SISTERSPIRIT BYLAWS Name and Core Statements: The Name of this Oregon non-profit organization shall be “SisterSpirit.” SisterSpirit was formed in December of 1985 to create a place where women of all spiritual backgrounds and traditions can celebrate our spirituality. We are a positive path organization. We are making safe space, women’s space. We are reclaiming our spiritual traditions from patriarchal guilt and fear. Through female imagery, we are transforming ourselves. We are building bridges between our traditions and seeking the common ground we share. We are creating a truly personal faith. Our beliefs have been shaped by our experiences, by what is real and true for us as women. We honor our own truths and we affirm each other, learn from each other, and celebrate together. We are a women’s spiritual community. We invite all women to join us. SisterSpirit’s purpose: To create a place where women of all spiritual backgrounds and traditions can celebrate women’s spirituality. Through female imagery, we celebrate our connection with Nature. We come together to explore our own spirits, and to learn, grow and expand to fully realize the divinity within. Short Description: SisterSpirit is a women’s circle celebrating the Goddess and Nature through female imagery in many traditions. Organizational StructureCoordinating Council – the Coordinating Council (heretofore to be known as the Council of SisterSpirit): Delegates responsibility for planning and implementing SisterSpirit activities, including, but not limited to, monthly celebrations, small groups, other holiday celebrations and special events, workshops, classes and networking. Meets monthly, usually during the first week of each month, to facilitate on-going operations, and annually near the beginning of the calendar year (and, if needed, also in the fall) to facilitate growth and reorganization of SisterSpirit. Council meetings are open to other SisterSpirit members and participants, and to other women at Council discretion, and by invitation of the Council. Other meetings may be held as needed. Is responsible to facilitate networking with other positive-path spiritual and secular organizations. Reaches decisions by consensus, or by quorum if consensus is not reasonably forthcoming. Telephone and/or email votes may be taken in an emergency, but must include all Council members, and must be affirmed by [quorum] vote at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting. Majority plus one vote must result from such decisions for any change in operations, bylaws or policies and procedures to be passed. SisterSpirit Council models non-hierarchical power /decision-making. Coordinating Council Election ProceduresAn annual membership meeting shall be held to introduce and affirm Council members. A Council member’s regular term of office will be two years, with terms overlapping to assure continuity of old and new Council members. Any Council member may continue to serve as long as she is willing and is reappointed by the Council and reconfirmed by the voting membership of SisterSpirit at the annual membership meeting. Appointment of an interim member of the CouncilThe existing Council will approve names for appointees to fill Council vacancies during the year. An interim appointee is eligible to apply for a council position when her interim appointment ends. Leave of absence is permitted to a Council member if the need arises. She will be asked to give written notice to the Clerk stating her need for a leave and giving the length of time she needs to be absent. This action is to be ratified by vote of the next meeting of the Council. Resignation of any Council member before expiration of her term should be by written notice to the Clerk. Qualifications for Council affiliation: 1. Any active member involved in SisterSpirit for at least a year and a daymay serve on the Council. 2. Every effort will be made to be inclusive of diversity, especially as to differences in spirituality, ability, age, class, race, sexual orientation, and other relevant areas where discrimination is historically a problem. a. Council members will be selected by virtue of qualifications, interest and willingness to serve. A potential applicant must be willing to involve herself in the Council’s workload. This is not a “prestige” position, but a working position.She must be willing to commit time and effort, including regular Attendance at meetings and celebrations, and to carry outagreed-upon responsibilities. She agrees to read, sign and abide by the Pledge of Responsibility, and to support the SisterSpirit Statement of Purpose and Bylaws. The Pledge will be administered at the next regular Celebration.
SisterSpirit Pledge of Responsibility I pledge loyalty to SisterSpirit and the principles embodied in its Statement of Purpose, in service of that which I hold sacred. I agree to mediation if needed in the case of unresolved disagreements which affect the group, and agree to abide by the rules of consensus. I take responsibility for my own actions, and if I decide to leave SisterSpirit, I will leave in good will. May The Goddess (fill in if a specific name) be my witness to this promise and aid me in honoring my pledge. Removal of an active Council member my happen for the following reasons: Violation of the Statement of Purpose and/or the Pledge of Responsibility.Inability or unwillingness to carry out the duties of Council, or continualabdication of responsibility. Missing three (3) or more meetings in a year without making contact with at least one other member of the Council before the meeting. Six absences in one year will be grounds for removal.Theft or mishandling of SisterSpirit funds or property. Any Council member practicing repetitive and unapologetic misuse of power in opposition to the non-hierarchical model will be removedfrom the Council. Officers of SisterSpiritThe Officers of SisterSpirit shall include Coordinator and Coordinating Council, whose members shall be a Clerk, a Treasurer, and others as needed. Selection and/or Removal of CoordinatorSelection or removal of the SisterSpirit Coordinator shall be bySisterSpirit, according to the process outlined in SisterSpirit’s Standard Operating Procedures.
Participation and MembershipParticipation in SisterSpirit events and activities is open to all women and children, unless otherwise stated. Women are defined as those who have lived as women for at least a year and are comfortable as women among women. Male children are welcome to attend through age twelve (12). Men are welcome by invitation at special events, open workshops and at co-sponsored, on-going special celebrations, classes and services, as well as regularly scheduled programs that include male and/or female participation. SisterSpirit’s office, public service materials and lending library are open to both genders, and to people of all races, classes, lifestyles and abilities. Every effort will be made to ensure that SisterSpirit’s events are accessible. MembershipAny woman who participates in SisterSpirit events and activities andagrees to abide by the Statement of Purpose may request membership in SisterSpirit, complete a membership application, and either pay the annual membership fee or commit to a regular Faery Godmother pledge. She may then be recognized as a fully participating member.For those who request it, a Ceremony of Membership will be performed in a regularly-scheduled Celebration at least two times per year, and at other times as requested. Removal of members: If a member refuses to abide by the requirements of membership, or behaves in such a way as to threaten the health, safety and dignity of any other SisterSpirit participant, she may be removed from membership. Using any item as a weapon in a threatening posture, and with the intent or applied intent to commit or claim acceptability of violence is unacceptable and grounds for removal of membership. Suspension of membership does not remove membership, but implies removal to be the next step if the offending member does not correct her offensive behavior. Suspension may include a plan for rehabilitation or referral to counseling, or other means for corrective assistance. Suspension in general means no participation in a SisterSpirit event for a year and a day, unless otherwise decided by the Council. None of this policy is retroactive. Procedures for dealing with actions of removal will be outlined in SisterSpirit’s Standard Operating Procedures. Capricious and/or vindictive misuse of this policy for reasons of personal gain or personality conflict will result in the offending complainant, herself, being placed under suspension. A Council member who commits such behavior will be placed on administrative leave from this body until she corrects, and apologizes for, said behavior. Abusive and deliberately disruptive behavior on the part of a visitor or guest at a SisterSpirit event will result in the removal of the offending party. Women who are serving as representatives of SisterSpirit must be members; they must sign and abide by the Pledge of Responsibility. 5. Leadership, Education, and Clergy Credentials: SisterSpirit leadership is available to all members. No special training or credentials are necessary to lead circles or serve in other leadership roles. SisterSpirit may hold classes and workshops to share knowledge. SisterSpirit may confer clergy credentials on those who need them in their work for the Goddess and the community. VI. Bylaw Changes Changes in the SisterSpirit bylaws may only be made by a consensus agreement (or by a 2/3 majority if consensus is not reasonably forthcoming) of the Council. Initial Bylaws adoption, March 6, 1991 1st Revision, December 4, 1991 2nd Revision, February 6, 1996 3rd Revision, February 25, 1996 4th Revision, January, 1999 5th Revision, February 8, 2003 6th Revision, August 6, 2003 7th Revision, October 1, 2003 8th Revision, March 2, 2005 9th Revision, March 7, 2008 10th Revision, February 21, 2009 11th Revision, February 26, 2012 12th Revision, February 2017 13th Revision, Mar. 4, 2017