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Bylaws

THE FIRST KINGDOM CHURCH OF ASPHODEL
OFFICIAL BYLAWS

THE FIRST KINGDOM CHURCH OF ASPHODEL
12 SIMOND HILL RD.
HUBBARDSTON MA 01452

ARTICLE I NAME

1.1 This religious organization shall be known as The First Kingdom Church of Asphodel. (hereinafter "the Church") . The First Kingdom Church of Asphodel reserves the name for it's own use and no other church may use that name or any other name designating it at a Church of Asphodel, unless authorized by charter from the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.

ARTICLE II LOCATION

2.1 The Church shall maintain its principal office in the City of Hubbardston, State of Massachusetts, or such other location as may be determined by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE III HISTORY

3.1 The Church was officially founded on Sept. 5, 1999 in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, with the election of the first officers; however, the Church has been holding regular services since 1993. Since its official founding, the Church has held regular meetings, services, and events in Hubbardston and Worcester, Massachusetts, and created for itself a congregation. The Church has also founded several internal religious orders and a school of divinity, the College of Brigantia. On June 21, 2003, the acting clergy voted to file for legal status, conferring upon us all the abilities listed in our Church constitution.

ARTICLE IV PURPOSE

4.1 The purpose of the Church is to support, promote, publish, research and teach religious arts, sciences and concepts; establish and maintain places of worship in accordance with the traditions, rites and practices of Asphodel; conduct regular services for worship and the celebration of holidays in the tradition of Asphodel; offer spiritual guidance to our members and all others who seek it; to support locally based community activities and charity work, in partnership with other faith-based organizations; establish churches of the Kingdom Church of Asphodel tradition in other counties of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in other states of the United States of America and in other countries of the world; establish, maintain and conduct a school of religion for children and adults, known as the College of Brigantia, which will give academic degrees and provide courses of religious study, prepare individuals and qualify them to be ordained into the priesthood; ordain ministers; and exercise any, all and every power to which an establishment of religion is entitled, in order meet the religious and spiritual needs of our community.

ARTICLE V MEMBERSHIP POLICIES

5.1 Requests for Membership

5.1.1 Membership may be granted to any individual who:
a) Is eighteen years of age or more; or fourteen years of age or more with parental permission
b) Affirms their desire to become a member of the church
c) Affirms their willingness to abide by the Laws and Policies of the Church
d) Affirms that they have attended three official church functions

5.1.2 If at the time of request, an elder, minister or officer has proof of actions by the individual which are contrary to the laws and policies of the church, they may voice an objection to the request for membership and the Head of Church will consider this before making a decision.

5.2 Members have the right to attend both public and members-only services, meetings, classes, and events, and to avail themselves of any available service of the Church, with the exception of closed activities of an internal order, committee or subgroup which they are not authorized to attend. They may join any religious order within the church, based on the criteria of that order as presented in these bylaws and determined by its leadership. Members may request mediation or counseling.

5.3 For the purposes of church policy, active participation shall be defined as attendance of at least three official church functions in the past five years.

ARTICLE VI POLICIES REGARDING ELDERS, OFFICERS & MINISTERS

6.1 Appointment of Elders

6.1.1 An elder of the church may nominate a member for elder status. They are to notify the Head of Church or Representative of the Elders of their intent, and the member will be issued an invitation to attend the next Meeting of the Elders. If the member accepts the invitation and attends, the nominating member will speak on behalf of the member and formally request the Head of Church to consider their appointment to elder status.

6.2 Ordination of Ministers

6.2.1 Ordained ministers of the Church of Asphodel must meet the following requirements of ordination:
a) Age of majority under state law;
b) Full voting membership in the Church;
c) Completion of the Degree in Ministry through by the College of Brigantia, and
d) Approval of the Asphodel Council.

6.2.2 If ordained, minister will be issued a ordination certificate by the church council, which can only be revoked through disciplinary proceedings

6.2.3 Ordination shall grant onto the minister all the legal rights and responsibilities associated with ordained ministry, such as the authority to officiate legal marriages. An interim lay-minister shall not be considered to be recognized or licensed to perform such duties.

6.3 Resignation of an elder, minister, or officer is to be accomplished by formal appeal to the Head of Church, in person, in the presence of at least one member as witness.

6.4 Council Members are required to attend at least four events per year. Members attending fewer events will discuss their situation with the council, to determine if they are able to continue in their position.

ARTICLE VII BOARD OF DIRECTORS

7.1 Decisions concerning external legal and financial matters are to be deferred to the Board of Directors, by the Church Council. The Board of Directors shall consist of no less than three directors, and be led by the Head of Church who shall act as the President.

7.2 Officers of the Board are appointed by the Head of Church, and serve until such time as they leave the organization, resign from their position or are removed from office. An officer of the Board may be removed from office, without assigning cause, by the Head of Church. All Officers of the Board must be members of the Church.

7.3 The Officers of the Board shall have authority and shall perform such duties as are customarily incident to their respective offices, or as may be determined by the Board of Directors, regardless of whether such authority and duties are customarily incident to such office. Officers of the Board shall be appointed by the Head of Church.

7.4 An officer of the board may hold more than one office and have more than one title, but the president may not hold the office of clerk.

7.5 Role of Officers of the Board

7.5.1 The Clerk of the Church shall be appointed by the Head of Church and shall keep the Church Records, attend and record meetings, maintain a record of the membership of the church, maintain a record of the activities of the church and its orders, subgroups and committees, and perform such other duties as designated by the Board of Directors or Church Council.

7.5.2 The Treasurer be appointed by the President to keep the financial records of the Church and be responsible for cash receipts and disbursements.

7.5.3 Directors shall serve as advisors in matters of legal and organizational policy.



ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS

8.1 Requirements for Meetings

8.1.1 An Open Meeting of the Church shall be considered valid if:
a) Members meet in person.
b) The Head of Church is present.
c) The Clerk of the Church is present, or another member temporarily acts in their place.
d) At least three members other than the Head of Church are present.

8.1.2 A Meeting of the Church Council shall be considered valid if:
a) Council members meet in person.
b) The Head of Church is present.
c) The Clerk of the Church is present, or another member temporarily acts in their place.
d) At least two council members other than the Head of Church are present.

8.1.3 A Meeting of the Elders shall be considered valid if:

a) Members meet in person.

b) The Head of Church and Representative of the Elders are present.

c) The Clerk of the Church is present, or another member temporarily acts in their place.

d) At least two elders other than the Head of Church and the Representative of the Elders are present.

8.1.4 A Meeting of the General Membership shall be considered valid if:
a) Members meet in person.
b) Representative of the Membership is present.
c) The Clerk of the Church is present, or another member temporarily acts in their place.
d) At least three members of the general membership are present.

8.2 Policies for Voting at all Meetings

8.2.1 A member authorized to vote at a meeting who is not able to be present for voting may entrust their vote, in writing, to any other voting member who will be in attendance, or give it to the clerk in writing before the vote takes place.

8.2.2 Decisions put to a vote shall be carried with a majority vote, whether in person or by proxy, unless a unanimous vote or other condition is explicitly required by the Laws and Policies of the church.

8.2.3 Members authorized to vote may abstain. A member’s absence at the time of voting will be considered an abstention, unless a proxy vote has been cast. Abstentions will not be considered in determining a majority or unanimous vote.

8.3 Special Requests to Attend Meetings

8.3.1 If the head of church or a representative grants a member or other interested party the right to attend or speak at a meeting which they would not otherwise be authorized to attend, this will not grant them the right to vote or otherwise participate in the meeting beyond what has been permitted to them by the representative or head of church.

8.3.2 Requests to address the Church Council may be made:

a) By members and other interested parties, to the Representative of the Membership.

b) By an elder not on the council, to the Representative of the Elders.

8.3.3 If such a request is denied, an appeal may be made to the Head of Church.

8.4 Notice to Appear at a Meeting

8.4.1 The Head of Church, Church Council, or either Representative may issue a request that a member attend a meeting which is under the issuing party’s authority. The Head of Church may issue a citation requiring a member to appear before the church council for disciplinary matters.

8.4.2 Such notice or citations shall be delivered by either the issuing party or the clerk by the most expedient means practical. If the member cannot appear upon reasonable notice, the meeting can be rescheduled one time.

8.4.3 In the case of a request to an elder, minister, or officer, failure to appear without good reason may result in disciplinary action.

8.4.4 In the case of any citation for disciplinary matters, failure to appear a second time will result in such disciplinary action as the Head of Church sees fit.

ARTICLE IX ORDERS & CHURCH AUXILIARIES

9.1 The College of Brigantia.

9.1.0 The College of Brigantia is currently on hold, until more instructors are found.

9.1.1 The purpose of the College of Brigantia includes but is not limited to being the education organization of the Asphodel faith. It issues degrees and certificates to members for completion of specified courses of study.

9.1.2 The school is administered by a committee of the eight Minor Officers who head each of the teaching orders. Leadership of this committee is a Primary Office, and is rotated annually through its membership, in a manner determined by the committee. All eight teaching Orders therein are under the authority of the College.

9.1.3 Teachers of the college need not be formally accredited, provided they are approved by the head of the order or orders that they will be teaching under.

9.1.4 The College of Brigantia is not an accredited college and shall in no way be misrepresented as one.

9.1.5 Teachers are approved to request a teaching fee of not more than five dollars per class from non-members. Teachers are expected to accept reasonable barter of goods or services in lieu of payment, in cases of financial need. An additional fee to cover rental of the site, materials, or other costs may be asked of members and non-members, with the approval of the head of the order.

9.1.6 Teachers of the college may not request any fee for classes offered as part of major weekend religious events. Costs associated with these classes will be considered in the event budget.

9.1.7 Teachers and heads of orders may set prerequisites to any course or program. They may set standards for successful the completion of a course of study and assess whether a student has met these standards.

9.1.8 For each class, teachers must keep records of the following
a) The names of students in attendance
b) Whether each of these students successfully completed the course
c) The date(s) the course was held on, and the primary location of instruction.
d) The name of the class
e) Whether the course meets the requirements for a degree or certification program within the college
f) Fees collected, expenses, and funds or goods transferred to the order.

9.1.9 Teachers must provide these records to the head of their order, at least quarterly. The primary officer of the order shall collect these records annually and provide a copy to the clerk of the church.

9.2 The Order of Blutwasser

9.2.1 The purpose of the Order of Blutwasser is to provide a structure for martial studies in conjunction with service to the church and the broader community. The order coordinates charitable events, such as canned food drives, for the benefit of local, national, or international charities.

9.2.2 The order is led by the senior member, and the position is one of a minor officer.

9.2.3 Criteria for admission to the order is under the authority of the head of church and the senior member, and includes a specified course of study lasting no less than one year under the direct supervision of an existing member or the order. Candidates must be members of the church, and are considered conditional junior members of the order during this time. Admission into the order requires a sincere and lasting commitment to the ideals of the order and service to the church. Membership can be terminated through death, resignation, or disciplinary action.

9.2.4 The senior member is required to maintain a record of financial transactions and charitable activities, including the receipt and disbursement of goods for charitable collections, funds raised for the church or any other purpose, and expenses related to fundraising or charitable work. The order has full authorization to conduct what charitable and fundraising activities it sees fit.

9.3 The Order of Masters of Arms has been disbanded.

9.4 The Guild of the Wheel

9.4.0 The Guilds are on hold.

9.4.1 The purpose of the Guild of the Wheel is to learn, teach and disseminate handcrafts as a spiritual discipline, through eight associated guilds, each focused on one are of craft.

9.4.2 The Guild of the Wheel is led by a primary officer of the membership, appointed by the head of church. Each associated guild is led by a minor officer of the church.

9.4.3 Membership in each guild is determined by participation, and is not restricted to members of the church. Criteria for attaining rank in each guild is under the authority of the senior guildmaster, and does require membership in the church.

9.4.4 The Primary officer of the Guilds is required to maintain a record of events, attendance, rank, and finances, and provide this to the clerk annually.

9.5 Embassy Corps

9.5.1 The purpose of the Embassy Corps is to promote fellowship, peace, and mutual understanding between the Church and other organizations or communities.

9.5.2 Leadership is a primary office of the membership, and appointed by the Head of Church.

9.5.3 Criteria for membership is under the authority of the primary officer, and is restricted to members of the church.

9.5.4 The primary officer is required to maintain a record of activities, finances and members, and provide this to the clerk annually.

9.6 Order of the Horae

9.6.0 The Order of the Horae is not currently active.

9.6.1 The purpose of the Order of the Horae is to develop a framework for monasticism within our tradition, and promote structured contemplative spiritual practice in the broader religious community.

9.6.2 Leadership is a primary office of the membership, and appointed by the Church Council.

9.6.3 Criteria for membership is under the authority of the primary officer.

9.6.4 The primary officer is required to maintain a record of activities, finances and members, and provide this to the clerk annually.

9.7 Further Policies

9.7.1 All such groups are wholly-owned auxiliaries of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel, and under the ultimate authority of the Head of Church.

9.7.2 The head of church or church council may form other orders, subgroups, and committees within the church, and establish the leadership of these groups. Likewise, primary officers may form subgroups and committees in the fulfillment of their duties, and appoint or oversee the appointment of minor officers under their authority.

9.7.3 Chartered churches may form their own auxiliaries or branches of existing auxiliaries, with the approval of the church council of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel, and the leadership of the existing auxiliary, if applicable.

9.7.4 Orders, subgroups, and committees may restrict attendance and/or participation at their events or meetings to the membership of their group, participants in a given program of study, individuals having a certain position, or any other such criteria they deem appropriate, provided it does not violate the church’s discrimination policy.

9.7.5 The Head of Church may offer subsidiary status to religious groups organized outside of the church, bringing them under the authority of the church. If accepted, members of the group shall become members of the church, and shall be bound by its laws and policies.

ARTICLE X FINANCIAL POLICIES

10.1 Financial Records

10.1.1 The Church council will adopt a financial records policy to maintain a standard of financial record keeping and reporting, to ensure that the receipt and disbursement of funds and goods is managed in a way consistent with church interests and policy.

10.2 Funding and Reimbursement

10.2.1 Determination of funding or reimbursement by the council shall be based on:
a) Demonstration of the value of the project to be funded.
b) Demonstration of the legitimacy of the financial need.
c) Available financial resources of the Church

10.2.2 Funding should never be assumed by the requesting party to be guaranteed based solely on demonstratable need, as the Church budget is extremely limited. Many valuable projects go unfunded unless the interested parties are able to personally fund or obtain funding for the related expenses. Denial of funding should never be seen as a denial of the legitimacy of the work.

10.2.3 Requests for funding or reimbursement may be required to be made in writing, at the discretion of the Treasurer. Requests for reimbursement should be made prior to making purchases if reimbursement is to be ensured.

10.2.4 Any funds spent without proper documentation will not be considered official church expenditure, regardless of the position held by the responsible party, even if the expenses were approved by the Church Council. This may include documentation not filed in a timely manner, depending on the situation, on the judgment and discretion of the Treasurer.

10.3 Donations to the Church

10.3.1 All donations accepted by the church from any member or non-member immediately become property of the Church. The Church may accept absolutely or in trust for any of the purposes herein set out, any gift, grant, or devise of any real, personal, or intellectual property and carry on all other such activities not limited by section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America, or the corresponding provisions of any subsequent law.

10.3.2 Although we believe that the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel meets the IRS requirements for 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status as a church, and as a church is not required to file with the IRS to qualify for tax exemption, at this point we cannot assure contributors (whether members or not) that charitable contributions are tax deductible. Therefore, anyone collecting donations on behalf of the Church must inform the potential contributors of the present tax status of the Church if the contributor: a) requests a receipt or other documentation for their donation; b) contributes greater than two hundred dollars ($200) in one transaction; or c) indicates in any way their intention to deduct the contribution.

10.3.3 The Church will provide written confirmation, on request, of any donation of cash or goods exceeding twenty dollars ($20) , provided the request is made at the time of the donation. Requests for written record of charitable contribution made after the time of donation will be honored when at all possible. Records of contributions of a lesser amount will be issued at the discretion of the Treasurer. Written documentation for services rendered without compensation or the rent-free use of property will be provided by the Church on request, but as the value of these is not tax deductible it shall not be misrepresented as such by any agent of the Church.

10.3.4 Collecting or attempting to collect funds on behalf of the Church requires approval from the Church Council and full documentation of transactions.

10.3.5 The Church Council will review the offer of unusual donations before they are accepted, to determine if their acceptance is in the long-term best interests of the church.

10.4 Transfer of Property Ownership

10.4.1 In the event of the dissolution of any chartered Church of Asphodel, church auxiliary or sub-group, control of undisposed property, assets and debts will be decided by the church council of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.

10.4.2 If any order, subgroup, auxiliary or chartered church requests to become independent of the Church of Asphodel or put itself under the authority of another organization, control of property and other assets will be decided by church council of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.

10.4.3 In the event of the dissolution of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel, after all claims from debtors are resolved, remaining assets will distributed for one or more tax exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and any other applicable laws, or as specified in the Articles of Organization.

10.5 Conflict of Interest

10.5.1 The church council shall adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy to protect the interests of the Church when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer, minister, elder or member of the Church or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction.

ARTICLE XI CHURCH CHARTERS

11.1 A church desiring a charter will submit a formal petition to the Church Council, signed by three full voting members of the church who desire to be part of this congregation. A congregation needs at least one ordained minister of the Church of Asphodel to receive a charter.

11.2 The petition for charter must contain written agreement that the petitioning Church will:

a) Abide by the Laws and Policies of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel in Massachusetts, and all resolutions passed by the Church Council.

b) Agree that all disputes between chartered churches shall be decided by the Church Council of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel in Massachusetts.

c) Engage in no activities that would violate federal, state or local laws, or endanger the tax exempt status of the church under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

11.3 In requesting a charter, the petitioning Church may put forth a proposal to the council of this church that property or assets currently held by this church be transferred to the ownership of the chartered church.

11.4 An issued charter may be revoked by the Church Council with a unanimous vote, or for disciplinary reasons by the head of church.

ARTICLE XII AMENDMENTS TO BYLAWS

12.1 These By-Laws may be amended or added to, or new By-Laws may be adopted, by the unanimous vote of the Church Council.

ARTICLE XIII INDEMNIFICATION

13.1 The Church shall indemnify, to the full extent permitted or authorized by Massachusetts Corporation Law as it may from time to time be amended, any person made or threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit of proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, by reason of the fact that they are or were an officer, elder, or minister of the Church serving at the request of the Church Council or Head of Church. The indemnification provided by this Article shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which any person seeking indemnification may be entitled under the articles of Organization or the By-Laws, or a vote of disinterested Council members, or decision of the Head of Church, or otherwise, both as to action in the official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office.

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