Bylaws Changes — What’s Happened and What’s Next?

Bylaws Task Force—Jim Yocom, Becky Elliott, Mary Kay Fruga, Chris Wise  


One of the congregational goals prioritized by the Board for this church year is an update to UUFR’s foundational governance documents—our Articles of Incorporation and our Bylaws.  The Bylaws Task Force has been at work on this since February of 2022.  We’ve held a series of meetings and reported the outcomes in a series of postings:

  • A blog post on September 27 laid out our plan for gathering feedback from UUFR member on these proposed changes through a series of four meetings addressing changes by topic.
  • A blog post on November 2 provided a recap of Meeting #1 on October 9 which focused on the Articles of Incorporation and on simple changes to wording throughout the bylaws.  
  • Revisions to the Articles of Incorporation were approved in a Congregational meeting held on December 4, 2022.  Congregational Meeting Notes from December 4 captured the approval of our revised Articles of Incorporation.
  • A blog post on February 2 provided a recap of Meeting #2 on November 13 which focused on requirements for establishing membership and circumstances which could result in the removal of membership. 

Copies of all changes discussed at each meeting are available for review: Click here.  Each proposed revision includes the original text, the rationale for the change, and the proposed text in red with edits from member input in blue text.

MEETING #3 on February 5 focused on the UUFR Foundation and the oversight of funds, and on public use of the Fellowship name: 

  • We concluded that the proposal to make UUFR (instead of the Foundation) the recipient of undesignated bequests to UUFR was no longer necessary.  The proposal was intended to give the Board discretion to directly handle undesignated bequests, but this is unnecessary given recent changes to Foundation bylaws that allow the Foundation more flexibility in transferring money to UUFR.  There was an additional concern raised that the proposed change in wording would contradict expectations already in place in existing wills and bequests of our members.  We are withdrawing the suggested changes.  Wording in this Article will remain as is.
  • Article IX of the Bylaws deals with use of the Fellowship name in relation to statements of conscience. This revision is intended to speed up UUFR’s ability to offer support (which previously required a Congregational meeting) while still providing meaningful ways to gather member input and ensure appropriate levels of approval.  This proposed change provides a process for approving statements made on behalf of the entire congregation as well as statements representing a specific UUFR ministerial team.  The discussion helped clarify wording and the proposed changes were well received.

MEETING #4 is scheduled for March 12, 2023, and will focus on the ministerial search process, approval to hire, and ministerial duties.  Since questions and concerns have been raised on this topic over the past several years, we strongly encourage your input and participation.  To view materials for discussion on this topic, click here.

A clear understanding of the relationship between our members, our Board and our Lead Minister clarifies the framework of our UUFR community.  This clarity is essential for the health of our congregation, and for the success of our shared mission.

We look forward to your joining us in these coming discussions.   Click here to submit a question, comment, or suggestion to your Board, email any of us directly or stop to chat in person if you see us around.


At the conclusion of these discussions, the Task Force will publish a revised draft of the Bylaws document for review, with changes noted in red text and edits based on member input in blue text.  We may hold a townhall for additional discussion this Spring.  A finalized draft of the Bylaws will be available for review in May and will be voted on at our Annual Congregational Meeting on June 11.