I. National Charter for Local Churches
This document sets forth the structure for Local Churches of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in the United States of America. (FFWPU).
1. Statement of Purpose
A Local Church is established for:
- the worship of God,
- the proclamation of True Parents, Rev. Sun Myung and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon,
- the study, teaching and practical application of the Divine Principle,
- the promotion of the Holy Marriage Blessing,
- fellowship within and beyond our community,
- the expansion of True Parents’ leadership in America and the world, and
- creating and expanding God’s Kingdom of heaven on earth.
- The Local Church is a branch of the FFWPU, a religious nonprofit organization with national headquarters in New York, NY. and world headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
- A Local Church will comply with all legal policies of the FFWPU.
- A Local Church is established based on a petition from a local community, with the authorization of the National President. Local Churches established prior to this document will be considered as authorized.
- A Local Church may be closed for cause by the National President with approval of the National Council, or by a 2/3 vote of the local church membership.
a. Requirements for Membership:
- Members are those who choose the Local Church as their church “home” as defined by the Church Council.
- Members shall have completed the basic membership criteria determined by the National Headquarters.
- Members support basic membership expectations to be determined by the Church Council, such as worship, tithing, and an educational path.
b. Rights of Membership
- Members may participate in Local Church activities.
- Members have the right to express their heart and concerns to the Pastor and/or the Church Council, make new proposals and to report abuses, or perceived abuses, without fear of reprisals.
- Members will receive regular financial reports from the Church Council.
- Members have the right to elect the members of the Church Council.
- Members have the right to vote in Church Council elections based on the following requirements:
- They must be a member in good standing. This is automatic unless revoked by the Church Council for serious violations of church principles as determined by the Pastor and two-thirds of the Church Council. Any revocation may be appealed to the District Leader or National Council.
- They shall be at least 18 years old or have received the Marriage Blessing.
- Other membership status may be determined by the Church Council.
5. Church Council
a. The Church Council is an elected body that participates in the government of the Local Church in cooperation with the Church Pastor and the National Church headquarters.
b. Church Council members will serve two-year terms. The Church Council may choose to stagger the elections such that one half of the Church Council will be elected each year.
c. A member may run for office if they have been a member of the Local Church for one year or, in the case of a new Church Council, resided in the area for one year.
d. The Church Council will conduct at least one open meeting every other month. At that meeting, the Church Council will hear issues and get feedback from the community. The Church Council will create a procedure for members to have their issues included on the agenda.
- The Church Council is comprised of five, seven or nine members, including the Pastor. Any change to the size of the Church Council shall be approved as an amendment by the Congregation as stated in Section 9.
- The Church Council has a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer as elected officers. The Secretary and Treasurer may be the same person. Officers will be elected by the Church Council.
- Officers will serve 1-year terms and the Chairperson may not serve for more than 2 consecutive years.
- For there to be a quorum, not more than two Church Council members may be absent from that meeting.
- Church Council decisions will be made by simple majority vote, except in a vote to remove the Pastor as stated in Section 6.a.iii.
- The Pastor will have a special role. He/she will not serve as an officer, but as a spiritual advisor and will cast a vote only when a tie-breaking vote is needed.
- If a council member resigns or leaves, the Church Council will decide on a procedure to select candidates to fill out the term and choose one.
f. Election of the Church Council
- At-large election. Church Council members will be elected from the community at-large.
- In the case of candidates being tied for the final seat(s), the outcome shall be decided by lottery.
- Elections will be supervised by an election committee. For the first election, an election committee will be approved by the National Office or District Leader. The Church Council will determine how future election committees will be selected.
- No Church Council member shall serve for more than two successive terms.
- Elections will be held annually as the Church Council may decide.
- Approval of the Local Church plans and budgets.
- Give quarterly financial reports and an annual report to the community.
- Approve paid Local Church staff and key personnel.
- Appoint or remove department leaders with Pastor’s approval. (Approval is not needed if the Pastor position is vacant).
- Appoint standing or ad hoc committees as needed.
- Hear concerns of church members.
- When there is a need for a new Pastor, the Church Council will search for and recommend a candidate to the National President or his or her authorized representative for approval.
h. Veto and Appeal
- Any Church Council decision may be vetoed by a higher church authority, such as a District Pastor. If the District Pastor is also the local pastor, a veto must be exercised by a higher level, such as the National President.
- The Church Pastor or any two Local Church Council members may appeal a council decision to the National Council concerning procedural matters.
- The Church Council may appeal a veto to a higher authority, such as the Continental Director, National President or National Council.
a. Appointment and Removal
- The Pastor is selected by the council and approved by the National President or higher authority.
- The Pastor will serve for a three-year term, at which time the Council may reappoint the Pastor for another three-year term or select a new Pastor. There is no limit to how many times the Church Council may reappoint the same Pastor.
- The Pastor can be removed at other times by a two thirds majority Church Council vote and the approval of the President.
b. Pastor’s Responsibilities
- Convey God’s word to the congregation.
- Oversee the spiritual well-being of Local Church members. This may include education, counseling, worship services, small group ministries, camps, etc.
- Promote church growth – includes outreach and witnessing.
- Encourage service to the local community – to oversee and develop efforts to serve and be involved in the local community.
- Act as the point of contact with the National Headquarters of the FFWPU. This involves representing the Local Church to National Headquarters or other associations.
- Prepares Local Church plans to be approved by the Church Council.
- Administration – The Pastor is responsible for the Local Church office and staff, church records, membership lists, etc.
- Participate as a member of the Church Council with the special position of spiritual advisor. The Pastor has the privilege of casting the final tie-breaking vote when necessary.
- Operate within the budget approved by the Church Council.
- Administer pastoral functions such as those related to birth, membership, Il Shim education, engagement, marriage blessing and death.
- Serve as a member of the District Council according to the guidelines in the District Charter.
7. Church Plants, New Worship Communities, and Activities
- In accordance with its missionary roots, the FFPWU encourages and endorses the planting of new worship communities and new “Planted Churches”, as well as individual ministries. At the same time, we honor the ideal of unification by encouraging all churches and worship communities to remain in close and regular communion with each other.
- A Planted Church is a new church established under the auspices of an existing Local Church that is not yet large enough to have its own Church Council.
- A Ministry Team is the governing body of a Planted Church, consisting of a Pastor and at least three Elders. An Elder is a church member in good standing who will share in the leadership of the Planted Church with the Pastor of the Planted Church.
- The Ministry Team will approve a budget and key church decisions by a majority vote.
- Members wishing to plant a new church shall petition the Church Council for approval. The ministry team of the Planted Church shall also be approved by the Church Council, and shall be mentored and supervised by the Pastor of the Local Church. The Church Council may also close a Planted Church for cause, subject to an appeal by the Planted Church to the National Council.
- Members of the Planted Church will be considered members of the Local Church and will be entitled to vote in Local Church elections. Once the Planted Church can meet all requirements in Sec 3a and Sec 5, it may petition to become an independent Local Church.
- The Planted Church is expected to follow the basic tenets of FFWPU, as provided by National Headquarters.
- Small Group ministries may be started by any member of the Local Church, and does not require Local Church approval.
a. The Local Church will contribute 10% of its income to the District and/or National Headquarters, as decided by the Church Council
- This charter may be amended by the National Council with the approval of the President. Questions of interpretation of this Charter will be decided by the National Council.
- With approval of the Local Church Council and a two-thirds vote of the Local Church membership, a Local Church may amend this document for its own purposes as follows:
- Requirements for Local Church membership and voting
- Election rules
- Composition and size of the Church Council
- Frequency and rules for Church Council meetings
- Participation requirements for Church Council members
II. National Charter for Districts
This document sets forth the purposes and policies for the Districts of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in the United States of America (FFWPU).
a. The District is a geographical area of church governance determined by the National President.
b. District Pastor
- The District Pastor may or may not be a local pastor.
- The District Pastor is selected by the District Council with the approval of the National President for a term of 2 years.
- Represents the National President to Local Churches.
- Reports to the National President on behalf of the Local Churches.
- Resolves issues between Local Churches.
- Facilitates communication within the District.
- May veto any Church Council decision, unless serving as the Local Pastor.
c. District Council
- The District Council is comprised of the Local Pastors and one additional representative chosen by each Local Council of all Local Churches.
- The District Council will meet only as needed, at their own discretion. Meetings may be conducted by conference call.
- Select a candidate for District Pastor for approval by the National President.
- Elect a representative to the National Council by December 31 for any expiring term.
- Approve the District Budget, including any salary or stipend to the District Leader.
III. National Charter for the National Council
This document sets forth the purposes and policies for the National Council of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in the United States of America (FFWPU).
- The National Council is a representative body that serves to advise and consult with the appointed national leadership of FFWPU and its headquarters, and mediates between the national and local levels of the organization.
- The National Council will consist of 13 members comprised of one representative from each of the 12 Districts and a National Vice President of the Church selected by the National President. If there are more than 12 Districts, the National President may combine districts under a single representative so that the number shall not exceed 12. In this case, the National Council representative will be selected by the combined districts.
- The President of the National Council shall be a Vice President of the Church. He or she will only vote in case of a tie.
- Each of the elected National Council members shall serve for two years. The terms shall be staggered such that six members will be elected each year. For the first election, representatives of six districts will be chosen by lottery from the Interim National Council to serve for an additional year. No National Council member may serve for more than two successive terms.
- The National Council shall elect its own Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary. Each shall serve for one year and may be elected to at most one additional term.
- National Council decisions will be made by simple majority except where otherwise specified.
- For a quorum, at least 9 elected members must be present.
- A National Council member may be removed for cause by a 3/4 majority vote.
- If a National Council member resigns or is removed, the Districts shall select another representative to serve the remainder of the term.
- Any National Council decision is subject to a veto by the National President, Continental Leader, Board of Directors or higher office.
a. The National Council shall have the following duties.
- Review and approve grant requests from Local Churches and districts from the budget provided by the National President.
- Strive to ensure protection of membership at all levels, including as specified in the HSA-UWC National Whistleblower Policy.
- Adopt Amendments to the National Charter for Local Churches, with approval of the National President.
- The National President shall submit to the National Council, no less than 10-days before a regularly scheduled meeting, documents concerning matters on which s/he seeks the National Council’s advice and consultation.
- The National Council will prepare recommendations to the National President and the HSA-UWC Board.
- Adjudicate Appeals from Local Churches and Districts, at their discretion.
- Provide recommendations for fiscal prudence and accountability, and participate with HSA Board members on a Financial Review Committee.
- Recommend candidates for the HSA Board. Candidates will be approved by 2/3 majority vote.
- Prepare petitions to the HSA Board of Directors, to be approved by 2/3 majority of the National Council.
- Consider other duties as requested by the National President.
- Publish theologically grounded public statements that represent the position of the National Council.
- The President of the National Council will convene all National Council Meetings, and the elected Chairperson will chair them. The President of the National Council shall convene a meeting at his or her discretion or upon the request of three or more National Council members.
- The National Council shall meet in person twice annually, in April and October. The April meeting will constitute the beginning of a term.
- The National Council shall conduct additional meetings, including by telephone, electronic or other means.
- The National Council may authorize standing or ad-hoc committees as required. Committees may include members outside of the National Council.
- National Council members who are absent from more than 2 council meetings annually shall be subject to review and possible removal.
- If a National Council member is absent from one of the semi-annual meetings, the District Council may appoint a non-voting representative to attend.
- National Council members, with the exception of the National Vice President, serve without pay.
- The National Council shall submit a reasonable annual operational budget for approval to the National President for council activities.