Auckland Unitarian Church has called an SGM (Special General Meeting) to be held on
28th October 2018 at 12pm Noon
(after Sunday service) for members to vote on issues that would affect the community.
If you are unable to attend but wish to make sure your vote is counted – please fill in the Proxy via EMail Form – https://aucklandunitarian.org.nz/proxy-voting-form/ (copy this url if you having trouble with the link)
A proxy form allows a voting member to give another voting member the right to cast your vote on the day.
All Proxy forms must be submitted by 12pm Noon on Sat 27th 2018.
There are two remits submitted to be voted at the 2018 SGM .
Remit 1: That the Auckland Unitarian Church remove the annual minimum membership donation as a requirement to be a voting member.
This was first raised first raised at the AGM of 21 May 2017. At that AGM the then chair of the Management Committee (MC) reported that the MC had passed a motion that a working group be established to explore modifying the requirement for voting membership at formal church meetings to be dependent upon the payment of a minimum annual membership donation.
At the 2018 AGM in June the then chair of the MC explained that such a working group led by David Rohe had been formed and had undertaken some consultation. However, the working group was not yet in a position to make any firm recommendations to the AGM on the issue. Therefore the Management Committee recommended that the annual membership donation for the 2018/2019 financial year remain at $132. This was approved by all members present at the AGM with the exception of one who opposed it.
Since the AGM the MC has invited input on the issue by way of written submissions, including seeking a submission from the Finance Committee. Written information has been circulated in a special email message as well as within the newsletter sent to all members and friends just over a week ago. Also, a discussion meeting was held at the church on Sunday 21 October.
Remit 2: That the current wording of Rule 4.1 Annual General Meeting be deleted and the following wording substituted;
The end of the financial year shall be the 31st of March and an Annual General Meeting of the members shall be held each year in the second week of May, or on the nearest convenient date thereto, to recieve reports from the Mangement Committee and Treasurer, to elect the new Management Committee and officers, to appoint two auditiors, to set the minimum annual membership donation for the current financial year, and to transact such other business as may arise.
The second remit was submitted by Gary Bendall who, along with David Fougere, has been responsible for ensuring the most up-to-date Rules of the Church are submitted as required to the relevant government agencies, including Charities Services. Hard copies of the current rules (dated 31 August 2014) are available at this meeting. Please see detail below.
Minimum Annual Membership Donation (MAMD): Background for Discussion Meeting
The Auckland Unitarian Church Management Committee has been reviewing the current minimum annual membership donation policy.
Remits to keep or abolish the MAMD will be presented to members at an SGM held Sunday 28th October 2018. This notice is to present both sides of the MAMD discussion so that members can make a well-informed vote at our SGM.
Management Committee wish to hear from all sides and invites the congregation to attend the discussion meeting on Sunday 21st October 2018 or if you wish to do so email the Management Committee with your views via the form at the bottom of this page.
If you unable to attend the SGM on the day but wish to make sure your vote is counted – please fill in a Proxy form (Paper Form / EMail Form). A proxy form allows a voting member to give another member the right to cast your vote, for you on the day of the SGM. You can hand in your Proxy form to the Management Committee/ Treasurer.
All proxy forms must be in to the Treasurer by 12pm Noon Saturday 27th October.
Our current policy
Membership of the Auckland Unitarian Church is open to those who affirm and promote the Principles of Unitarianism. Becoming a member reflects your commitment to Unitarianism in New Zealand and also enables you to have a voice in formal church decisions.
The requirements for church membership are prescribed by the Rules for the Conduct of Proceedings of the Auckland Unitarian Church (the Rules). To be able to vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Special General Meeting (SGM), you must be approved as a member of the church by the Management Committee and have donated the minimum membership donation, which currently is $132 per year. This amount (which, according to the Rules, is decided at each Annual General Meeting) covers what it costs the congregation to register each member each year with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Australian New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association (ANZUUA). It also contributes to “keeping the lights on”.
All members, not just voting members, can have their say, participate in the running of the Church and join church activities. However, if they wish to take part at formal church meetings (SGMs and the AGM) and vote on remits, then they need to be a voting member.
Why abolish the current minimum annual membership donation (MAMD)?
Auckland Unitarian Church is an inclusive community, based on a collective search for meaning and truth. The Management Committee believes that membership of such a community should depend on more than a financial transaction. Belonging is a matter of engagement. To reduce the rights of full membership to a financial transaction devalues it.
We understand the need to protect the church assets. For newcomers to have voting rights, we would expect them to be engaged with the community for six months before they become members. That gives them time to get to know us and see if they truly want to join. Membership would still be approved by the Management Committee.
Those who are engaged with the community will realise that the church has financial needs. Their contribution will be a matter of conscience and ability to pay. Guidelines can be offered, but membership should not be dependent on this. Commitment can be measured in more than dollars.
Why retain our current minimum annual membership donation (MAMD)?
Auckland Unitarian Church was formally founded in 1898 and has a long history in New Zealand. In 1899 membership of the church required payment of a subscription, and a member had to belong for at least 1 year to be considered eligible for voting. The amount and the length of membership has varied throughout the years until present times; however, paying a church subscription, or minimum annual membership donation (as it is now known to enable a tax refund of 1/3 this amount), has always been part of the established church organisation and prescribed by the Rules.
One part of ensuring our church’s long term viability and sustainability is making sure that voting members have a financial commitment to the organisation, to complement their other forms of commitment. Any change to the existing policy of eligibility to vote at AGMs and SGMs is significant, and will involve a formal change to the Rules and notification to the Companies Office and Charities Services.
Unlike other churches in New Zealand, our church has no ‘parent’ body to provide financial assistance or prevent another group who have no investment in the church in taking over governance of the church, including its assets. Such a takeover occurred in the Sydney Unitarian Church, which resulted in the sale of the church building.
A minimum annual membership donation makes clear to all that there are minimum costs that our organisation carries for each member. We also place a high value on respect for all persons, which carries over to fairness in our dealings, and a reasonable sharing/spreading of the costs (both time and money) of having an organisation like ours.
To ensure that all members who wish to become voting members and have difficulty meeting the cost of the Minimum Annual Membership Donation are able to do so, the Finance Committee recommends that the Members Assistance Fund should be reinstated, and, at the discretion of the Minister and/or Church Treasurer, be used on a confidential basis to subsidise that member.