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Church Governance and Bylaws

First Parish Church is a self-governed Unitarian Universalist congregation operating under congregational polity.* It operates under a set of bylaws drafted and approved by the church membership. Occasionally, the bylaws are revised as the need arises.

Below you will find the bylaws, as passed on 2017-05-21 by the Annual Meeting of the church membership.

Bylaws, May 21, 2017 (PDF)

Board of Trustees for 2021/2022 Church Year

* Here is a definition of congregational polity by Earl Holt, writing in Redeeming Time: Endowing Your Church With the Power of Covenant, edited by Walter P. Herz: Skinner House Books, UUA, Boston. 1999.

“Congregational polity is the form of church government in which each congregation is an autonomous, self-governing, covenanted body.

“In this tradition there are no bishops by any name, no synod, no presbytery, no episcopate; no organized body or individual outside the congregation can dictate or direct the decisions and activities that go on within it. The individual church owns its own properties, elects its own ministers and other church officers, and conducts all its own affairs.”

The following elaboration is reprinted, with permission, from a published sermon on the Web site of the Follen Church Society, Lexington, MA.

“In other words, congregational polity is democratic in operation, nonhierarchical in structure, and accountable at the local congregational level for the following things: setting its own goals, writing its own covenant and by-laws, and anticipating and assuming responsibility for all its major needs, expenditures, and decisions.”


3 Powderhouse Road … Groton, MA 01450-4700 … 978-448-6307 …   …  

Most recently updated 2021-10-03