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Purpose

The Parish Council ("Council") of St Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish works in consultation and collaboration with the pastor to provide leadership and direction for the parish.

Functions

• Serves as a consulting body to the Pastor
• Develops clear and concise goals based upon the mission and the emerging needs of the parish community.
• Reviews and recommends to the Pastor changes to its mission and purpose to reflect the needs of the Parish.
• Encourages and promotes Parish-approved activities.
• Encourages and fosters communication within and between St Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and the broader community.

Membership

• Every person who is a confirmed Catholic, an active, contributing; i.e. time, talent and/or treasure, registered member of St Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish is eligible to serve as a member of the Council.

• The Council shall consist of no less than nine (9) elected members, and not more than fifteen (15) elected members.

o Elections will be held in November of each year, as necessary.

o Each member will be elected to a three (3) - year term, beginning on the first of the calendar year following the election.

• Membership on the Council is limited to two (2) consecutive terms or a maximum of six (6) years. One full year must pass before a member is eligible for election or appointment.

• If a vacancy occurs and more than one (1) year is left in the member's term, the vacancy may be filled at the discretion of the Pastor and Council.

• Two-thirds of the members must be in attendance at a regular or special meeting to constitute a quorum.

• Council members who are also Parish employees must not vote on matters that present a conflict of interest for the member.

• Attendance at regular meetings is essential. After two (2) consecutive unexplained absences, a member may be asked to reconsider his/her commitment to and continued membership on the Council. A member may resign at any time and is asked to provide a one-month notice to the Facilitator or Presider to facilitate an orderly transition. If a member cannot attend a meeting, he/she is responsible for learning what transpired at that meeting.

• Ex-officio members; e.g., Parochial Vicar, Parish Manager may participate in the discussion, but may not vote.

Organization and Operation

• The Pastor is the Presider. The Presider leads the process of discernment, expression and fulfillment of the Parish's mission. He attends all meetings of the council and participates in the discussion and decision making process. In his role as Presider, the Pastor does not facilitate the meetings but rather oversees and participates in all council deliberations.

• The Facilitator designs and oversees the process of each council meeting, assisting with group planning, decision-making and problem solving. He/she does not preside over the meeting but assists the group in fulfilling its tasks and responsibilities.

• The Convener is the person responsible for reserving the meeting space, preparing whatever materials may be needed. The Convener works with the Recorder to ensure that members are adequately informed and reminded of meeting dates and times.

• The Recorder keeps track of the progress of each meeting and records decisions for reference. The Recorder is responsible for any council correspondence or other clerical tasks including, but not limited to disseminating the agenda, committee reports, meeting reminders and previous meeting minutes in advance of each meeting.

• Officers will be elected annually, at the first meeting of the year.

• Ad hoc committees may be established by the Council to meet specific objectives.

• The Facilitator will work with the Presider and Convener to develop an agenda.

• The Convener will send the agenda to the Recorder for distribution a minimum of two (2) days prior to the meeting.

• The Council will consider all aspects of a major decision. After discussing possible alternatives, with the objective of reaching consensus, a motion will be made and regular parliamentary rules will be followed.

Council Meetings

• A minimum of six (6) regular meetings will be held during the year. At the January meeting, the Council will decide the calendar for the year.

• The Presider may call special meetings at any time, with three (3) days notice to all members, when possible. The notice will specify the time, place and general nature of the business to be conducted.

Commissions

The Commissions are:
• Spiritual Life
• Social Events
• Social Justice
• Online Communications
• Faith Formation
• Elections

The Chairs or liaisons of the Commissions are expected to provide written updates to the Council in advance of each meeting. Each Commission will have a Council member as a liaison.

In addition, there is a Finance Committee, with members appointed by the Pastor.

Amendment to By-Laws

These By-Laws may be amended, following open discussion and a vote after the second reading, at a regular meeting, provided that the final version of the proposed amendment has been drafted and submitted in writing to the Council at the previous regular meeting. A two-thirds vote is required to pass an amendment. The proposed amendment must be submitted to the Pastor for his approval before it takes effect. The Council will review the By-Laws annually at the last meeting before the summer.