Universal Life Church Case Law
Phone: (614) 715-9048 Fax: (614) 715-9049
Email: info@ulccaselaw.com
ULC Case Law
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington, D.C. 20006

The world of starting your own church has, as we’ve explored so far, many details that you should not overlook if you wish your church corporate entity to operate within the scope of the law to the best advantage of that structure. To that end there are aside from the formation documents, three other documents that you need to be aware of and to execute properly for appropriate members of the church management team, including but not limited to Trustees, Board of Directors members, and in some circumstances, any churhc or ministry member who is on the payroll (in any manner whether as an employee or in service of your church for other considerations, such as housing). It is especially critical that the members comprising the Board of Directors must be aware of, be in compliance with, and be signatory to these three documents.

The three documents that need to be a part of your corporate governance are the 1) Acceptance to Serve on the Board of Directors, 2) Conflict of Interest Statement, and 3) Waiver of Notice. We will explore all three of these in this article as well as provide some sample documents and links through to any appropriate IRS instructions and forms as applicable.

1. Acceptance to Serve on the Board

When your ministry or church adds a new member to the Board of Directors: It is critical that each new board member sign an incoming board member statement.  This statement should be composed of three declarations but can have more declarations custom-tailored to your organization’s needs:

a. The proposed board member accepts the appointment/nomination,
b. The board member will actively and positively participate on the board promoting and advancing all duties and responsibilities appropriate to the board position, and
c. The Board Member agrees to submit to and abide by the Articles of Incorporation and the By-laws of the corporation.  (This is important because the bylaws outline directorial clauses such as common interest clause and the standard of living clause that protect the church in case the board member turns against the church and pastor.)

2.  Conflict of Interest Statement

To ensure that each Board of Directors member is in compliance with the appropriate inclusion and management principles of the church, each board member must sign a conflict of interest statement. This needs to be done both prior to being approved and positioned as a member of the board, as well as annually on the anniversary of each board member’s inclusion to that body.  This is a supporting statement to the conflict of interest policy that must be in the church’s corporate records.  This policy needs to be developed at the beginning/formation of the corporate entity. The Conflict of Interest Statement should include at least these 4 declarations but can be tailored to the needs of your church with the best practices of governance in mind.

a. The board member has a copy of the conflict of interest policy;
b. The board member has read and understood the policy;
c. The board member agrees to comply with the policy by signing duplicate witnessed copies – one to be held within the church corporate and personnel records, with the second copy held by the board member in their personal records; and
d. The board member understands that the church/ministry is a tax-exempt, charitable organization and that it must engage in activities that accomplish its purpose in order to maintain tax-exempt status as outlined in the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws.

3. Waiver of Notice

In order to avoid any negative issues derived from board meeting notification, every board member should sign a “Waiver of Notice” before a board meeting begins their duties as prescribed by the By-laws of the corporation.

Some churches and ministries have had their board meeting minutes and actions legally nullified by court order because the church or ministry governing body failed to meet the proper notice requirements when conducting said meeting. The Waiver of Notice is a signed statement by each board member where they waive the notice requirements as required by the Articles of Incorporation, By-laws and other applicable corporate governance rules.  This is an important document because it allows for a defensively covered position for the Board of Directors members should a challenge for nullification to an action or resolution arise with a challenge due to lack of proper notice.

 

Recent Posts

  • A Tampa ordinance prohibiting counseling for minors with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion was recently overturned by a federal court. Tampa Ban on Counseling for LGBTQ Minors Struck Down 11/13/2019

    A Tampa ordinance prohibiting counseling for minors with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion was recently overturned by a federal court.

  • A federal judge previously issued a preliminary injunction that allowed religiously affiliated adoption agencies to refuse same-sex adoptions. Michigan AG Files Motion to Stay Decision on Same-Sex Adoptions 11/08/2019

    Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel recently filed an emergency motion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan to stay the preliminary injunction permitting adoption agencies to refuse adoptions to same-sex couples while the state pursues an appeal. This action comes after a federal judge previously halted Michigan’s same-sex adoptions rules Read More

  • A Georgia man is pursuing a landmark LGBTQ case in the United States Supreme Court that has the potential to significantly advance or restrict LGBTQ rights. Georgia Man Pursues LGBTQ Case in US Supreme Court 10/30/2019

    In the last several decades, LGBTQ individuals in the United States have seen tremendous victories that greatly advanced their rights in this country. Some of the decisions that helped advanced these rights include the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn sodomy laws in 2003, extend benefits to same-sex couples in 2013, and to legalize same-sex marriage Read More

  • A high school in eastern Kentucky’s Pike County has announced its decision to remove prayer lockers from its hallways after receiving complaints. Kentucky School Removes “Prayer Lockers” 10/23/2019

    A high school in eastern Kentucky’s Pike County has announced its decision to remove a prayer locker from its hallways after receiving complaints.

  • A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit initiated by a couple that challenges a law that they feel forces them to violate their "Christian beliefs." Minnesota Circuit Court Allows “Christian Beliefs” Case to Advance 10/15/2019

    A federal appeals court in Minnesota recently revived a lawsuit initiated by a Minnesota couple that challenges a Minnesota state law requiring equal protection of the law for LGBT people in regards to services rendered. This law meant the couple might have to film same-sex weddings since they own a video production company. As a Read More

  • Read More