Parish Bylaws Status Update – Special Parish Meeting Sunday Oct 15

Parish Bylaws Status Update – Special Parish Meeting scheduled for Sunday October 15

The bylaws of an Episcopal parish are like articles of incorporation, or a constitution. They specify how matters of parish governance are to be done, and they must conform to the requirements set forth by the diocese of the parish. Here at All Saints’ work has been under way for more than two years to institute new bylaws that meet the requirements of the diocese as well as take into consideration our long-standing traditions. There was a Special Parish Meeting last June to approve what we hoped would be the final version. However, when we submitted the draft to the diocesan Standing Committee for approval, they found four issues they asked us to address. We did that, and in August the vestry voted to accept a new revision of the bylaws incorporating the four changes. We submitted this new revision to the diocesan Standing Committee, which on September 14 voted to approve it. The final step in the process is for the parish to vote to acknowledge the Standing Committee’s approval. For this purpose the vestry is calling a Special Parish Meeting to convene in the parish hall immediately following the 10:00 AM service on Sunday October 15, 2017. Voting to acknowledge the Standing Committee’s acceptance of our new bylaws will be the only order of business. The meeting need not be more than ten or fifteen minutes long, but we will take as much time as necessary to explain what the four changes we made are, and to answer any questions that come from the floor. Much more information is available on the All Saints’ website, including detailed explanations of the changes and a copy of the final bylaws document itself. (Click on http://www.allsaintschelmsford.org/parish-bylaws-status-update/)  Additionally, during the two weeks of October prior to the meeting there will be voter information documents placed in the narthex.

It’s easy to get confused about the various steps along the way towards instituting new bylaws for All Saints. To help clarify the process, here’s a list of steps as we are experiencing them, including the initial denial of acceptance by the diocesan Standing Committee. The completed steps are checked:

Vestry establishes “Blue Ribbon” committee to draft new bylaws

√ Blue Ribbon Committee develops draft and performs multiple review cycles

Blue Ribbon Committee submits bylaws draft to the vestry

Vestry votes to accept the bylaws draft (May 13)

Special Parish Meeting votes to accept the bylaws draft (June 4)

Bylaws draft is submitted to the diocesan Standing Committee

Standing Committee reviews the draft, withholds approval pending resolution of four issues

Changes made to draft bylaws to resolve four issues identified by the Standing Committee

Vestry votes to accept the changes (Aug. 15)

Revised bylaws draft re-submitted to the Standing Committee (Aug. 16)

Standing Committee votes to approve the draft bylaws; bylaws become effective (Sept. 14)

2nd Special Parish Meeting votes to acknowledge Standing Committee approval of bylaws (Oct. 15)

All Saints sends letter to Standing Committee formally communicating outcome of Special Parish Meeting

All Saints New Bylaws 20-09-2017

The Four Changes to the Bylaws Described

For reference:

All Saints Original Bylaws