In the United Church, the local congregation — comprising all members and adherents — has ultimate authority in faith and financial issues. The Official Board, Stewards Committee, and Board of Trustees are elected by the congregation of Metropolitan United at the Annual General Meeting, usually in March.
The Official Board acts on behalf of the congregation. It is responsible for "peace and good government" of the local church. All issues come before the Board.
The Committee of Stewards handles financial operations for the church.
The Board of Trustees legally holds the title to the property, on behalf of the United Church of Canada. They oversee the investment of all designated bequests and ensure that the building is insured and in good repair.
The ministers are not members of the local congregation but chosen by it then placed in it by the Presbytery, where their membership rests, and to whom they are accountable. The call to a minister is without time limit, but the congregation is able to ask the Presbytery for a change of pastoral relations should the need arise.
There must be an Annual General Meeting to review the programs and financial operations of the church. This meeting usually occurs within three months after the New Year, allowing for the gathering of program reports and audited financial statements.
Congregational meetings are held, as required, to receive and review information or make decisions brought forward by the Official Board. These meetings are called by the Chair of the Board and require at least three weeks notice, both verbal and written. Sufficient information in advance of such meetings is shared. All church members may vote. At the beginning of any congregational meeting, voting privileges may be extended to adherents as well.
Our Relation to the United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada guides the operation of all United Church congregations in the country. The General Council establishes policy and sets mandatory governance principles for all. It meets every three years and reviews the manuals we use. Each congregation is accountable to the General Council. For Metropolitan United, this link is made through the Toronto Conference, and, more locally, through the Toronto Southeast Presbytery. All Ministers and some lay members from our congregation represent us there. They attend meetings to give and receive information, seek guidance, and obtain any necessary approvals.
If we encounter problems beyond our ability, we ask for Presbytery oversight.