At the time of our church's founding in 1883, we were formally chartered as "St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Congregational Church." This long name reflected our distinctive, combined Reformed and Lutheran heritage, as well as our congregational-style organization. Right from the start the congregation-under the wider guidance of Jesus Christ--was empowered to acquire property on its own, as well as elect lay and ordained leaders by a congregational vote. Now constituted as "St. Paul United Church of Christ," our church retains its strong congregational tradition in the context of a mutually covenanted relationship with other United Church of Christ congregations.
Church governance at St. Paul United Church of Christ is provided by a congregationally-elected Council which meets monthly. The Council is headed by an Executive composed of the president, first and second vice presidents, treasurer, and the secretary, plus all ordained pastors, who are voting, ex officio Council members. The Executive Committee confers in advance of the regular Council meetings to prepare the agenda. The Council also includes three elders, three deacons, and three trustees with different responsibilities. Under the church bylaws, the elders constitute a "spiritual council." They are charged with presiding over the sacrament of Holy Communion, overseeing all spiritual needs of the congregation, and maintaining an up-to-date church membership roster. Meanwhile, the deacons are entrusted by the church bylaws with maintaining proper order and decorum in all worship services. They recruit and direct all greeters and ushers, oversee the clean-up and closing of the sanctuary immediately after worship, and maintain attendance counts. Finally, the trustees oversee the maintenance and upkeep of the entire church facility, represent the Council and congregation in all legal matters, including contracts, and annually prepare a slate of nominees for the Church Council that is submitted for a vote by the congregation.
Overall church policy is decided by the entire Council on the basis of recommendations made by either the Executive Committee, elders, deacons, trustees, or ordained pastors. Major decisions, such as the election of Council members and the final approval of the church's annual unified budget, are presented by the Church Council to the congregation for a vote at annual, semi-annual, and specially-called congregational meetings.
All Council members are nominated on the basis of their particular gifts and talents as discerned by the trustees or a nominating task force. Thereafter, Council members are elected to a three year term at the annual meeting of the congregation in January, followed by installation at the next Sunday morning worship service. Any Council members may serve two consecutive terms-a total of six years. However, the Council president serves for one year only, succeeding to his or her post after first serving in the roles of second and first vice president respectively, also for one year each. If a current president seeks to serve another term of office, he/she returns to the Council as second vice president.
Other significant leadership at St. Paul United Church of Christ is provided by a Cabinet composed of representatives of all church committees and organizations. The Cabinet meets quarterly to share common concerns and to plan all-church events, such as Lenten suppers and the annual church picnic. In addition, our church has various committees and teams which meet regularly to direct the ministries of our church. These bodies include the Christian Education Committee, the Worship Planning Team, the Buildings & Grounds Committee, the Financial Advisory Committee, the Memorial Committee, the Building Our Future Committee, and the Altar Guild.
More information about our congregation's leadership is available through the church office.