The Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, located in New Britain, Connecticut, is a Parish in the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, and was incorporated as a religious (not-for-profit) corporation in the State of Connecticut on 23 April 1926.
The Parish is part of the Orthodox Church in America and therefore, its organization and administration are subject to the Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America adopted by the Second All-American Council of October 19-21, 1971 and amended by subsequent All-American Councils and the decisions of the Diocesan Assemblies of the Diocese of New England of the Orthodox Church in America, henceforth to be referred to as “Diocese” in these By-Laws.
The Parish is primarily a spiritual body recognized by Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America. Its adoption of a civil corporate existence is done to allow recognition of the Church in the secular world. The Parish By-Laws as presented herein reflect the letter and spirit of the current Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America and must at all times comply with any future Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America. Should the Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America be amended in such a manner as to require an amendment(s) to the Parish By-Laws, the Parish shall adhere to the Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America until the Parish By-Laws are formally amended to conform to the then current Statutes.
The Parish shall be regulated by the following By-Laws which are intended to express the spirit of the Holy Orthodox Tradition, as interpreted by the Orthodox Church in America, on a practical level in the life of the Parish as a whole, so that the Parish might fulfill its divinely appointed mission in a peaceful and orderly way.
The local Church is the living Body of Christ (1Cor 12:27) that serves to live, uphold, and preach the Faith as delivered by Christ, taught by the Apostles, and preserved in the Holy Scriptures and Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. Apostlesth as odox We accomplish this mission by
· participation in liturgical worship,
· partaking of the spiritual life and sacraments of the Church,
· sharing in Christian fellowship as a eucharistic community,
· providing for education of the Faith,
· engaging in philanthropy,
· being wise stewards of our time, talents, and properties and,
· being Christ’s ambassadors (2Cor 5:20) to the world in manifesting His love, presence, and preaching.
ARTICLE I THE PARISH CLERGY
The Rector, as head of the Parish, by virtue of the ecclesiastical authority vested in him, shall guide and oversee the total Parish program, and is ultimately responsible with the Parish Council to the Diocesan Authority for the life and activity of the Parish.
Section 1 Responsibility
The Rector of the Parish shall:
a) serve the liturgical and sacramental needs according to the order of the Typikon of the Orthodox Church in America;
b) instruct members of the Parish in the tenets of the Orthodox Faith and piety;
c) implement and be responsible for the religious education of the Parish and stimulate church growth;
d) strive to raise the level of spirituality and morality of the members of the Parish;
e) preside at all Parish Meetings;
f) keep the Parish records of baptisms, chrismations, receptions into the faith, marriages, and burials; issue copies of the same, and report the statistics annually to the Diocesan Bishop and the Parish Meeting;
g) report as may be required by law to civil authority marriages performed;
h) be the intermediary between the Parish and the Dean and the Diocesan Bishop;
i) keep the church seal;
j) be responsible for the well-being of the Parish;
k) implement the decisions of the All-American Councils, of the Diocesan Assemblies, of the Diocesan Bishop, of the District Dean, of the Annual and Special Meetings of the Parish, and of the Parish Council;
l) check and sign the Minutes of the Annual and Special Meetings of the Parish and of the Parish Council meetings;
m) be responsible for the supervision of additional clergy who are appointed or assigned by the “Diocesan Authority”, henceforth to be referring to the Bishop of the Diocese of New England and those persons or groups duly appointed by him for the governance of the Diocese, respectively, in these By-Laws;
n) be an ex officio member of all Committees and of the Parish Council.
Section 2 Assignment
The Rector is assigned, transferred, or removed by the Diocesan Bishop by virtue of the authority of his office and in accordance with the Canons, ecclesiastical procedure, and the needs of the Parish and of the Diocese. The Rector cannot be removed or leave his assignment without the specific permission of the Diocesan Bishop. The Parish shall be responsible for the support and welfare of its Rector until such time as he is removed from his position by the Diocesan Bishop according to Title XI of the Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America.
Section 3 Vacancy
Upon the death, retirement, or transfer of the rector, the vacancy in office may be filled on a temporary basis by the Diocesan Authority until the office is filled on a permanent basis.
Section 4 Compensation
To be free from material preoccupations and wholly committed to his sacred ministry, the Rector must be compensated by the Parish; the amount and terms of such compensation shall be determined prior to the time of his assignment and which shall conform to the then current Diocesan Guidelines concerning compensation and benefits for the clergy. The compensation package shall be reviewed yearly and recommendations made to the Annual Parish Meeting in the Parish Budget.
Section 5 Additional Clergy
Additional clergy as appointed by the Diocesan Bishop shall assist the Rector. The provisions of Article I, Sections 2, 3 and 4, shall be applicable to them. In addition to the general pastoral duties, such additional clergy shall be responsible for those specific duties in the assignment in concurrence with the Rector and Parish Council as approved by the Diocesan Bishop.
ARTICLE II THE PARISH MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 Voting Member
A voting member of the parish shall fulfill the following requirements:
a) be a Baptized and Chrismated Orthodox Christian;
b) be at least 18 years of age;
c) regularly, but at least once a year, partake of the Sacraments of Private Confession and Communion in the Parish;
d) have been a member of the Parish for a prior consecutive twelve (12) month period; and
e) regularly fulfill such financial obligations as may be established by the Parish, within the calendar year.
Section 2 Transfer Members
A person who was a “voting member” in another Parish of the Orthodox Church in America and who has transferred into the Parish, in accordance with the authorized transfer form, shall have full “voting member” status, upon completion of a ninety (90) day acclimation period.
Section 3 Multiple Parish Membership
Voting membership in two or more Parishes of the Orthodox Church is not permitted.
Section 4 Assessments
Each year the Parish shall remit to the Diocesan Treasurer its financial obligation to the Diocese and to the Orthodox Church in America as stipulated by the Diocesan Assemblies and the All-American Councils.
Section 5 Parish Membership Registration
The Parish Council and Parish Rector are responsible for submitting annually the census and membership information to the office of the Diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the form as determined in current Diocesan directives.
Section 6 Exclusion of Voting Membership
The Parish Council together with the Rector shall, within its jurisdiction, initiate action to remove from voting membership that person who:
a) directly or indirectly defies the Dogma or Canons of the Orthodox Church; or
b) directly or indirectly obstructs those decisions rendered by the majority of the Parish or the Diocesan Authority; or
c) directly or indirectly causes such disruption so as to affect adversely the spiritual life of the Parish.
Action to remove rights of voting membership shall be referred to higher Diocesan Authority in the manner set forth in the current Diocesan directives.
Section 7 Burial in the Parish Cemetery
a) All burials in the Parish Cemetery shall be in accordance with the then current Parish Cemetery By-Laws.
ARTICLE III THE PARISH MEETING
Section 1 Meetings
a) Annual Meeting: An annual meeting of the voting members of the Parish shall be held on the last Sunday in the first month of every year (following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy) for the purpose of electing members of the Parish Council and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the Meeting. Should circumstances preclude having the annual Parish Meeting at its regularly appointed time, then an alternate date agreed upon by the Rector and the Parish Council can be selected.
b) Special Meetings: Special Meetings of the voting members of the Parish may be called by the Rector, the Parish Council, the Diocesan Bishop or his designee, or by not less than 25% of the voting members of the Parish. When 25% of the voting members of the Parish shall call a Meeting, they shall file with the Warden of the Parish Council at least four (4) weeks prior to the date of said Meeting a written request signed by them stating the object of such Meeting. Arrangements shall then be made for notice to be given as per subsection d) hereof.
c) Place of the Meeting: The Annual Meeting and any Special Meetings shall be held in the nave of the church building, unless size prohibits. In such case, the Rector, with the Parish Council, shall choose an alternate site.
d) Notice of Meetings: Notice of the Annual and any Special Meeting shall be given by the Rector from the ambo at the Divine Liturgy on three (3) consecutive Sundays prior to the Meeting and published in the church bulletin. The agenda of any Special Meeting shall be included in the notice. In any Meeting which has as part of its agenda capital expenditures, the purchase, sale, mortgage, lease or encumbrance of real property of the Parish, or the amendment of these By-Laws, the notice shall specify the matter or matters to be acted upon at said Meeting.
Section 2 Quorum
The quorum for all Parish Meetings shall be 20% of voting members, or 25 voting members (whichever is less), enrolled at the end of the calendar year preceding the date of the Meeting. In the absence of a quorum at the Annual Parish Meeting, that Meeting may be adjourned to a time determined by the majority of voting members present at that Meeting. (At the Adjourned Meeting those in attendance shall constitute a quorum at that Meeting.) These provisions for an Adjourned Meeting shall not apply either to any Special Meeting or to any subject matter at an Annual Meeting pertaining to the amendment of these By-Laws or the acquisition or alienation of Parish property or capital expenditures. In those instances the quorum requirements outlined in this Section must be applied.
Section 3 Voting
a) A simple majority vote by those voting members shall determine the decision of any Parish Meeting except as provided in subparagraph b) below, and in Article V, Section 2 & 5, and in Article VII, Section 1 concerning amendments to these By-Laws.
b) A sixty percent (60%) vote of the voting members present shall be required in connection with any capital expenditures, including the purchase, sale, mortgage or lease of Parish property, but in no event may such expenditure be made with the approval of less than 10% of all voting members of the Parish.
Section 4 Order of Meetings
a) Officers of the Parish Meeting
1) The Rector is the presiding officer of the Parish Meeting, but may delegate the chair to another officer.
2) The Secretary of the Parish Council, or in their absence someone appointed by the Rector, shall record the Minutes of the Parish Meeting.
b) The Agenda of the Annual Meeting
1) Opening Prayer
2) Determination of a Quorum
3) Minutes of Previous Meeting
5) Financial Statement and Auditor’s Report
6) Adoption of the Parish Budget
7) Election of the Parish Council and Delegates to the Diocesan Assembly and All-American Council.
8) Unfinished Business
9) New Business
11) Closing Prayer
c) The Agenda of the Special Meeting
1) Opening Prayer
2) Determination of a Quorum
3) Statement of Purpose of Meeting
6) Closing Prayer
d) Record of a Parish Meeting
Two copies of the Minutes of a Parish Meeting, Annual or Special, signed by the Secretary of the Meeting and the Rector, including financial data and attached reports, if any, shall be sent to the Diocesan Bishop with an additional copy to the District Dean within thirty (30) days of such Meeting.
1) In case of disagreement with one or several decisions of a Parish Meeting, a statement of dissent may be submitted in writing by the Rector, the Parish Council, or signed by not less than one-tenth (1/10) of the voting members present at a Parish Meeting, and attached to the Minutes.
2) After review of the Parish Meeting Minutes the Diocesan Authority shall approve or disapprove the decisions and resolutions, including elections, in those Minutes. If approved, those decisions and resolutions, including elections, shall become effective as of the date of approval by the Diocesan Authority. If disapproved, those decisions and resolutions, including elections, shall be remanded back to the Parish for correction or amendment. No decisions or actions of a Parish Meeting shall become effective until approved in writing by the Diocesan Authority.
ARTICLE IV PARISH ADMINISTRATION
The Rector and the Parish Council shall administer the work of the local church cooperatively. The Parish Council shall serve the local church in implementing its mission, ensuring proper stewardship of its finances and properties, and promoting the unity of the Body of Christ.
Section 1 The Parish Council
a) The responsibilities of the Parish Council shall include, but not be limited to:
1) Be responsible not only for the spiritual and material needs of the Parish, but also for the parish’s unity and connection with the Diocese and the Church, for the Parish is called to be a living cell and a member of the Body of Christ, and carries responsibility for the WHOLE Church.
2) To assist the Rector in the implementation of the decisions of the All-American Councils, Diocesan Assemblies, Diocesan Directives, Parish Meetings and Parish Council Meetings.
3) To formulate and present an annual Budget for consideration at the Annual Parish Meeting.
4) To assure the funding of the programs approved by the Parish Meeting in the Parish Budget, and any other funding requests that may come within the purview of the Council.
5) To enter into contracts, or to purchase all necessities for the Parish not to exceed the amount of seven thousand, five hundred dollars ($7,500.00) per project. Amounts in excess of $7,500 shall be voted upon at the Annual Meeting or at a Special Meeting. When possible, the Parish Council shall anticipate such expenses and include a request for said item in the annual Budget.
6) Parish council members shall be informed of and follow the Policies, Standards, and Procedures of the Orthodox Church in America on Sexual Misconduct, and oversee the implementation of said Policies for the Parish body.
7) Exercise day-to-day stewardship of the properties and programs of the Parish, being mindful at all times of the reality that ownership belongs to God, not the Parish.
8) Any other responsibility that would normally fall to the Parish Council in any question regarding the Parish.
b) The Parish Council shall fill such paid positions as may be available in the Parish by interviewing and determining qualifications of candidates. In all cases, Orthodox Christians should be hired if possible, with the exception of the Choir Director, who MUST be a practicing Orthodox Christian. Compensation is to be determined by the Parish Council and included in the Parish Budget to be approved at an Annual Parish Meeting.
1) All lay salaried personnel of the Parish shall be responsible to the Parish Council as to the fulfillment of their duties, with the exception of the Choir Director, who shall coordinate the liturgical life of the Parish with the Rector. Such duties shall be determined by the Parish Council and clearly outlined in a “Job Description” which shall be given to anyone hired. Said “Job Description” must be signed and dated by the hiree, the Rector, and the Warden, and reviewed periodically, but at least every two years for update. Additions and/or deletions to the Job Description may be made by the Parish Council subject to a thirty (30) day notice to said hiree. During this thirty days, hiree may accept or reject changes by remaining in the paid position or tendering written resignation.
Section 2 Election
a) The Parish Council shall function as the Board of Trustees and shall be composed of the Rector, ex officio with vote, eight (8) elected members, and two (2) elected member auditors.
b) The election of the members of the Parish Council shall take place at the Annual Parish Meeting on an annual basis.
c) Voting members of the Parish are eligible for election to the Parish Council with the following exceptions:
1) any full-time employee of the Parish is not eligible to serve on the Parish Council;
2) only one member of any household, including the Rector’s household, is eligible to serve at the same time as a member of the Parish Council.
Section 3 Term of Office
a) The term of office for members of the Parish Council shall be one (1) year.
b) Any member of the Parish Council who has served for four (4) consecutive years automatically becomes ineligible for re-election until one (1) year off the Parish Council passes.
c) Notwithstanding any provisions contained in this Section under a) and b), all officers and members of the Parish Council shall hold office until their successors are duly elected, qualified and confirmed, and installed.
Section 4 Composition
a) The Parish Council shall consist of the Officers (Rector, ex officio, Warden, Assistant Warden, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Financial Secretary), two (2) At-Large Members and two (2) Auditors. Additional officers may be elected by the Parish Council from among the Members if deemed necessary.
b) The Annual Parish Meeting shall elect Parish Council officers and then the balance of the members of the Parish Council.
c) The Officers of the Parish Council shall constitute the Executive Committee of the Parish Council.
d) To ensure fiscal responsibility, two (2) auditors shall be elected at the Annual Parish Meeting.
1) The auditors shall audit all financial records of the Parish and, if requested, its organizations regularly, but at least quarterly.
2) The auditors shall make reports of said audits to the Annual Parish Meeting.
3) The auditors shall keep a current inventory of all real and personal property of the Parish other than the funds in the charge of the Treasurer.
Section 5 Confirmation and Installation
a) Upon adjournment of the Annual Parish Meeting, the Rector shall notify, in writing, the Diocesan Authority of the results of the election and request confirmation of said election. This is to be done as soon as possible, but not later than seven (7) days after the Annual Parish Meeting.
b) Only upon the confirmation of the election of the Parish Council by the Diocesan Authority can the Parish Council be installed. Upon receipt of the confirmation, the Rector shall install the Parish Council during a Sunday Divine Liturgy to be determined, but, if possible, before the regularly scheduled February Parish Council Meeting.
Section 6 Removal from Parish Council
a) All Parish Council members must continue to fulfill their qualifications for membership in the Parish Council during their entire tenure of office. Failure to retain membership as described in Article I, or fulfill their obligations and duties under Article IV, Section 9, will bring automatic dismissal from the Council.
b) All Parish Council members are expected to attend all Council Meetings during their tenure of office. The unexcused absence of any Council member from three (3) regularly scheduled Council Meetings will render said member subject to dismissal by the Parish Council.
c) The Parish Council initiates all dismissal procedures. However, the Diocesan Bishop through the District Dean may intervene in cases in which a Council member becomes subject to dismissal for causes stated in a) or b) of this Section 6.
Section 7 Vacancies in Parish Council
Any vacancy, with the exception of the office of Warden, whose vacancy is automatically filled by the Assistant Warden, shall be filled by the Parish Council by electing a successor therefore with confirmation by the Rector, for the remainder of the vacated term.
Section 8 Parish Council Meetings
a) The Parish Council shall meet monthly, with the exception of June and July (provided there is no pressing concern to come before the Council at that time), on the last Monday of the month in the church hall. If there is a conflict, the Parish Council may choose an alternate date and place. In all cases, none of its meetings may be held without the knowledge and blessing of the Rector who, as the head of the Parish, must take part in the discussion and solution of all Parish affairs.
b) While the Rector is the head of the Parish, the Warden shall act as chairman of the Council Meetings with the Rector’s blessing.
c) The Parish Council shall conduct its business from a pre-established agenda. Items for the agenda must be submitted to the Warden no later than the Sunday immediately preceding the Meeting. Any Council member may request an item be placed on the agenda.
d) A simple majority of the Parish Council shall constitute a quorum, provided that either the Warden or Assistant Warden is present.
e) A majority vote of those members in attendance can decide issues brought before the Parish Council.
f) All decisions of the Parish Council must be confirmed by the Rector before becoming effective.
g) The Minutes of the Parish Council meetings shall be signed by the Recording Secretary, the Warden and the Rector. The original of the Minutes is the property of the Parish and becomes part of the Parish Archives.
h) Parish Council Meetings are open for attendance to all members of the Parish. An open forum may be held, at which time a member of the Parish, recognized by the Chair, may speak on an issue. However, only members of the Parish Council may make a formal resolution or vote on any issue.
i) At its discretion the Parish Council may hold a Closed Meeting, i.e. one that is restricted to Council members only and accordingly noted in the Minutes.
j) In the event that a matter is brought before the Parish Council, which in the opinion of the Rector is in violation of the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church, The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, or the Diocesan Directives, including, but not limited to matters of
1) Doctrine, or
2) Canon Law, or
3) Liturgical Practice, or
4) sacramental observance, or
5) ecclesiastical discipline,
the Rector has the right to veto both discussion and vote on said matter within the Parish Council.
k) If a problem should arise between the Rector and the Parish Council, the matter shall not be brought before the Parish at a Parish Meeting. The Rector and/or the Parish Council shall have the right to refer the matter to the District Dean according to the then current Diocesan Directives. However, in matters of appeal the decision of the Diocesan Authority shall be deemed final.
Section 9 Officers of the Parish Council
a) The Warden shall:
1) Act as Chairman of all Parish Council Meetings with the Rector’s blessing.
2) Sign all official and legal documents of the Parish as the senior elected trustee.
3) Countersign all checks disbursing Parish funds.
4) Be an ex officio member of all Standing Committees.
5) Represent the Parish Council on all appropriate occasions.
6) Ensure that all candle sales, money counting, collections, etc. are done in an appropriate manner, delegating such jobs as necessary.
7) Generally oversee when necessary the various responsibilities of the Parish Council and its members.
8) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
b) The Assistant Warden shall:
1) Act in the place of the Warden during the latter’s absence.
2) Automatically succeed to the office of Warden in the event of its vacancy.
3) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
c) The Recording Secretary shall:
1) Keep an accurate record of the transactions of all meetings of the Parish Council and the Parish.
2) Be responsible for posting notice of all Meetings of the Parish and the Parish Council.
3) Together with the Rector, maintain a membership list of the Parish which shall contain the address and voting qualifications of each member, and shall record therein the fact and date of termination, if any, of the membership of any such member.
4) Submit to the Diocesan Bishop and the District Dean copies of all appropriate reports, lists and Minutes.
5) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
d) The Treasurer shall:
1) Receive and safely keep all money and securities of the Parish, keep an accurate account of same, and deposit same in proper financial institutions.
2) Sign all official documents pertaining to financial matters of the Parish, as the senior elected financial officer.
3) Keep in trust for the Parish all bank books or other official financial instruments allowing the deposit or withdrawal of funds.
4) Countersign all checks disbursing Parish funds.
5) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
e) The Financial Secretary shall:
1) Keep a complete account of the finances of the Parish which shall be and remain the property of the Parish and which shall be open for inspection at any reasonable time by the Parish Council.
2) Receive and review all receipts forwarded for authorized payment from Parish funds; issue checks for said receipts.
3) Render a financial statement at the Annual Parish Meeting and at other times as may be requested by the Parish Council. The annual statement shall be audited and certified.
4) Prepare all appropriate financial reports and statements, which are to be submitted by the Recording Secretary to the Diocesan Bishop and District Dean.
5) Assist in counting monies received by the Parish.
6) Countersign all checks disbursing Parish funds.
7) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
f) The Assistant Treasurer shall:
1) Keep an accurate record of the contributions made to the Parish through the envelope system and other means.
2) Issue statements of giving to parishioners.
3) Maintain the address list for the mailing of monthly envelopes to parishioners. Make necessary changes to same.
4) Perform such other duties as may be imposed by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Parish Council.
Section 10 Standing Committees
a) The Parish Council shall establish Standing Committees as needed to advise the Council in areas of parish administration and to carry out Parish Council or Annual Meeting directives.
b) Standing Committees shall be composed of at least one (1) Parish Council member who shall act as Standing Committee chair and liaison between a Standing Committee and Parish Council.
a. The Parish Council shall elect a Standing Committee chair by simple majority vote.
ARTICLE V THE PARISH PROPERTY
Section 1 Title of Ownership
a) The Parish corporation is the sole owner of all Parish property, assets, and funds, subject to the following Sections of this Article and the Statutes and provisions of the Orthodox Church in America. All policies of “Insurance” shall be registered in the name of the corporation, which shall be listed as sole beneficiary.
b) All deeds, policies and other important and legal documents shall be kept for safety in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box. The combination of any safe shall be entrusted to the Rector, Warden, Financial Secretary and Treasurer.
Section 2 Real Property
The Parish may purchase real property, or sell, mortgage, lease or otherwise encumber its real property upon approval of a sixty percent (60%) majority vote of the voting members of the Parish in attendance at an Annual Parish Meeting or Special Meeting called for that specific purpose, at which a quorum is present, due notice having been given, on a resolution presented by the Parish Council and Rector, and subject to final approval of the Diocesan Bishop. However, in no event may such action be taken with the approval of less than 10% of all voting members of the Parish.
Section 3 Special Bequests
As far as possible all special bequests, gifts and devises should be used by the Parish for the purpose for which they were made. In the event the purpose of such gift, devise, or bequest is not feasible or practical, as so determined by the Parish Council and Rector, an alternate use may be determined by the Parish Council and Rector upon consultation with the donor or the estate representative.
Section 4 Defection
The Parish is an integral part of the Orthodox Church in America; therefore in the event the Parish were to decide to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America without canonical release, the Orthodox Church in America or its successors shall be entitled to full title to all the Parish assets and property. In the event that a group in the Parish decides to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America without canonical release, that segment of the Parish which remains loyal to the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America shall retain full title to all the Parish assets and property.
Section 5 Dissolution
The Parish may be dissolved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of Parish members at a duly called Parish Meeting of all the voting members of the Parish, not just those present at said meeting. Prior to any discussion of a vote to dissolve the Parish, the Warden shall have a count taken of all voting members present and qualified to vote in accordance with Article II, Section 1, herein. Additionally, the Warden shall announce by name all signed proxies in his receipt for voting members not able to attend but otherwise qualified to vote under Article II, Section 1, herein. The written proxies presented shall contain a statement by the proxy voter either agreeing or disagreeing to dissolution of the Parish signed by the proxy voter. The proxy form will be approved by the Parish Council prior to mailing to parishioners who request the form. Requested proxy forms shall be mailed at least thirty (30) days in advance of the meeting and returned to the Parish not later than fourteen (14) days prior to the scheduled Parish Meeting. Forms received later than fourteen (14) days shall be considered void. Notice of the meeting and of the availability of the proxy form will be published in the Parish Bulletin at least two times before the thirty (30) day period preceding the Parish Meeting. Additionally, notice of the Parish meeting and the availability of the proxy form shall be published in the classified section of the New Britain Herald or any other print newspaper considered a major publisher of local New Britain news. The Warden will tally the voting members present and the official proxies received (no facsimiles will be accepted) and declare in the affirmative or negative the required two-thirds (2/3) voting members are present or represented by proxy.
If a two-thirds (2/3) majority are represented and a vote to dissolve is sustained, the Warden shall call for the nomination and majority vote of those present for the appointment of a Dissolution Committee. The Committee shall be comprised of the Parish Rector, a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three (3) members at large. All shall have one vote. Upon the creation of the Dissolution Committee the Parish Council will no longer have control or input into Parish business to include operation of the Parish or its dissolution.
Upon the dissolution of the Parish, the sacred and untouchable items, such as the Holy Antimension, the Tabernacle and the Sacred Vessels, shall be delivered to the Diocesan Authority by the District Dean. After disposition of the sacred and untouchable items to the Diocesan Authority, the Dissolution Committee shall first pay all legitimate bills of the Parish and secure sufficient funds to pay any future bills during the expenses of the dissolution process. The Committee shall in an organized and careful manner liquidate the Parish assets to include but not necessarily be limited to; buildings, land, fixtures, icons, vestments, music, books, holy items available for sale but not sanctified, equipment and any other property belonging to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. Every effort should be made by the Dissolution Committee to gift any church item, artifact, book, equipment or chattel to Orthodox churches or missions in need of such times. The disposition of all other items or equipment used in church services shall be at the discretion of the Committee.
The Committee shall undertake an accurate accounting for all cash, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, annuities and other gifts to Holy Trinity Church. At least ninety (90) percent of the assets shall be dedicated to the perpetual upkeep of the Church cemetery. Such funds are to be managed by a bonded organization or bonded trustee hired as a fiduciary to the benefit of the Church cemetery. Up to ten (10) percent shall be donated to local charities.
ARTICLE VI THE PARISH ORGANIZATIONS
Section 1 Organizations
a) Individually affiliated Parish Organizations may be established or recognized by the Parish for specific purposes deemed compatible with Parish life. Such Organizations shall have the approval of, and are accountable to, the Parish Council and Rector. The By-Laws of such Organizations shall be consistent with these By-Laws, the regulations of the Parish, the directives of the Diocesan Authority, and the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. Such Organizations shall make an annual report of activities and accountability, and shall make an annual financial statement available to the Parish Council. Said financial statement must be audited by the Parish Auditors, or auditors appointed by the organization, at least annually. This section shall not apply to any chapters of a nationally affiliated organization, unless that chapter so provides in its own By-Laws.
b) In the event that any such Parish Organization is dissolved, its assets shall be turned over to the Parish not later than thirty (30) days after the date of dissolution.
c) In the event that the Parish is dissolved, the Parish Organizations which were subsidiaries of the Parish likewise shall be dissolved, with all of those Organizations’ assets to be disposed pursuant to Article V, Section 5 of these By-Laws.
ARTICLE VII THE AMENDMENTS, REGULATIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 1 Amendments
These Parish By-Laws may be altered or amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the voting members of the Parish in attendance at the Annual Parish Meeting at which a quorum is present or a Special Meeting convened for that purpose at which a quorum is present, provided that written notice is given to the membership specifying the proposed addition, change or amendment. Such written notice shall be distributed to voting members of the Parish no later than fifteen (15) days before the date of the Parish Meeting at which the proposed changes, additions or amendments are to be discussed. All amendments, changes or additions so proposed shall not take effect unless approved by the Diocesan Authority.
Section 2 Procedures
For matters not covered by these By-Laws the Parish may enact procedures and regulations to meet the need of a particular situation in the Parish. Such additional procedures and regulations must be presented to the Diocesan Authority for his approval before they become effective.
Section 3 Scope of Rights
Notwithstanding any provisions contained herein or any provisions that might be assumed from the civil law concerning not-for-profit or religious corporations, nothing in these By-Laws shall be deemed to have granted any individual parishioners or group of parishioners any rights, as members of the present corporation, that are in conflict with, or at variance with, or superior to those recognized in the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America.
Section 4 Text
a) For all purposes the English text of these By-Laws shall be deemed to be the official text.
b) In the appropriate context the singular use of a word may refer to the plural, and the masculine may refer to the feminine.
Section 5 Adoption
These By-Laws were accepted at a Parish Meeting held on the 27th day of January, 2013, at which the appropriate quorum was present, the Parish members having been duly notified and have become effective on the 3 day of March, 2013, by the approval of the Diocesan Bishop. They revoke, supplant and replace any and all Parish By-Laws, whether corporate or not, previously in use.