BY-LAWS OF THE RURAL CHURCH NETWORK OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA updated 04/11/13
Article I Name and purpose
1.1 The name of this organization shall be the Rural Church Network of the United States and Canada, hereafter referred to as the RCN.
1.2 The RCN is an organization of church leaders, educators, pastors, and other persons interested in supporting rural churches, those who serve them, and the rural areas in which they are found.
Article II Goals
2. The RCN seeks to demonstrate its purpose of supporting rural churches, and those who serve them, and the rural in which they are found through:
A. Providing opportunities for networking and mutual support across the boundaries of denominations, organizations, etc.;
B. Highlighting existing rural ministry resources on its website;
C. Analyzing gaps in existing resources;
D. Developing new resources for rural ministry;
E. Providing linkages through its website to other groups that seek to enhance rural ministry and life in rural communities; and
F. Enhancing awareness of opportunities, needs, and challenges found in town and rural congregations and communities.
Article III Membership
3.1 Membership in the RCN shall come from the following categories:
A. National denominational staff persons or their representatives whose portfolios relate to rural and small town ministries; representatives from church related regional/provincial/judicatory units, educational institutions involved in rural and small town ministries, or other groups and organizations with a focus on either the rural church or rural life; and
B. Other interested persons who share common concerns with the RCN.
3.2 Membership is open to all persons and/or the institutions they represent upon presentation to the RCN’s Executive Committee of a written request for membership and subsequently the Committee’s affirmative vote.
Article IV Meetings
4.1 Bi-annual meetings of the RCN shall normally be held in the spring and fall and at such other times as may be determined by the group, or upon call by the Chairperson.
4.2 Committees and/or task groups may be appointed by the Chairperson from time to time and their activities shall be reported to a scheduled meeting of the RCN.
Article V Voting
5.1 Voting members of the RCN will include persons who in their various ministries as defined by article 3.1 A. are elected, employed, or designated as accountable representatives from their constituencies and those persons defined by article 3.1 B. who have paid annual dues. All other persons will be given voice at meetings.
5.2 Six members present of whom two are persons defined by article 3.1 A. shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special meeting.
5.3 Each member shall have one vote; absentee voting shall not be permitted.
5.4 Voting on routine matters normally shall be by voice.
Article VI Officers
6.1 Officers shall be a Chairperson, Vice-chairperson, Treasurer, and Executive Secretary. These persons, along with the immediate past Chairperson and a member-at-large, shall compose the Executive Committee of the RCN.
6.2 Officers shall be elected at the Fall meeting of the RCN and shall serve for a period of two years or until their successors are elected. The Chairperson and Vice-chairperson may be re-elected for a second two-year period; the Executive Secretary and Treasurer may be re-elected for an unlimited number of two year terms.
A. Elections for the Chairperson and Treasurer shall be in the odd numbered years.
B. Elections of the member-at-large, the Vice-chairperson and the Executive Secretary shall be in the even years.
C. The election schedule may be adjusted from time to time by a regular meeting of the RCN. Every effort shall be made to maintain a balance among the officers with regard to race, gender, age, and denomination.
6.3 In the event of a vacancy in any of the elected offices, the Executive Committee shall fill that office and the person so filling the office may stand for election at the next RCN meeting.
6.4 The Treasurer and at least one other officer shall be empowered individually to deposit or withdraw funds of the RCN, within the limits of the budget and available funds, for the purpose of carrying out the RCN ‘s program. The year-to-date financial statement and condition of accounts shall be reported at each meeting of the organization. In addition, the Treasurer shall prepare an annual financial statement. RCN accounts shall be reviewed annually by a committee appointed by the Executive Committee.
6.5 Evaluations of the Executive Secretary and Treasurer shall be conducted every four years by a committee appointed by the Executive Committee.
Article VII Funding
7.1 With the exception of members as defined by article 3.1 B. there are no dues affiliated with membership in the RCN; therefore, members shall be responsible for providing their own travel and expenses. Members may be asked to share meeting expenses.
7.2 In order to provide undergirding support, groups and organizations having membership as defined by article 3.1 A. will be invited to contribute a negotiable amount up to, but not limited to, three hundred dollars U.S. ($300.00) per year for the annual budget of the RCN.
7.3 Persons who are voting members as defined by article 3.1 B. are invited to pay annual dues of fifty dollars US ($50.00).
7.4 Registration fees may be charged meeting registrants.
7.5 Special sources of funding may be sought for special projects.
7.6 Members may also be asked to make special contributions for special events and conferences sponsored by the RCN.
Article VIII Revision of By-Laws
8.1 These By-Laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the RCN by a two-thirds vote of those attending.
8.2 Proposed changes or amendments must be sent to all RCN participants at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting that is considering such modifications.
Original signed by Chairperson Alvin Luedke and by Executive Secretary David C. Ruesink
Illustrations of ways in which the RCN goals may be implemented include:
Sponsorship of regional and/or national conferences Coordination of “Rural Life Sundays” and related events Sharing of stories Interchange of observers at appropriate denominational gatherings Participation in international conferences Development of training materials and processes Discussions with seminaries and other educational institutions Research relating to rural, village, or town churches and persons
Development of a website: Areas may include, but are not limited to the uniqueness of the rural and small town church, worship, evangelism, clergy and lay leadership, women in ministry, contextual training for ministry, church development [new church development, church re-development, and congregational revitalization], environmental issues, community social and economic development, hunger issues, research on town and rural contexts, communication, and discussion forums.