How Our Church Works

The overall policies and practices of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church are delineated in How Our Church Works. This publication is prepared by the Board of Trustees and is available in notebooks throughout the three buildings and from the church office. There are references and links to this document throughout the website.

If you'd like a print-friendly version of How Our Church Works (August 2014), you can download one right here [pdf]. How Our Church Works Updates will be incorporated with the next revision.

Congregational Polity

In the matter of governance, Unitarian Universalist congregations today are directly descended from the Puritan churches that were self-governing. Each congregation has title to its property. No official in a religious hierarchy may close a Unitarian Universalist congregation, or fire its minister. No authority outside the congregation can define membership or dictate the annual budget of the congregation. Only the members of the congregation can make such determinations. This structure of self-government is called congregational polity.

While members cannot be consulted on every decision, they do vote on the most important issues. One of the important decisions is the election of leaders, generally a governing board and the call of the minister(s). Implicit in our congregational covenants is a promise to trust leaders to make decisions within particular realms, and to ask when they need guidance. For example, ministers generally have responsibility for worship-related concerns, though some issues such as adding an extra worship service may require a congregational vote, or certainly, input. A religious educator or Religious Education Committee may create a Coming of Age program for youth, but the congregation will determine when a youth may become a member of the congregation.

Membership means that you are able to help make the important decisions. The members collectively own the congregation and are vested with the power of governance. Elected lay leaders and called ministers are accountable to the congregation.

Relationships between congregations are mutual relationships of equals, regardless of the congregations' size or influence. Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to form the Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations, coming together for mutual benefit.

Unitarian Universalist congregations also participate in Districts, geographic groupings of congregations which work together to promote Unitarian Universalism and to support one another. Unitarian Universalist Community Church is part of the Northern New England District which includes Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

I.   Administrative

A.   Requesting administrative support
B.   Requesting a special events sexton
C.   Scheduling meeting space for church groups and committees
D.   Securing a rental space for outside groups
E.   Mail boxes – staff, committee, church
F.    Lost and found
G.   Smoking Policy
H.   Administrative Policies on Personal Information and Privacy

    1. Policy on use of membership and friend information
    2. Guidelines for UUCC communication with personal information
    3. Email list guidelines
    4. Guidelines for UUCC Electronic Newsletters
    5. Guidelines for putting church newsletter on the web
    6. Guidelines for sending email versions of the newsletter
    7. Guidelines for use of photos
    8. Guidelines for videotaping events at UUCC
    9. Website Policy
    10. Facebook Policy
    11. Guiding principles for use of UUCC Name

 I. Cancelations - Inclement Weather

 II.    Building and Grounds

A.   Aesthetics – bulletin board, do not hang items on the walls
B.   Building and Grounds-safety and access to buildings, including distribution of keys
C.   Physical Item donation policy

 III.    Financial

A.   Submitting program receipts for reimbursement
B.   Budget process & calendar
C.   UUCC Policy on church fundraising

 IV.    Membership

A.   Pathways to membership
B.   Becoming a member
C.   Annual process to update membership list

 V.    Worship

A.   Worship Arts Team
B.   Sunday Morning Hospitality
C.   Summer Services at UUCC
D.   Worship Committee Policy for Professional Fees for Guest Ministers
E.   Policy for Professional Fees for Retired Ministers who are UUCC Members
F.    Paying Musicians

 VI.    Religious Exploration

A.   Health and Safety Policies
B.   Education and Training Policies
C.   Supervision Policy
D.   Behavior Expectations
E.   General Health and Safety Procedures
F.    Nursery Policies for UUCC
G.   Policy for Child Care for Events at the UUCC
H.   Youth Overnight Policy 

VII.    Small Group Ministry (SGM)

A.   Programs Policy for Supporting Healthy Group Dynamics in SGM 

VIII.    Right Relationship & Safe Congregation

A.   Policy toward right relationship
B.   Policy regarding responding to safety of the congregation and potential threatening situations and/or persons.
C.   Policy for Supporting Healthy Group Dynamics
D.   Response to Allegations of Abuse or Misconduct
E.   Emergency Evacuation and Fire Safety Plan

Appendices: Forms & Policies

A. Events Sexton Request Form
B. Room rental
C. Key request
D. Physical item donation policy form
E. Request for reimbursement
F. Unitarian Universalist Community Church Child Care Agreement
G. Nursery Guidelines
H. Member and Guest Consent Form
I. Application Form to Hold Fundraising on Behalf of UUCC
J. Self-Inspection Annual Checklist
K.UUMA – Ministers Code of Conduct
L. UUCC – Staff Code of Conduct

Annual Report