Parish Board

Parish Board 2021-22: Jennifer McClain (President), Deb Bodeau, Sarah Dorer, Victoria Gaw (Treasurer), Chris Gittins, Alan MacRobert, David Southard, Rev. Wendy Bell, Rev. Annie Gonzalez

To preserve the viability and vitality of First Parish and its mission by:

  1. Providing fiduciary oversight of all church assets;
  2. Setting overarching policy and procedures;
  3. Helping to frame important opportunities and issues affecting the church;
  4. Establishing and overseeing the achievement of a long-term strategic plan; and
  5. Evaluating the performance of the senior minister.


  • Voting: Seven members, including the Treasurer, elected by the parish to rotating three year terms
  • Ex officio: Ministers, Chair of the Parish Council, Clerk

The Parish Board will elect one of its members to serve as President and principal lay officer of the Parish.

A minimum of four times during the church year.  During the first year, the Board meets on a monthly basis with fewer meetings possible in future years.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Select (in accordance with Article IX of the Bylaws), advise and evaluate the Senior Minister
  2. Appoint other senior employees of the Parish after due consultation with the Senior Minister and pertinent committees, and supervise and evaluate performance through the Senior Minister. (Note: “Senior employees” includes the Assistant Minister and the DRE. If we move to an Associate Minister, a process for this appointment would be similar to that used to select the Senior Minister as a bylaw amendment.)
  3. Develop written policies and procedures governing the church including but not limited to such issues as personnel, space rental, fundraising, permit applications, use of church name in public statements or in other actions that reflect on the church and its membership, insurance, conflict resolution and acquisition/disposition of church assets.
  4. Appoint the Parish Council Chair.
  5. Work with the Leadership Team in preparation of annual plan and budget, reviewing it for conformity with the member-approved long-term plan, policies and procedures. Present to the membership at the Annual Meeting along with a recommendation for approval. Final approval of the budget will belong to the membership.  (Note: While the Leadership Team will manage operationally, the Board will retain overall responsibility for management given their selection, advisory and evaluation role with respect to the Senior Minister. The Treasurer, as a member of both the Leadership Team and the Board will present the budget with the recommendation of the Board that it be approved.)
  6. Exercise within the bounds of the congregationally approved budget, full power and authority to approve, amend and modify all contracts (employment, long-term leases, etc.).
  7. Recommend to the Parish any significant changes, to be defined by policy, in the annual budget during the course of the operating year.
  8. Oversee church finances and the management of church assets through review of quarterly reports on the operational and long-term condition of the church (operating and endowment funds).
  9. Manage business affairs and property of the Parish, subject to such directions as they may receive by vote of the Parish. (Note: The Board is a part of the governance structure; the Leadership Team is not. The Board delegates operations management to the Leadership Team by virtue of its appointing authority for the position of Senior Minister. If you hire or appoint, you have the final authority because you can remove.)
  10. Prepare, manage and revise the strategic plan including long-term financial, capital expenditures and development plans.
  11. Nominate candidates for Nominating Committee vacancies to be elected by the Parish.
  12. Provide the Nominating Committee with a list of positions to be filled by election, appointment or recruitment.
  13. Determine the operating committees needed on an annual basis.
  14. Approve the development of any new operating committee in response to the recommendation of the Leadership Team.
  15. Recommend the formation of a standing (permanent) committee to the Parish membership.
  16. Periodically review the work of the Social Responsibility Council.
  17. Appoint a ByLaws Committee at a minimum of every five (5) years for periodic review of the church bylaws.
  18. Call the Annual Meeting and establish the agenda.
  19. Call special meetings of the parish as required.
  20. Take all necessary and appropriate actions to open, operate and close accounts with banks and brokerages.
  21. Acquire, sell or encumber Church property as directed by the congregationally approved policy.

Reporting relationship
The following committees report directly to the Parish Board:

  • Nominating (elected positions)
  • Endowment (to replace Investment Management Committee with three elected trustees)
  • Bylaws
  • Social Responsibility Council

Other committees report to the Leadership Team through the Parish Council Chair.