Church Council’s Responsibilities

Governance Structure – Roles and Responsibilities

Church Council


The Church Council is delegated authority by the Congregation to develop policy, maintain accountability, and make decisions. The council may delegate authority to any Team or Committee as it sees fit. However, the Council retains the responsibility to oversee the activities of the various Committees, Teams and groups within Pastoral Charge in relation to their function in mission and ministry.

Council is responsible to keep members of the Congregation focused on their Vision Statement. All policy development and accountability is based on the Vision Statement approved by the Congregation.

The council shall be the Court of the Pastoral Charge and shall fulfill the functions as specified in The Manual (s.221)

The council is responsible for the Congregation of Beacon United Church and shall report to the Congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting.

Council shall:

 Submit to the Pastoral Charge reports on the life and work, including Financial Statements for the preceding fiscal year and an annual budget for the coming fiscal year

 Complete Pastoral Charge statistical and information forms for the General Council

  • Elect members of the Pastoral Charge to be representatives to the Presbytery §Receive and make available to the members of the Pastoral Charge any actions of the Presbytery, Conference and General Council §Secure contributions for the work of the whole church, local funds, and the Mission and Service Fund §Authorize borrowing funds for the day-to-day operations of the Pastoral Charge §Give lawful directions to the Board of Trustees concerning property matters when necessary
  • Represent the Pastoral Charge as authorized by the Congregation in meetings with Presbytery relating to amalgamations, realignment, reconstitution, or disbanding the Pastoral Charge
  • Forward applications for incorporation from agencies or bodies within the Pastoral Charge to the Presbytery §Attend to matters that involve the joint interest of the committees, groups, or teams in the organizational structure §Attend to matters affecting the Pastoral Charge not assigned to any other body §Ensure that new Council members will receive adequate information and training to ensure their familiarization with how Council functions. §Review Church policies every three years, or as needed


The membership of the Council shall consist of: -two representatives of each team (Faith Formation, Church and Community, and Stewardship) as selected by members of each team -one representative of each the Trustees, the United Church Women (UCW), the Ministry and Personnel Committee as selected by the members of each group -two youth representatives as chosen by the Church Council

  • the Ministry Personnel settled or appointed to the Pastoral Charge
  • the Presbytery representatives as chosen by the Church Council
  • the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary as selected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting
  • the Church Treasurer, as selected by the Congregation
  • the Mission and Service Treasurer

Each member of the Council shall be a member of the Pastoral Charge. An exception may be granted by Presbytery in accordance with The Manual (s. 219)

Terms of Office:

All members of the Council shall be members for one year. The term shall be renewable.

A member of the Council may resign the office, either on the initiative of that member or when requested to do so by the Pastoral Charge or may be removed by the order of the Presbytery when the interests of the Pastoral Charge are deemed by the Presbytery to require it, or may be deposited by process of discipline. (The Manual, s. 220)

If any member of the council has been absent from its meetings (without sending regrets) for three consecutive meetings, the Council, after having given notice to such person, may make a decision that such person has ceased to be a member of the Council. (The Manual, s.220)

A member of the Council shall be in regular attendance at Sunday worship. Regular attendance shall constitute, on average, attendance of once per month.


Council shall ordinarily meet at least once per month in each of the months of September, October, November, January, February, March, April and May. The time and place of such ordinary meetings shall be determined by Council.

Meetings are conducted according to the rules of debate and order found in the Manual, or if not covered there, Bourinot’s Rules of Order (Canada).

A quorum for the Council shall require the attendance of the member of the Ministry Personnel settled in or appointed by the Congregation or an appointee of Presbytery. (The Manual s. 218.1) In total, a majority of Council members shall be present to constitute a quorum.

All motions shall be determined by a majority vote of the Council members present at a duly called meeting.

Meetings may be called:

  • by the Chair of the Council
  • by a member of the Order of Ministry who has been settled in or appointed by the Pastoral Charge
  • by the Pastoral Charge Supervisor
  • upon the written request of five (5) members of the Council. Such shall be held within fourteen (14) days of the presentation of the written request, and only the business named in the notice to members of the Church Council shall be transacted; or
  • on the authority of the Presbytery. (The Manual, s.218)

Notice of meetings shall be provided in writing at least seven (7) days in advance of the meeting. Valid notice shall include the use of electronic mail or facsimile. Such notice shall be either personally delivered to each member of Council, or mailed (including via electronic means) to each member of Council at their usual place of abode or business.

Teams and Committees:

Teams and Committees are empowered to operate and make decisions within the guidelines set forward in The Manual as well as this document and function within their approved budgets. Decisions requiring changes in policy or procedures should be presented to the Church Council for approval. Teams and Committees should try to involve members of the Congregation in planning events and activities. Meetings should consist of looking at the vision of the particular mandate of the team or committee. A review of the responsibilities should be a regular part of the agenda of every meeting.

Other Committees may be formed on an as needed basis and will constitute an “ad hoc” committee. For greater clarity, these “ad hoc” committees will not have official representation on the Church Council however nothing shall prevent them from being members of the Council in another capacity.

Faith Formation Team

The Faith Formation Team is responsible to the Congregation through the Council for the following responsibilities:

  • planning and directing the Christian Education programs of the church §determining the educational needs of the congregation and developing the appropriate programs and methods to meet those needs §providing appropriate workshop opportunities and materials for Sunday

School teachers and other church group leaders §selecting and appointing the superintendent(s) for the Sunday School §ensuring all those who work with children have current Police Records

checks § joining with the member(s) of the Ministry Personnel in ensuring that the order of public worship meets the needs of the Congregation

  • providing assistance to the member(s) of the Ministry Personnel in formulating and administering policy respecting baptisms, weddings and funerals and that these policies be stated in a written form as recommendations to the Council
  • arranging for the administration of the Sacraments §identifying and supporting candidates wishing to pursue ministry in the

United Church of Canada§securing pulpit supply when needed§arranging and publicizing special worship services§recommending policies and providing guidance on the use of the

sanctuary § maintaining, when necessary, communion vessels and decorations in the sanctuary

  • assisting the member(s) of the Ministry Personnel in the selection of appropriate materials and arranging classes for the instruction of communicants and those preparing for church membership
  • maintaining congregational records §overseeing membership

Church and Community Team

The Church and Community Team is responsible to the Congregation through the Council for the following responsibilities:

  • ensuring that the Congregation is active in examining the needs of the local and global community and designing plans and programs to enable the Congregation to minister to the needs of those people outside the Congregation in a Christian perspective
  • informing the Congregation of work being done by Beacon United Church and the United Church of Canada and making proposals to Council for support in this regard
  • offering the Congregation and community at large educational opportunities in the areas of social service and social justice
  • promoting the United Church Observer and facilitating renewals of subscriptions by members of the Congregation
  • considering those members and adherents who may need support and care through various means but not limited to such things as hospital visits, offering home communion, sending cards or notes to those who are ill, making phone calls to those who had suffered a loss of a loved one, or practical assistance such as offering a ride to church
  • co-ordinating regular visits of members and adherents of Beacon United Church
  • promoting environmental responsibility in the care of creation
  • working with church office staff to ensure a newsletter is produced and distributed regularly
  • ensuring that there are opportunities for members of the congregation to gather together for fellowship and fun

Stewardship Team

The Stewardship Team is responsible to the Congregation through the Council for the following responsibilities:

  • designing an organized stewardship campaign to increase givings
  • recruiting, training and scheduling an appropriate number of persons to count, record and deposit the weekly offering in accordance with the procedure and practices of The United Church of Canada and Beacon United Church
  • carrying out such duties as outlined in the Manual*
  • ensuring the recording of weekly donations, PAR monthly contributions and all other tax-receiptable contributions in a manner which preserves the confidentiality of the information
  • ensuring maintenance of a long-term record of donations designed to satisfy whatever audits may occur
  • developing an annual budget for approval by the Congregation. This budget shall include the annual budgets for each individual committee which will reflect the mission priorities of the church
  • disbursing funds, according to the Congregation’s budget, for the salaries of the Ministry Personnel and Church Staff, Pension benefits, the South Shore Presbytery allocation, the Mission and Service Fund of the United Church of Canada, Session Fund, the Food Bank, the Fuel Fund and others that may be collected for distribution.
  • presenting a financial statement at all regular meetings of the Church Council and at the Annual Congregational Meeting
  • planning fundraising events through the Ways and Means Committee
  • communicating with the Board of Trustees regarding investment procedures, proposed major capital expenditures, and possible gifts to the church
  • administering the various funds
  • maintaining the church building, equipment and grounds
  • planning improvements or upgrades to the church and grounds
  • coordinating the work of the caretaker in conjunction with the Ministry and Personnel Committee
  • determining financial charges which may be applied to outside groups for using the church facilities with the exception of the sanctuary
  • maintaining the church office equipment
  • overseeing the purchase of office and janitorial equipment and supplies
  • ensuring the church property is safe and provides a healthy environment in conjunction with the duty of care as outlined in the Duty of Care Program of the United Church of Canada
  • ensuring the church property and technology is protected and secure
  • presenting regular reports on the condition of the property at meetings of the Council
  • managing expenditures over their allocated budget and with approval from the Council, over unexpected operational and maintenance items
  • establish an investment sub-committee

Ministry and Personnel Committee

The Ministry and Personnel Committee is responsible to the Congregation through the Council for the following responsibilities: (The Manual s. 211)

  • providing a confidential setting for support, consultation and assessment of all Personnel of the Pastoral Charge §providing a confidential setting for support, consultation and assessment of members of the Ministry Personnel settled here by Presbytery §making recommendations regarding working conditions, hours of work (where applicable) and remuneration for Personnel and Ministry Personnel §addressing concerns of comments in writing from the congregation, Personnel or Ministry Personnel
  • providing a mechanism for liaison between the Congregation and personnel as well as between the Pastoral Charge and South Shore Presbytery Pastoral Relations Committee
  • conducting an annual review and evaluation following fair and proper procedure of all Personnel and Ministry Personnel or when deemed necessary
  • evaluating and making recommendations for Personnel and Ministry Personnel continuing education §reviewing job descriptions and making recommendations where necessary

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees shall discharge such duties and exercise such powers as are set out in the Model Trust Deed of The Manual. The Board of Trustees shall obey all lawful orders and directions of the Church Council.

Regional Council Representatives

Regional Council Representatives, to a maximum of two (2) per year, are responsible to Congregation for the following:

– Attending Meetings of Regional Council

– Participating in the work of the Regional Council

– Reporting back to the Congregation about the work of the Regional Council