The Bylaws of Charter Oak Grove, ADF

Article I Grove Name, Mission, and Nature

Section 1: Legal Name

The legal name of this chartered Grove of the national organization, Ár nDraíocht Féin, A Druid Fellowship, Inc. (ADF) shall be Charter Oak Grove, ADF hereinafter referred to as “the Grove” or “Charter Oak”.

Section 2: Mission Statement

To serve the spiritual and intellectual needs of the Connecticut, southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southeastern New York community through open and inclusive public Druidic ritual, religious support of the community in a Druidic way,  and fostering and promoting community for Pagans in the Southern New England area, regardless of path or tradition.

Section 3: Non-Profit Nature of the Organization

Charter Oak Grove, ADF is organized exclusively for charitable religious, educational and scientific purposes including for such purposes the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)3 of the Interval Revenue Code or a corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, directors, officers, 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 I of these by-laws.

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 (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of these by-laws, this Corporation shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of this Corporation.

Upon the dissolution of this Corporation, the officers shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities of the Corporation, dispose of all the assets of the Corporation exclusively for the purposes of the Corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for Neopagan religious, educational or charitable purposes as shall at that time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as revised (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the officers shall determine.

Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the Corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such Neopagan organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

Article II: Required Grove Duties

Section 1

A) As per ADF governing documents, the Grove shall have the following required duties:

a) Conduct organizational meetings once per month

b) Complete at least one community service project per quarter

c) Hold eight (8) High Day rites per year that are open and inclusive of the public

d) File quarterly reports to the Mother Grove of ADF.

Article III: Conduct and Discrimination

Section 1: Discrimination Policy

  1. Membership and office in the Grove and attendance at public or semi-public Grove activities shall not be denied to any person on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual or affectional orientation, gender status or identity, military status, disability, location, employment, family status, or personal spiritual belief or path, provided that the individual is willing to participate in Grove activities in a polite and non-judgmental fashion.
  2.  Proven communication or behavior of a racist, sexist, homophobic, heterophobic or otherwise bigoted manner directed towards either an individual or a group shall be grounds for punitive action by the Grove Officers, including, but not limited to suspension, expulsion, and banning from the Grove and all Grove activities.

a) General statements of criticism or personal opinion are permissible and encouraged when offered in a non-hostile or non-destructive manner.

Section 2: Conduct and Comportment

A) All Charter Oak rituals and meetings shall be drug free events.

B) Discreet use of alcoholic beverages is permitted provided their use does not violate Federal, State, or Local laws.

C) Charter Oak reserves the right to exclude from any Grove activity anyone whose presence creates a disruptive or hostile environment at that activity.

D) Repeated disruptive conduct by a Grove member may result in membership being revoked.

Section 3: Accessibility Policy

So that Charter Oak events shall be accessible to everyone, reasonable accommodations shall be given to anyone who requests them.  “Reasonability” of accommodations shall be determined by the Senior Druid on a case by case basis.  Any accommodations given to Grove Officers must not interfere with the duties of their office, unless those duties have been previously delegated to another Grove member.

Article IV: Membership

Section 1: Eligibility

A) Membership in Charter Oak is open to any individual in compliance with Article III.

B) No person under the age of 18 years shall become a member of Charter Oak without having submitted the Charter Oak Grove “Minor’s Membership Application” that includes a notarized parental signature.

a) A notarized parental signature is not required if the minor’s ADF application includes a notarized signature.

b) At least one parent or legal guardian of said minor must either attend one High Day ritual or have a conference with the Senior Druid or a member of the Council of Priests.

c) Charter Oak reserves the right to withhold membership from minors at its discretion.

d) Should membership be granted, the minor will be held to the same standards of conduct and comportment as all other Grove members.

Section 2: Categories of Membership

A) Friend of the Grove

a) A Friend of the Grove is defined as a person who is current with their Grove dues, has attended at least one High Day ritual, and has been voted in as a Friend of the Grove.

b) Friends of the Grove may take part in public, semi-public, and private activities of the Grove but are ineligible to vote in Grove elections.

c) Friends of the Grove have a voice at all meetings and events.

d) Friends of the Grove are not required to become Grove Members at any time.

e) Becoming a Friend of the Grove

i) Any person may apply to become a Friend of the Grove upon meeting the requirements in this Article by stating their intent to join the Grove at any organizational meeting.

ii) A simple majority of voting Grove Members present can approve, reject, or table the request. In the event of a tie vote, the vote is tabled until the next organizational meeting.

iii) Friend of the Grove benefits will begin when dues are received.

B) Grove Member

a) A Grove Member is defined as a person who has been a Friend of the Grove for six months, is current with their Grove dues, has attended at least 4 Grove functions, as outlined below, and been voted in to Grove Membership. The Grove functions must consist of at least:

i) 1 Business Meeting in six month period either in person or on-line, and

ii) 2 Rituals in a six month period.

Other events such as festival attendance with the Grove, Grove Socials, Charter Oak Day, Pagan Pride Day, and Community Service Days can also count towards meeting the four functions requirement.

b) Grove Members shall be members of ADF International.

c) All Grove members are entitled to vote in Grove elections.

d) Nomination and Application for member status

i) A Friend of the Grove, meeting the requirements listed in this Article, may apply to become a Grove Member at any organizational meeting.

ii) An active Grove Member may sponsor the candidate, who has met the requirements listed in this Article, for membership at any organizational meeting.

iii)   A simple majority of voting Grove Members present can approve, reject, or table the request.

iv)  In the event of a tie vote, the vote is tabled until the next organizational meeting.

v)   Benefits of Membership will begin as soon as dues are received. If dues are paid prior to the membership vote, then the member’s join date will be the date of the vote. If dues are paid after the vote date, then the member’s join date will be the date the dues are received.

Section 3: Dues

A) The amount of annual dues is set by the Executive Committee.

B) Dues shall be payable in quarterly or yearly installments.

C) New and existing Charter Oak members with financial hardship may apply to be granted a waiver of dues payment for one year of a new or renewal membership, with a limit of three consecutive years per member.

a) To apply for a new or renewal membership dues waiver, applicants should contact the Senior Druid detailing their hardship. The Senior Druid will present the application to the Executive Committee for a vote in a private meeting, and will then notify the applicant of the results.

Section 4: Revocation or Resignation of Membership

A) Any Grove Member or Friend of the Grove may have their membership in Charter Oak revoked for theft of Grove funds or properties.

B) Membership may be revoked for actions disruptive to the Grove, in accordance with Article III.

a) When a member is under consideration for membership revocation, the member will be notified in writing by the Executive Committee, and will be given an opportunity to defend their actions to the Executive Committee or resign.

b) If the member does not resign, the matter will be voted upon by the Executive Committee at a private meeting thirty (30) days after notice is given.

C) Membership may be revoked by petition of 2/3rds of the voting Grove members.

D) Any Grove member may resign their membership at any time.

a) The Grove member should inform the Charter Oak Senior Druid in writing of their intent to resign, so that their name may be removed from the membership roster and any applicable mailing lists.

E) Membership dues will not be refunded to revoked or resigned members.

Section 5: Inactive Members

A) Members will be considered inactive if they fail to attend two high day rituals and at least two other grove activities within a six month period of time.

B) Upon becoming inactive within the Grove, the member shall lose all voting rights until active status is reinstated.

C) At such point that an inactive member is no longer current with Grove dues, they shall no longer be considered members of the Grove.

D) A Grove Member may become active again by attending a High Day ritual and one other grove activity in one quarter.

E) Members who have been inactive for more than six months must request reactivation by a simple majority vote at a business meeting

F) Members may choose to go on sabbatical at any time with prior approval of the Executive Committee. During this time, dues and attendance requirements may be waived.

G) Members may choose to return from Grove Member status to Friend of the Grove status at any time. If they wish to become Grove Members again, the process detailed in Article IV Section 2B (d) must be repeated. The Executive Committee has the power to determine how membership will be counted for voting purposes in these situations.

Section 6: Lapsed Members

A) Members shall be considered lapsed if they fail to pay dues in full for two successive quarters.

B) Upon becoming lapsed status within the Grove, the member shall lose all voting rights until active status is reinstated through becoming current with dues.

C) At such point that a lapsed member has not attended ritual for two quarters, they shall no longer be considered members of the Grove.

D) Lapsed members who wish to rejoin the Grove are responsible for paying back dues as well, which shall not exceed two quarters of dues.

Section 7: Free Association and Confidentiality

A) Membership in Charter Oak is completely voluntary and confidential.

B) No member’s name, address, phone number, or any other identifying information may be released to any person or organization outside the Grove (excepting ADF) without their express written consent, subpoena by an authorized local, state, or federal court in the course of a criminal investigation or trial not withstanding.

C) Members of Charter Oak may belong to any other civic, fraternal, or religious organization or club that they may wish to join, except as prohibited by ADF’s governing documents.

Article V: Officers

Section 1: Offices

The elected Offices of the Grove shall be Senior Druid, Scribe, and Pursewarden and shall compose the Executive Committee

Section 2: Eligibility and Terms of Office

A) Any Grove member that is current and active within the grove shall be considered eligible for office

B) Specific offices may have additional eligibility requirements, as provided for in Article V, Sections 3-5.

C) All officers shall serve for a period of one (1) year, which shall begin on the day of the Grove’s Samhain ritual

D) No individual may serve in the same office for more than three (3) consecutive terms unless there are no other valid nominations

Section 3: Senior Druid

A) The Senior Druid shall:

a) Coordinate all Grove rituals

i) The Senior Druid shall select an Officiant for each High Day no less than six (6) weeks prior to the scheduled rite.

b) Chair all Grove organizational meetings

c) Represent the Grove at any religious or secular function or in any public media article or interview

d) Mediate any disputes between Grove members, Officers, or Committees

e) Prepare and submit the Grove Quarterly Report to the Mother Grove of ADF.

f) Appoint chairs to any standing or ad hoc committees

B) As necessary, the Senior Druid may delegate these responsibilities to other Grove members.

C) It shall be required that candidates for Senior Druid must have completed their ADF Dedicant Path documentation or currently working on their ADF Dedicant Path documentation and have it complete within their first term.

a) If a currently serving Senior Druid does not complete their ADF Dedicant Path Documentation within their first term they shall be ineligible to again run for the office of Senior Druid until it is complete.

Section 4: Scribe

A) The Scribe shall:

a) Write, maintain, and present accurate minutes and attendance records of the Grove meetings

b) Oversee the election process for all Grove Offices

c) Attend all Grove organizational meetings

d) Keep accurate attendance records for all Grove meetings

e) Maintain an accurate Active and Inactive Membership Roster of all Charter Oak members

f) Oversee all official grove communications

g) Coordinate quarterly community service project

h) Prepare and submit a quarterly activities report to the Senior Druid.

i) Maintain the Grove website and e-mail lists

j) Promote all Public Rites

B) As necessary, the Scribe may delegate any of these responsibilities to other Grove members.

Section 5: Pursewarden

A) The Pursewarden shall:

a) Maintain and present an accurate ledger of the Grove’s financial records

b) Attend all Grove organizational meetings

c) Open and/or maintain a Grove checking account in the name of Charter Oak

d) Oversee all fund-raising activities

e) Maintain accurate records of all dues and donations for Charter Oak with receipts given for same

f) Prepare and submit quarterly Grove Financial Report to the Senior Druid.

g) Conduct business meetings in the absence of the Senior Druid

h) Collect all Grove Dues, Fees, and other Revenues and deposit the same into the Grove Checking Account

i) Secure meeting space adequate to meet the needs of the Grove

B) As necessary, the Pursewarden may delegate these responsibilities to other Grove members.

Section 6: The Election of Officers

A) Nominations for Grove Officers will be compiled by the Grove Scribe.

a) Nominations shall open no earlier than August 15th of each year.

b) Grove members who wish to make a nomination must notify the Scribe no later than one week prior to the Fall Equinox ritual.

c) The Scribe shall solicit acceptance from each Nominee before placing that Nominee on the ballot, excepting in the case of self-nomination, where acceptance is implicit.

B) Elections will be held each year at the Annual Meeting of the Grove.

C) The number of votes per voting member shall be one (1) vote for Grove members with one (1) year or less Grove membership, two (2) votes for members with two (2) years of Grove membership, and three (3) votes for three (3) or more years of Grove membership.

a) In no case shall any member have more than three (3) votes.

b) Votes may be cast by proxy through a Grove Officer or may be cast electronically (when available) or in writing.

D) Offices are transferred from the acting Grove Officers to the newly elected Grove Officers at the annual Samhain ritual.

Section 7: Vacancy

A) In the event a Grove Officer resigns or is removed from office prior to the end of his/her term, a replacement Officer will be appointed by the Executive Committee.

B) Appointed Grove Officers must meet all eligibility requirements listed in this article.

a) The term of office resulting from this appointment shall expire on the same date as the terms of office for the other elected offices.

Section 8: Removal and Resignation of Officers

A) Any officer deemed to be unsatisfactorily fulfilling his/her responsibilities as described in this Article, Sections 3-5 may be removed from office by the general membership.

a) Officers shall be notified in writing by the Executive Committee of such lapse.

b) The officer in question will be given 14 days with which to defend their actions

c) If at the end of these 14 days the Executive Committee has not received and adequate defense the officer in question will be then given a warning and thirty (30) days during which to rectify the situation.

d) If at the end of those thirty (30) days, there is no improvement the Executive Committee may request the resignation of the Officer.

e) If the Officer chooses not to resign, the Executive Committee may institute another thirty (30) day evaluation.

f) If at the end of this second evaluation, there is still no improvement in performance, the Officer will be forced to resign his/her position.

g) Members may also present to the Executive Committee a petition signed by 2/3rds of the Members, if they believe an Officer’s performance in service of the Grove to be unsatisfactory.

h) If the Executive Committee believes these claims to have merit, they shall begin proceedings to remove said Officer as outlined above.

B) Any Grove Officer who resigns from office must submit in writing a formal resignation from his/her position to the Executive Committee and the Administrator of ADF.

Article VI: Committees, Subgroups, and Guilds

Section 1: Executive Committee

A) The Executive Committee shall:

a) Be comprised of all elected Grove officers, in accordance with Article V, Section 1.

b) Meet as required for the proper conduct of business

i) Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to all Friends and Members of the grove unless otherwise permitted by these bylaws.

c) Conduct an Annual Meeting of the Grove, to be held between October 1 and 31

d) Act on behalf of the Grove in all matters decided by the Grove

e) Annually audit the financial records of the Grove

f) Have the authority to authorize single expenditures from the treasury under $100.00

g) Ensure that all offices are run in accordance with the Bylaws; and that the officers carry out their duties in accordance with these bylaws

h) Report to the general membership all decisions made by the Committee

Section 2: Council of Priests

A) The council of priests shall:

a) Be comprised of all Grove members who have received ordination from ADF.

i) The chair of the council of priests shall be appointed by the Senior Druid

b) Provide guidance on ritual writing and execution

c) Provide individualized attention to spiritual matters for Grove members and the community at large

i) Spiritual attention to the community at large will be offered at the discretion of the individual Priest on a case by case basis

d) Represent the Grove at local interfaith events

e) Serve as the Grove’s voice on the ADF Clergy Council

f) Offer guidance to the Grove and Executive Committee when requested

Section 3: Ad Hoc Committees

A) Ad hoc committees shall be created at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

B) Said committees shall be of specific purpose and function, with a specific goal after which the committee shall be disbanded.

C) Said committees can be recreated as the need arises.

Section 4: Standing Committees

A) Standing Committees shall be formed as needed at the request of members or the Executive Committee.

B) They shall have a specific termination date or shall terminate at the Annual meeting, but are subject to renewal as deemed necessary.

Section 5: Subgroups

Any individual Grove member may start a subgroup to function within the Grove with the approval of the Executive Committee.

Section 6: Oversight

Any subgroup or committee thus created should have oversight by the Senior Druid. Oversight shall not specifically require attendance by the Senior Druid, but may require written reports to the Senior Druid if he/she is not in attendance.

Article VII Rituals and Spirituality

Section 1: Calendar

For ceremonial, electoral, and fiscal purposes, as well as for the purposes of determining Grove status, the calendar year shall begin and end each November 1st

Section 2: High Days

A) There shall be eight (8) High Holy days observed in ritual each calendar year. These are:

a) Autumnal Cross-Quarter (November 1st)

b) Winter Solstice (December 21st)

c) Winter Cross-Quarter (February 1st)

d) Spring Equinox (March 21st)

e) Spring Cross-Quarter (May 1st)

f) Summer Solstice (June 21st)

g) Summer Cross-Quarter (August 1st)

h) Autumn Equinox (September 21st)

B) For ceremonial purposes each High Day may be celebrated upon the legal date, the astronomical date, or upon a date mutually convenient to the participants of the particular celebrations involved so long as it happens within seven days of the calendar date.

Section 3: Cultural Focus

For the purpose of group cohesion and continuity of practice, the cultural focus of The Grove shall be Pan Indo-European in nature. As such, rites shall be conducted to reflect said focus and intent, unless otherwise requested.

Section 4: Ritual Requirements

A) As required by ADF, Charter Oak shall offer open and inclusive rites

a) All public rites shall be open to all individuals unless excluded under the provisions of Article III, Sections 1 and 2

B) Reasonable accommodations concerning accessibility shall be given to anyone who requests them, as outlined in Article III, Section 3

Article VIII: Reserved Powers

All powers and duties not specifically assigned in this document shall be reserved by the Grove Members

Article IX: Amending the By-Laws

Section 1: Proposing Changes

Proposed amendments to these bylaws may be made by petition of any Grove member to the Grove Officers. Petitions must be submitted at any Grove organizational meeting.

A) A discussion of the proposed amendments will take place at the next regularly scheduled organizational meeting.

B) Proposed amendments will then be subject to a vote at the next regularly scheduled Grove business meeting after this discussion period.

Section 2: Voting on Changes

All Grove Members who are Active and current with their dues may vote on proposed changes to the bylaws. Votes may be cast in person, electronically, in writing, or by proxy through a Grove Officer. A petition has passed if it acquires positive votes from at least 2/3rds of the voting members. Upon passage, it shall take effect thirty (30) days after the vote was concluded.