The charter and mission of the Church Council is to envision, plan, implement, evaluate and guide our congregational ministry and missions, always focusing on what is best for our church. The Council is accountable to the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) and reports on our church spiritual, administrative and financial health via a yearly Charge Conference, which is the formal congregational meeting of the church, chaired by the District Superintendent.
The Church Council, as the main governing body of the church, has specific principle duties including:
1. Adherence to our Church Mission Statement, wherein our main goal is to find ways to engage each member of our congregation and help them grow in their relationship to Christ
2. Providing the governance and leadership of the church
3. Assuring all Charge Conference documentation is completed and presented at the Conference including: the pastor’s salary package, trustee recommendations with election ballots, annual financial status, church membership accounting, continuation of Lay Speaker service, consideration for ministry candidates and a complete listing of all volunteer candidates. Where appropriate, these aforementioned items are presented for a formal congregational vote.
4. Assuring all Charge Conference action items are completed in timely fashion
5. Helping plan and implement programs for nurture, outreach, witness and other missions within our church, assuring we continuously strive to carry the gospel message to our community and continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ
6. Oversight and coordination of the ministries of all church committees and groups
7. Filling interim vacancies among lay officers between Charge Conference meetings
The Church Council utilizes Robert’s Rules of Order for all meeting activities, wherein there is formal advance meeting notification, opening and closing statements, concise detailed minutes and formal motion control including motion, seconded, discussion and vote with majority rule.
Our current Church Council is comprised of 49 members including a Chairperson, secretary, all committee chairpersons, treasurers, financial secretaries, lay leaders and nine “at large” members. The make-up changes, annually, except for the “at large” members who serve 3-year terms. The pastor, although not a voting member, always participates and is an integral part within the Church Council.
The Chairperson of the Church Council is the most critical and responsible elected volunteer position within our church family. The individual must always be fully prepared and must be familiar with church rules, bylaws, committee and group charters and responsibilities, the church vision and mission statements and how we are working toward each, today and tomorrow. The chairperson has overall responsibility to ensure that all actions are consistent with our goals and objectives and we continuously promote and retain them as our primary focus. Consistent with these tremendous responsibilities the Chairperson must possess specific personal characteristics consistent with the respect such a leadership position demands. When chairing the Church Council meeting, the Chairperson must:
1. Ensure there is a validated quorum to hold a meeting, for voting purposes
2. Ensure the meeting starts, stays and ends on time
3. Ensure there is an organized agenda, sent out before the meeting, and followed therein
4. Keep the group focused and working together throughout discussions, reports and votes
5. Be in control of the floor at all times
6. Be impartial, composed, focused, maintain a good temperament and instill leadership
7. Be precise in all motion actions
8. In the event of a tie vote on any motion, cast the deciding vote
The secretary to the Church Council takes copious minutes of all discussions, edits them and formally submits said minutes to the chairperson for approval and then forwards the minutes to all committee members for review, prior to the next meeting. One of the first orders of business at the next meeting is to approve the minutes, allowing for discussion on changes and corrections, as appropriate, and then the finalized minutes become the formal record of the Church Council.
During the meeting, all committees and groups are called upon to submit an oral report, supported by a formal written report and open for discussion. The report should detail activities since the prior meeting, appropriate statistics, future activities and any other pertinent information. Any specific motion to be put forth for a vote should be made at this time.
In addition to the formal committee and group reports, we use this forum to allow the minister to give a formal report stating accomplishments, upcoming events, concerns, personal health, congregational prayer requests, requests for any special assistance needed within the church to proceed with our missions and anything else the pastor deems pertinent.
As the Church Council connects, governs and grows the vision and ministries of our church, its membership continues to be the models for Christian living for the rest of our congregation. As congregationally elected servants, Church Council members share a tight bond and sincere sense of responsibility to always put their Christian faith foremost in all their dealings and to maintain and live a sense of pride in the leadership role to which they were appointed to. They are the pillars of our foundation and growth.