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 at the annual meeting, usually in March.
The Official Board acts on behalf of the congregation. It is responsible for "peace and good goverment"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 also oversee the investment of all designated bequests, and sees to it that the building is insured and in good repair.
The ministers are not members of the local congregation, but chosen by it, and 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.
How we are governed
There must be an Annual General Meeting to review the programs and financial operations of the church. This meeting usually occurs within two months after the New Year, allowing for the gathering of program reports, and audited financial statements.
Congregational meetings are held, as required, to review, receive information, or make decisions brought forward by the Official Board. These meetings are called by the Chair of the Board, and require at least 3 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 adherents as well.
How we fit with the United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada provides 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 3 years, and reviews/revises the manuals we use. Each congregation is responsible to General Council.. For Metropolitan United this link is made though the Toronto Conference, and, more locally, through the Toronto South-East 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 to address we ask for Presbytery oversight.