Fauntleroy Church is organized as a covenant. That is, when we become members, we promise to be responsible for the life of this local church and the community of faith. The congregation as a whole is the final decision-maker on all important issues: the calling of a pastor, the buying or selling of property, the annual spending plan, the affirming of a statement of mission, whether or not to remodel the building, etc. The congregation meets at least annually, and usually more often, to take up these and other important matters.
Acting on behalf of the congregation, the Council is responsible for the oversight of the church's life: sets priorities, makes policy decisions, and oversees major projects that transcend any one ministry. The Council is composed of four officers and seven at-large representatives, and is elected by the congregation for a two year term.
We have four officers:
Moderator: The key lay leader for the congregation, who conducts meetings of the Council and the congregation and is the legal agent for the church.
Vice Moderator: assists the moderator and acts in the moderator's stead when necessary.
Clerk: the secretary to the congregation and Council.
Treasurer: the chief financial officer of the church.
Together, along with the Senior Pastor, the officers form the Executive Committee of the Council, which meets each month to review progress of matters before the church and Council and set the Council's agenda.
These seven people are elected to the Council without any particular area of concern. However, each of them selects a Ministry or Committee to which they become the Council's liaison. They do not chair these groups, but they do participate in their work and report to the Council on issues of policy or areas of conflict.
The Pastor(s) is/are ex-officio member(s) of the Council. The Council works with the pastor(s) to clarify his or her goals and evaluate his or her performance.
The Congregation divides the church's life into six Ministry groups: Christian Education, Worship, Service & Outreach, Finance, Facilities, and Parish Life. The chair of each of these groups is elected by the congregation for two-year terms, which may be renewed once. The chair must be a member of the congregation; other members of the ministry (usually at least five) are recruited or volunteer from the congregation and are not necessarily formal members of the church.
Covenant: The Way of Connection
The notion of covenant, rather than hierarchy, allows the greatest freedom and accountability among the Council, the Ministries and the Pastor. While it is clear that policy issues must be settled by the Council, the Ministries and Council, along with the Pastor, who is the spiritual guide of the congregation, work together to carry out the mission of the church.
In the United Church of Christ, the local church acts as the Body of Christ in its local setting. It is not governed by the regional or national settings, but it is part of a covenant with them.
Conferences of the United Church of Christ
Our Conference is called the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC. It is one of 39 conferences, organized geographically. It is composed of about 80 congregations like Fauntleroy in Washington, northern Idaho and Alaska, who freely join together to support one another's work, do things together we could not do alone and act as the ordaining body for clergy in the UCC. The group meets annually.
The National Setting of the United Church of Christ
Together, about 6,000 congregations, composed of more than a million members, covenant together to support one another, act on issues of national concern, and provide service together that local churches and conferences could not do alone. The national offices of the UCC are in Cleveland, Ohio. The national setting meets every other year in a General Synod.
Each setting of the church is not governed by the others. Each setting is free to act as they listen to the Holy Spirit. It is our tradition that we promise to listen to one another (not necessarily agree), to join together when possible, and to hold each other accountable to Jesus Christ, who is the "head of the church."