Constitution and Bylaws

Constitution

Article I: Name

The name of the Order shall be known as the “Fellowship of the Phoenix,” henceforth known as the Fellowship.

Article II: Purpose

The Fellowship exists for all LGBTQ+ people in order to provide a religious organization that supports their unique experience.

Article III: Structure

  1. The Fellowship is committed to creating an experience that aids all LGBTQ+ people to achieve the fullness of their divinity.
  2. Those Corporations, known as Temples, that agree to work under the aegis of this Constitution, shall become chapters of the Fellowship of the Phoenix, sharing its tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code and subject to the authority of the Fellowship as a parent corporation. Temples are integral to the achievement of the vision of the Fellowship.
  3. The requirements for application to the Fellowship as a Temple are:
    1. One member who has undergone the Rite of Passage, in good standing, and has attended the Lay Clergy/Administration intensive seminar.
    2. Six other people who have agreed to move forward in the vision of the Fellowship.
    3. Agreement to enact and abide by policies for the establishment of the Temple which may include but is not limited to:
      1. Acquisition of materials needed for the creation of the temple.
      2. Arrangement for qualified members of the organization to aid in the founding of the Temple.
    4. Adoption of this Constitution and Bylaws of the Fellowship.
    5. A majority approval vote from the Council of Elders.
  4. All constituent Temples will be subject to the authorities of the Fellowship in this Constitution.

Article IV: Officers

  1. The Fellowship shall have a Board of Trustees known as the Council of Elders, henceforth known as the Council.
  2. The Council shall make such rules and regulations, as it deems necessary, to govern its meetings at its discretion.
  3. The Council shall have the authority to approve, revoke or censure any Temple, Director and/or Officer of a Temple with a three-quarters vote of the Council.
  4. The Council shall consist of a minimum of seven members and maximum of eight, known as Trustees with the following powers:
    1. The Ombudsman shall be the intercessory representative between the Council and the various Temples. They shall have a term of ten years and are elected in the same manner as the rest of Council. In addition to thier role as Ombudsman, they may also serve in the capacity of one other Trustee, where they would hold all the rights and responsibilities of that office.
    2. The President, henceforth known as the Elder Magister shall be the Chairman of the Council. They shall hold all the powers necessary to direct the Council. They shall have a term of seven years.
    3. The Vice-President, henceforth known as the Elder Guardian shall be the vice-chairman of the Council. They shall fulfill the roles of the Elder Magister in their absence or resignation. They shall have a term of seven years.
    4. The Head of Education, henceforth known as the Elder Herald shall assure that the education of all Temples is thorough and updated. They shall have a term of seven years.
    5. The Head of Admissions, henceforth known as the Elder Warder shall be a member of the Council that ensures that the constituent Temples of the Fellowship abide to the vision of the Fellowship. They shall ensure that the requirements of a new Temple have been satisfied. They shall have a term of three years.
    6. The Treasurer, henceforth known as the Elder Bursar shall have the power to audit financial reports of all Temples within the Fellowship. They shall report to the Council on the financial status of the Fellowship. They shall have a term of three years.
    7. The Secretary, henceforth known as the Elder Scribe shall keep the minutes of all communication of the Council. They shall have a term of three years.
    8. The Head of Security, henceforth known as the Elder Sentinel shall be responsible for the security of the Council and that the constituent Temples are informed of general security issues. They shall have a term of three years.
    9. They shall serve no more than 2 consecutive terms in a single position.
  5. All members of the Council shall perform any other duties or responsibilities as delegated by the Council. All members of the Council may actively participate in any session of a constituent Temple as an ex-officio non-voting member.
  6. An Elder may be removed when sufficient cause exists for such removal. The Council may entertain charges against any Elder. An Elder may be represented by counsel upon any removal hearing. The Council shall adopt rules for such hearings as it considers necessary for the best interests of the Fellowship.
    1. A Council of Guardians for any temple may, by majority vote, initiate a recall vote of any member of the board of trustees. Said recall shall be put to a vote of the active national membership and requires a two-thirds vote in favor of removal. This vote may be taken by any means of presence or tele-presence, including the use of online voting services..
  7. Each temple may elect one nominee for each open position on the Council. The nominees from all Temples shall gather with the current Elders in conclave to appoint and confirm the incoming Council.
    1. Council will notify member Temples at minimum of 12 weeks before any election of new members of the Council.
    2. Temples shall hold votes for nominees at the same time and in the same manner as local council members.
    3. Vacancies in the Council shall be filled by a special election no sooner than 12 weeks after the vacancy has been created and notification of vacancy has been provided to member Temples.
    4. The Term of any Council Member shall be considered to begin in the year of their appointment and end at an electoral conclave at the end of their term

Article V: Meetings

  1. Congress: A Congress shall be held at least once per year. A Congress shall consist of the Council of Elders and the Magisters or appointed delegates of all constituent Temples of the Fellowship.
  2. Emergency Session: The Elder Magister, as necessary, may call an emergency session of the Council. The session may be conducted by any means required to achieve quorum.
  3. Meeting and Congress Methodology.
    1. Quorum will consist of six members of the Council.
    2. Meetings of the Trustees and Congresses can be executed via any means of presence or telepresence.
    3. Executive sessions shall be permitted at all meetings and congresses wherein discussion of confidential matters, exempted from transparency, shall be discussed and executed.
    4. All Meeting Minutes, Agendas, and Decisions of the Congress shall be available to all members in good standing, except such matters discussed in executive session.

Article VI: Amending

The Constitution may be amended by a three-quarter vote of a Congress, where the amendments have been proposed four weeks in advance of that Congress.

Bylaws

Article I: Name and Seal

  1. The name of the Corporation shall be “Fellowship of the Phoenix.”
  2. The Corporation shall have a seal that shall be in the following form: A septagram that contains within it the symbols of a labyrinth, fire, and Phoenix.
  3. The registered address of the Corporation shall be:

PO Box 13352
Chicago, IL 60613-0352

Article II: Mission Statement

The Fellowship of the Phoenix exists as a Neopagan religious order for all LGBTQ+ people, in order to provide a religious organization that supports their unique experience.

Article III: Corporate Purposes

  1. The following are the purposes for which this Corporation has been organized:
    1. The Corporation is formed exclusively as a religious and/or church corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person or persons.
    2. The Corporation has a specific and primary purpose to foster and practice the spiritual and cultural teachings of a Neopagan tradition. The Corporation will hold public religious rituals in the season of the eight Sabbat days of Neopagan tradition, recognize rites of passage, and honor the Divine in its myriad expressions. The Sabbat rituals shall be intended for all LGBTQ+ people. Local Temples may open Sabbat rituals to the general public at their discretion, not to exceed two rituals per year.
    3. The Corporation will provide a context for personal growth and healing in a mutually supportive atmosphere.
    4. The Corporation shall have power to authorize, bestow, convey, grant, issue or revoke certificates, charters, degrees, credentials, diplomas, franchises, licenses, memberships, or ordinations through the Corporation, or any subsidiary corporation created by this Corporation, including cemeteries.
    5. The Corporation shall have power to publicize, publish, promote, celebrate, teach, research, and explore any and all material that may bear upon its beliefs, philosophies, theology, and religious history, ancient or modern.
    6. The Corporation shall have the power to apply for and receive grants, accept bequests and to establish and maintain an endowment fund.
    7. The Corporation shall have the power to own property, for the purpose of carrying out the above.
    8. The Corporation shall cause its membership to be taught the beliefs and skills of the Fellowship of the Phoenix.
    9. The Corporation shall honor the Earth and its creatures as sacred. It shall work to protect and heal the environment, conserve natural resources and influence positive conscious decisions in its members’ everyday lives.
    10. The Corporation shall practice community outreach and, where appropriate, educate the general public about the roles of gay, bisexual and transgender men in Neopagan spirituality.
    11. The Corporation will work to nurture the creation of art, literature, music, and ritual.
    12. The Corporation will work to communicate with others on kindred spiritual paths.
    13. The Corporation will provide training and ordination of those candidates deemed qualified who seek to become clergy through its established seminary.
    14. The Corporation shall conduct its activities in accordance with Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
    15. Notwithstanding the above statements of purpose and powers, the Corporation shall not engage in activities that are not in and of themselves a furtherance of the purposes set forth in this Article.
  2. Commitment: All members of the Corporation shall pledge themselves to these purposes in their beliefs, their activities, and their lives.

Article IV: Pecuniary Gain

  1. No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its Trustees, Directors, Officers, members, or other private persons, except that the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article III hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distribution of statements) on behalf of any candidate for public office.
  2. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

Article V: Duration

The period of duration of this Corporation shall be perpetual.

Article VI: Indemnification of Officers and Directors

  1. The Corporation shall indemnify the Trustees, Directors, Officers, members, employees, or volunteers who are sued for actions done in good faith for the benefit of the Corporation and in the performances of their duties. This shall not cover criminal actions that result from unlawful conduct.
  2. Indemnification may be covered through the purchase of insurance or by any means the Corporation chooses.

Article VII: Salaries

The Board of Directors shall hire and fix the compensation of any and all employees that they, at their discretion, determine to be necessary for the conduct of the business of the Corporation.

Article VIII: Personal Liability

  1. Upon the dissolution of the Corporation, the Board of Directors and/or Officers, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all the liabilities of the Corporation, shall liquidate all remaining assets. The remaining Corporation properties and assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Said distribution shall be in keeping within a basic harmony of the purposes of the Corporation.
  2. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the Corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are operated exclusively for such purpose.
  3. The Trustees, Directors, Officers, and members of the Corporation shall have no personal liability for the debts of the Corporation.

Article IX: Capital Stock

The Corporation shall have no capital stock and shall have no authority to issue shares.

Article X: Membership

  1. Members
    1. Membership in the Order is open to any self-identified LGBTQ+ person aged 18 years or older. No person shall be denied membership on the basis of race, ethnic background, religion, physical handicap, or age (except as noted above).
    2. Those individuals who have undergone the Rite of Passage, work to achieve the purposes of the Corporation, and are current in the payment of their pledges to one of the Fellowship’s chapters (known as “Temples”) shall be considered in good standing unless otherwise denoted, and hereinafter referred to as “member(s).”
    3. Members who are unable to participate in the work of a local Temple for reasons of distance are referred to as “at-large” members and are considered direct members of the national organization.
    4. The at-large members of the Corporation shall be obligated to honor their financial commitment to the Corporation in the form of pledges. The Elder Bursar will make public a schedule of suggested pledges for at-large members as agreed upon by the Elder Council and recorded in the Corporation’s procedural documentation.
    5. Participation in the Fellowship will not be denied due to lack of funds. Any member wishing to maintain their good standing may make arrangements with the Elder Bursar to do so.
    6. Application to membership may be offered to any individual based upon recommendation by any two members. Election to membership shall be carried out at the next monthly meeting where membership shall be confirmed by vote of those members present. The “nay” vote of three or more members shall instill discussion of the candidate. A secondary vote with a remaining three or more “nay” votes shall disallow candidate membership. Those members who voted “nay,” shall inform the candidate of the denial for membership. Denied applicants may reapply for membership after a period of three years. Membership is conferred by the Rite of Passage and payment of pledges. Members may attend all membership meetings of the Corporation and may participate fully in the decision making process of the Corporation.
  2. Mentors
    1. Those at-large members in good standing who have completed the extant core curriculum of the National Temple, as defined in the appropriate policies and procedures, are eligible to apply for the title of Mentor. Their application will be supplied to the membership via the Council of Elders and voted on in the same manner as an application to general membership.
    2. Mentors may be granted a license of lay clergy, subject to approval from the Council of Elders, allowing them to officiate rites of passage, such as marriages or funerals, with legal authority. Mentors are not ordained, may not engage in pastoral counseling, and may not represent themselves as members of the Clergy.
  3. Clergy
    1. The body of Clergy shall consist of those individuals who have successfully completed the Fellowship’s seminary as approved by the Elder Herald, gained approval from the Elder Council in accordance with that body’s policies and procedures, and successfully passed through the rite of ordination. They shall be conferred with lineage as well as the rights, responsibilities and powers of the clergy including, but not limited to: rites of passage, including weddings and funerals, and the practice of pastoral counseling. Clergy shall be responsible for fulfilling the legal obligations of those functions as deemed by the laws in their place of residence.
    2. Clergy exist as spiritual guides for members and seekers and any authority held by our clergy is granted through the consent and Will of the Temple in accordance with Article III, Section 11 of these bylaws.
    3. The relationship between an individual, local clergyperson and a local Temple is limited by these Bylaws, the policies and procedures of that Temple, and any further mutual agreements between the Temple and the clergyperson.
    4. Our clergy are expected to be honest, to abide by the law (except in cases of certain “victimless crimes” or civil disobedience), to respect the rights and privacy of others, to maintain a professional profile while “on duty,” and to respect certain sexual taboos placed upon virtually all professionals in our society, rules which have been instituted for the protection of the client.
    5. Therefore, clergy will refrain from engaging in sexual activities with their temple “clients” when acting in the following capacities: mentor, healer, therapist, or divinatory counselor. (The above restrictions do not apply to sexual relationships that existed prior to the onset of the professional relationship.)
    6. We accept that we are all adults and capable of making our own choices; however, exercising discernment in any sexual interlude between clergy and other members is advised.
  4. Terms of Membership
    1. The passing of more than 90 days from an at-large member fulfilling their pledge, without sufficient arrangements with the Elder Bursar to delay or waive that pledge, shall constitute a discontinuity of membership and cause the loss of all membership privileges, which includes, but is not limited to: the right to stand for election, to hold any office in the Corporation or any of its Committees, the loss of all voting privileges, and access to any documentation reserved solely for the use of members.
    2. Upon the recommendation of the Elder Warder and/or Council of Elders, the members of the Council may terminate a membership for reasons it deems justified, including but not limited to: failure to meet financial obligations, conduct unbecoming a member while participating in an official event or when acting as an agent of the Corporation, or any conduct that fails to abide by national, state and local law, the Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and Bylaws of the Corporation.
      1. The Elder Scribe shall attempt to convey notice of proceedings for termination to the member through a good faith effort using methods including but not limited to: mail, hand-delivery, or email, no less than one week prior to the meeting. Termination of membership must be approved by two-thirds vote of the Council.
    3. Former members may reapply for membership after a period of 3 years. Requirements for reapplication shall be the same as for new members as defined by the local temple. Former members wishing to reapply must contact the local Warder before attending any events.
    4. No member of the Corporation shall present himself as an official representative of the Corporation to any member or representative of the media, local, state or national authorities unless they are authorized to do so by the President or Board of Directors; nor shall any member of the Corporation use the name or seal of the Corporation for any purpose, business or otherwise, unless specifically authorized to do so by the President or Board of Directors.

Article XI: Voting

  1. At all meetings, except for the election of Directors and Officers, all votes shall be by voice.
  2. At any meeting, if a majority so requires, any question may be voted upon by the use of roll call or ballots including the use of electronic services.

Article XII: Committees

  1. The Magister shall appoint or remove, or cause the Council to appoint or remove, such standing committees as are deemed necessary for the efficient operation of the Corporation. All committees, boards, and bureaus shall be appointed to serve until a particular project is completed. There shall be no limit to the number of annual terms to which a member of a committee, board, or bureau may be re-appointed.
  2. The Magister, or in their absence the Guardian, shall be an ex-officio member of all committees, boards, and bureaus.
  3. Each standing committee shall have a Chairperson. Committee Chairpersons’ functions include, but are not limited to:
    1. Informing the Board and membership about the ongoing work of the committee, its goals, projects and accomplishments.
    2. Effectively and efficiently using membership material, funds, and human resources in implementing projects authorized by the Board of Directors.
    3. Ensuring that the work of their committee reflects the appropriate image, quality and serves the strategic needs of the membership as directed by the Board of Directors.
  4. The Chairperson of all committees, boards, and bureaus shall represent their respective committees, boards, or bureaus at meetings of the Council when requested to attend by the Council. The Magister has the power to remove or reappoint any Chairperson as deemed necessary.

Article XIII: Ethics

  1. Every member shall keep confidential the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and places of employment of other members, except where expressed permission has been given to publicize said information; or in such a case as a person is deemed to be a public threat (in which case confidential information may only be revealed to those authorities under whose jurisdiction the matter of conduct falls.)
  2. It shall be the custom of this tradition to work robed or clothed at any public ritual. Private rituals may be conducted skyclad at the discretion of the individual persons involved.
  3. No un-prescribed controlled substances shall be permitted during any public ritual.
  4. Manipulation or coercion of a sexual nature will not be tolerated in Fellowship rituals.
  5. At NO TIME shall firearms or explosives be brought to or used during an official ritual.
  6. It is in the tradition of the Fellowship of the Phoenix to induce altered states of consciousness through meditation, chanting, drumming and other legal means. While psychoactive substances of various sorts have been used by traditional societies for this purpose, only legal psychoactive substances are permitted at events.
  7. The Corporation will not tolerate bigotry, slander, perjury, or other forms of harassment leveled against but not limited to our members or against other members of the gay, bisexual, transgender, or pagan communities.
  8. Members shall abide by their initiatory oaths and shall respect the confidentiality of any oath bound material from either this tradition or another.

Article XVI: Tithes

Temples recognized as chapters of the Fellowship of the Phoenix, shall be obligated to honor their financial commitment to the Corporation in the form of tithes of not less than $12 per year per active member of the Temple. Upon installation a Temple will be exempt from tithes for a period of not less than three years.

Article XV: Amendments

These Bylaws may be altered, amended, repealed or added to by an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the Council of Elders and Magisters of local temples at any Congress where quorum has been achieved and the amendment is on the agenda and previously posted two weeks in advance for review.