General Terms of Reference for the Council

For purposes of this document, the term Church refers to the Congregation of Parkdale United Church.


Responsible to the Congregation, the Church Council is the decision-making authority of the Church. The purpose of the Council is to lead the congregation in the fulfillment of the Vision and Mission of the Church. The Council oversees all activities of the Church in a manner values. It is structured so as to represent a broad range of Church interests and to facilitate communication within the Church. The Council is responsible, along with the Committees of the Church, and with the support of itsmembership, for:

  • the spiritual well-being of the Congregation,
  • the management of the Church’s financial affairs, and
  • the administration of the Church’s property.

All of the Committees and groups of the Church are accountable to the Church Council for their activities.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The primary responsibilities of the Church Council (as reflected in the United Church Manual), are:

  • To oversee the spiritual interests as well as the temporal and financial affairs of the Church.
  • To oversee the outreach of the Congregation in evangelism and social action.
  • To act as the Court of the Pastoral Charge, receiving and judging petitions and appeals from the Congregation, and submitting them to the Presbytery as appropriate.
  • To oversee the work of the Church’s Committees and groups by:
  • Providing guidance and assistance as required;
  • Fostering communication between the Church’s Committees and groups and the Congregation;
  • Ensuring that all Committees and groups have adequate members and resources and are fulfilling their mandates;
  • Receiving, reviewing, and acting upon reports and decisions from Committees and groups.

Council Membership:

Formal Committees are represented directly on the Church Council. The Council includes elected and ex officio members, all of whom are entitled to vote on Council issues. (Ex officio members are included by virtue of another position that they hold within the church.) Elected members of Council must be members of Parkdale United Church.

The elected members are:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Representatives to Presbytery
  • Committee Chairs
  • Two members-at-large from the Congregation

The ex officio members are:

  • Ministry Personnel
  • Past Chair of Council

Other working groups and task forces have access to the Council through Members-at-Large and/or through Committee Chairs. Individuals or groups of individuals wishing to undertake new initiatives to extend the work of Parkdale may seek approval by submitting a request to Council in the form set out in Appendix E. Upon approval by the Council, the group will assume responsibility for delivery of the planned initiative.


The Church Council shall conduct a minimum of four meetings each year. Any interested member or adherent of Parkdale may attend Council meetings as an observer, but voting is limited to the Council members. Council meetings will be announced to the congregation in advance via the regular church worship bulletins. Meeting outcomes will be communicated to the Congregation.


Quorum shall be 50% + 1 of Council members, including either a member of the Church’s Ministry Personnel or, when the Church is without a permanent minister, an appointee by Presbytery. Quorums for each Committee will be determined by the Committee unless dictated by The Manual of The United Church of Canada.

Elections and Term of Office:

Election to the Council shall be made at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Congregation and be for a term of two years. Members are eligible for reelection at the end of their term. If an elected member of Council resigns in mid-term, the Council may appoint a replacement to serve until the next AGM. If a Council position remains vacant following the AGM, the Council may fill it when an appropriate candidate is found. Changes to Council membership will be communicated to the Congregation in a timely manner. Approval of membership changes will be sought at the following AGM. Likewise, members of the Property Trustees and Finance Committee will be elected at the AGM for two year terms. Vacancies in these Committees may also be filled in the manner described above. As the Manual of the United Church of Canada stipulates a maximum of 15 Trustees, they will be assigned as follows:

  • A maximum of 12 Trustees will serve as members of the Property Trustees
  • A minimum of 3 Trustees will serve as members of the Finance Committee

(designated as Financial Trustees).


The Council may determine that the number or mandate of formal Committees or Council Members may require changes. Minor or routine changes to the Council structure will be approved by a vote of the Council and be in effect until the following AGM at which time the amended Council structure will be presented to the Congregation for approval. However, in cases where a Council Member feels that proposed changes to the Council structure are substantial, s/he may bring a motion to Council that the changes need to be approved by the Congregation prior to the next AGM. If this motion is approved, the Chair will call a meeting of the Congregation with at least thirty days notice. This will be announced via the Church worship bulletin. Two-thirds of the eligible voters in attendance are required to approve changes to the Constitution.