First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Cohasset is a self-governing entity and the authority of the church comes from the members of the congregation. The congregation meets at least once a year, usually in the Spring, to vote on a budget, elect members to our governing board, called the Parish Committee (link to elected leaders), and to debate and resolve other issues of church business.
The governance of the church is guided by a set of bylaws which can from time to time be amended by the members at meetings called for that purpose. The bylaws provide for a Parish Committee to oversee the day to day operation of the church and other standing committees to handle specific functions. They also articulate, among other things, the procedure for admitting voting members to the congregation, control expenditures from some of our endowed funds, and provide the procedure for selecting and calling a minister.
As a congregation governed church, Unitarian Universalist churches select and call their own ministers when a vacancy occurs. A Ministerial Search Committee is elected by the members of the congregation and tasked to seek out and recommend to the parish membership a candidate for minister. A candidate will hold a Ministerial Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and will be recommended by that organization. A minister is elected by a vote of at least 90% of the congregation.
First Parish in Cohasset is a member of the Northeast District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), located in Boston, Massachusetts. The UUA is an organization of over one thousand congregations who are committed to the seven principals, (link) that include the worth of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs. Our congregation, like other UU congregations, acts independently of the UUA in most matters while looking to the organization for administrative support, benefit programs for our professional personnel, and the opportunity to share our spiritual experience and thoughts with other congregations.