First Unitarian Society in Newton

About Us / How FUSN Works

FUSN Operates with Democratic Principles and Congregational Polity

This congregation is a corporation wholly owned by its members and governed using a representative process with regular elections of officers, a set of bylaws, an annual meeting of the full society, and the power to call the minister or ministers of its choice.

Read the Annual Reports to review the work of the board and committees.

Board of Trustees

A seven-person Board of Trustees has overall authority over church finances, staffing, and high-level policy-making. The Board is responsible for seeing that all evaluations of ministers, programs, and operations are performed. Six trustees are elected by the members of the society and each serves a three-year term, with two new members elected at each Annual Meeting of the Society. In addition, one youth member is elected to the Board for a one-year term. The Board members elect a chair and vice chair from among their members. 

Operations Council

The Operations Council is responsible for daily operations of the society and has six members who oversee six general areas:

Worship, Education, Fellowship, Stewardship, Outreach, Fundamentals/Administration.

The treasurer is also a member of the council.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee consists of the Board Chair, the Minister, Assistant Minister, DLRE, and Operations Council chair. It helps route decisions and problems to the appropriate entity, but makes no decisions. It can also inform people of precedent when known.

Lay Ministers

Lay ministers are an appointed group of trained volunteers who coordinate the care crew and with them provide short-term support to members and friends experiencing illness, hospitalization, bereavement, and the like. The lay ministers also offer a listening ministry to members and friends who wish to discuss family, employment, or other important life issues.


FUSN is organized according to the principles of congregational polity--ultimate authority resides with the members and the most important decisions are made by vote at a duly constituted Annual Meeting of the members each spring. Daily operational authority resides with a democratically elected Board of Trustees and Operations Council and all funds are held and invested by a democratically elected Board of Investment.


Decisions made by the FUSN Board of Trustees or the Operations Council are listed in Policies and Information Issuances.


The Finance Committee works throughout the annual fiscal year in the following areas; communicating with the congregation, reviewing our financial policies, monitoring of our FY budget vs. actual expenses, utility cost monitoring, revising our balance sheet, long-term financial forecasting, providing stewardship/budget drive support and budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year. Budgets for FUSN committees, staff and the maintenance of our building are submitted to the Finance Committee, reviewed by our Board of Trustees and Operations Council and voted on by our members at the Annual Meeting.

  • The three-member Board of Investment holds, invests, and reinvests all funds transferred to it by the Board of Trustees. It is the guardian of the endowment and is accountable to the society for its actions. A report is prepared for each annual meeting.
  • The Stewardship Committee raises the funds; and the Board of Investment manages the society's endowment.
  • Finance and Budget news - annual budget, financial goals, and updates on financial issues.
  • FUSN Financial policies

UUA Connection

FUSN is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and pays dues to the UUA. The society receives assistance from the UUA in locating religious professionals, religious education curricula, advice on governance, and other management issues as well as a shared voice in the denomination's witness for social justice.


A set of bylaws created by members of the society provides rules for governance of the society's affairs. A Bylaws Committee interprets the meaning and application of the bylaws and consults on changes.

The full by-laws can be found here (logged in users only).


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