UUCSS Policy – Councils, Committees, and Other UUCSS-Affiliated Groups


Adopted May 26, 2021

A.  Councils

1.  The Church maintains a Program Council and an Operations Council.  Their purpose is to support the Church’s programmatic and operational work, respectively, and to maximize coordination and communication among its committees and the Church staff.  The Board delegates programmatic and operational authority, decision-making, and accountability to the councils.  Each council is chaired by a Board member elected for a one-year term.

2.  Except for entities covered in Policies 2 and 4, any Church group with programmatic or operational responsibilities or missions, as determined by the appropriate council, is a member of that council and abides by the council’s policies and procedures.  Representatives of council committees, as designated in Policy 3.B.1, will attend the regular meetings and act as liaisons between their committees and the council.  The Chief of Staff will ensure that appropriate staff attend council meetings if needed.

3.  Each council will manage its expenditures within the annual operating budget created by the Board and approved by the congregation.  Each council has the authority to reallocate committee line item amounts within its overall budget, as long as the total expended by each council is no more than the amount designated in the annual church budget.  Under no circumstances may the councils or the committees that comprise the councils incur expenditure obligations beyond the budgeted amount without explicit approval of the Vice President for Finance.

4.  Each council will meet at least ten times per year, with breaks scheduled by consensus.  An agenda will be circulated before each meeting and minutes or notes kept.  Each council will report on its activities to the Board on a regular basis.

5.  Each council will provide appropriate orientation and background materials for representatives as they join the council. 

B.  Council Committees

1.  Each council committee will designate a committee member to serve as its representative on the council.  If a committee has a chair, that committee is encouraged to selecta vice-chair as well, and to replace its chair every two years.  No committee chair should serve for more than four years.  The Board may remove council committee chairs if their continuation in office is deemed detrimental to the welfare of the congregation. 

2.  Each council committee will have a charter, procedures governing participation in its meetings and decision-making, and policies for recruitment of new members and replacement of its chairs.  Each committee will provide new members with appropriate orientation and background materials, including documentation of the means by which it carries out its operations and responsibilities.

3.  Meetings should be noted on the UUCSS calendar.  Each council committee will submit reports as required by their governing council and will participate in development of the church’s strategic plan.

4.  Groups wishing to serve an ongoing mission, intending to engage with the congregation as a whole, and desiring to use church facilities and resources should write a charter and apply to the Board to become a committee.  Upon approval, the newly formed committee will become a member of the relevant council with attendant responsibilities as outlined above.

C.  Other Committees, Entities, and Activities

1.  The Leadership Development Committee is elected by the congregation and is independent from the Board.  Some of its responsibilities are outlined in Section 6 of the Bylaws.  The committee sets its own charter and procedures.

2.  The Minister may establish committees or other groups to work directly with the Minister.  The Lay Ministers are an example. 

3.  Many other social or topic-related groups are established and maintained by UUCSS members and friends.  If they include “UUCSS” in their names, meet in church facilities, use UUCSS Zoom or logical email accounts, or publicize their meetings through the UUCSS website, the Uniter, or the weekly all-church email, they are expected to abide by the guidance in Policy 2.  They may choose to limit the number of members in the group.  If they do, they should have a written policy including the reason for the limitation and a process for adding members that promotes inclusivity.  If a group is at full capacity, it should not publicize its meetings to the entire community.

4.  Events 

a.  The Board will appoint an event coordinator who will recruit leaders for annual events such as the Catoctin retreat, the Fellowship Dinner, the Seder, and the Women’s Retreat.  The event coordinator will report to the Program Council any difficulties with recruiting a leader, may cancel an annual event for that year if no leader can be found, and will attend the Program Council’s annual calendaring meeting.  The event coordinator will also assist in managing one-off events such as weddings, memorial services, and receptions. 

b.  All UUCSS events and activities should be planned using the Program Council Handbook’s guidance on scheduling, registration, choice of site and decor, creating inclusive spaces (meal planning and food labeling, Deaf access, childcare, and other aspects of hospitality), setting up and cleaning up, and minimizing waste.  Members and friends hosting informal events (Auction dinners, for example), are encouraged to consider these aspects as well.