How well the church runs and how well we use the time of our paid and volunteer staff is crucial to the quality of life at First Parish. Starting in church year 2008-2009, First Parish adopted a new governance model. Our previous system of governance reflected how a smaller, pastoral church should be run, but didn’t quite fit the needs of First Parish now that we are considerably larger.
Our new model aims to clarify people’s roles and further improve the strategic and operational effectiveness of the church. This three-tiered governance model includes:
- A Parish Board to meet monthly on policy, long-term planning, and finance.
- A Leadership Team headed by the senior minister to meet monthly to act on the day-to-day level decisions and church operations.
- A Parish Council of committee chairs to meet quarterly to review budget reports, initiate figures for annual budget, and coordinate programs. The committees are clustered by related functions to better coordinate church activities.
The focus of the Parish Board is to deal with all matters having to do with strategy, policy, and the stewardship of church assets. The Leadership Team focuses on operational matters germane to the successful, day-to-day running of the church. The Parish Council supports operational efforts of the Leadership Team and provides a forum for coordination and communications.
To provide operational management of First Parish in accordance with the annual plan and budget (membership approved), policies (board approved) and long-range plan (membership approved).
- Senior Minister, Chair
- Parish Minister
- Chair of Parish Council (appointed by the Parish Board)
- President of Parish Board
- Church administrator
- Other staff at the Senior Minister’s discretion
A minimum of once a month during the church year.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Coordinate work of staff and volunteers to ensure optimal performance in all areas of church operations and ensure the successful fulfillment of projects, programs and initiatives.
- Manage the church calendar.
- Establish agendas for Parish Council meetings.
- Approve any use of the contingency line item (annual budget) to cover unanticipated expenditures.
- Provide the Board with a quarterly review of performance to budget.
- Request Board action on any significant changes in the operating budget due to unforeseen emergencies or opportunities.
- Lead and coordinate the preparation of the annual plan and budget.
- Form and oversee task forces of volunteers and staff, as needed, to address particular operational issues or needs.
A record of items discussed and actions taken will be provided to the Clerk for the permanent records.
Council promotes communication and coordination between Church Committees (clustered by related functions: Spiritual Growth, Community Inreach, Community Outreach, Infrastructure) and the Leadership Team regarding church programs, scheduling, and the development of the annual operating plan and budget.
Council Chair (appointed by the Parish Board), Committee Chairs (or their delegate), Leadership Team Liaisons (Treasurer, Ministers), Director of Religious Education, Music Director, and Clerk.
Council shall meet at least three times during the church program year. Meetings are open to all church members and friends.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Council Chair: Develops agenda in coordination with the Leadership Team. Schedules and orchestrates Council meetings. Promotes cooperation and supportive relationships among committee chairs and staff.
- Committee Chairs & Staff: Contribute to the development and implementation of the annual plan and budget under the guidance of the Leadership Team Liaison and within the context of the long-term plan developed by the Parish Board. Budget requests for items not covered by the approved budget must go through the Leadership Team Liaison who will direct the request as appropriate for approval consideration.
- Clerk: Take meeting minutes and distribute minutes to Council and to the office administrator.