Arizona Faith Network Bylaws
The mission ofArizona Faith Network, further known as the ‘Organization,’ is to bring together People of Faith, under the inspiration of God, as a bridge to understanding and action – Being Together, Talking Together, Acting Together.
The Organization has a rich tradition. Beginning as Ministerial Association in Maricopa County, Arizona in the early 1940’s, we became The Arizona Council of Churches in 1946 with membership coming from representatives of the Protestant traditions. In 1969, with the addition of the Catholic Dioceses in Arizona, we became the Arizona Ecumenical Council (AEC).
Built on this ecumenical foundation, we are now called to expand the criteria for membership and become more inclusive. Not only do we seek to invite representation from the historic Christian traditions (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical and Racial or Ethnic churches), we wish to invite all who identify with the spirit of the imperatives of the organization.
From this point forward, and until otherwise amended, AEC will be known and will do business as Arizona Faith Network.
The Organization places a priority on building relationships, getting to know each other, praying together and working together in support of our agreed upon mission. We are committed to mutual fellowship and support, and will seek to better understand each other by affirming our commonalities and understanding our differences.
We understand that building relationships takes time and is often a difficult goal to achieve within the context of our American culture. We believe that relationships do not necessarily flourish just because people hold meetings or engage in theological discussions and advocacy actions. We affirm the need to engage in shared prayer and opportunities for informal conversations.
We will strive to speak to society with a common voice, whenever possible, and promote initiatives that serve the common good of society.
We have a unique and powerful role to play in the life of our communities. Working together, over many months, with prayerful consideration, the Organization has determined that the following Missional Imperatives place us at the heart of a virtuous cycle, inviting more people to dialogue, action and visible transformation. As friends in faith we seek to create a social milieu that is built on charity, virtues, mercy, justice, patience, integrity and gratitude.
Those Missional Imperatives are:
Promoting Civil Discourse: In a state where solutions to persistent social problems are impeded by polarization, individualism and fragmentation, we will facilitate respectful, civil conversations that engage church, government and community in constructive dialogue around issues for the common good. This model of civil discourse serves as a template for others who seek to maintain relationships while addressing issues that are divisive and will promote mutual respect and encourage new perspectives.
Community Initiative: We are a living example of the shared commitment that we have to love, respect and promote justice for all people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Whether we seek to follow the way of Jesus Christ or other noble faith traditions, we will bring, in diverse ways, the values that we hold in common to pray and work together. To that end, we identify our collective energy and resources on a specified geography in collaboration with community partners. We will collaborate with partners to utilize our collective resources to impact community.
We retain the prerogative, with approval by consensus, to redefine the Missional Imperatives.
Partners in Our Mission
We are an organization of People of Faith who are committed to charting a course together with respect for our theological differences. We join together to carry out our shared vision to pray for and serve the needs of communities within Arizona in a manner consistent with the values that we hold in common.
- Denominations: Any Denomination, Communion, Association, Conference, Convention, World Religion and/or Fellowship which is in good standing with its national and/or international body and has at least one active congregation in the State of Arizona and is able to affirm the mission of the Organization may become a Partner. Each Denominational Partner has an appointed representative on the Board of Directors. If that appointed representative is unable to attend a meeting, the Denomination may choose an alternate to attend in their absence. If the appointed representative is unable to continue to serve on the Board, the Denomination will submit a replacement.
- Congregations: Any faith congregation active in the State of Arizona which is in good standing with its local, national and/or international body and has demonstrated at least three years of active stability may become a Partner and may have a representative elected as an At-Large member on the Board of Directors.
- Organizations: Any state-wide or faith-based organization or incorporated business entity, which is able to affirm the mission of the Organization and has been active in the State of Arizona for at least three years may become a Partner and may have a representative elected as an At-Large member on the Board of Directors.
- Ministerial Groups: Any local geographical Council of Churches or Ministerial Association which is able to affirm the mission of the Organization and has been active in the State of Arizona for at least three years may become a Partner and may have a representative elected as an At-Large member on the Board of Directors.
- Friends: Any individual who wishes to endorse the mission of the Organization and will support such efforts through active participation may become a Partner and may be elected as an At-Large member on the Board of Directors.
Obligations of Partners
- Affirm the missional imperatives.
- Encourage and participate in prayer for the mission of the Organization and its partners.
- Appoint representatives to serve the mission of the Organization, as expressed in this document.
- Promote the mission of the Organization among its constituencies.
- Support the financial health of the Organization through monetary donations.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- The Board of Directors includes members appointed from each of the Denominational Partners. The Board will always maintain at least a simple majority held by Denominational Partners. The At-Large Members will be elected by the Board of Directors.
- At-Large Directors will be elected from recommendations made by the Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors. At-Large Members may be elected from any Partner category with the requirement that they are in good standing and can be endorsed by the appropriate authority of their denomination or other membership group.
- At-Large Directors are expected to attend all Board meetings of the Organization. If unable to attend, they must contact the President in advance. Three absences may result in removal from the Board.
- Chairs of each active Commission will be members of the Board of Directors and will be considered At-Large Members.
- Terms of the Board of Directors will be for two years beginning on January 1st. Directors may succeed themselves once. No Director may serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
- Review of the Board composition will be held prior to each election to ensure that the majority held by Denominational Partners is maintained.
- When a vacancy occurs during the term of a Board member, it will be filled as follows:
a. Should the position of President become vacant, the Vice President will assume the position and complete the unfinished term. If this is for less than one year, the new President will remain eligible, in the future, for election to two full terms.
b. Should any other elected position on the Executive Board become vacant, the remaining term will be filled, by election, at the next meeting of the Board of Directors. If a term being filled is for less than one year, the newly elected member will remain eligible, in the future, for election to two full terms.
- It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to:
a. Set policies for the responsible governance of the Organization;
b. Hire the Executive Director;
c. Provide direction and oversight of the Executive Director;
d. Conduct an annual performance review of the Executive Director;
e. Approve the annual budget.
f. Provide leadership and oversight in the design and implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Organization.
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
The Executive Board is made up of the officers of the Organization, elected by and from the members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director, as an ex officio non- voting member.
- The officers of the Organization are:
a. President: Shall chair all Regular, Special and Executive Board meetings.
b. Vice President: Shall fulfill the responsibilities of the President in his or her absence.
c. Secretary: Shall be responsible for the accurate recording of minutes at Regular, Special and Executive Board meetings. May monitor and review any correspondence sent on behalf of the Organization. The secretary may engage a recording secretary to assist with taking minutes at Regular, Special and/or Executive Board meetings.
d. Treasurer: Shall chair the Finance Committee and provide reports at the Regular, Special and Executive Board meetings on the financial status of the Organization. Shall commission an annual review of the organization’s finances.
- The officers will be elected by the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors held in the fall.
- Terms of the elected officers will be for two years beginning on January 1st. Officers may succeed themselves once. No officer may serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office. (At the initial election the President and Treasurer will be elected for a two year term and the Vice-President and Secretary for a one year term.)
- The Immediate Past President of the Organization may serve on the Board of Directors, with voice but not vote, for up to one year immediately following the end of their term as President of the Organization.
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Board of Directors, as defined in this document, has the authority to hire an Executive Director to support the mission of the Organization.
- The Executive Director will exercise supervisory authority over the performance of the staff and retains the right to terminate any employee.
- The Executive Director will provide oversight of any additional paid and volunteer staff members and will be responsible, as directed by the Board of Directors, to conduct the daily activities of the Organization.
- The Executive Director is an ex officio non-voting member of the Board of Directors and its Executive Board.
- In the absence of an Executive Director, the Executive Board will perform these duties.
The Board of Directors will employ the consensus model for decision making, which ensures a careful process of listening and discussing.
- Members of the Board of Directors have three options with regard to any proposal: (1) agree, (2) disagree, or (3) stand aside (not in support of the proposal but will not to block it).
- All Board Members have either to agree or stand aside for any proposal to be adopted by the Board of Directors.
- The Board Members could also agree, by consensus, to decide an issue by majority vote or to issue majority and minority opinions.
- At no time would any Board Member have to sign on to any statement with which they disagree.
- All Board Members are encouraged to actively participate in the process of listening and discussing and can choose to either endorse or absent themselves from any proposals that are approved by the Board of Directors.
At least three regular meetings of the Board of Directors are to be held each year, e.g., in the fall, winter and spring. Additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the Executive Board with at least two weeks’ notice provided to the Board of Directors.
At least two weeks’ notice must be provided to the Board of Directors when a special meeting is called.
Executive Board Meetings:
The Executive Board shall meet monthly from September through May. Additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the Executive Board, as needed.
- At least 3 officers must be present to constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Executive Board.
- The Executive Board may participate in and act at any meeting of the Executive Board through the use of a conference telephone or other communications equipment so long as all persons participating in the meeting can communicate with each other concurrently.
- Telephonic or electronic participation by the Executive Board in a meeting will constitute attendance and presence at the meeting.
The Board of Directors carries out its operations using a variety of board committees. These committees are constituted by the Board of Directors in alignment with the Missional Imperatives, at its discretion, determining the purpose, affirming the committee’s leadership and length of service to the Organization.
- The Finance Committee, chaired by the Treasurer, is a standing committee, meeting regularly and empowered by the Board of Directors. Members may come from any of the Partners and are not restricted to those who are appointed representatives and shall be accepted to serve by approval of the Board of Directors.
Responsibilities of the Finance Committee include, but are not limited to:
a. Preparation of an annual budget to be presented to the Board of Directors for approval at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors;
b. Authority to review all financial transactions of the Organization;
c. Authority to interview the Executive Director regarding financial management and report to the Board of Directors;
d. Evaluate and make recommendations to the Executive Board regarding funding sources and any fundraising activities;
e. Provide oversight of how general and designated funds are invested, reporting on such at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors.
- The Nominating Committee is an ad hoc committee, meeting as needed, with at least one member of the Board of Directors, along with other members from the Partners of the Organization.
Responsibilities of the Nominating Committee include:
a. Securing possible candidates for the Board of Directors to serve as At-Large Members;
b. Recommending candidates to the Board of Directors based on professional attributes, letter(s) of recommendation, competencies, personal traits and a history of service.
c. Following the Nomination Process as defined by the Organization.
- Other standing and ad hoc Committees may be established to support the mission of the Organization as approved by the Board of Directors.
Commissions of the Organization are formed to carry out the missional imperatives, identifying service goals to accomplish this mission. Commissions exist only in support of and to enhance the mission of the Organization.
a. Each Commission will elect one person to be presented to the Board of Directors for approval to serve as chair of that Commission for a two-year term, which can be renewed once.
b. Commissions may be formed or dissolved with approval of the Board of Directors in support of the mission of the Organization.
c. Commissions will present annual reports to the Board of Directors describing how they supported the mission of the Organization in the previous year.
These By-Laws/Statutes may be amended at any Regular or Special Meeting of the Board of Directors by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Board of Directors present, provided that written notice of such amendment was included in the call to the meeting.
Any part of these By-Laws/Statutes may be suspended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting representatives present at any Board of Directors meeting.