Although Salem’s history goes all the way back to 1839—when the church was founded—the Salem Home-Coming Association itself was organized in 1920. That’s when attendance was dwindling, but members and friends wanted to keep alive the traditions of the Old Salem Church, so they decided to form a group to host a celebration once a year.
The Association adopted its By-Laws in 1927. They have not been amended once in the 89 years since. Two years ago, Salem realized it needed to file for 501(c)(3) status, which required submitting the organizations bylaws. Needing to update By-Laws language anyway to meet IRS requirements, Salem membership asked the By-Laws Committee to take a look at the whole document and recommend changes.
After 2 years of review, and thanks to the hard work of several dedicated Salem members (Jan Davis, Shirley Longnaker, Ann Makin, Bill McHenry, and John Rhoades), the By-Laws Committee plans to ask for the membership’s approval of several amendments to the organization’s By-Laws at this year’s Business Meeting. These changes will incorporate many necessary updates including language that helps Salem’s operations and satisfies our non-profit status requirements.
Click on the links below to find 3 versions of the By-Laws:
- The original By-Laws adopted in 1927
- The marked-up document with proposed amendments
- The final amended By-Laws, if all proposed changes are accepted in 2016
There are a few points worth explaining. First and foremost, Salem is an institution of tradition.The By-Laws Committee takes that very seriously. So, when they decided to take on the task of reviewing the Association’s Bylaws, adopted in nearly 100 years ago, they carefully considered any changes and needed good, sound reasoning for whatever changes they propose.
That said, the Committee also wanted to imbue a bit more of the Welsh culture into the organization. Thus, when the committee made adjustments to the document’s governance language to meet practical needs, they also incorporated a new Welsh word to refer to the Association’s board: Gwarcheidwaid, Welsh for ‘Keepers, Guardians, Warders,’ pronounced ‘gʊərḵˈādwˈīd’.
In keeping with the spirit of promoting history and the Welsh culture, the committee also came across an objective of the organization that is listed in the Association’s charter, but somehow never made it into the By-Laws. So, under Article II, Objects, Section 1, we added a fifth object of the Association in language borrowed directly from our founding charter:
To serve as a Literary and Library Association whereby the knowledge of Literature, secular as well as religious, may be advanced, and the traditions and memory of the Salem Calvinistic Methodist Church may be preserved and perpetuated.
There are several other changes, such as job descriptions for each of the Association’s officers and dissolution language required by the IRS. But reviewing the document yourself is probably the best way to gain a proper understanding of the changes being proposed.
The Association plans to vote on these recommended changes at the Business Meeting at this year’s Home-Coming. There will also be paper copies at the meeting for you to review.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here, or email us.