Community Church of Sebastopol

United Church of Christ

Putting our Faith into Action

1000 Gravenstein Hwy North       707.823.2484

Church Governance

Church governance is organized as described in our By-Laws, reflecting a major revision adopted in April 2018.

Leadership Council Meetings

Our Leadership Council is responsible for administering the laws, traditions and day-to-day decisions that govern what happens at the Community Church. Large items and small all fall under the guidance of these dedicated leaders. If you’d like to know what happens at a Council meeting, please come join them the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Media Room. Meetings are open to all, questions and opinions are welcome and we’re hoping that becoming more familiar with the Council’s activities just might encourage you to consider becoming a Council member in the future! Please join us for our next meeting.

Background: Transition Process to new Governance Model:
Why, How, What and When?

The previous bylaws had been in place since 1985 and in many ways have served us very well. However, in recent years, we have become aware that our current practices are not adequately reflected by these bylaws and that many aspects of them might more appropriately belong in a Policy Book. We also realized that several processes as currently defined are redundant and that an increasing amount of energy is put into getting people to fill committees rather than to carry out ministry.

As a result, beginning in early 2017, initial conversations led to the formation of a Council Subcommittee on Governance which discussed multiple approaches and eventually focused on a Governance Model which we believed was the best approach for us to pursue our future objectives. Over the course of 2017, Council held an offsite retreat to more fully explore the proposed model. The decision was made to move ahead with this model. Multiple sessions were held throughout the year to help everyone understand the new model and to answer any questions that might have arisen. Additionally, the model was presented at the Annual Meeting on January 28th of 2018.

The revision of bylaws enables the new governance model and provides the flexibility and transparency that we all felt was essential as we move forward. Several reviews and feedback sessions were conducted over a few months, resulting in revised By-Laws that were approved by the Council for presentation to the whole congregation. At a Special Congregational Meeting held April 15, 2018, these By-Laws were adopted.

Church Council Mission and Norms

At the February 2018 Council meeting, it was decided that Council should share with the congregation the Mission & Norms of the Church Council. They serve as a reminder about why we are there - the guidelines we want to keep in mind when considering various issues and concerns. The Mission & Norms are attached to each monthly agenda. Pastor Ben asked at the February meeting, “Are these still the norms we want to live by?” After consideration, we all agreed, “Yes, they are - we always want to further the Mission of the Church.” We invite you to consider them further within each of your groups.

The Mission of the Council:

    • To prayerfully and thoughtfully interpret and enact the Community Church’s mission, vision and values and to provide leadership and strategic direction

    • To safeguard the assets of the church, and to ensure adequate resources (human, spiritual, financial, and facility

    • To support, direct and partner with the church staff team

    • To be ambassadors to the community on behalf of Community Church of Sebastopol

    Norms for the Council:

      • Keep the mission of the Council in mind. No personal agendas.

      • Follow the Bylaws.

      • Attend meetings, arrive on time, and stop on time.

      • Come prepared. Do your homework and follow through.

      • Know the purpose of agenda items and stay focused.

      • Avoid interrupting, digressing, and repeating yourself.

      • Respect the expertise, time, and contribution-style of others.

      • Participate fully. Listen carefully and ask good questions.

      • Be honest. Agree to share disagreements, and agree to disagree amicably. Keep disagreements within the Council.

      • Maintain confidentiality.

      • Enjoy the work and enjoy each other.