The Network of Religious Communities is a consolidation and expansion of the former Buffalo Area Council of Churches (1854) and the Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries (1975). Members include denominations/faith coordinating bodies, religious organizations and congregations serving Western New York and the Niagara Peninsula of Southern Ontario, Canada. Individuals supportive of the mission and purpose of the Network may become an auxiliary members.
The Network is a forum providing opportunities for cooperative ventures, the strengthening of our religious communities and the betterment of the community as a whole. Religious communities are encouraged to develop links with similar faith communities for cooperative programming, the sharing of resources and mutual support. (See Mission and Purpose) The core belief and integrity of all religious communities are respected in all policy statements issued and actions taken in the name of the Network. Participants in the Network are never expected to compromise their belief; rather to dialogue with persons from other faith communities from a perspective of humility and mutual respect.
The Network of Religious Communities is organized under a General Assembly. Each member organization is entitled to appoint one delegate to the meeting of the General Assembly. The responsibilities of the General Assembly include:
- election of a President and Treasurer;
- election of five trustees;
- election of particular congregations and religious organizations represented on the Board of Governors;
- adoption of an annual budget;
- approve all amendments to the bylaws; and
- receiving of reports regarding the operation and financing of the Network.
Standing committees of the General Assembly include:
- Committee on Interreligious Concerns, with responsibility for (i) encouraging communication, understanding and cooperation between religious communities and (ii) addressing interreligious concerns;
- Committee on Christian Concerns, with responsibility with responsibility (i) for addressing and facilitating concerns, activities and events which are specific to the Christian community and give expression to the Christian commitment to the oneness of the body of Christ and (ii) if desired by the Protestant Christian community, for providing a framework within the Network for them to function together as a particular community of faith;
- Committee on Communications with responsibility for (i) considering and addressing issues related to the public media, (ii) advising and making recommendations to the Network regarding its internal and external communications, (iii) advising and making recommendations to the Network regarding its public relations, (iv) cataloguing religious programming broadcast over the public media serving our region, and (v) advising, overseeing and making recommendations regarding the public broadcast programs of the Network. There are also standing committees on Membership and Nominations.
- Membership: Receive and review applications for membership and auxiliary membership in the Network and recommend action to the Board of Governors with respect to all such applications.
- Nominations: Present to the General Assembly nominees for (i) President of the Network, (ii) Treasurer of the Network, (iii) delegates to the Board of Governors from congregations and religious organizations, and (iv) the Trustee members of the Board of Governors. It is the intent of these Bylaws that the composition of the Committee on Nominations and the nominees selected by the committee shall, insofar as is reasonably practicable, reflect the religious, geographic, and racial ethnic diversity of the Network.
Board Of Governors
The Board of Governors is responsible for carrying out the mission and purpose of the Network of Religious Communities between meeting of the General Assembly. The responsibilities of the Board of Governors include:
- reflecting together generally concerning religious issues and concerns relating to the community and develop and initiate policies for the Network to address those concerns;
- developing membership standards and determine expected financial support by members and auxiliary members;
- engaging in medium and long range planning for the Network;
- developing and maintaining structures, policies and programs to address interreligious concerns, Christians' concerns, and the concerns of other religious or faith communities as requested;
- establishing working relationships with organizations other than religious organizations which subscribe to the mission statement and purposes of the Network;
- approving any sale or lease of the property of the Network and authorizing any expenditure of funds for the care and preservation of the property which exceeds the amount budgeted; recommending an annual budget to the General Assembly;
- hiring and dismissing the executive director; and
- approving personnel policy and position descriptions for all employees of the Network.
Membership of the Board of Governors includes:
- all denominations/faith coordinating bodies belonging to the Network;
- religious organizations equal to the number of denominations;
- congregations equal to the number of denominations; and five trustees.
Currently the Board of Governors meets from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. during the months of January, March, May, June, September, October and November. Committees of the Board of Governors include:
- Trustees, responsible for the stewardship of the physical property of the Network;
- Program Committee, responsible for the programs and operation of the Network; Public Issues Committee, responsible for facilitating cooperation and dialogue among members groups and the community at large regarding public issues of concern to the members;
- Personnel Committee, responsible for developing personnel policies and position descriptions and addressing personnel grievances; and Executive Committee, responsible for developing the agenda for meeting of the Board of Governors and supervising the work of the Executive Director.
- Finance: (i) Develop annual budget for Board of Governors, (ii) monitor budget approved by the General Assembly, (iii) plan andconduct annual financial campaign.
- Riefler: (i) Read proposals submitted to the Network for funding through the Riefler Fund, (ii) recommend projects to be funded through the Riefler Fund, (iii) review the Riefler Application Form and process, making recommendation to the Board of Governors.