from voting in such circumstances. 
 

Unity Worldwide Ministries Bylaws

Unity Worldwide Ministries is governed by its own set of bylaws. They establish the standards by which we operate and also define our relationship with our members. Unity Worldwide Ministries bylaws