The Constitution of
The First Kingdom Church of Asphodel
We, the undersigned members of the First Kingdom Church of
Asphodel do hereby create our Church wherein our spirits shall be inspired,
succored, and brought into fellowship together. We declare that all that is set
here below shall be the guiding force for all our future decisions and
Chapter 1. NAME AND INCORPORATION
C1.01 The name of this congregation shall be the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.
C1.02 For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel is herein designated by "the church", "we" and "our".
C1.03 The church shall be incorporated under the laws of the
State of Massachusetts.
Chapter 2. DECLARATION OF FAITH
C2.01 The church declares that it is a polytheistic and pantheistic tradition, seeing Deity in all things on and off this plane, and yet honoring the many and varied forms of Deity conceived of by the many millennia of our ancestors. We revere Deity in its most basic forms, as the deities revered by our ancestors, and strive always to see Deity within ourselves and each other, and in the natural world. We strive to maintain a spiritual connection with physical world and our ancestors.
C2.02 We teach the concept of spiritual realization through the body of paleopagan cultural mythos collected throughout the ages. Our path can be labeled "polygnostic", as we believe there are many paths of Truth, and we teach the process of attaining the kernel of such truth from many different ancient creeds.
C2.03 We are service-oriented, putting emphasis on public works of service rather than on public argument or proclamation of faith. We strive to make an example of ourselves in the community by living in harmony with our spiritual paths, that others may be enriched and inspired by our faith. We teach the doctrine and craft of our faith to those who ask for no monetary charge, as we feel it is important that our faith should be available to anyone, regardless of wealth or poverty.
C2.04 The Church accepts the Asphodel Charter of Faith as a
true declaration of the faith of the congregation. It accepts as ideal core
values the Twelve Principles of Clarity as written in the Book of Hours, and it
accepts as liturgy the worship outlined in the Book of Hours.
Chapter 3. NATURE OF THE CHURCH
C3.01 The First Kingdom Church of Asphodel shall be an independent entity, and is under the charter of no other organization, although it may issue charters of its own.
C3.02 The Church was founded on Sept. 5, 1999, by the nomination of the first Head of Church, by the command of the Gods, and by the will of the people of this congregation.
C3.03 We honor and accept anyone of any race, sex, age, gender identity, income level, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical ability, or appearance. We do not discriminate on the basis of these criteria in granting membership, attendance or position within the church, provided one has reached the age of majority under state law. We agree to teach our doctrines and craft, to the best of our ability, to anyone with a sincere desire to learn.
C3.04 Our holidays and schedule of worship is seasonal and revolves around the cycles of sun and moon and the climate changes of the turning year. We celebrate the equinoxes and solstices, and the changing of seasons as traditional in our faith. Additional church services are held as appropriate for holidays, special events, rites of passage, and other worship services as desired by the congregation.
C3.05 Church services and educational programs are
advertised and open to the general public, except as restricted in the bylaws.
Chapter 4. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
C4.01. The Church is a Kingdom of people who have chosen to be subject to the Laws of Asphodel, to worship in its particular tradition, foster the values of the Church as outlined in the Charter of Faith, and to bring their spirits together in fellowship, in a circle of reverence, knowledge, and spiritual discovery.
C4.02. To participate in this mission, this congregation as part of the Church shall:
a. Worship the Gods and spirits as we know and understand them, in ritual, ceremony, word, and deed, according to our tradition and its vision.
b. Give of ourselves in service to others, including caring for the sick and aged, advocating dignity and justice for all people, working for peace and reconciliation among all peoples, standing with the poor and powerless, and committing itself to their needs.
c. Nurture its members in the path of our tradition so as to grow in faith, hope, and love, knowledge and power; to see daily life as the primary setting for the exercise of enlightenment,
C4.03. To fulfill these purposes, this congregation shall:
a. Provide services of worship at which the Gods and ancestral spirits are honored, and at which the congregation experiences the wheel of the year in all its fullness.
b. Provide pastoral care, religious education, spiritual craftwork, and mutual support.
c. Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their various callings in their daily lives and in their congregation.
d. Foster and participate in interdependent relationships with other earth-centered religious traditions and organizations.
e. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships consistent with church-wide policy.
C4.04. This congregation shall maintain and develop
organizational structures consistent with the purpose and policies of the
Chapter 5. MEMBERSHIP
C5.01. Membership in the church shall be distinguished as follows:
a. Church Elders, who include the Head of Church as well as members granted elder status by the Head of Church.
b. Officers of the Membership, members who head orders of the church and related subgroups.
c. Ordained Ministers, members who have completed the church’s degree in ministry and been ordained by the council.
d. Officers of the Board, members who hold offices associated with the Board of Directors.
e. General Members, who have requested and been granted membership in the church and who are not ministers, officers, or elders of the church.
f. Active participants, who regularly take part in church activities but are not members of the church.
C5.02. Members must abide by the Laws and Policies of the Church of Asphodel and conduct themselves in a matter becoming of a member of the Church. Members may vote on any issue put to a vote of the general membership. Church elders may vote on any matter put to a vote of the Elders. With the exception of ministers, members are not required to hold or profess the beliefs set forth in the Charter of Faith. Members are entitled to mediation of disputes, and may hold office in the church.
C5.03. Individuals who cannot or do not wish to become members for whatever reason but take part in church functions regularly may be considered active participants as defined in the bylaws. They are granted some of the rights of members, without implied support of the beliefs, traditions, policies and laws of the Church. They may be considered as members with regard to admission to church activities, but may not vote or hold office and are not included in the church membership roster.
C5.04. Members may hold more than one class of membership without conflict, except as stated in the bylaws.
C5.05. Membership is not required for participation in weekly or holiday services, educational programs, and most other services of the church. Ongoing participation in specific church services, events, fundraisers, or educational programs is not required of members, and participation by non-members in such activities does not carry an obligation or expectation of eventual membership.
C5.06. There is no fee or donation associated with a request
for membership, and membership will be granted to any who ask, provided they
meet the criteria set forth in the bylaws.
Chapter 6 ELDERS, OFFICERS & MINISTERS
C6.01. The Role of Church Elders
a) Status as a church elder is based on a record of service to the church, congregation and larger community, and personal dedication to the ideals of the church.
b) Elders are appointed by the Head of Church after nomination by one or more elder, at a meeting of elders, where those present are given the opportunity to voice objections to the nomination.
c) Elders are expected to uphold to the discipline of their role, the Law of the Church, and the codes of the traditions of Asphodel, through their actions, both public and private, and try at all times to manifest the archetypal role appropriate to their position.
d) Elders are under the direct authority of the Head of Church.
C6.02. The Role of Officers
a) Representatives and the heads of major internal orders of the church are considered Primary Officers of the Membership. The heads of other orders and subgroups are considered Minor Officers of the Membership.
b) The church treasurer, the clerk, and the president and directors of the board are considered Officers of the Board.
c) The duties of officers of the membership may include but are not limited to: administering to the needs of their group; arranging and supervising the activities of that group; appointing or participating in the appointment of qualified individuals to any positions under their authority, as well as training, supervising and disciplining such individuals as needed; maintaining the membership of their group; and annually presenting a record of the activities of their group to the Clerk or Treasurer.
d) The duties of officers of the board are described in the bylaws.
e) A member may hold only one permanent office of the membership, except as allowed in the bylaws. A member may hold more than one office of the board, except as prohibited in the bylaws.
C6.03. The Role of Ministers.
a) Each ordained minister with a congregation shall, as needed, offer instruction, initiate, consecrate, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead; supervise all programs and organizations of the congregation; and with the approval of the council, administer discipline to members. Ministers may seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the priesthood; strive to extend the hand of fellowship in the community, in the nation, and abroad; and may impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through public speaking and educational outreach, distribution of the periodicals and other publications of the Church, and creating a body of public literature on the nature of the Church.
b) All ministers shall keep accurate records of all consecrations, namings, adoptions, marriages, burials, or other such activities, and shall submit a summary of such statistics annually to the Church Clerk.
e) Ministers are ordained by the church council after completion of a specified course of study with the College of Brigantia, and meeting other criteria as specified in the bylaws.
f) The right to lead religious services is not restricted to clergy or ministers. Services in the Asphodel Tradition may be led by any individual who feels sincerely called to do so.
C6.04 Financial compensation and recordkeeping
a) The duties of elders, ministers and officers are unpaid, as we believe service to the church and congregation is its own reward. The Church will not require them to take action which would impair their ability to support themselves by other means.
b) Clergy and officers may be compensated for personal funds spent on behalf of the church, with the approval of the church council. They may also request funds on behalf of their order or congregation, or to be used in the fulfillment of their duties, and request authorization to raise funds or solicit donations for the same purposes.
c) Clergy and officers shall keep accurate financial records, documenting all funds spent on official Church business as well as funds and donations collected on behalf of the Church, and shall file such records with the Treasurer.
C6.05. Termination of Duties
a) The church and the minister of a congregation or officer shall agree to a mutual relationship and commitment which, except in the case of the death of the minister or officer, shall be terminated only following consultation with the Church Council, and for the following reasons:
1) resignation, as specified in the bylaws;
2) inability to conduct their office effectively in view of local conditions, without reflection upon the competence of the moral or spiritual character of the clergy member or officer in question;
3) the physical or mental incapacity of the clergy member or officer;
4) disqualification of the clergy member or officer through discipline on grounds of belief, morality, or continued neglect of duty; or
5) the dissolution of the congregation or order.
b) In the case of alleged physical or mental incapacity of the minister or officer, or ineffective conduct of their office, it shall be the responsibility of the Head of the Church, when such difficulties are personally known or have been brought to the Head's attention by an official recital of allegations by the Church Council, to investigate such conditions personally.
c) In case of alleged physical or mental incapacity, competent medical testimony shall be obtained. When such disability is evident, the Head of Church shall relieve the minister or officer of their duties. Upon the restoration of a disabled clergy member or officer to health, the Asphodel Church Council shall take steps to enable them to resume duties as appropriate to their condition.
d) In the case of alleged local difficulties which imperil the effective functioning of the officer or minister, all concerned persons shall be heard, after which the Head of Church, with the advice of the Council, shall decide on the course of action to be taken. If the minister or officer does not agree to carry out such actions, the council may dismiss them.
e) The foregoing procedure shall never be invoked when questions of belief, morality, or continued neglect of duty are involved, all such cases being treated as disciplinary matters and handled personally by the Head of Church.
f) In the termination of a minister’s duties to a congregation, the minister’s ordination will only be revoked if termination was on disciplinary grounds.
C6.06. At the time of pastoral or office vacancy, an interim minister or officer may be appointed by the church council or head of church.
a) A fully ordained interim minister shall have all the rights and duties of their position.
b) In circumstances where an ordained minister is not available, an interim lay-minister may be appointed by the church council or head of church, but their rights and duties will be restricted as determined by the council and stated in the bylaws.
c) An interim officer shall have all rights and duties of their position.
d) A member or officer of the membership may hold more than one interim office.
e) The Head of Church reserves the right to take on the interim management of any office personally, except as prohibited in the bylaws.
C6.07. Status as an elder may be terminated by death,
resignation, or disciplinary action.
Chapter 7. THE CHURCH COUNCIL
C7.01. Ultimate power over all matters of church policy is vested in the Head of the Church, as chosen by divine will and the votes of the congregation.
C7.02. The primary governing body of the church is the church council, led by the Head of Church. Members of the council are officers, elders, and representatives of the church, as set forth in the bylaws. Members of the council are required to make every effort to attend and actively participate in council meetings.
C7.03. A representative on the council of the church elders shall be appointed by the head of church and approved by the council. A representative on the council of the general membership of the congregation shall be elected by the membership and appointed by the council.
C7.04. The duties of council are as follows:
a. To debate and decide on church policy, furthering the purpose and beliefs of the church.
b. To vote, when necessary, on those items that need to be decided by a vote.
c. To mediate and resolve disputes between members.
d. To resolve issues of improper conduct by members, officers, ministers and guests.
e. To debate and decide on financial matters such as the allocation of church funds and resources, the approval of fundraising activities, the collection of fees associated with educational and other programs, acceptance and disbursement of donations.
f. To appoint officers of the church, ordain ministers, and fill other leadership positions, to require them to do their duty in accordance with the laws and policies of the church, and to enforce disciplinary measures if needed.
C7.05 Decisions concerning external legal and financial
matters are to be addressed by the Board of Directors.
Chapter 8. MEETINGS
C8.01. Open Church Meetings shall be presided over by the Head of Church and shall be held at least twice a year or as specified in the bylaws.
C8.02. Meetings of General Membership and Elders shall be presided over by their Representative, and held at least twice a year or as specified in the bylaws. For meetings at other times, members or elders shall petition their Representative for said meeting.
C8.03. Meetings of the Church Council shall be presided over by the Head of Church and shall meet when mandated by the Head of Church, at least twice a year or as specified in the bylaws.
C8.04. Congregations, orders, committees and sub-groups may set their own meeting times, frequencies, and policies.
C8.05. Any interested party may attend Open Meetings of the Church or Meetings of General Membership. Any member or interested party may petition to attend a meeting of elders, and their petition will be considered by the representative of the elders. Any member of the church or other interested party may petition to speak before the council, as specified in the bylaws.
C8.06. Any elder, minister or officer of the church who is requested to come to a meeting, for whatever reason, must make all effort possible to attend.
C8.07. Notice of Meetings shall be given at the previous
events, meetings, and services of worship, and posted to the church bulletin,
email list and website, as appropriate.
Chapter 9 ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH
C9.01. The Church may create within itself orders, subgroups and committees to fulfill specific tasks.
C9.02. The College of Brigantia, which is our source of spiritual education and the accreditation of our ministers, gives courses which are advertised and open to the public. The College is divided into eight teaching Orders, each supervised by an Officer of the Church as appointed by the Head of Church.
C9.03. The Church contains a number of orders which exist to
fill the spiritual needs of those on a specific spiritual path. Each is
supervised by an officer, senior member, or committee as specified in the
bylaws. Policies of the order, including the membership and activities of the
order, are determined by the leadership of the order under the guidance of the
Head of Church and the church council.
Chapter 10. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS
C10.01. Rejection of the Laws and Policies of the Church of Asphodel, conduct grossly unbecoming a member of the Church, or persistent trouble-making in this congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of a member. Prior to disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted, proceeding through these successive steps: a) private admonition by a minister or officer, b) private admonition in the presence of three witnesses, and c) citation to appear before the council.
C10.02 Elders, officers and ministers shall be held to a higher standard of conduct than the general membership, as appropriate to their position. Disciplinary action will therefore be addressed directly by the Head of Church, and may result in loss of position.
C10.03. If a member is charged by another member with conduct detrimental to the Church, and communicates this charge to the church council, reconciliation will first be attempted through mediation. If the issue remains unresolved, the council will consider the matter and if it determines further action appropriate, will issue a citation for both members to appear before the council. If the accusing member refuses mediation or fails to appear before the council after having been given notice as specified in the bylaws, the matter will be dropped.
C10.04. The member charged with an offense shall appear before the Church Council, having been given notice as specified in the bylaws. Refusal to attend a Council meeting will result in expulsion with no recourse.
C10.05. Should the allegations be sustained by the Asphodel
Church Council, the council may:
a.censure the member before the Council or Congregation;
b.revoke or suspend membership; or
c.refuse admission to future church functions
C10.06. Disciplinary actions may be reconsidered and revoked by the Church Council upon receipt of a) evidence that injustice has been done or b) evidence of repentance and amendment.
C10.07. If a non-member in attendance at a Church function
is deemed to be a disruptive influence, they may be expelled without recourse.
The disciplinary procedure for members may be used in cases involving an active
participant, as defined in the bylaws, at the discretion of the council.
Chapter 11. BYLAWS
C11.01. This congregation shall adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this constitution.
C11.02. Bylaws may be adopted, altered or amended by unanimous vote of the church council.
C11.03. Changes to the bylaws may be proposed by any member provided, that such changes be formally submitted in writing to the church council.
C11.04. Approved changes to the Bylaws shall be posted on
the Asphodel email list and website.
Chapter 12. AMENDMENTS
C12.01 Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by any member of the Asphodel Church Council.
C12.02. A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:
a. be approved by the unanimous vote of the church council, and
b. have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.
C12.03. Any amendments to this constitution shall be posted
on the Church email list and website.
Ratified by the Church Council of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.