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Constitution, Bylaws and Charters

A Texas court ruled that it could not resolve an internal church dispute on the basis of the church’s constitution and bylaws.

Key point 6-02.2. Churches are subject to the provisions of their governing documents, which generally include a charter and a constitution or bylaws (in some cases both). A charter is the state-approved articles of incorporation of an incorporated church. Most rules of internal church administration are contained in a constitution or bylaws. Specific and temporary matters often are addressed in resolutions. If a conflict develops among these documents, the order of priority generally is as follows—charter, constitution, bylaws, and resolutions.
• Key point 6-06.1. Churches select their officers and directors in various ways. For example, it is common for members of a church board to be elected by the church's membership, while officers are elected by the board. The civil courts generally refrain from resolving disputes involving the selection of church officers and directors ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • March 3, 2003

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