Tkach Loses Round One - The Fight Continues!

The fight over who owns the church property entered the Virginia court system when eleven congregations filed petitions with the courts in their jurisdictions reporting the results of their congregational votes and seeking the court’s declaration that the property belonged to the congregations and not to the headquarters denominational hierarchy. While the Virginia local church congregations have won the initial skirmish, one way or the other, the cases will most likely be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court for judicial review, unless some type of settlement occurs beforehand.

The Episcopal church filed complaints seeking a court declaration that Episcopal Church property, while held by local trustees, is held in trust for the benefit of the Episcopal denomination, not for the local congregations. As the following link reports, "Four continuing Episcopal congregations have been denied use of their property, locked out of their buildings, deprived of their rights to that property and forced into exile." While the facts and circumstances vary somewhat in the case of Worldwide Church Of God (involving California state law), the court ruling could become significant in setting a landmark legal precedent, which may guide the outcome of subsequent cases on similar grounds. There are enough legal commonalities for Tkach to believe he has "a dog in this fight". It is not difficult to see that Tkach Junior would want to influence the Episcopal real and personal property legal outcome to favor a similar policy he is now taking about the WCG headquarters church hierarchy- to keep all the real estate and personal property of the WCG locally chartered congregation, should some unhappy WCG congregation or pastor decide to leave the WCG fold (or just fold up completely!).

The Episcopal Church is one of the wealthiest denominations in the United States. With that kind of wealthy influence, the Virginia legislature may one day be lobbied upon to pass a special law to statutorily intervene and fix the outcome of another church property fight.

At the following link, you will find various court filings related to the litigation, including the intervention action of the Office of the Attorney General- who filed a motion and brief to intervene in the dispute over the church property, defending the constitutionality of the 57-9(A) statute. God Bless the Attorney General!

Fight over the property


The Religous Property Wars: Tkach Joins The Fight!

Who gets to keep the church
property assets?

Washington, DC— On April 3, Judge Randy Bellows of the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Virginia churches that have departed the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Bellows ruled that a religious Division had occurred, and that the Virginia Statute on Religious Division, Va. Code 57-9(A), is applicable to this case. The Episcopal Church and the diocese are expected to challenge the court's decision. Bellows has scheduled arguments on the constitutionality of the Virginia statute for May 28. Methodists, as well as two African branches and the Worldwide Church of God, joined the Episcopal Church this week in challenging the constitutionality of a Civil War-era Virginia law on which the case likely hinges.

A majority of members in the 11 Anglican churches voted to sever their ties to the Episcopal Church and the diocese following disputes over the redefinition and reinterpretation of Scripture.

Institute of Religion and Democracy Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb commented, “Judge Bellows’ decision commendably recognizes facts that the Episcopal Church refuses to accept. The majority of many congregations across the country and the majority of one entire diocese have voted to leave the Episcopal Church.

“And it’s ironic and tragic when a secular judge takes the Episcopal Church’s membership in the Anglican Communion more seriously than the denomination itself. Bellows rightly recognizes that ‘the CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) [c]ongregations were bound by personal ties of ‘affection or sympathy’ with the Anglican Communion’ both before and after they left the Episcopal Church.

“The ruling should cause the Episcopal Church to take a long look at its harsh, take-no-prisoners approach to dealing with church property. This result was by no means inevitable. The denomination should have allowed the diocese to sit down at the table with the CANA congregations.

“Sadly, the Episcopal Church appears more interested in property than people, and more interested in the recovery of property than in reconciliation. Christians certainly can legitimately differ in their conclusions about who lawfully should possess the property. But sometimes you can be overly zealous concerning some goal that you’ll either never reach or will attain at too great a cost.

Will the Episcopal Church gain the world but lose its soul in the process?”

The lawsuit demands that the congregations vacate the properties and asks the court to affirm that the land and churches belong to the diocese. The government didn't step into the dispute between the parishes and the diocese on its own initiative. It was invited in by a lawsuit (in a government court) initiated by the diocese. The diocese wants the government to involve itself in its affairs by using government force to take the parish property and give it to the diocese. But the breakaway churches from the denomination have won the first skirmish in this ongoing battle for control over the property.

The Diocese of Virginia has probably already expended more than $1 million in lawsuits to retain the property of a number of parishes that recently voted to leave. The Diocese recently obtained a $2 million line of credit to further finance those suits. Although $30 million to $40 million of property is at stake, (an amount on the scale offered in exchange for the Ambassador College Pasadena campus) for those $3 million, and the countless hours of time the suits will require from bishops, priests, and laity, the Diocese of Virginia could fund charitable activities rather than line the pockets of those with a "dog in the fight." (AW kudos to Gavin)

Andrews and Kurth, a well-respected Washington, DC firm with international offices, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Worldwide Church of God. This law firm doesn't come cheap, either. While what money Tkach is paying for such stellar legal counsel is another WCG undisclosed unknown, starting first year associates at the firm are paid at least $160,000 plus perks, which should translate into some hefty legal fees by the partners when billing Tkach for their services. Thomas E. Starnes, is senior counsel on the WCG amicus brief. His biographical experience includes having "been hired as counsel to defend claims asserted against—and especially to enforce the property rights of—some of the country’s largest and most established religious denominations, including The United Methodist Church; the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He has been retained as counsel on litigation matters by the General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church; on personnel issues by the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church; and he currently is honored to serve as Chancellor of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church."

Attorney Starnes is undoubtedly quite capable of qualifiedly and aggressively representing Tkach's position in these denominational property matters. In fact, he could be retained as outside counsel to protect and enforce property rights of the Worldwide Church of God or on other potentially litigious matters.

Leaving the WCG denomination?

Evidently, Tkach is worried about his locally chartered churches leaving the WCG fold. Tkach takes the comforting position the WCG is hierarchically organized, with the Pastor General at the highest summit of the unincorporated church association board of elders pyramid he personally appoints, and whose votes he actually controls. The most analogous governmental hierarchy would be that the unelected, lifetime Pastor General is in some ways the equivalent of the elected Pope in the Roman Catholic church. Reading between the bylaws made public and briefs filed, Tkach is taking the position the denominational hierarchy (meaning Glendora HDQ) are ultimately the real owners in fact of the real estate and personal property of the locally chartered WCG church. Should a locally chartered church decide to disaffiliate itself with the WCG, Tkach believes all of the real estate, buildings and personal property the local church accumulated ultimately belongs to the WCG and must be returned to the control of the Pastor General. Supporting this notion of WCG property rights over the local ministry, a motion for leave to file brief of amici curiae on behalf of the WCG filed in the circuit court of Fairfax County states, quoting the motion filed, "The Worldwide Church of God is a hierarchically organized Christian denomination of churches with hundreds of congregations located throughout the United States. Like other such denominations, it has an interest in protecting denominationally owned or controlled property in circumstances where a local group chooses to leave the denomination."

The amici curiae brief argues the Virginia Statute on Religious Division, Va. Code 57-9(A), is constitutionally violative of the First Amendment by requiring civil courts to conduct and extensive inquiry into, and then resolve, fundamentally religious questions. It also takes the position 57-9(A) could not withstand constitutional review should the court apply a strict scrutiny standard of constitutional review to the statute, within bounds of the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

The amici brief can be read in full here. Regardless of how the Fairfax County Circuit Court cases are resolved initially, it will likely be appealed up to the highest courts willing to grant such a hearing; and with Tkach hoping to feather his own nest, by using his WCG bank account dollars to help finance more church litigation to his own favor.


The Plain Truth please - Did Herbert W. Armstrong lie about Worldwide?

Now that we have covered the reformed bylaws of the Big Sandy Church of God in some detail (see By Law! below), perhaps a closer look a the bylaws of the Worldwide Church of God California corporation might be in order. If Worldwide has an inspired set of "God's auditing procedures" to uncover tithe theft and fraud, would there not also be a set of divinely inspired bylaws, let us say, bylaws handed down on Mount Sinai - in a manner similar to when Charleton Heston received the stone tablets under thunder and lighting in the movie The Ten Commandments?

A brief aside: I was fortunate enough to meet actor Charleton Heston several years ago in a reception line at a meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. He was one of the most gracious, personable, and friendly persons I have ever met. It was almost as moving as his dramatic portrayal of Moses at Mount Sinai in The Ten Commandments, but in an entirely different way, of course.

Back to the Plain Truth about the bylaws. A couple of questions that demand an answer:

1. Did Herbert W. Armstrong break the bylaws of his own California religious corporation in falsifying a required quorum vote of 5,051* by RCG members for renaming to WCG and then lie about it?

2. Did Pastor General Armstrong, by filing a falsely sworn corporate document with the state, in fact commit criminal perjury?

Over at Ekklesia you'll find a number of most interesting organizational and historical documents related to the Worldwide Church of God, including a copy of the 1946 Articles of Incorporation Armstrong filed with the California secretary of state to create a California religious corporation. When the Tkach family took over, the Tkachs made major changes to their church corporation's organizing documents to their liking; legally portraying the 1987 changes made as just a mere "restatement" of the corporate articles, to avoid what would likely be a vexatious vote by the members, who might not support them for life.

You will also find a link entitled "1968 HWA Commits Perjury with Church Name Change" which states, in part:

"2. That at a meeting of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS of said corporation, duly held at 363 Grove Street, Pasadena, California, on January 5, 1968, the following resolution was accepted:

RESOLVED: That ARTICLE I of the Articles of Incorporation of this corporation be amended to read as follows :

"The name of this corporation shall be WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD."

3. That at a meeting of the MEMBERS of said corporation, duly held at 363 Grove Street, Pasadena, California, on January 5, 1968, a Resolution was adopted, which resolution is identical in form to the directors' resolution set forth in Paragraph 2 above.

4. That the number of members who voted affirmatively for the adoption of said resolution is 5,051*, and that the number of members constituting a quorum is 2,500.

(Signed) HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, President"

* No meeting was ever held for members to vote on this change. Best evidence available indicates the officers commited perjury with this document."

In this case, it is unimportant what the name of the church is from a purely legal (meaning not religious) standpoint - it could be anything imaginable. What is crucial that the church corporate officers properly followed the required church voting procedures to change the name of the corporation from Radio Church of God to another, following proper notice, and other due process voting procedures found in the corporate bylaws. One due process protection would be having enough members present to form a quorum to cast a vote. Without that, the vote would not stand. Corporate officers and directors have certain minimum statutory, fiduciary duties to uphold the bylaws of the corporation, such as following required notice and balloting procedures to cast a vote. The problem is, the entire member vote mentioned in the board of directors resolution of the church corporation filed may have been completely falsified by Herbert W. Armstrong!

Can anyone out there please explain how this Church of God member vote might have in fact occurred, at about that time, according to the official bylaws regulating votes within the church corporation?

Are we to believe that more than five thousand members voted for the name change from Radio, and today no one remembers voting for Worldwide, or any member quorum meeting about the subject?

Where was Roderick Meredith that day - what was his role in approving this corporate vote - and what does Meredith know - about this corporate board meeting at 363 Grove Street, Pasadena, California, on January 5, 1968, when the perjured resolution in question was accepted?

Ambassador Reports would be interested in finding out if anyone has a legally sufficient, sound explanation as to why Herbert Armstrong did not criminally perjure himself in filing these false corporate documents with the State of California.

Questions to Bob Thiel: As you are an apologist for Armstrong, Ambassador Reports would be interested in hearing if you have any facts on how the 5,051 members noted allegedly voted for this 1968 resolution. Where did this vote occur? How were the votes counted? Prove Armstrong didn't lie, falsify and perjure himself about this church member vote.

Questions for Roderick Meredith: Were you sitting as a director on the Radio corporate board at this meeting Jan. 5, 1968?
Can you then explain how the mysterious 5,051 thousand member vote is in fact legitimate and proper, in supporting your own director's vote, in favor of the board resolution your own boss may have falsified?

If anyone has memory of the voting procedures - on the name change resolution Armstrong filed with the state (or any member votes for that matter), or how Armstrong did not commit criminal perjury by signing and filing this corporate document with California. please comment if there actually was such a vote. Get get Herbert W. Armstrong off the hook - otherwise, with no vote, Herb's proven to be a lying, perjured crook!


Big Sandy - By Law!

The Church of God in Big Sandy in its March 31st meeting passed a motion for Dave Havir to takeover oversight of the Big Sandy website, which was previously overseen by the church board, but did not give any specifics on why the change needed to take place.

In other action taken at the meeting, the Big Sandy bulletin further reports:

"In other Big Sandy board action, Neil McIver made a motion to change the interpretation of the term "same family," which appears in Article IV, Section 6, of the bylaws (which stipulates that no two members of the "same family" may serve concurrently on the board). the motion was approved by a 5-1 vote. Voting for the motion were Ron Avey, Neil McIver, Don Mischnick, Bernie Monsalvo and Jim Wilkins. Voting against the motion was John Bearse. (This motion supercedes the motion made by the board of Nov. 21, 2005. The new motion lessens the restriction of "same family" and opens up opportunities for people to serve on the board."

Section 6 currently states in part, "No two members of the same family may serve concurrently on the Board." Reading generally through the provisions of the bylaws, there are some thoughtful, commendable, well-considered aspects to the way the bylaws of the Church in Big Sandy are drawn. Especially so, when the history of the COGs church bylaw and corporate structures are taken into account. No set of church bylaws can be considered completely perfect and covering all possible sets of possible future facts and circumstances. At one time Section 6 was approved as originally worded, most likely for some very sound reasons. Section 6 of the Big Sandy bylaws tends to prevent inherent conflicts of interest; lopsided concentration of power; or voting blocks of one family on the board, running the church like its very own private, closed corporation fiefdom.

To illustrate the point, suppose instead Section 6 reads, "No two members of the same Armstrong (or Tkach, Flurry) family may serve concurrently on the board." The prudent reasons in favor of such a policy for family members are patently obvious. Once an individual or family is allowed to exert undue influence or control the board of a church or ministry, what was a formerly independent type of watchdog board- exercising its statutory and fiduciary oversight responsibilities- can start down the path to becoming more and more a "dummy" board.

This is not to suggest that the new March 31 motion to overhaul Section 6 of the bylaws is going to allow one family to unduly influence the Big Sandy board votes. But new exceptions to exclusions already in the law, such as this exception to be carved out of bylaw Section 6, are usually advanced with unmentioned particular persons or groups already in mind to make use of such proposed exceptions. And it is indeed a slippery slope from having an independent board; to one in which exceptions to the exclusions for board members in the bylaws leads to more and more of a dummy board; then, finally answering to one man and one man alone. Such was the case with Herbert W. Armstrong.

Big Sandy Church of God, to its admirable credit, makes public the actions and resolutions taken during church board meetings in its bulletin. Also to its credit, it fully publishes and proclaims the organizational bylaws of the church of God Big Sandy, and any votes to change the bylaws. Given the sordid history of the WCG's in regards to organizational matters, Ambassador Reports trusts Big Sandy membership will take into consideration all of the factors into the proposed change in the board bylaws, and vote the best decision.

Other reforms in COG bylaws have not fared so well to date. Has the Tkach family taken such exemplary actions such as publishing to the church WCG board motions, votes or resolutions under consideration, since they seized power in 1986? Convincingly explained exactly how, under official RCG church bylaws, the RCG membership legally voted in the required manner in the thousands to change the name of the church from Radio to Worldwide Church of God? And this happened before the Tkach "watchdog" board thought to abortively change from Worldwide to yet again, something else? Needless to say, the bloated WCG.org website has nothing of any substance on the current WCG Glendora California corporate denominational board, or WCG church bylaws governing significant actions of the church association board of elders. At least the Canadian website of the WCG (see Canadian Board here) provides some information on WCG Canadian governance. WCG Canada board members are posted, with a few remarks on what basis the members are qualified to serve the Canadian church as voting members of the Canadian board.

Yet another tyrannical stain on Tkach's record in this area is his stubborn refusal to publish the still secret church bylaws of the Worldwide Church of God religious association. Tkach would do well to publish the hidden church association bylaws of the Worldwide Church of God. Once exposed, Armstrong's ultra-secret, legalistic church association cult bylaws Tkach continues to abuse the church with could then be reformed in the light of day. An open approval process of new bylaws could then take place for the WCG under a member-wide vote. Pastor General for Life Tkach would do well by affording all WCG denominational members and donors some of the same protections from his WCG ministry now offered in these Big Sandy Church of God bylaws.

Of particular note to the WCG is Article IX, governing the reserved powers of the congregation, including approving the hiring and firing of the Pastor. It holds, "The Congregation reserves all rights and powers to govern itself by: annually electing Trustees; approving the hiring of the Pastor; hearing and adjudicating an appeal by a Pastor who has been terminated; hearing and adjudicating an appeal by a Trustee who has been removed from the Board."



Bylaws for the regulation,
except as otherwise provided
by statute or its Articles of Incorporation,
of the Church of God Big Sandy

A Texas Corporation

Adopted December 7, 1999

Amended Sept ember 7, 2004

Amended December 19, 2005


Section 1: The name of this nonprofit corporation shall be United Church of God Big Sandy, Texas, Inc., doing business as Church of God, Big Sandy, hereinafter referred to as the Corporation.
ARTICLE II — Mission
Section 1: The mission of the Corporation is to serve the needs of the local congregation and of the greater Body of Christ, and to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Section 1: The office of the Corporation shall be located at 1106 West Broadway, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, or at such other place, within or without the State of Texas, as the Board of Trustees may from time to time determine. The corporate mailing address is P.O. Box 690, Big Sandy, Texas 75755.

ARTICLE IV — Board of Trustees

Section 1: MANAGEMENT: The Corporation shall be managed by the Board of Trustees, hereinafter referred to as the Board. The Board shall: with the assistance and recommendations of a committee, prepare and adopt the annual budget; with the assistance and recommendations of a committee, review and approve the terms of official relationships with other organizations. The Board shall also: approve commitments, statements of policy or position, or financial obligation; retain assistance in the general management of the Corporation as necessary; and conduct other duties as necessary to manage the general affairs of the Corporation.

Section 2: COMPOSITION: The corporate officers shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and at least three at-large Trustees.

Section 3: INVOLVEMENT OF THE PASTOR: Although the Pastor of the congregation is not a Trustee, the Board desires and expects his involvement in preparing for and participating in all Board meetings.

Section 4: SELECTION: Trustees will be elected by the congregation in accordance with the following procedure:

a) Each year during the month of March, the Board shall establish an Election Committee to manage and oversee the election process. The Committee shall be chaired by a Trustee whose term is not expiring, and shall include the Pastor and at least three at-large members from the congregation.
b) The Committee shall schedule a nomination and election procedure, allowing ample time for voting to be accomplished in advance of June 30, the date that Trustees’ terms expire. The voting period for each phase of the procedure shall include at least three weekly Sabbaths. On each of those Sabbaths, ballots shall be made available to the congregation, along with a description of the election procedure and instructions for completing and submitting the ballot. Each individual casting a ballot shall provide his name and mailing address, and sign for a ballot.
c) Any individual who considers himself to be a member of the congregation, and who is sufficiently interested in the governing
process of the congregation to responsibly cast a ballot, shall be
permitted to participate in the election. Such participants may include teenagers and unbaptized adults.
d) In the nomination phase, each member of the congregation shall be given the opportunity to submit the names of up to [twice the number of expected vacancies] individuals that he wishes to nominate to serve on the Board. At the end of this process, beginning with the individual who received the most votes and proceeding in descending order through the list, the Committee shall contact each nominee to determine if he would be willing to serve on the Board if elected by the congregation. When [twice the number of expected vacancies] individuals have declared their willingness to serve on the Board, they become eligible to be elected in the election phase of the process.
In case a tie vote between two or more of the candidates makes
selection of the exact number of individuals eligible to advance to the election phase impossible, the number of candidates advancing to the election phase shall be increased as needed.
e) In the election phase, the names of the previously selected individuals shall be placed on a ballot, which shall be made available to the congregation for a final vote. Vacancies on the Board shall be filled by the individuals who receive the highest number of votes in this process.
In case of a tie, the candidates who receive the same number of votes shall draw numbers to determine which of them will become a Trustee.
f) In both the nomination and election phases, all ballots shall be
reviewed by the Election Committee for validity and eligibility. In the event that a majority of all the members of the Committee determines that a ballot must be disqualified, a representative of the Committee shall contact the person who cast that ballot and explain the reason for the disqualification. In order to avoid offense or embarrassment, all discussions related to this process shall be kept strictly confidential.
However, any individual whose ballot is disqualified for any reason
may appeal to the Board. A majority of the entire Board shall be
required to overturn the decision of the Election Committee.

g) When the entire election procedure is complete, the Committee shall turn over to the Secretary of the Board all ballot information relevant to the election. The Secretary shall keep all such documentation on file for future reference, because any vacancies that occur on the Board during the 12 months following a given election shall be filled by the runners up in that election, and because notice of any appeals to the congregation that are made during the 12 months following a given election must be sent to those who participated in that election.

Section 5: ELIGIBILITY: Trustees must accept and be in agreement with the Statement of Beliefs of the Corporation. Further, Trustees pledge to work together in a Christian spirit of love, cooperation and harmony in an atmosphere of peace.

Section 6: EXCLUSIONS: No employee of the Corporation may serve on the Board. No two members of the same family may serve concurrently on the Board. No two individuals involved in an employer/employee relationship may serve concurrently on the Board.

Section 7: TERMS: Trustees shall serve a three year term. The term shall begin on July 1 and shall end on June 30 of the third year. When the Trustees’ terms expire, they may be reelected to the Board.

Section 8: QUORUM: A quorum is required for any action to be taken by the Board. A majority of all Trustees, one of whom shall be an Officer, shall constitute a quorum.

Section 9: AT-LARGE TRUSTEES: At-Large Trustees of the Corporation shall number at least three but may number no more than fifteen. This decision shall require approval by a two-thirds majority of votes of the entire Board.

Section 10: COMPENSATION: A Trustee shall not receive any compensation from the Corporation for services rendered except as declared by resolution of the Board.

ARTICLE V — Officers

Section 1: OFFICERS: The Officers of the Corporation shall be: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and shall be elected annually from the entire Board. No Trustee may serve in more than one corporate office concurrently.

Section 2: PRESIDENT: The President shall preside at the meetings of the Board and shall have the responsibility for the general and active daily operation of the Corporation. He shall: represent the Corporation in all legal and business matters; represent the Corporation in matters relating to the Corporation;
perform all other duties pertaining to the office; have the authority to perform duties as directed by the Board; and implement all Orders and Resolutions of the Board. In addition, the President may sign, execute and deliver in the name of the Corporation, all deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts or other instruments that are not specifically reserved for the Board
or prohibited by these Bylaws.

Section 3: SUCCESSION TO PRESIDENT: Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of President, or when the President, by written declaration transmitted to the Secretary, states that he is unable or unwilling to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately succeed the President upon receipt by the Secretary of the President’s written resignation and until a new President is elected.Section 4: VICE PRESIDENT: The Vice President shall: temporarily succeed the President, if that office becomes vacant, until a new president is elected; preside at the meetings of the Board if the President is not available; perform other duties as assigned by the President; and perform such other duties, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as the Board shall from time to time prescribe.

Section 5: SECRETARY: The Secretary shall: keep, prepare and distribute the minutes of all meetings of the Board; cause to be given notice of all meetings of the Trustees; be custodian of the seal of the Corporation and shall affix the seal, or cause it to be affixed, to all documents the execution of which so requires;
have charge of the books, records and papers of the Corporation relating to its organization as a corporation, and shall see that the records, statements and documents required by law are properly kept or filed; keep on file all ballots and other information relevant to the election of Trustees; perform other duties as assigned by the President; and shall have other powers and perform such other duties, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as the Board shall from time to time prescribe.

Section 6: TREASURER: The Treasurer shall: have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all the funds and securities of the Corporation; keep or cause to be kept full and accurate accounts of all receipts, disbursements, credits and debits in books belonging to the Corporation; supervise and be responsible for all moneys, valuables and assets of the Corporation and credits owing to the Corporation; chair the Budget Committee; report on the
financial condition of the Corporation at board meetings; perform such other duties, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as the Board shall from time to time prescribe.

ARTICLE VI — Removal, Resignation and Vacancy
of Trustees and Officers

Section 1: REMOVAL: The Board shall have exclusive right to remove any appointed Officer from office or remove any Trustee from the Board; however, removal must be by a two-thirds vote of the remaining Trustees and be preceded by written notice personally delivered or by mailing notice via U.S. Mail at least ten days prior to the vote. A Trustee being removed from the Board has the right to be heard by the Board prior to the vote. Furthermore, the Trustee has the right to appeal his removal from the Board directly to the congregation in accordance with the provisions contained in these Bylaws.

Section 2: RESIGNATION: Any Officer or Trustee may resign in writing delivered to the President of the Corporation at least ten days prior to the effective date of the resignation.

Section 3: APPOINTMENT UPON VACANCY: Whenever there is a vacancy on the Board, whether as a result of removal, resignation or inability to serve, the vacancy shall be filled by the eligible person who received the next highest number of votes in the previous annual election, and he shall serve the remainder of the term of the vacant position. In case of a tie between two or more individuals having the next highest number of votes, the candidates shall draw numbers to determine which of them will fill the vacancy.

ARTICLE VII — Committees

Section 1: CREATION OF COMMITTEES: The Board may create committees for specified purposes. Any committee so created shall have at least one Trustee and shall be advisory only and shall present, through the committee chairman, the results of its work, along with recommendations for specific action, to the Board.

Section 2: ADVISORY COMMITTEES: The Board may create ad hoc Advisory Committees composed of individuals who, by reason of having special expertise or qualifications, would from time to time be beneficial to the management of the affairs of the Corporation. A participant on an Advisory Committee need not be a member of the congregation. Once an Advisory Committee is established by the Board, any Trustee may nominate an individual to serve on it. Advisors will be approved to serve on the committee by a majority of votes of the entire Board.

ARTICLE VIII — Powers Reserved in the Board

Section 1: SPECIFIC DECISION MAKING RESERVED: The Board reserves all rights and powers to: commit the Corporation to any contract or other obligation; adopt the Corporation’s budget; nominate and appoint Officers and establish their duties; remove any Officer from office or any Trustee from the Board, except as provided in Article IX of these Bylaws; and amend the Bylaws of the Corporation.

Section 2: EMPLOYEES: The Board also reserves all rights and powers to hire and terminate employees. In the case of the Pastor, such termination shall require approval by a two-thirds majority of votes of the entire Board, and be preceded by written notice personally delivered or by mailing notice via U.S. Mail at least ten days prior to the vote. The Pastor has the right to be heard by the Board prior to the vote. Furthermore, the Pastor has the right to appeal his termination directly to the congregation in accordance with the provisions contained in these Bylaws.

Section 3: INTERPRETATION: The Board has final judicial authority with respect to the interpretation of these Bylaws and with respect to any controversy that may arise thereunder.

ARTICLE IX — Powers Reserved in the Congregation

Section 1: SPECIFIC DECISION MAKING RESERVED: The Congregation reserves all rights and powers to govern itself by: annually electing Trustees; approving the hiring of the Pastor; hearing and adjudicating an appeal by a Pastor who has been terminated; hearing and adjudicating an appeal by a Trustee who has been removed from the Board.

Section 2: APPEALS: Any appeal that is made to the congregation under the provisions of these Bylaws shall be carried out in the following manner:

a) Within ten days from the time a Trustee is removed from the Board, or the Pastor’s employment is terminated by the Board, the Trustee or Pastor may initiate an appeal to the congregation. Official notification of the appeal shall be sent to the most recent voting roster via U.S. Mail at least twenty-one days prior to the appeal date.
b) The appeal shall be heard in a meeting convened at the office of the Corporation 30 minutes after the sundown ending the first weekly Sabbath following the twenty-one day period mentioned in paragraph a) above. The above-mentioned notification shall include the date and time that the appeal is to be heard.
c) When the appeal hearing is convened, the attendees whose names are on the most recent voting roster shall choose an individual from among those present to chair the meeting. The meeting shall not be chaired by a Trustee nor by the person making the appeal. However, both the person making the appeal and any Trustees present at the appeal may cast ballots as individual members of the congregation.
d) In accordance with the biblical principle of doing all things decently and in order, the chairperson shall ensure that the discussion of the circumstances that have given rise to the appeal are carried out in a manner befitting disciples of Jesus Christ. Within reasonable time constraints, the chairperson shall make every effort to allow all points of view to be presented without interruption. If anyone in attendance is unwilling to conduct himself in an orderly and respectful manner, he shall be asked to leave the premises.
e) After reasonable time has been given to an open discussion of the appeal, the chairperson shall call for a vote to either uphold or overturn the decision that gave rise to the appeal. The vote shall be by written ballot, signed by each voting party. A two-thirds majority of those present at the appeal shall be required to overturn the removal of a Trustee or the termination of the Pastor. Any individual who considers himself to be a member of the congregation, and who is sufficiently interested in the governing process of the congregation to responsibly cast a ballot in the appeal process, shall be permitted to do so. Such
participants may include teenagers and unbaptized adults.

ARTICLE X — Meetings of the Board

Section 1: ANNUAL MEETING: The Board shall have one annual meeting, to be held at the corporate office during the months of July.

Section 2: REGULAR MEETINGS: The Board may hold additional regular meetings, scheduled at reasonable times, at the corporate office. The schedule of all regular meetings shall be communicated to the congregation.

Section 3: SPECIAL MEETINGS BY NOTICE AND CONSENT: Special meetings of the Board may be called if every Trustee has received notice and if every Trustee consents to the meetings. Any such special meeting of the Board shall be at a reasonable time and place and shall have a specific, limited agenda.

Section 4: SPECIAL MEETINGS BY WRITTEN NOTICE: Special meetings of the Board may be called by written notice from the Secretary or by written notice from a majority of the Trustees. Such written notice shall be sent postage prepaid and shall be deemed to be delivered when deposited in the United State mail, addressed to the person at his address as it appears on the records of the Corporation. Proof of mailing shall be required and shall be kept with the records of the Corporation. Such written notice shall be sent at least five (5) days prior to a special meeting and shall include the date, time and location of the meeting, as well as a specific agenda.

Section 5: PARTICIPATION BY TELEPHONE: One or more Trustees may participate in a regular meeting or special meeting via telephone.

Section 6: VOTING: All questions shall be decided by a majority of votes cast, unless stipulated otherwise in these Bylaws. Each Trustee shall have one vote.

Voting shall be in person, by telephone, by e-mail, by fax, or by proxy signed by the duly authorized representative of the absent Trustee. No person other than another Trustee may be the duly authorized representative of an absent Trustee for the purposes of proxy voting. The vote of each Trustee, whether for or against a matter or an abstention, is to be recorded and become part of the minutes.

ARTICLE XI — Prohibited Activities

Section 1: NET EARNINGS: No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its Trustees, Officers, or other private persons, except that the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

Notwithstanding the above, the Pastor or Board may determine that a Trustee of the Corporation may require assistance in the case of financial distress, in which case such assistance may be rendered, subject to approval by a two-thirds majority of votes of the entire Board.

Section 2: POLITICAL ACTION: No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a
corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

ARTICLE XII — Parliamentary Rules

Section 1: CONDUCT OF MEETINGS: Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the conduct of all meetings of the Board, provided they do not conflict with applicable law, these Bylaws or the Articles of Incorporation, in which case the latter shall prevail.

ARTICLE XIII — Books and Records

Section 1: FISCAL YEAR: The fiscal year of the Corporation shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31.
Section 2: CONTRACTS: The Board may authorize any Officer or agent of the Corporation to enter into any contract or to execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Corporation.
Section 3: CHECKS, DRAFTS OR ORDERS: All checks, drafts or orders for the payment of money, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the Corporation shall be signed by such Officer or Officers, agent or agents of the Corporation, and in such manner as shall from time to time be
determined by resolution of the Board. In the absence of such determination by the Board, such instruments shall be signed by the Treasurer of the Corporation.
Section 4: DEPOSITS: All funds of the Corporation shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the Corporation in such bank or banks or other depositories as the Board may approve.
Section 5: GIFTS: The Board may accept on behalf of the Corporation any contribution, gift or bequest for any purpose of the Corporation.

ARTICLE XIV — Indemnification

Section 1: INDEMNIFICATION: Every Trustee, Officer or employee of the Corporation shall be indemnified by the Corporation against all reasonable expenses and liabilities, including, but not limited to, legal fees, reasonably incurred or imposed upon such person in connection with any act or proceeding to which that person may be a party, or in which such person may become involved, by reason of such person’s being or having been a Trustee, Officer or employee at the time such expenses are incurred, except in such cases where the person is adjudged guilty of willful misfeasance, gross negligence, or illegal conduct, in the performance of the duties of his office.
Provided, however, that in the event of a settlement the indemnification herein shall apply only when the Board approves such settlement and reimbursement as being of all other things rights to which such Trustee, Officer or employee may be entitled.

ARTICLE XV — Dissolution and Liquidation

Section 1: LIABILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS: All liabilities and obligations of the Corporation shall be paid, satisfied, and discharged or adequate provision shall be made prior to the distribution of assets.

Section 2: DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS: Upon the dissolution of the Corporation, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the Corporation, and after compliance with applicable state law, the Board of Trustees shall dispose of the remaining assets of the Corporation exclusively for the purposes of the Corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (as amended). Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the Corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such exempt purposes. None of the assets will be distributed to any Trustee, Officer or employee of the Corporation or to any private individual.

ARTICLE XVI — Severability

Section 1: If any provision in these Bylaws is invalid, the remaining provisions will nevertheless continue in full force and effect without being impaired or invalidated in any way.

ARTICLE XVII — Amendments

Section 1: The Board shall have the authority to amend these Bylaws. Proposed amendments shall be provided to each Trustee at a regular Board meeting and posted at the next regular church service. At the following regular Board meeting the amendment will be discussed. At the next consecutive Board meeting a vote may be taken. Such amendments shall require approval by a two-thirds majority of votes of the entire Board.


I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Bylaws of the United Church of God Big Sandy, Texas, Inc., as amended by the Board of Trustees the nineteenth day of December, 2005.

Don Walls, Secretary

Bylaws of the Church of God Big Sandy Page 11 of 11
As amended December 19, 2005