Blackberry Circle

Get a Sweet Taste of that Old Religion

BBC Bylaws

BYLAWS OF Blackberry Circle
AMENDED IN THEIR ENTIRETY MARCH 22, 2007
A NONPROFIT CORPORATION

ARTICLE 1 – NAME

SECTION 1.1 – The name of the Corporation shall be Blackberry Circle (hereinafter known as “Church”).

ARTICLE 2 – PURPOSE

SECTION 2.1 – This Church’s purpose is to provide spiritual, religious, educational and supportive opportunities of its members and the Pagan community. These purposes shall include, but not restricted to, the following:

2.1.1 – To provide a safe place of worship for those who follow the religion of Wicca and other earth-based religions, variously called pantheistic and/or polytheistic and variously described as an ancient Pagan Religion;

2.1.2 – To support, proselytize, publish, research and teach religious and esoteric arts, sciences and concepts;

2.1.3 – To establish churches of the Wiccan religion in other counties of the State of Texas, in other states of the United States of America and in other countries of the World;

2.1.4 –   To establish, maintain and conduct a school of General Education, Natural Healing, Religion and Esoteric Instruction for children and adults, which will give full academic degrees and provide courses of religious and esoteric instruction in natural healing and psychic development;

2.1.5 – To prepare individuals and qualify them to be ordained into the priesthood;

2.1.6 – To ordain priests and priestesses;

2.1.7 – To provide a council where disputes between members, priests, priestesses and elders, can be resolved with justice and impartiality;

2.1.8 – To provide a means by which like-minded people may unite with the idea of true freedom of religion;

2.1.9 – To establish a community of like-minded people who will have similar religious beliefs;

2.1.10 – To encourage and promote cooperation among individuals, organizations, entities, or authorities who are involved in the promotion or understanding of the Pagan religions;

2.1.11 – To actively participate in the future direction of the Pagan religions and beliefs;

2.1.12 – To and exercise any, all and every power to which an establishment of religion is entitled;

2.1.13 – To accept absolutely or in trust for any purposes herein set out, any gift, grant, or devise of any real or personal property and carry on all such activities not limited by section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provisions of any subsequent law;

SECTION 2.2 – Additional statements of purpose may be added and defined by the Board of Directors and ratified by the voting membership.

ARTICLE 3 – OFFICES

SECTION 3.1 – The Registered Office of the Church in the State of Texas shall be located at mailing address of 1200 Foster, Conroe , Texas 77301

SECTION 3.2 – The Church shall have and continuously maintain in the State of Texas , a registered office, and a registered agent whose office is identical within such office, as required by the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act. The registered office may be, but need not be, identical to the principle office of the Church in the State of Texas , and the Board of Directors may change the address of the registered office from time to time.

ARTICLE 4 – MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 4.1 – The Church shall have as members of the Church, any individual who applies for membership within the Church. Voting members will be those members at least the age of 18 and are in good standing with the Church, or as from time to time amended, as necessity requires. The Board of Directors may, from time to time, establish standards and qualifications for membership in any class.

4.1.1 – BOARD MEMBERSHIP – Board Members are those Coven Members of good standing with the Church who, are at least 18 years of age, and oversee the maintenance of the Church or the Church’s assets, or other duties as defined by the Board of Directors which furthers Article 2 of these Bylaws, also known as the Purpose of the Church. Board Members may take part in activities of the Church and make decisions within a Board Meeting regarding the business of the Church.

4.1.2 – COVEN MEMBERSHIP – Coven Members are those members of good standing with the Church, who are at least 18 years of age, a member of a Coven or Circle as defined by these Bylaws and are involved in the spiritual direction, support or education of the members, maintenance of the Church or the Church’s assets, or other duties as defined by the Board of Directors which furthers Article 2 of these Bylaws, also known as the Purpose of the Church.

4.1.2.1 – Coven Members may take part in activities of the Church, may make recommendations of policy to the Board of Directors and may attend the meetings of the Church.

4.1.2.2 – Coven Members must have completed a minimum of training according to the First Degree Initiation or equivalent training or experience and be approved by the Board of Directors or the administrators of a Coven.

4.1.2.3 – The Coven Members may vote in the election of Board Members, but cannot vote on matters of business unless they are a member of the Board of Directors.

4.1.2.4 – Coven Members are expected to pay dues to the Coven as approved by the Board of Directors.

4.1.3 – GENERAL MEMBERSHIP – General members are those members of good standing with the Church. Coven or Circle, who are at least 18 years of age and may take part in activities of the Church, Coven or Circle, may make recommendations of policy to the Board of Directors and may attend the meetings of the Church.

4.1.3.1 – General Members are expected to pay dues to the Coven as approved by the Board of Directors.

4.1.4 – STUDENT MEMBERSHIP – Student Members are those members of the Church, Coven or Circle who are at least 18 years of age or under 18 years of age and have expressed, written parental permission, a signed copy of which must be provided to the Church before inclusion in the Church.

4.1.4.1 – Student Members may take part in activities of the Church, Coven or Circle, may make recommendations of policy to the Board of Directors and may attend the meetings of the Church.

4.1.4.2 – Student Members may petition the Coven members for inclusion in the Coven as a General Member but General Membership is not required to be a Student Member.

4.1.4.3 – Student Members are expected to pay dues to the Coven as approved by the Board of Directors whether they are a General Member or not.

4.1.5 – CELEBRANT MEMBERSHIP – Celebrant Members are those individuals who attend the Church, Coven or Circle rituals or other events sponsored by the Church, Coven or Circle, who are at least 18 years of age or older, or under 18 years of age when accompanied by a parent or have expressed, written parental permission, a signed copy of which must be provided to the Church.

4.1.5.1 – Celebrant members are not expected to pay any dues to the Church but donations are accepted.

4.1.5.2 – Celebrant members may petition the Coven members for inclusion in the Church as a General Member.

4.1.6 – SPONSOR MEMBERSHIP – Sponsor Membership is open to individuals and groups who wish to support the Church’s mission statement, but who may not otherwise have the time or interest to actively participate in the obligations and operation of the Church itself.

4.1.6.1 – Sponsor Members may take part in activities of the Church, Coven or Circle, may make recommendations of policy to the Board of Directors and may attend the meetings of the Church.

4.1.6.2 – Sponsor Members may not hold office or hold voting rights.

4.1.7 – HONORARY MEMBERSHIP: On occasion, the Board of Directors may receive a recommendation to bestow an Honorary Membership upon an individual who has shown by word or deed exemplary service in furthering the mission of the Church. Upon approval of the Board of Directors, said individual may take part in activities of the Church, Coven or Circle, may make recommendations of policy to the Board of Directors and may attend the meetings of the Church, but may not have voting rights or hold office.

4.1.8 – ADDITIONAL MEMBERSHIP CLASSES – Additional Classes of Memberships may be formed by the Board of Directors. The requirements for this class and their voting rights will be defined in the by the Board of Directors.

SECTION 4.2 – All persons seeking Membership must apply either with a local Coven or Circle or online at the Church’s web site (http://www.blackberrycircle.org). The Church will accept all applicants without regard to a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin or sexual preference, so long as those applicants seek to further Article 2 of these Bylaws, also known as the Purpose of the Church.

SECTION 4.3 – TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP – Membership in this Church shall be terminated when a member requests termination or transfer, dies, or is removed by a decision of the Board of Directors for violating these Bylaws, the rules of the Coven or Circle or through conduct which may bring shame upon them or the Church.

ARTICLE 5 – MEETINGS

SECTION 5.1 – DEFINITION OF MEETING – A meeting, as it relates to this Church, is a formally arranged gathering of members for the sole purpose of conducting Church business.

SECTION 5.2 – PLACE OF MEETINGS – The Church will have their meetings in a place based on the decision of the Board of Directors and with consideration to the number of members attending the meeting.

SECTION 5.3 – MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS – The annual Membership meeting shall remain consistent following the first Membership meeting on a date approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors meeting shall take place following the membership meeting.

SECTION 5.4 – SPECIAL MEETINGS – Special meetings of the members may be called by the Executive Director, President, the Board of Directors, officer, or on the request of at least ten (10) members having voting rights.

SECTION 5.5 – NOTICE OF MEETING – Notices of meetings will be placed upon the web site of the Church stating the date, time, and place of any meetings of members (other than regularly scheduled Board of Directors meetings) in a location that is easily accessible to all members of the Church. The purpose or purposes of the meeting shall be stated in the notice.

SECTION 5.6 – QUORUM – A total of ten (10) members present at any membership meeting constitutes a quorum for the purposes of this Church.

ARTICLE 6 – BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SECTION 6.1 –  DUTIES – The Board of Directors shall manage the affairs of the Church

SECTION 6.2 – MEMBERS – The initial Board of Directors shall be those persons named as Directors in the Articles of Incorporation. Thereafter, the Directors shall be elected at the annual meeting of the members or appointed by the Board when a vacancy has occurred and there is an immediate need. The Members may, by vote of a majority of the voting membership, elect from time to time additional directors of the Church. Except as hereinafter provided, the Directors shall hold office perpetually until resignation, removal, or vacancy. The Board of Directors shall be composed of Coven Members.

SECTION 6.3 – MEETINGS – The Board of Directors shall meet at least quarterly or as often as there is a need and shall be open to the members of the Church except for executive sessions, held to discuss sensitive issues, which will be closed to the members of the Church. The agendas for all meetings shall be posted ten (10) days prior to the meeting date on the Church’s website.

SECTION 6.4 – SPECIAL MEETINGS – Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by or at the request of the Executive Director, President or any two (2) member of the Board of Directors. The person or persons authorized to call special meetings of the Board must make the meeting in such a place as is accessible to all other Board of Directors and the majority of the membership.

SECTION 6.5 – DURATION OF TERM – The duration of terms of the Board of Directors will be perpetual until resignation, removal, or vacancy.

SECTION 6.6 –  NOMINATIONS AND VOTING – Positions on the Board of Directors will be nominated by and elected by the voting members of the Church and must be Coven Members.

SECTION 6.7 –   QUORUM – A total of fifty one percent of the Board of Directors must be present at any Board meeting to constitute a quorum for the purposes of this Church, but a smaller number may adjourn finally or from time to time without further notice until a quorum is present. If a quorum is present, a majority of the Directors present may take any action on behalf of the Board except to the extent that a larger number is required by law, the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.

SECTION 6.8 –  VACANCIES – Continuing members of the Board of Directors may act despite a vacancy or vacancies in the Board and shall for this purpose be deemed to constitute the full Board. Any vacancy in the Board of Directors, however occurring, including a vacancy resulting from the enlargement of the Board, may be filled by the Directors, unless previously filled by the General Membership in the election of the Board of Directors. Vacancies in any office may be filled by the Board of Directors.

SECTION 6.9 – NO RIGHT TO COMPENSATION – Except by recommendation by the Board of Directors and a majority vote of the General Membership, no Director, staff, member or student may receive salary, payment or be compensated for activities of the Church, unless that compensation is to reimburse personal costs incurred as the result of explicit directions from the Board of Directors or the Church.

SECTION 6.10 – REMOVAL OF DIRECTORS – Directors may be removed from office at any time with or without cause by a majority vote of the Directors then in office or by a majority vote of the General Membership or by decision of the Executive Director.

SECTION 6.11 –  OFFICERS – Officers shall include President, Vice-President, Secretary and a Treasurer. Multiple offices may be held by an individual with consent from the majority of the Directors. Officers shall be elected from current Directors by the Board of Directors at their quarterly meeting. The duties of the Officers shall be directed by the Board of Directors according to the position and the qualifications of the individual. Additional Officers and offices may be formed at the discretion of the Board of Directors as they deem necessary.

6.11.1 – DIRECTORS – The Board of Directors shall be responsible for the general management and supervision of the business and affairs of the Church except with respect to those powers reserved to the Members by law, the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws. The Board of Directors may from time to time, to the extent permitted by law, delegate any of its powers to committees, subject to such limitations as the Board of Directors may impose.

6.11.2 –  PRESIDENT – The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Church and as such shall have charge of the affairs of the Church subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors and shall preside at all meetings at which he or she is present. The President shall also have such other powers and duties as customarily belong to the office of President or as may be designated from time to time by the Board of Directors.

6.11.3 – VICE-PRESIDENT – The Vice-President will assist the President in the affairs of the Church subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors and shall preside at all meetings at which he or she is present in the absence of the President. The Vice-President shall also have such other powers and duties as customarily belong to the office of Vice-President or as may be designated from time to time by the Board of Directors.

6.11.4 – SECRETARY – The Secretary shall record all proceedings of the Members and directors in a book, books, or electronically to be kept therefore.

6.11.5 – TREASURER – The Treasurer shall be the Chief Financial Officer of the Church. The Treasurer shall also have such powers and duties as customarily belong to the office of Treasurer or as may be designated from time to time by the President or the Board of Directors.

SECTION 6.12 – INTERESTED PARTIES – Any member of the Board of Directors who is a member, stockholder, trustee, director, officer or employee of any firm, corporation or association with which the Church contemplates transacting business shall disclose his or her relationship or interest to the other Directors acting upon or in reference to such contract or transaction. No Director so interested shall vote on such contract or transaction, but he or she may be counted for purpose of determining a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of the disinterested Directors shall be required before the Church may enter into such contract or transaction.

SECTION 6.13 – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – The Executive Director is the overseer and visionary of the Church and has the final judgment in the business of the Church. The Executive Director shall comply with the decisions of the Board of Directors or the members unless there is a conflict with Article 2 of these Bylaws, also known as the Purpose of the Church. The Executive Director will be the senior-most Coven Member and an Elder of the Pagan community and will keep the good of the Church in mind in all decisions that are contrary to the decisions of the Board of Directors or members. The Executive Director may hold a position of an Officer of the Church and the term of the Executive Director shall be perpetual until removed by death, retirement, or by a 100% vote of the Board of Directors except for the Executive Director.

ARTICLE 7 – COVENS AND CIRCLES

SECTION 7.1 – A Coven is defined as an individual, group or congregation of Coven Members of the Church who celebrate the Sabbats and rituals separate from the Mother Coven located in Conroe , Texas .

7.1.1 – An individual, group or congregation, one of which is a recognized Coven Member, who wish to obtain a charter as a Coven of the Church may solicit recognition from the Board of Directors. Upon approval by the Board of Directors the Coven may act as a separate, self-ruling group so long as they follow and support these Bylaws and report at least quarterly to the Board of Directors, listing their activities, membership, and any issues they may have.

7.1.2 – A Coven shall have membership consisting of Coven Members, General Members, Student Members and Celebrant Members as recognized by these Bylaws. The coven shall also require dues of those members according to these Bylaws and in an amount approved by the Board of Directors. The Coven may request a different amount for dues if requested from and approved by the Board of Directors.

7.1.3 – The Coven shall pay an annual fee to the Church in order to maintain its affiliation with the Church. The amount of this fee shall be approved by the Board of Directors.

7.1.4 –  Coven affiliation with this Church shall be terminated when a Coven requests termination or transfer or is removed by a decision of the Board of Directors for violating these Bylaws or through conduct which may bring shame upon them or the Church. Upon termination the Coven may not use any name or symbol associated with the Church nor can they reference any association with the Church. The Coven Members that are still in good standing with the Church will not have their membership terminated.

SECTION 7.2 – A Circle is defined as an individual, group or congregation of General Members of the Church who celebrate the Sabbats and rituals separate from the Mother Coven located in Conroe , Texas .

7.2.1 – An individual, group or congregation, one of which is a recognized General Member, who wish to obtain a charter as a Circle of the Church may solicit recognition from the Board of Directors. Upon approval by the Board of Directors the Circle may act as a separate, self-ruling group so long as they follow and support these Bylaws and report at least quarterly to the Board of Directors, listing their activities, membership, and any issues they may have.

7.2.2 – A Circle shall have membership consisting of General Members, Student Members and Celebrant Members as recognized by these Bylaws. The Circle shall also require dues of those members according to these Bylaws and in an amount approved by the Board of Directors. The Circle may request a different amount for dues if requested from and approved by the Board of Directors.

7.2.3 – A Circle may solicit recognition as a Coven of the Church from the Board of Directors upon acceptance of a Coven Member into the Circle or one of the General Members become a Coven Member as defined in these Bylaws.

7.2.4 – The Circle shall pay an annual fee to the Church in order to maintain its affiliation with the Church. The amount of this fee shall be approved by the Board of Directors.

7.2.5 – Circle affiliation with this Church shall be terminated when a Circle requests termination or transfer or is removed by a decision of the Board of Directors for violating these Bylaws or through conduct which may bring shame upon them or the Church. Upon termination the Circle may not use any name or symbol associated with the Church nor can they reference any association with the Church. The General Members who are in good standing with the Church will not have their membership terminated.

ARTICLE 8 – DUES AND FEES

SECTION 8.1 – Dues and fees shall be used by the Church, Coven or Circle to fund the rent of ritual space, the purchase of ritual supplies, to further the purposes as listed in Article 2 of these Bylaws, and the purchase of books or other materials for a library. The Church, Coven or Circle shall insure that an adequate record of monies received and expended on behalf of the Church, Coven or Circle is kept. Any expenditure outside of the regular operating expenses of the Church, Coven or Circle must be approved by the Board of Directors of the Church or the administrators of the Coven or Circle.

8.1.1 – Dues will be required by the Church, Coven or Circle of any member as listed in these Bylaws.

8.1.2 – The amount of any dues or fees shall be determined by the Board of Directors.

8.1.3 – Work trades or scholarships may be considered on a case by case basis upon the approval of the Board of Directors or the administrators of the Coven or Circle.

ARTICLE 9 – INITIATORY DEGREES AND CLERGY

SECTION 9.1 The Church has chosen to adopt the three degrees generally accepted within Wicca. These degrees are an acknowledgment from the Church of study, personal growth, discipline and service to the community. It is the desire of the Church that those who attain these degrees are recognized by the Wiccan and religious communities as individuals who have dedicated themselves their studies and are considered leaders within their field.

SECTION 9.2 – First Degree Initiation designates that the student has completed their studies and have successfully passed a written exam with a minimum of 85%, have successfully demonstrated the generation and control of energy, and have demonstrated leadership abilities either through their work or through ritual.

9.2.1 – Those who wish to take a shortened path to First Degree Initiation and either have previous training or experience can challenge the tests following an induction into the traditions of the Church

9.2.2 –   A First Degree Initiation must be requested by the student to the Elders or Board of Directors.

SECTION 9.3 – Second Degree Initiation designates that the student has completed a minimum of one year of intensive study into a specialty recognized by the Church. The student must exhibit a very thorough working knowledge of their specialty, submit a peer review style paper regarding some aspect of their specialty, and be able to withstand examination by others who are familiar with that specific specialty. This is similar to arguing your dissertation before a board of peers in college.

9.3.1 – In addition to their specialty the Second Degree Initiate must also exhibit further leadership skills through their work within the community and rituals.

9.3.2 – A Second Degree Initiation must be requested by the student to the Elders or Board of Directors.

SECTION 9.4 – Third Degree Initiation designates the student is a leader within the Church, the Craft and the community at large. This degree is not a knowledge based degree per se, but one that is obtained only after invitation by the Elders who have recognized the student has exhibited self realization, self reliance, leadership abilities, and a strong spiritual connection with the Divine. This degree may follow shortly after realization of the Second Degree Initiation or it may be years in the making. It is recognized within the student by the Elders or Board of Directors and it cannot be requested.

SECTION 9.5 – For those who wish to be ordained clergy as recognized by those outside the Church they must attain a minimum of Second Degree as well as further pastoral studies including, but not limited to, philosophy, psychology and counseling, and leadership roles. The student may elect to make pastoral studies their Second Degree specialty but it is not a necessity.

9.5.1 – Those wishing to be recognized as ordained clergy must request recognition by the Board of Directors as well as submitting proof that all requirements have been met. The Board of Directors shall develop a program to bestow ordination upon those who have successfully fulfilled all requirements for ordination.

9.5.2 – Those who have received ordination by the Church shall be authorized to perform legal sacraments such as handfastings (weddings), funerals, Wiccanings, rites of passage and other services as recognized within the pastoral field.

ARTICLE 10 – EXECUTION OF CORPORATION INSTRUMENTS

SECTION 10.1 – All checks, drafts, or other orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the corporation shall be signed by officer or officers, agent or agents of the Church, and in such manner as shall be determined from time to time by resolution of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE 11 – NOTICE AND WAIVER OF NOTICE

SECTION 11.1 – Notice. Whenever any notice is required by these Bylaws to be given, personal notice is not meant unless expressly stated, and any notice so required shall be deemed to be sufficient if given by depositing the same in the United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the person entitled thereto at his or her address as it appears on the records of the Church, and such notice shall be deemed to have been given on the day of such mailing.

SECTION 11.2 – Waiver of Notice. Whenever any notice whatever is required to be given under the provisions of any law, or under the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation of the Church or these Bylaws, a waiver thereof in writing signed by the person or persons entitled to said notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed proper notice.

ARTICLE 12 – AMENDMENT

SECTION 12.1 – These bylaws may be altered, amended or repealed, in whole or in part, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Members present and voting at any meeting, the notice of which contains a statement of the proposed alteration or amendment. The Board of Directors may also make, amend or repeal these bylaws in whole or in part, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Membership entitled to vote thereon. Any amendment, alteration or repeal of a Bylaw by the Board of Directors as provided for in this Article shall be valid and given full force and effect unless and until acted upon by the Membership.