BYLAWS OF THE BRIDGE
approved by the membership April 9, 2017
Article I: Name and Affiliation
The Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (Denton CUUPS), also known as The Bridge, is affiliated with Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (DUUF) and is also a chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).
Article II: Inclusivity
Denton CUUPS is committed to creating a community and intentionally welcoming all. We foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all people without requiring adherence to any religious belief or creed. We value the diversity of racial and cultural identity, background, nationality, sexual and affectional orientation. We also value those of different gender identities and its expression. We accept all, regardless of religious background and belief, marital status, family structure, age, mental and physical health, ability, political perspective, educational and class status.
Article III: Purpose
The chapter is formed for the purposes of the following:
- Providing an environment conducive to spiritual growth, exploration, and education in Pagan and Earth-centered spirituality.
- Encouraging creativity, unique expression, and personal interpretation within each individual’s spiritual path.
- Increasing awareness and understanding of Paganism and Earth-centered spirituality within the surrounding community.
Further, the chapter supports the purposes of CUUPS in:
- Promoting the practice and understanding of Pagan and Earth-centered spirituality within the Unitarian Universalist Association,
- Enabling networking among Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists,
- Providing for the outreach of Unitarian Universalism to the broader Pagan community
- Providing educational materials on Paganism and Earth-centered spirituality for Unitarian Universalist congregations and for the general public,
- Promoting interfaith dialogue,
- Encouraging the development of theological and liturgical materials based on Pagan and Earth-centered religious and spiritual perspectives,
- Encouraging greater use of music, dance, visual arts, poetry, story, and creative ritual in Unitarian Universalist worship and celebration,
- Providing a place or places for gathering and for worship, and
- Fostering healing relationships with the Earth and all the Earth’s children.
Article IV: Chapter Year
The “Chapter Year” shall refer to the chapter’s fiscal and calendar year and shall begin on November 1 and end on October 31.
Article V: Membership
Membership in the chapter shall be open to any individual who meets three criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age or older. **
- Attend a minimum of two Denton CUUPS events.
- Those seeking membership must speak to an officer of Denton CUUPS regarding participation, bylaws, and expectations of members.
- Indicate their agreement with our Inclusivity and Purpose Statements, as well as the Unitarian Universalist Principles and the vision statement of CUUPS.
- Pay their yearly dues of $20 per person or $50 per family as specified in Article VII.
Although it is not a requirement for membership in Denton CUUPS, membership in the national CUUPS organization is encouraged. Membership applications can be found at www.cuups.org .
If an individual in the organization acts in a consistently inappropriate, destructive, or disrespectful manner at CUUPS events, the members can vote to revoke membership with a two-thirds majority.
** MINORS (under 18) – In an effort to avoid conflict between parents of one religious tradition and children who may be exploring another, the members of the chapter request that any minor (under 18) attend only with a parent or guardian.
Article VI: Chapter Officers
Officers will be elected once each Chapter Year at the Annual Meeting, as set forth in Article VIII. Officer’s terms of service will be for the entire Chapter Year. There is no limit to how many terms a Member may serve in a particular office. An officer may not serve concurrently in more than one named position. Any position may have multiple people serve in the position as necessary. Anyone desiring to serve the chapter as an Officer must be a Member of the chapter as of the date of election. It is suggested that Officers be members of a Unitarian Universalist society and of the national CUUPS organization. Office candidates must be nominated by a member in good standing of at least one year. Individuals may self-nominate after one year of membership.
Officer titles and responsibilities are as follows:
- Coordinating Officer — Primary facilitator of officer and member meetings. Responsible for ensuring that all members serving as Officers are adequately fulfilling the responsibilities of their positions; serving as the primary liaison between the Officers and Members/friends of the chapter, between the chapter and CUUPS, between the chapter and the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Board of Trustees, and between the chapter and the community at large; acting as general spokesperson for the chapter. This officer must be a voting member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
- Communication & Technology Officer — Primarily responsible for managing the chapter calendar, publicity of chapter events, e-mailing calendar events, updating the chapter website and maintaining chapter technology.
- Events Coordinator – Coordinates with event leaders of the eight public rituals held each year regarding progress and supplies needed. Work with the Coordinating Officer to ensure that organizers/leaders are in place for all planned events, that meeting/event locations are reserved. Also responsible for maintaining chapter supplies.
- Membership Officer – Primarily responsible for recruiting of new members and collecting dues. This officer will maintain the membership roster, be responsible for actively raising awareness of Denton CUUPS with other groups and the community at large, and will be responsible for follow-up contact with visitors.
- Education Officer – Assists facilitators of CUUPS courses, workshops, and small groups. Coordinates scheduling for those groups, courses, and related activities. Monitors area Pagan announcements in order to present opportunities for education and involvement to the membership, and develops and maintains educational resources for use as needed. Consults with the Membership Officer for new member orientations as needed.
- Treasurer – Responsible for handling chapter finances and maintaining financial records, collection of dues and other monies owed, and payment and/or reimbursement of any authorized expenses. Maintains chapter finances and provides printed financial reports to the membership at all scheduled Board meetings.One additional member must have access to chapter accounts at all times.
- Recording Officer – Responsible for preparation of meeting agendas, recording and distribution of minutes, maintenance of meeting notes and discussion topics, archival records and ritual scripts. This officer shall work with the members of the Board to ensure that all appropriate members are notified of meeting minutes, discussion topics and decisions made.
Article VII: Business Meetings
Chapter Business Meetings will be held semi-annually. Other meetings may be called by the Coordinating Officer as deemed necessary.
All members should be notified at least 14 days in advance of a chapter business meeting. The last meeting of the Chapter Year, in October, shall be designated as the “Annual Meeting.” While it is not required, all Members are strongly encouraged to attend all business meetings, especially the Annual Meeting. All major issues (elections, bylaw changes, etc.) up for vote will be announced 14 days prior to the business meeting at which the vote will take place. Officers are required to attend business meetings. In case of absence, an officer will be considered to be in attendance at a business meting if s/he makes arrangements with the other Officers at least a week in advance. Such arrangements may include asking another officer to deliver a report or assigning a proxy for an important vote.
Article VIII: Funding
The chapter shall be funded from three sources:
- Member dues – any individual desiring to be a Member of the chapter is required to pay annual membership dues in the amount of $20, if paid in October. This covers membership for the entire Chapter Year. An individual paying dues in a month other than October will owe $2 per month of membership for each month between payment of dues and the new Chapter Year.
- Free-will donations – any Member or friend of the chapter desiring to do so may make free-will donations to the chapter.
- Fund raising events – the chapter may from time to time hold special fund-raising events.
Article IX: Internet
A chapter website will be maintained that will include, but not be limited to, announcements of chapter events and basic information about the chapter’s organization and membership. Additionally, officer email addresses will be posted so that people may inquire about the group via the web. A chapter chat board and list serve will also be maintained to discuss chapter business and to promote community and communication between members.
Article X: Elections
Regular Elections of officers will be held once each year at the Annual Meeting in October. Only Members may vote in elections. Procedures for nominating and electing new Officers shall be as follows:
- The Coordinating Officer will preside over the nominations process. After nominations have been made and comments have been heard, the Coordinating Officer will ask for an Election Volunteer from among those not running for office to preside over the voting and counting of ballots. This person will not vote except in the case of a tie.
- No assumption will be made as to a current Officer’s intent to run for re-election without nomination.
- Any Member may make nominations from the floor on the day of the election. Members may nominate themselves.
- All Officers seeking re-election and all nominees will be given not more than 5 minutes to speak on their own behalf before the election.
- Any Member who has comments or concerns regarding either a current Officer seeking re-election or a nominee will be given not more than 5 minutes to speak before the election.
- Votes will be taken by secret ballot (this doesn’t have to be fancy, blank paper will do). The election volunteer will distribute, collect, tally the ballots (aloud with a witness), and announce the winners.
- Members unable to attend elections may designate a proxy.
- The election shall be won by a simple majority (51%) of votes present. In the event that there are more than two candidates for a position and no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a run-off election shall be held between the two candidates who received the most votes. The candidate receiving a majority of votes in the run-off election shall the new Officer.
- In the event of a tie, the Election Volunteer shall cast the tie-breaking vote.
Special Elections may be called by the Coordinating Officer at any time in the event that an Officer position is vacated. Members must be notified at least 14 days in advance of a Special Election. Procedures for nomination and voting in a Special Election will follow the same form as the Regular Elections.
Article XI: Chapter Assets
Funds for supplies for chapter activities will be reimbursed, within reason, as funds allow. Anticipated expenses should be discussed with the Treasurer prior to purchase to ensure availability of funds. In turn, the Treasurer should discuss said expected expenditures with the other officers to confirm practicality of costs. A receipt should be brought to the Treasurer for reimbursement. The Events Coordinator is responsible for keeping track of materials owned by the chapter that are available for use in activities. Upon wind-up or dissolution of the chapter, all assets remaining after payment of all debts and liabilities shall become the property of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Article XII: Programs and Events
The chapter shall have at least eight public rituals per year to celebrate the Wheel of the Year and/or other holidays and holy days of relevance to members. These events will be open to anyone over the age of 18 and any minor accompanied by a parent or guardian.
These eight rituals may be canceled or closed to the public only under extreme circumstances and with a 2/3 vote of the officers.
Any member may lead/organize any ritual for the chapter. Non-members may lead/organize a ritual in conjunction with a member. The Events Coordinator has primary responsibility and all officers have secondary responsibility to insure that any ritual or other event led by a non-member is in alignment with the values of Denton CUUPS and Unitarian Universalism.
Article XIII: Covenant Groups
The chapter may form covenant groups for specific purposes or pursuing the study of specific topics.
- Covenant groups are sub-groups of chapter members which form around an interest or purpose that may not be shared by all members. Each covenant group will create its own covenant, an agreement among members as to their purpose, their activities, and their personal conduct.
- Covenant groups may be formed for the purposes of education, exploring various forms of Paganism, fellowship, and other interests. Covenant groups are open to all active members of Denton CUUPS. Members may join at any time, but they must agree to the covenant of the group.
Article XIV: Adoption and Amendment
The Bylaws of the chapter shall become effective upon approval of two-thirds or more of the Members of the chapter. The Bylaws may be amended at any regular chapter business meeting or as necessary by a vote of two-thirds or greater of Members present. Proposals to be considered for adoption or amendment must be presented to the chapter Members at least 2 weeks in advance of any such vote. Voting may be conducted in person, electronically or sent to any officer via email or in written form.