Article l: Membership
Section 1. Individual Membership
A. An individual becomes a member by submitting a signed statement of intent to subscribe to the purposes of the Federation and submitting annual dues, which the Vice President(s) may reduce or eliminate at the Vice President(s) discretion. FCM denies no one membership for inability to pay dues; anyone who subscribes to the purposes of the Federation is encouraged to join. After joining, the Membership Coordinator(s) send(s) the new member identification as a member of the Federation in good standing entitled to the rights and privileges of membership. Submission of an annual report and payment of dues maintains membership.
1. Individual members are entitled to ask for and expect from each other support and encouragement in their ministry. Members are entitled to be candidates for elective office, to nominate Vice Presidential candidates for their Region, for President(s), for Chairperson(s) and for Representative(s) at Large. Members may vote for candidates for Vice President(s) of their Region and for President(s) and Chairperson(s) and for Representative(s) at Large. Members are also entitled to attend Regional meetings and meetings of the Circle of Directors and to propose policy initiatives to the Circle of Directors through the Chairperson(s), including changes to the Constitution or the By Laws. Members will receive a copy of the Constitution, By Laws, FCM Newsletter, and all other publications of the Federation of Christian Ministries. The Circle will inform a member who submits a policy proposal of the Circle's decision. The member will receive a written statement containing a statement of the rationale for the decision, unless the member attended the meeting of the Circle when the decision was made.
2. Individual members may avail themselves of the Programs and Services of FCM. The Programs include the Commissioning Program, and the Endorsement Program, the Mentoring Program, the Training & Education Program, the Ministry Network Program, the Denominational Concerns Program, the Peace and Justice Program, and the Faith Community Development Program. The Services include the FCM Newsletter, the FCM Website with Ministry Listings, Regional Networking and support, the Annual National Assembly, Prayer Support, the National Directory of Members, the National registry for baptisms, marriages, and holy unions, the Central Office for membership services, and Organizational partnerships.
C. Members can nominate candidates for Circle positions and vote in the election of said candidates. Members receive general information about the work and ministries of FCM through its publication, FCM Newsletter.
D. The Circle of Directors may commission members of the Federation as legally constituted ministers under the laws of the United States of America with all due powers as granted by federal, local, and state laws and this Federation. Each commissioned member is responsible to comply with state and local laws.
E. The Circle administers a Commissioning Program which all members may enter. Commissioning is recognition of the inner call of a member of FCM or the call from a community of believers for a member to function in public ministry. A commission is an ordination by FCM and affirmation by FCM that the person commissioned meets the criteria of FCM. The Circle of Directors establishes the criteria for commissioning and describes the criteria and process in its Commissioning Polity Manual. A commissioned member is eligible for Endorsement. The criteria and process of Endorsement are described in the Endorsement Polity Manual.
F. Once the Circle has approved the commission, a Commissioning Ceremony would be held as a visible expression of the applicant new commission. In addition, the Membership Coordinator(s) will issue a certificate of ministry. Commissioning is valid initially for the current calendar year and is renewable annually based on receipt of an annual ministry report and receipt of annual renewal fees. FCM denies no one membership or commissioning for inability to pay renewal fees. The final decision to commission and to continue commissioning is the responsibility of the Circle of Directors. Liability insurance is the responsibility of the commissioned member.
G. A person ceases to be a member of the Federation by failing to submit an annual report or appropriate dues, or by conduct showing that he or she no longer subscribes to the ideals of the Federation. The Executive Committee makes the judgment that a member's behavior violates membership requirements. In exceptional circumstances, the President and one other member of the Executive Committee, or if the President is unavailable, the Chair and one other member of the Executive Committee can act.
H. The annual report required for continuation of commissioning is to be fully completed by the member.
I. An FCM member loses commissioning by failure to submit a complete annual report; by failure to submit annual renewal fees; or by loss of one's membership in FCM. Vice Presidents can waive renewal fees for just cause.
J. 1. If a member fails to submit an annual report or pay sufficient dues by the due date (January 1, or as determined by the Circle), the Vice President, seeking to motivate renewal, is to notify the member of potential loss of membership and/or commissioning. The member is fully reinstated as soon as she or he complies with the requirements.
2. If anyone renewal of commissioning or membership is denied or revoked for cause other than failure to submit renewal requirements, that person and the Circle of Directors must be notified immediately in writing. The member may appeal in writing to the Circle of Directors, whose judgment will be final. During the time of the appeal, the membership/commission is considered suspended. If the regular meeting of the Circle of Directors will not be held in a reasonable time, the Chair can poll the Circle by mail, by e-mail or by telephone to decide upon the appeal.
Section 2. Faith Community Members, including Churches and Service Organizations
A. A Faith Community becomes a member by its leadership submitting a signed application including a statement of intent to subscribe to the purposes of the Federation and submitting annual dues. On the application is designated a person called the Liaison, who is responsible to carry out all actions for the Faith Community with FCM. It is desirable but not necessary that the Liaison be a member of FCM. After a Faith Community has joined, the Membership Coordinator(s) send(s) the new Faith Community member identification as a Faith Community Member of the Federation in good standing, entitled to the rights and privileges of Faith Community membership. Submission of a Faith Community Annual Report and payment of dues maintains membership.
1. If an individual member of FCM, the Liaison is entitled as a member to be a candidate for, to vote for, and to hold, elective office, to nominate vice-presidential candidates for their region, for President(s), for Chairperson(s) and for Representative(s) at Large. A Liaison, as Liaison may vote on behalf of the Faith Community for candidates for Vice President(s) of their Region and for President(s), Chairperson(s) and Representative(s) at Large. The Liaison casts votes in elections on the basis of one vote for the Faith Community member and its first 50 members, and one additional vote for every 50 members of the Faith Community member beyond the first 50. There is a cap of 3 votes per Faith Community no matter how large the Faith Community. In addition, if an individual member of FCM, the Liaison casts a personal vote. These votes may be cast for one candidate or apportioned to several candidates. The Liaison is also entitled to attend Regional meetings and meetings of the Circle of Directors and to propose policy initiatives to the Circle of Directors through the Chairperson(s), including changes to the Constitution or the Bylaws. The Liaison will receive a copy of the Constitution, By Laws, FCM Newsletter, and all other publications of the Federation of Christian Ministries. The Circle will inform the Liaison of a Faith Community Member who submits a policy proposal of the Circle's decision. The Liaison will receive a written statement containing a statement of the rationale for the decision, unless the Liaison attended the meeting of the Circle when the decision was made.
2. While the Commissioning Program and the Endorsement Program require that participants be individual members of FCM, a Faith Community's individual members may avail themselves of many of the other Programs and Services of FCM. These include the Mentoring Program, the Training & Education Program, the Peace and Justice Program, and the Faith Community Development Program. The Services include the FCM Newsletter, the FCM Website, Regional Networking and support, the National Assembly, Prayer Support, the National Directory of Members, the National Registry for baptisms, marriages, and holy unions, the Central Office for membership services, and Organizational Partnerships. In addition, those individual members of Faith Community Members who are also Individual Members of FCM carry all the entitlements of Individual Members as listed above in Section 1, B, 1.
3. FCM strongly recommends that Faith Community Members develop and implement a "safe church" policy.
4. The individual members of Faith Community Members are encouraged to attend the National Assembly, and to subscribe to the FCM Newsletter.
C. Loss of Faith Community Membership
1. A Faith Community ceases to be a member of the Federation by failing to submit an annual report or appropriate dues, or by showing that it no longer subscribes to the ideals of the Federation. The Executive Committee makes the judgment that a Faith Community Member's behavior violates membership requirements. In exceptional circumstances, the President and one other member of the Executive Committee, or if the President is unavailable, the Chair and one other member of the Executive Committee can act.
2. A Faith Community Member will submit an annual report to the Membership Coordinator(s). If a Faith Community Member fails to submit an annual report or pay sufficient dues by the due date (January 1, or as determined by the Circle), the Vice President is to notify the Member of potential loss of membership. The Member is fully reinstated as soon as it complies with the requirements.
3. If a Faith Community Member's membership is scrutinized for denial or revocation for cause other than failure to submit renewal requirements, the President of FCM will speak with the Liaison and the Faith Community Member's leader about the problem. In case that discussion fails to resolve the problem, that Faith Community Member and the Circle of Directors must be notified in writing. The Faith Community Member may present a written explanation to the Executive Committee. If this explanation does not resolve the issue, the Faith Community Member and the Circle must be informed in writing of the decision of the Executive Committee. The continuation of the Faith Community Member's membership may be appealed to the Circle of Directors, whose judgment will be final. During the time of the appeal, the membership is considered suspended. If a regular meeting of the Circle of Directors will not be held in a reasonable time, the Chairperson can poll the Circle by mail, by e-mail or by telephone to decide upon the appeal.
Section 3. Affiliates of FCM
Affiliates of FCM are separate organizations of religious or service orientation which want a collaborative and informational relationship with FCM. They pay an affiliation fee annually and their leader receives the FCM Newsletter. Members of an Affiliate are encouraged to attend the National Assembly.
Article II. Circle of Directors
Section 1: Description
The Circle of Directors of The Federation of Christian Ministries is FCM's governing body. It manages, controls, and directs the affairs and property of the Corporation, and has the powers specified in the laws of the United States necessary to carry out the purposes of FCM.
Section 2: Composition and Duties of Circle of Directors:
A. Individuals from the general membership make up the Circle of Directors. The Circle of Directors will consist of no fewer than eight (8) and no more than forty (40) individuals, who will establish committees and/or working groups to carry out the objectives of the organization as outlined in the Articles of Incorporation and the By Laws.
B. Members vest leadership of this Federation in the Circle of Directors consisting of an Executive Committee, Regional Vice Presidents, Representative(s)-at-large and other appointed directors.
C. The Executive Committee or Officers of the Circle of Directors consists of Chairperson(s), President(s), Secretary(s), and Treasurer(s). Teams may staff these offices. Each office has two votes.
- The duties of the Executive Committee, overall, are to:
- a. Decide and act on issues between Circle meetings.
- b. Seek out and execute the will of the members
- c. Coordinate the activities of the Federation through regular communication;
- d. Act as the official voice of the Federation, especially through FCM Newsletter
- e. Encourage national outreach and visibility;
- f. Propose such committees as are necessary for the business of the Federation, which will be accountable to the Circle of Directors.
a. The Chairperson(s) is/are responsible for policy planning and evaluation, setting the agenda for Circle of Directors meetings along with the President(s); presiding at the meetings of the Circle of Directors; consulting with the two immediate past Chairpersons and Representative(s) at large, whenever possible, for the formation of policy alternatives in all areas of the Federation's activities; is accountable to the Circle of Directors.
b. The President(s) act(s) as chief executive, overseeing existing programs and committees; initiating new programs in response to suggestions and needs of members; working with the Chairperson(s) in setting the agenda for the Circle meetings; engaging in public relations and outreach to make the Federation visible and known; serving as liaison with other national organizations that have goals compatible with FCM; is accountable to Circle of Directors.
c. The Secretary(s) prepare(s) Circle of Directors meeting minutes, distribute(s) them in a timely manner to the Circle, and upon request, make(s) minutes available to other members. The Secretary handle(s) correspondence as needed, and is/are accountable to the Circle of Directors.
d. i. The Treasurer(s) oversee(s) the financial affairs of the Federation, including appropriate government reporting procedures required by state or federal laws governing 501(C)(3) corporations; maintain(s) financial records following generally accepted accounting standards; propose(s)an annual budget, monitor(s) the use of trusts or special funds, advise(s) the Circle of surpluses or deficits, report(s) to external sources of funds the use of these funds; deposits and disburses funds in the ordinary conduct of the Federation's business; is/are accountable to the Circle of Directors.
ii. Annually a qualified member (unrelated to the Treasurer) or an accountant must review the financial records of the organization to verify the application of financial standards to the financial records and the accuracy of the records themselves. This person will report the findings in writing to the Circle of Directors prior to the National Assembly.
e. The Vice Presidents act as liaison to the President(s) and the Circle of Directors for their Regions and serve as facilitators in the Regions; are the communication line between the Executive Committee and their Regions; undertake special assignments such as overseeing preparations for the National Assembly when held in their respective Regions; are accountable to the Circle of Directors. The duties of the Vice Presidents are:
i. Develop and implement the objectives and programs of the Federation in their respective Regions
ii. Build up FCM in their Regions by on-going communication with the members of their Region.
iii. Encourage commissioned members to meet with their ministerial partners.
iv. Coordinate the activities of members, chapters, and communities within the boundaries of their Regions.
v. Receive and file the second copy of the annual reports of Regional members.
vi. Process, review, and recommend to the Circle of Directors all new applications for commissioning.
vii. Contact all unpaid members, communities to motivate renewal or to learn reasons for not continuing with FCM, or to uncover possible hardship situations.
vii. Make quarterly contacts by phone, mail, email or meetings with members, communities in the Regions.
viii. Submit written reports to the Circle of Directors prior to its meeting.
ix. Organize the National Assembly when it is held in their Region. When a meeting of the Circle of Directors is held at the site of the Assembly, work with the Chairperson(s) to coordinate the meetings.
x. Send Regional news to FCM Newsletter for each edition.
xi. Report annually the use of FCM monies allotted to Vice Presidents on the Regional Expense Report.
xii. Collaborate with the Executive Committee.
xiii. Be accountable to the Circle of Directors.
f. The Circle of Directors may engage the services of a Development Director. The Development Director(s) promote(s) special fund raising and promote(s)membership drives outside present membership; pursue(s) grants for the well-being of the Federation, provide(s) fund-raising assistance to the Vice Presidents; meet(s) with the Circle of Directors as appropriate; is/are accountable to the Circle of Directors. The Development Director reports to the President(s).
g. The Circle of Directors may engage the services of an Editor of the FCM Newsletter. The Editor(s) of FCM Newsletter publish(es), bimonthly, the official publication of the Federation, FCM Newsletter; meet(s) with the Circle of Directors as appropriate; and reports to the Executive Committee.
h. The Representative(s) at large is/are responsible to the membership at large of the Federation. The duties of the Representatives-at-Large are to:
i. Offer advice on Federation business in matters of regional and national policy.
ii. Participate with the Executive Committee at the meetings of the Circle.
iii. At the discretion of the Circle, Group Members may elect a Representative-at-Large to represent them on the Circle.
Section 3: Election and Appointment of members of the Circle of Directors:
A. Election of Directors: The Chairperson(s) and President(s) and Representative(s)-at-Large are elected by the National Membership. Regional Vice President(s) are elected by the Membership of their respective Regions. The term of office is three years. No elected Director may serve for more than two consecutive terms in the same position.
B. The other Circle members are appointed by the Circle of Directors. These appointments may be changed or reaffirmed every three years by mutual agreement of the person(s) serving and the Circle of Directors.
C. All elections should occur before the National Assembly. The process for elections of national officers is the following: A committee, appointed by the Circle and identified to the membership:
- Invites nominations from the membership and affirms the willingness of those nominated to run for office. Any FCM member may place himself/herself on this slate or nominate any other member by informing the committee in writing.
- Prepares a ballot and sends it out to the general membership with a return by date included.
- Tallies the result and informs the Circle prior to the National Assembly where the results will be announced to the members.
- Submits the result of the election(s) to the secretary(s) who publish(es) the results of the election in the FCM Newsletter.
The same process is used to elect the Regional Vice Presidents except that voting is limited to the membership of the respective Region. If the elected Vice President(s) vacate(s) a Regional Vice Presidency before the completion of the term for any reason, the President in consultation with the Executive Committee may appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term. Appointed Vice President(s) will complete the term of resigned Vice President(s). The Region will then hold an election for this office.
Section 4: Removal from Circle of Directors
The Circle of Directors may remove a Director from office for just cause. Examples of just causes include but are not limited to failure to perform the duties specified in the By Laws; failure to attend any three meetings of the Circle of Directors over a two-year period; misconduct, fraud or dishonesty or other failure to fulfill the responsibilities of a Circle Director. The Executive Committee will initiate the action of removal by informing the Director in writing of its intention. The Executive Committee will also inform the Circle of Directors of its intention. The Director has the right to present explanations of his/her actions which have brought forth the removal actions. The explanations must be submitted to the Executive Committee in writing, and the Director may present explanations in person to the Circle of Directors at its next meeting. Having heard explanations, the Circle will decide upon removal by secret vote. The decision of the Circle will be communicated to the Director by the Chairperson(s). Any such removal will be without prejudice to contractual rights, if any, of the person so removed.
Article III: Operation of the Circle of Directors
A. The President(s) serve(s) as chairperson(s) of the Executive Committee.
B. The Chairperson(s) or President(s) has(ve) the right and duty to convene a special meeting in case of urgent business.
C. In cases where a Circle member resigns or is unable to perform the duties of office, the President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, will appoint a member to complete the term of office.
D. In reporting the results of all questionnaires, votes, and surveys, both majority and minority views should be presented.
E. Except as otherwise herein provided by these By Laws or by action of law, a consensus of the Directors forming a quorum at a Circle of Directors meeting will decide all matters or, failing a consensus, a majority vote. If a simple majority of the full Circle of Directors is present at a meeting, this group forms a quorum.
1. In deciding motions to amend the Policy of the Permanent Endowment Fund of the Federation of Christian Ministries (the "Fund") and motions to make disbursements of principal from the Fund, a two-thirds majority of voting members at a meeting of the Circle is necessary.
F. Compensations of Officers
1. No members of Circle of Directors will receive compensation for their service to the Circle.
2. Directors may be reimbursed for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses related to their service on the Circle.
1. The fiscal year of the Federation will begin July 1st each year and end on June 30th of the following year, consisting of a 12 month year.
2. Dues are payable for the calendar year, January 1st through December 31st and are due by January 1st of that year.
3. The Circle of Directors will establish the annual dues.
1. The Treasurer(s) pay(s) all ordinary expenditures of the Federation, under the supervision of the President. The Executive Committee has the responsibility of determining in a given situation whether the expenditure is ordinary or extraordinary.
2. An ordinary expenditure is one made while conducting the regular and established business of the Federation such as postage, publication of FCM Newsletter, travel for FCM, telephone calls, office supplies, and office rental. Two unrelated members of the Executive Committee must approve a disbursement exceeding $2000.00.
3. An extraordinary appropriation from the funds of the Federation to an individual, group, legal body, or cause will be granted only after the following procedure:
a. Any member of the Federation may propose such an appropriation, by submitting the proposal to the Executive Committee.
b. The Executive Committee, by a simple majority of those voting will approve or disapprove the proposal.
c. Lacking a majority, the proposal will be presented at the next Circle meeting. A majority of the members present and voting will approve or reject the proposal.
d. The Circle may grant the President(s) discretionary powers to make extraordinary expenditures within a limited dollar amount determined by the Circle of Directors.
e. The Circle may allocate a sum of money from the general budget for a fund to be administered by Development Director(s) under the supervision of the Executive Committee.
f. The Treasurer(s), Secretary(s), and the President(s) are authorized to sign checks for the Federation. The Vice President(s) of the region in which the National Assembly is held are authorized to sign checks during the fiscal year of the National Assembly.
g. No part of the funds of this Federation will be disbursed for the private benefit of an individual except as part of the charitable work of the Federation. In the event of the dissolution of this Federation, all remaining funds, net of debts owing, will go to a charitable or religious organization work to be designated by the Circle of Directors according to Section VIII of the Constitution.
h. An annual financial report will be presented to the membership by the Treasurer(s) at the National Assembly.
I. Ethics Committee:
1. The Circle of Directors will appoint and maintain a standing committee called The Ethics Committee.
a. The membership of the Ethics Committee is no less than three members and no more than seven members of FCM
b. At least two members of the Ethics Committee must have formal training in the field of ethics.
c. Members of the Committee serve for three years. The member may be reappointed.
d. The members of the committee choose a member to be the Chairperson of the committee.
1) The Chairperson of the committee receives communications from the Circle, and leads the ensuing effort of the committee.
2) The Chairperson maintains the committee's files and provides a copy of its work to the Central Office when a project is completed.
2. Duties of the Ethics Committee:
a. The Ethics Committee is an ad hoc advisory body that responds to inquiries from members of the Circle with written counsel and verbal advice.
b. The Ethics Committee will research an inquiry by means of reviews of written materials and discussions with those relevant to the inquiry including the subject of the inquiry as well as the Executive Committee. When such reviews are complete, the committee will present a report in writing or verbally as appropriate to the Executive Committee.
c. An FCM member may pose a question to the Ethics Committee through the Regional Vice President, who informs the Executive Committee of the inquiry. The Executive Committee refers the question to the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee provides its recommendation to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee completes its decision process and communicates its answer to the Regional Vice President. The Regional Vice President communicates the answer to the member.
Article IV: Appointed Officers
A. The Secretary(s) and Treasurer(s) are appointed by the Circle of Directors.
B. Other Directors may be appointed by the Circle of Directors.
Article V. National Assembly
A. A National Assembly of the membership will be held at least once a year at a place and time determined by the Executive Committee in consultation with the Circle of Directors. Meeting sites should be proposed for the coming three years, if possible, at each National Assembly.
B. Written notice of the date, time, and place of the National Assembly will be sent to all members at least five months in advance through the FCM publication, FCM Newsletter.
C. The Vice President of the Region in which the National Assembly will be held will prepare the Agenda of the Assembly in consultation with the Executive Committee and will make it available to all members at least five months before the meeting. The Vice President will submit reports to the Circle as requested by the Executive Committee.
D. The Circle of Directors will convene before the annual National Assembly.
Article VI: Amendments
A proposal to amend the By Laws may be filed by any member of the Federation with the Secretary. A proposal submitted at least one month prior to a meeting of the Circle of Directors may be voted upon by the Circle of Directors at this meeting. Proposals submitted less than one month prior to a meeting of the Circle of Directors may be reviewed at the meeting. The Circle of Directors may then vote on the amendment by mail no sooner than one month after the meeting.
Revised by the Circle of Directors
July 10, 2015