top of page

Sacred Bridges Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
First Unitarian Church of Des Moines
Chapter Bylaws 


These Bylaws utilize “Earth-centered spirituality” to refer to a wide-variety of beliefs, perspectives, paths, practices, and philosophies that include, but aren’t limited to, Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidry, Heathenry, Animism, Shamanism, New Age, Polytheism, Pantheism, Monism, et. al.



In accordance with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as expressed in Article II of the laws of the UUA, and the Bylaws of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), we, as interested members, join in association to encourage and support Earth-centered spirituality and its exploration in a safe and open environment.

Article 1 — Name and Affiliation 

  1. The Chapter name shall be “Sacred Bridges” appending affiliation with larger CUUPS association. 

    1. Full: “Sacred Bridges: A Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans”.

    2. Abbreviated: “Sacred Bridges CUUPS”. 

  2. The Chapter is a part of the Congregation of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa (UCDSM). 

  3. The Chapter supports the purposes of CUUPS, UCDSM, and UUA, in equal measure and without undue preference. 

Article 2 — Mission Statement

The chapter is formed for the following purposes: 

  1. Providing an open, accepting environment for the exploration of Earth-centered spirituality while upholding the UU principles throughout our endeavors. 

  2. Providing an environment that is conducive to spiritual growth, exploration, and education to those who practice or believe in an Earth-centered path.

  3. Enabling networking, communication, and community among those who identify with or share belief in Earth-centered spirituality. 

  4. Increasing awareness and understanding about Earth-centered spirituality within the Congregation and community.

  5.  Educating the wider community who practice or believe in Earth-centered spirituality about Unitarian Universalism. 

  6. Encouraging creative, Earth-conscious ritual, rite, and observance in UU worship and celebrations both within the Congregation and community. 

  7. Promoting the practice and understanding of Earth-centered spirituality within the Unitarian Universalist Association. 

  8. Promoting and facilitating interfaith dialog between UU communities, Earth-centered spirituality communities, and others

  9. Providing educational materials on Earth-centered spirituality for UU congregations and the general public. 

  10. Providing a place or places for gathering and events. 

  11. Fostering healing relationships with the Earth and all of Earth's children. 

Article 3 — Chapter Membership

  1. Chapter members are individuals who have formally joined the Chapter. 

  2. The requirements of membership are: 

    1.  Annual dues set by chapter counsel. 

    2.  Reasonable performance of the responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws. 

    3.  Minimum age of membership is the same age required by UCDSM for membership of the Congregation.

  3. The responsibilities of membership are: 

    1.  Abiding by the principles of the UUA, UCDSM, and CUUPS. 

    2.  Proper conduct appropriate to situation and context. 

  4. The benefits of membership are: 

    1.  Formal recognition as a member of the Chapter. 

    2.  Voting rights at Chapter meetings, should votes occur. 

    3.  Eligibility to be elected or appointed to Chapter positions should any other requirements be met. 

    4.  Any rights and privileges afforded to members in these Bylaws. 

  5. Members will be considered lapsed if they have not paid their annual dues by the annual renewal deadline date. Lapsed members are ineligible to vote and hold position in the chapter until they are current. 

  6. Members may resign, in writing (email allowed), at any time, to the chapter counsel. 

  7. Members are encouraged, but not required, to join a UU congregation and/or the CUUPS national organization, except for Council members who may have additional requirements for their positions. 

Article 4 — Participation

  1. Chapter events, such as classes and rituals, will be open, public events — that is, open to both chapter members, the UCDSM Congregation, other congregations, and the community at-large, except upon decision of the Council and/or members for good and just cause. 

  2. Chapter business meetings must be public and cannot be closed. Council-only meetings shall take place as prescribed in Article 6. 

  3. Participants, regardless of affiliation, should abide by the principles of the UUA, UCDSM, and CUUPS. 

  4. 4. Chapter events may be reasonably limited, for good and just cause, in the following ways, with the agreement of the Council and/or members: 

    1.  Maximum attendance due to space, material, or management 

    2.  Minimum attendee age, not to exceed 18 years of age 

    3.  Material and service fees for event participation to cover only necessary costs 

  5. Individual participation of unaccompanied minors less than 18 years of age will follow in accordance with UCDSM policy. 

Article 5 — Business

1. A simple majority of attending members shall be the primary method of decision-making of the Chapter, unless a formal vote is necessary or required. 

2. Formal Votes

A. A formal vote shall be required in the following conditions:

 i. Amendments and revisions to these Bylaws, as set forth in Article 11 

 ii. Yearly and special elections of Council members, as set forth in Article 6, even if a candidate is running unopposed. 

 iii. Vacating of a Council member’s position, as set forth in Article 6. 

 iv. Any major issue otherwise decided to merit a vote as determined by the Council or membership. 

B. Formal votes shall be subject to the following conditions: 

 i. One member, one vote. 

 ii. Secret vote 

 iii. Absentee voting, in writing (including email), is permitted. 

 iv. Proxy voting is prohibited. 

 v. For mixed virtual/in-person business meetings, absentee voting rules apply to members not physically present at the meeting. 

vi. For votes in which there are more than just two options or choices, the following conditions apply: 


 a. The majority of the Council shall agree upon the options to present to the membership. 

B. Runoff voting will apply if no one party receives a majority vote in the first round. 

C. If there is not a simple majority on the third round vote all parties will be required to advocate their position prior to a runoff. 

vii. Council members may vote, as any other member, except when there exists a significant conflict of interest, in which case they must recuse themselves. 


C. Procedure of formal votes: 

 i. All formal votes shall be formally announced at least two weeks prior to the business meeting where the vote will be held. It is recommended that the Council make the formal announcement at the business meeting the month prior to the vote, if possible. Announcement shall be by the Chapter email list and the Chapter social media pages and groups. 

     ii. At least a week prior to the vote, the Recorder / Recording Officer/Functionary shall furnish a list of members eligible to vote to the counsel. 

Iii. At a business meeting in which a formal vote will be held Robert's rules of order will be followed by the Administrative Officer or their designee. 

3. Business Meetings 

A. Regular business meetings shall be held monthly. 

B. Business meetings shall be subject to the following conditions: 

 i. An agenda for the monthly business meeting will be posted at least seven days prior to the meeting. 

 ii. The Recorder / Recording Officer shall take minutes of each meeting. 

 iii. Information about business meetings will be distributed to the membership via the Chapter email list and Chapter social media pages and groups. 

C. The Annual Meeting will be held no more frequently than once every 12 months at the same time of the regular business meeting for that month. 

D. The Annual Meeting will be subject to the same conditions as regular business meetings and the following: 

 i. Annual Meetings will be the venue in which all Council positions of the Chapter will be elected for their annual term, except under circumstances of special elections to fill the remainder of a yearly term left to a vacant position per the procedure in Article 6. 

 ii. Annual Meetings will be announced at least two months in advance by the Chapter Council. 

E. The default and regular location for all meetings is UCDSM and will be so, except upon agreement of the Council or membership. 

Article 6 — Chapter Council and Governance

  1. The Chapter shall have a Council consisting of Functionaries and Councillors. 

  2.  The Council shall formally be named as the “Sacred Bridges Council”. 

  3. The Council shall be the primary operating apparatus of the Chapter as per the duties of each role outlined in these Bylaws and any that may be as required by UCDSM, CUUPS national,and governing bodies. 

  4.  All members of the Council must be current chapter members prior to their election to their position and maintain that membership during their tenure. 

  5. The Chapter may appoint Councilors as prescribed in Article 6§3 who shall be non voting members of the counsel except in the instance they are appointed as acting functionaries. 

  6.  All Functionary positions will be elected yearly for one-year terms, except in case of a special election due to vacant position, in which such special electee fulfills the remainder of the yearly term of said position. 

  7.  All Councilor positions will be reappointed by the Council and reconfirmed by membership after the annual meeting. 


 8. Functionary members may meet separately from business meetings on their own accord provided that the meetings have minutes recorded and published in the same manner as regular meetings unless it violates a members right to privacy. 

Section 1 — Functionary Roles 

9. The primary organization and leadership of the Chapter and Council shall be five elected Functionaries: 

 A. Administrative Officer 

 B. Recorder 

 C. Communicator

 D. Librarian 

 E. Ritualist 

10. Only the Administrative Officer is required to meet the requirements outlined in Article 6§1(11)(c). Other Functionaries are encouraged to meet them, and are required to, if they wish to claim the title of “Officer”. It is preferred, if possible, to have all five Functionaries meet the Officer criteria, especially CUUPS national membership. 

11. Functionaries and Councilors have the following requirements:

 A. Current chapter membership, as outlined by Article 3. 

 B. No previous removal from position by Council and/or membership for negligence of duties. 

 C. To claim and utilize the title of “Officer”, a Functionary must: 

 i. Have CUUPs national membership, or the willingness to obtain such within 30 days of being elected. 

 ii. Be a member of the UCDSM or global UU/CLF. 

12. Functionaries shall attend all business meetings they are able to attend with due consideration given to individual circumstances. 

Section 2 — Duties and Responsibilities of Functionary Roles 

13. The following duties and responsibilities shall be shared equally by all Functionaries and Officers: 

 A. Proper representation of the Chapter to both the public and membership. 

B. Proper stewardship of Chapter resources, including UCDSM resources, grounds, facilities, and assets. 

 C. Planning for the present and future of the Chapter. 

14. The following duties and responsibilities shall be shared jointly by the Recorder/Recording Officer and the Librarian / Library Officer: 

  1.  Maintain the Chapter membership roster and collect the annual dues or other related fees thereof. 

  2.  Collect registration fees and any other monies or donations paid to the chapter, and deposit timely and intact with the DFA of UCDSM. 

  3.  Monitor all income and expenses for budget purposes during the year.

 15. Administrative Officer 

A. Shall be the liaison between the CUUPS chapter and the UCDSM administration. 

 B. Shall ensure that facilities are reserved or supplies are obtained as needed

for Chapter events and functions.

C. Shall manage and set the calendar of events for the Chapter and relay such events to UCDSM calendar management individual(s).

D. Shall lead and serve as chairperson of the Chapter Council and primary facilitator of business meetings. 

E. Shall submit Chapter yearly budget requests to the DFA of UCDSM. 

F. Shall work with the Minister(s) of UCDSM to address the spiritual needs of Earth-centered spirituality and its practitioners within UCDSM, including Sunday services. 

G. Shall act as a bridge, networking with other Functionaries, Councilors, and committees to effect the needs, desires, and goals of the Chapter.

H. Shall perform an oversight function on the Chapter and its activities.

16. Communicator / Communications Officer 

 A. Shall facilitate and organize the Communications Committee, should it exist. 

 B. Shall perform directly, jointly with the Communications Committee, or delegate to the Committee the following: 

 i. Promote membership in the congregation and community through networking, internet, and social media. 

 ii. Post and maintain social media websites regarding events, including posting photos from past events on our social media page and websites. 

 iii. Be responsible for updating the Chapter calendars online after receiving the calendar set by the Administrative Officer. 

 C. Post and connect other events outside of Sacred Bridges that may be of interest to members, such as Pagan Pride, and metaphysical fairs, as well as events posted by other regional CUUPS chapters, covens, and local pagan related businesses. 

 D. Be in charge of marketing and publicizing events for the chapter, including that events are advertised in a timely manner in the UCDSM staff.

 E. Be responsible for maintaining a supply of literature at the Church welcome table, and at select local businesses or institutions friendly to Earth centered spiritual views. 

 F. Shall be responsible for entering new email contacts from event sign-up sheets into the Chapter email address book/mailing list. 

17. Recorder / Recording Officer 

 A. Shall record meeting notes and attendance at all business, Council, or other formal meetings.

 B. Shall maintain a public archive of meeting notes and distribute requests for copies and in accordance with these Bylaws.

 C. Shall assist in tracking membership and attendance at rituals, business meetings, classes, etc. 

 D. Shall set up and maintain a publicly-available archive of ritual scripts, outlines, related advertisements, documents, or marketing graphics. 

 E. Shall assist the Librarian / Library Officer as needed. 


18. Librarian / Library Officer 

 A. Shall serve as trustee and organizer for physical assets which are property of the Chapter. 

 B. Shall manage and organize the Chapter closet within UCDSM and any other Chapter storage spaces created, assigned, or necessary. 

 C. Shall create or maintain an online list and ledger of physical and digital assets owned by or licensed to the Chapter. 

 D. Shall facilitate Chapter members borrowing (“checking-out”) assets for Chapter functions, noting such, and ensuring returns. 

 E. Shall, for expendable assets, note the decrease in inventory and forward such to the Administrative Officer for potential replenishment order. 

 F Shall assist the Recorder / Recording Officer as needed. 


19. Ritualist / Ritual Officer 

 A. Shall be the facilitator, organizer, and chairperson of the Events and Rituals Committee, should it exist, and affect the Committee’s duties and responsibilities. 

 B. Shall, in the absence of others who have volunteered to do so, facilitate and organize Chapter rituals. 

 C. Shall, if it is requested, write or assist in writing Chapter rituals, and work with the Recorder / Recording Officer who maintains the archive of past ritual material. 

 D. Shall be reasonably available to assist any Chapter ritual or event for setup, cleanup, or other functional purposes. 

Section 3 — Councilors 

20. Councilors are appointed and confirmed Council members with defined roles, duties, and functions which shall be known as a Commission. 

21. The scope of the Commissions may be the Chapter itself, Community, or other as determined by the Council, but may not usurp the enumerated duties and responsibilities of Functionaries and Officers. 

22. The process for the appointment of Councilors is: 

 A. First, the Council shall determine the necessity of a Councilor appointment. Finding necessity, the Council shall determine the role needed, discuss member prospect(s) for the appointment, and vote on offering the Commission to the prospect. 

 B. Second, upon a majority vote of the Council to offer the Commission, the Council will contact the prospective Councilor and offer them the Commission. 

 C. Third, if the prospective Councilor agrees to the Commission, a formal vote will be held to confirm them in their position at the soonest business meeting allowable per Article 5. 

Section 4 — Absence, Resignation, and Vacating 

23. Council members may resign, in writing, at any time. The role and position possessed by that member will be automatically vacated upon resignation. 

24. Council members who need to take an extended, reasonable absence from their position may resume their duties upon return,with the following provision and restriction: 

 A. The Council may decide to reapportion duties during reasonable absence to 

other Council members or Commission a Councilor to act as a temporary, acting Functionary. 

 B. If a Council member does not reasonably resume duty after their absence, the Council may vote to administratively vacate the role. 

25. Council members accused of negligence in their duties or responsibilities may be removed from the Council by two methods: 


 A. A majority or tie vote of the Council to remove the Council member, which will then be subject to a formal vote of membership. Upon a simple majority of membership confirming the Council’s removal vote, the position will be vacated. 

 B. A specific vote of no confidence in a Council member originating from members outside the Council, which must be announced and seconded at the business meeting prior to the one in which the formal vote takes place. Upon two-thirds majority of membership voting for removal, the position will be vacated. 

26. Council positions vacated outside the yearly election period shall be subject to the following criteria regarding filling of those positions: 

 A. Functionary positions outlined in these Bylaws shall be filled by special election if four months or more of the yearly term remains. 

 B. If less than four months remains in the yearly term, the Council may choose to reapportion duties among existing Council members or Commission a Councilor to act as a temporary, acting Functionary. 

 C. The Council may, but is not required to, offer the Commission of a former Councilor to a new member. 

 D. Vacant positions shall not be filled with any member who has resigned from the Council within the past year. 

Article 7 — Committees 

 1. The Chapter may form committees for the purpose of organization. 

2. Committees may either be standing (permanent) or ad hoc (temporary, specific). 

3. Ad hoc committees shall dissolve after their mandate for creation, as set by the Council or membership, is fulfilled, except in the case the committee is made standing. 

4. A functioning ad hoc committee may be converted into a standing committee by affirmative vote of the majority of the Council or membership. 

5. Committees must: 

 1. Have a facilitator or chairperson for the committee. 

 2. Keep proper minutes of official meetings of the committee and submit such to the Recorder / Recording Officer.


Article 8 — Finances 

1. The chapter shall be funded through the following sources: 

 A. Annual Member Dues. 

2. Dues may be increased from the minimum amount with agreement of Council and vote of the membership. 

3. Annual dues are collected 30 days prior to the Annual meeting. 

 4. Any new member who joins later in the Chapter’s business year will pay a prorated due as determined by the Council not to exceed annual dues. 

 5. Any lapsed as defined in Article 3.5, members must pay full annual dues in order to be considered an active member. 

 6. A current, lapsed member , as defined in Article 3.5, or prospective member may have their dues waived due to financial need or circumstances upon affirmative vote of the majority of the Council. 


 2. Free-will donation 

 1. Any member, associate, or private citizen may willingly make free-will donations of currency or property to the Chapter, provided it is both legal and in accordance with UCDSM bylaws and policy. 

 3. Fundraising events 

 1. The Chapter may have fundraising events with prior approval of the Council. 

 2. Any fundraising must follow any applicable laws, statutes, and the UCDSM Fundraising policy. 

3. The Chapter Council is responsible for preparing and submitting a budget to the DFA of UCDSM for consideration by UCDSM Staff and Management. 

4. The Chapter shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for: 

 1. Services rendered (e.g. catering, rental of spaces and facilities, entertainment, special guests, etc.) 

 2. Supplies (e.g. foodstuffs, non-alcoholic beverages, cutlery, craft supplies, firewood, etc.) 

 3. To make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article 2. 

4. The Chapter shall be authorized to allocate and empowered to pay the following administrative membership fees: 

 1. CUUPs national annual chapter dues (for the Chapter itself).

 2. CUUPs national individual membership for Functionaries, as a rebate, not to exceed five (5) memberships per year, with agreement of the membership. 

Article 9 — Assets 

1. Financial Assets are managed and controlled by the UCDSM Congregation primarily, with the assistance of the Chapter Council.

 2. Material Property is controlled by the Chapter, with primary responsibilities thereof outlined in Article 6. 

3. Upon dissolution of the chapter, all assets remaining after payment of debts and liabilities shall become property of UCDSM. 

Article 10 — Restrictions and Exclusions 

1. The Chapter shall not perform any initiations for any specific belief system, spiritual tradition, philosophy, or affiliation, with the exception it may welcome and honor new Chapter members in a general way. 

2. Membership in or participation with the Chapter does not preclude individuals from also being members of outside traditions, including initiatory practices and affiliations provided that it does not conflict with UUA, UCDSM and CUUPS policies and principles.


3. No member, affiliate, participant, representative, or leader of the Chapter, its Council, any committees, subgroups, or organizational derivatives thereof shall contact or interview with any press or media sources (television,radio, print, including their digital extensions). Such requests should be referred to the Minister of UCDSM, who is the spokesperson for all UCDSM activities, or, in the case of Minister vacancy, the UCDSM Staff. 

4. The Chapter shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by the following legal statutes: 

 1. By an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future tax code.

 2. By an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future tax codes. 

Article 11 — Amendments to these Bylaws

1. Proposed amendments to the Bylaws will be submitted to the Council in writing (including email).

2. If at least two Council members agree that the proposal should be considered, it will then be placed on the agenda for the soonest feasible Chapter business meeting for discussion. 

3. If the discussion meeting does not result in the proposing member rescinding their proposed amendment, it will then be given a formal vote at the soonest feasible Chapter business meeting pursuant to the Bylaws. 

4. The Council will provide members with the relevant written text of both the current Bylaws and all proposed changes, at least 14 days before the meeting in which proposed amendments are to be voted on.

 5. Motions to amend the proposed amendments are allowed from the floor. 

6. Amendments to the Bylaws will be adopted after ratification by affirmative formal vote pursuant to Article 5 during a scheduled business meeting of the Chapter. 

7. If an amendment to the Bylaws is ratified, the Council shall notify all members of the update to the Bylaws and provide the updated text thereof.

bottom of page