St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish
Point of Rocks, Maryland
Adopted January 26, 1996
Amended November 19, 2000
These Bylaws are adopted on January 26, 1996, by St. Paul’s Parish of the Diocese of Maryland, to govern, with the advice and consent of the Bishop, its temporal affairs. The Parish, its Rector, and Vestry will adhere to and observe the doctrine, worship, and discipline as set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and those of the Diocese of Maryland.
ARTICLE I – MEMBERS
Section 1. Ordinary Members. All baptized persons who regard St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as their regular place of worship will be Ordinary Members of this Parish.
Section 2. Voting Members. Every Ordinary Member not less than 16 years of age who has been regular in attendance at worship for at least 3 months preceding the day he or she wishes to vote, and who has been a member in good standing of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and enrolled as such in the records of the Parish (but not necessarily confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church), will be a voting Member, with the right to vote in the election of Vestry Members and upon all other matters having to do with the affairs of the Parish.
The Rector shall maintain a current list of members in good standing, determined in the Rector’s best judgment according to the Canons of the Episcopal Church. In the event of any dispute as to the eligibility of any voter, the question will be referred to the Vestry for resolution. If the determination by the Vestry is not satisfactory to the objecting party or group, the differences will be resolved by the Bishop, whose decision will be binding on all parties.
Section 3. Annual Meetings. There will be an annual meeting of the Voting Members of the Parish at which all Ordinary Members will be welcome but will have no vote, on the third Sunday in November of each year, or as soon thereafter as the Vestry will determine. The business to be transacted at the annual meeting of Voting Members shall include election of Vestry Members, consideration and action upon reports of the Rector, Officers, Vestry Members, and committees, and any other business within its power. The Rector, or if there is no Rector, the Senior Warden, shall preside at the annual meeting.
Section 4. Special Meetings. At any time during the interval between annual meetings, special meetings of the Voting Members, at which all Ordinary Members will be welcome, may be called by the Rector or by not less than one-third of the members of the Vestry or upon written request of not less than nine Voting Members filed with the Rector or, if there is no Rector, with the Senior Warden. The Rector, or if there is no Rector, the Senior Warden, shall preside at all special meetings of the Parish.
Section 5. Notice and Place of Meetings. All meetings of members, both annual and special will be held at the Parish Hall of the church or in the church, immediately following services unless another time or place is specified in the notice. Notice of all meetings will be given by announcement at services in the Church on at least two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting, and by publication in the weekly bulletin of the Church (if there is such a bulletin) in not less than two issues immediately preceding the meeting. Such notice will indicate whether the meeting is an annual meeting or a special meeting, and, if it is a special meeting, the business to be transacted. No business other than that specified in the notice will be transacted at special meetings.
ARTICLE II – THE VESTRY
Section 1. Eligibility. Every Voting Member of the Parish as defined in Section 2 of Article I of these Bylaws who has been confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church (or who has the intent to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church) will be eligible to serve as a member of the Vestry or Officer of the Church, except that two members of the same family preferably shall not serve on the Vestry at the same time, whether as Member or Officer.
Section 2. Number and Term of Office. The Vestry of this Parish will consist of the Rector, and five lay members chosen from among the Voting Members. Of these lay members, no more than two will be elected each year and each will serve a three-year term. A lay member will take office as Vestry Member beginning in January following the election. No lay member will be eligible for renomination and reelection to the Vestry for a period of one year after his or her term has expired, provided, however, that prior service on the Vestry in filling a vacancy will not be considered a disqualification for reelection.
Section 3. Nomination. Voting members will be nominated to serve on the Vestry in the following manner:
At least three months in advance of each annual meeting, the Rector will appoint a Nominating Committee consisting of three Voting Members, not more than one of whom will be a member of the existing Vestry. The Nominating Committee will nominate at least as many Voting Members to serve as Vestry Members as there shall be vacancies in the Vestry to be filled by election at the annual meeting. The Nominating Committee will submit to the Vestry the names of those persons so nominated at least one month prior to the annual meeting, and the Vestry will immediately make known by publication in the Church bulletin or by other means, the names of those so nominated.
Two or more Voting Members may nominate a candidate or candidates for the office of Vestry Member by submitting such nomination or nominations, over their signatures, to the Registrar at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. The Vestry will immediately make known to the congregation by publication in the Church bulletin or by other means, the names of such additional nominees.
A candidate or candidates may be nominated from the floor at the annual meeting providing two Voting Members make the nomination and seconding for each candidate.
No person will be nominated for the Vestry who has not agreed to serve if elected.
Section 4. Election. Vestry Members will be elected at the annual meeting by the Voting Members present and voting at the meeting. Voting by proxy will not be permitted. Those receiving the highest number of votes for the vacancies to be filled will be deemed elected. The Bishop will be notified immediately of said election.
Section 5. Vacancies. If by reason of death, resignation, or any other cause a vacancy occurs on the Vestry, the remaining Vestry Members may, by a majority vote of those present at a duly constituted meeting, elect an eligible person to fill the unexpired term of the vacancy. In the discretion of the Vestry, any such vacancy may also be filled by nomination and election by the Voting Members at any annual meeting in the manner provided in Sections 3 and 4 above.
Section 6. Duties and Powers. The Vestry will act as trustees for the Church in accordance with the public general laws of the State of Maryland regulating religious corporations affiliated with the Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Maryland and will have and exercise all corporate powers and privileges of the Church under such laws.
Section 7. Meetings. Regular meetings of the Vestry will be held on the second Sunday of each month. Special meetings may be held at any time or place called by the Rector or by not less than one-third of the number of Vestry Members. Notice of time and place of all meetings and of the purpose of all special meetings will be given to each member in person or by telephone not less than twenty-four hours preceding the meeting or by mail posted not less than five days preceding the date of such meeting. No business will be transacted at a special meeting except that specified in the notice.
Section 8. Quorum and Presiding Officer. A simple majority of the Members and Officers will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Vestry. The Rector will preside at all meetings of the Vestry, but will not have the right to vote. If there is no Rector, the Senior Warden, or in the Senior Warden’s absence, the Junior Warden, will preside.
ARTICLE III – OFFICERS
Section 1. Titles of Officers. The officers of the Parish will be as follows, with such other officers as the Vestry may from time to time designate: Rector, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Registrar, Treasurer. (Specific duties of each officer are described in the Church Canons.)
Section 2. Election. The Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Registrar, and Treasurer will be elected annually by a majority vote at the first meeting of the Vestry held after the annual meeting. Officers must be Voting Members of the Parish and may be, but need not be, members of the Vestry. The Senior and Junior Wardens must be Confirmed or Received members of the Episcopal Church. The Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, and Registrar may not succeed themselves for more than five years, after which they may not be reelected for a period of one year. Any vacancy in any office will be filled for the unexpired term by the Vestry.
Section 3. The Rector. The Rector shall be the presiding officer of the Church and shall perform such duties and shall have such powers as may be prescribed by the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and of the Diocese of Maryland. The Rector shall preside at all meetings of the Vestry and of the congregation. The Rector shall be elected by majority vote of the entire Vestry. The Rector shall serve for the period of time stipulated in the Letter of Agreement between the Rector and the Vestry, and approved by the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority.
Section 4. Voting Rights of Officers. All officers who are not members of the Vestry shall have the right to vote at Vestry meetings on all questions. Any officer who is serving simultaneously as a Vestry Member would have only one vote.
ARTICLE IV – COMMITTEES; DIOCESAN AND REGIONAL COUNCIL DELEGATES
Section 1. Designation by Vestry. The Vestry may designate regular and special committees for such purposes as may be indicated in the resolution or resolutions providing therefore. Committee appointments will be made by the Rector with the advice and consent of the Vestry or by the Vestry or other person or persons to whom the Vestry may, by its resolutions, give such power of appointment.
Section 2. Election of Lay Delegates. At least six months prior to each annual meeting of the Convention of the Diocese of Maryland, the lay delegates from the Parish to the Convention and to the Regional Council with which the parish is affiliated will be elected by the Vestry, or at the annual meeting of the Parish.
ARTICLE V – FISCAL MATTERS
Section 1. Fiscal Year and Annual Budget. The fiscal year of the Parish will be the calendar year. The annual budget must be submitted at the annual meeting for approval by voting members of the Parish. A copy of the approved budget will be sent to the Bishop.
Section 2. Signature to Commercial Paper. All checks and drafts will be made, drawn, and endorsed in the name of the Parish in such manner as the Vestry may from time to time authorize.
Section 3. Limitations on Expenditures. Any expenditure in excess of $500.00 not specifically provided for in the current annual budget must be approved in advance by the Vestry, with the exception of repair or replacement of physical property necessary to maintain the current buildings and their heating and plumbing systems in good working order. This will be done in consultation with the Junior Warden only.
Section 4. Audit. The financial books and records of the Parish will be audited annually by a certified public accountant chosen by the Vestry or by a committee of three Ordinary Members of this Parish other than the Treasurer. Such audit will be submitted to the Vestry within sixty days following the close of the fiscal year of this Parish and will be filed with the records of the Parish and certificate filed with the Diocese.
Section 5. Fidelity Bond. The Treasurer and such other officers, employees, or other persons handling Parish funds, whether salaried or nonsalaried, as the Vestry may direct from time to time, shall be bonded for the faithful performance of their duties at the expense of the Parish, in such amounts and by such surety companies as the Vestry may determine.
Section 6. Voluntary Service. All service, of whatever kind, offered by members of the congregation in or for St. Paul’s Church shall be on a voluntary basis, not for financial compensation.
ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENT TO BYLAWS
These Bylaws may be altered, amended, repealed, or added to by a two-thirds vote of those Voting Members who attend any meeting of such members of the Church, provided however, that any such alteration, amendment, repeal, or addition, whether proposed by the Vestry or by the Voting Members who call a special meeting, will be specified in the notice of the meeting.