Fort Wayne Heathens

Heathen/Ásatrú Community of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana

Fort Wayne Heathens By-Laws 2016

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Fort Wayne Heathens By-Laws (2016)

Article I - Purpose

Section A: Our Mission Statement

We are Heathens, meaning we follow the gods and customs of the Norse, Teutonic, and Anglo-Saxon peoples. We take our faith, our gods, and our ancestors seriously and want to bring together like-minded individuals in northeast Indiana interested in honoring the gods not only through the way we live our lives, but by building up regular devotional practices as a group.

Article II – Organization

Section A: Management

Fort Wayne Heathens is an open religious group funded, founded, and organized by volunteer members of the local Heathen community. Officers make up an Elder Council of leadership and volunteer their time and resources to make sure Fort Wayne Heathens runs smoothly and that members benefit from its activities. Current officer positions are Goði/Gyðja, Scribe, Lawspeaker, and Treasurer.

1. Officers Descriptions

* The Goði/Gyðja leads religious ceremonies and teaches and/or organizes the classes and their subject matter in Fort Wayne Heathens.

* The Scribe chronicles important and special events, schedules out classes and events, records minutes for official meetings, and manages the
paper and online media pertaining to Fort Wayne Heathens.

* The Lawspeaker is an official vote-tie breaker, a public liaison for Fort Wayne Heathens, enforces/interprets the by-laws and rules, and holds and maintains oaths sworn by members of Fort Wayne Heathens.

* The Treasurer manages group finances, stores and maintains the physical assets of Fort Wayne Heathens, and proposes fund raising events.

2. Office Position Requirements

* Potential officers must be a resident of Indiana, an active and local member of Fort Wayne Heathens for at least six calendar months, be over the age of 18, and have no past or current felony conviction to qualify as a valid officer.

* You must be of the Heathen faith; meaning you must closely adhere to the gods, customs, and worldview of the Pre-Christian Germanic peoples.

* All officers must submit an annual report of actions taken within Fort Wayne Heathens

3. Elections

* Candidates must first meet requirements for their officer positions, and familiarize themselves with that role. They are then accepted as valid candidates and all members of Fort Wayne Heathens are able to apply their vote for them. Majority rules for the winner, ties are broken by the Lawspeaker. Candidates may be anonymously nominated and voted for.

* Voting will be opened up to members for one month, at the end of this month long period, voting will be counted and the officer will be announced.

4. Officer Terms

* Officer terms are limited to three years maximum, then the offices must become up for election once more. Emergency elections may take place if an officer must resign, moves, passes away, or there is a vacant officer position for any reason.

* Officers currently holding a position may pass their role onto a member of good standing that meets the requirements for the position. Majority approval must be obtained as the result of a vote held by the officers to approve the member’s new officer status.

5. Officer Meetings

* Meetings will be quarterly with dates established by the discretion of the officers. Emergency meetings may take place at officer discretion. Minutes for all meetings will be kept and recorded by the Scribe.

* Office meetings are mandatory. Missing three out of the four quarterly office meetings may result in the termination of an officer position if confirmed with a majority vote by other officers in good standing.

* Officers may delegate duties and responsibilities to other members who have volunteered to assist with the role. These members may also be in attendance at meetings per majority approval by the officers. These members may not cast a vote as an officer.

Article III: Membership

Section A. Organization, Dues, Privileges and Powers

1. Membership

* Fort Wayne Heathens officers may approve groupings of members with rights, privileges, and obligations established by the officers and/or the bylaws.

* Members may be individuals, businesses, and other organizations that seek to support the mission and purpose of Fort Wayne Heathens.

* The officers, a designated committee for the officers, or any duly elected official in accordance with the bylaws, shall have authority to admit any individual or organization as a member, to recognize representatives of other organizations, and to make determinations as to members’ rights, privileges, and obligations.

* At no time shall membership information be shared with or sold to other organizations or groups without the member’s consent. At the discretion of the officers, members may be given endorsement, recognition and media coverage at fundraising activities, clinics, other events or at the Fort Wayne Heathens website.

2. Voting Rights

* Voting rights are granted to official members. These rights are used during election times for officers and over issues presented to the general populace of members of Fort Wayne Heathens from the officers.

3. Membership Dues

* Any dues for membership(s) shall be determined by the officers for Fort Wayne Heathens. As of 01/01/2016, the paying of memberships dues is optional. This is subject to change per officer approval.

Article VI – Bylaws and Conduct

Section A: A Code of Heathen Conduct for Members

"I will not bring shame upon myself, my group, or others through my actions. I will lead a virtuous and honor-bound life instead, and if I cannot do so, I will remove myself from this group, or I will be removed. I join and take part in this group and its activities fully knowing and understanding this, therefore my actions will be judged by the group, the elders, and my gods."

Section B: Ritual Conduct and Participation

1. Conduct

* Silence, respect, and maturity are expected during, just before, and just after all blóts, sumbels, and rituals of any kind or significance. Exception is if the ritual officiator encourages laughter and merriment, but respect is still expected and appreciated.

* Please do not interrupt any kind of ritual.

* Please remain sober enough to conduct yourself in a respectable manner if you are officiating or taking part of a ritual. If you cannot be sober enough to be respectable, you will be asked to leave.

* Refrain from any hailing or honoring of negative deities or spirits at events or during rituals. This rule will be at the discretion of the host(ess) of the event.

2. Participation

* No attendant of an event is required to take part in any kind of ritual or spiritual working. Please respectfully decline participation if you are not comfortable with the situation.

3. Permission

* Impromptu rituals, magical workings, blessings, readings, etc, are discouraged unless permission from the host(ess) is given. Please do not perform any kind of spiritual working without clear consent, in the home, hearth, or land. This is to respect the house wights, land wights, and the blessings of the homeowners.
Section C: Class Conduct and Participation

1. Conduct

* Keep in mind that we are all Heathens and part of our faith is interpretation of Lore, we will not always have the same interpretation, but we will not disrespect another member's point of view, though discussion is encouraged.

2. Participation

* No attendant of a class, workshop, or education/informal meeting is required to take part in any kind activity therein. Please respectfully decline participation if you are not comfortable with the situation.

Section D: Drugs and Alcohol

* Drugs are by no means permitted at any Fort Wayne Heathens event, blót, sumbel, meeting, or any kind of gathering, formal or informal.

* Alcohol is sometimes an aspect of our faith and culture, so alcohol is permitted at events or gatherings that are listed as events where drinking is allowed, otherwise all events will be dry. Minors may not partake of alcohol.

* Drug use may result in removal without warning and proper law enforcement will be notified of the occurrence.

Section E: Minors

* Unaccompanied minors may not be a part of any Fort Wayne Heathens function, event, class, or any part of its being without the expressed and written permission of their parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s.)

Section F: Privacy

* We have a public website and Facebook page. Names, photos, and any other kind of personal information are to be only used or shared with expressed permission of the individual or group.

* Under no circumstances are names, dates or locations of events, or photos to be shared with anyone outside of the group without permission.

* Photos may only be taken of consenting individuals and may only be shared by consent as well. All photographic materials shared on the website, group page, or Facebook page must have dated and written (this can be a letter, email, or any kind of electronic medium as well) and/or verbal consent.

* If anyone has an issue with a picture that has been posted in error, we would be happy to rectify this immediately upon request. If you do not wish to ever be in pictures, we can sign a no press-release form to keep on file for you.

Article V - Policies

Section A: Discrimination

* We do not tolerate any sort of discrimination. This includes but is not limited to; sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation. Discrimination may result in removal without warning.

Section B: Harassment

* Under no circumstances may harassment be tolerated. Harassment of any kind ( harmful, unwanted, sexual, violent, etc ) toward members, among members, at events, toward minors, or anyone within/without, associated with the group, guests, or anyone will be met with extreme prejudice and members involved will be removed without warning for an undetermined time followed by legal actions if needed.

Section C: Conflict Resolution

1. Standard Proceedings

* Conflict among members, any sort of misbehavior, or breaking of rules listed in these bylaws, will result in a stern warning. The second offense will result in a temporary ban from all FWH meetings and business until further notice from the Lawspeaker, and the third offense is a permanent ban.

2. Special Circumstances

* Some situations may be needed to be handled differently and some steps may be removed in the conflict resolution steps in order to insure safety, legality, and comfort of everyone involved. The specifics are listed in various sections above.

Article VI – Conflict of Interests Statement, Affiliations, and Assets

A Conflict of Interests is defined by any action that would be in violation or against the best interests of Fort Wayne Heathens. This includes individual members’ actions, and the actions of Fort Wayne Heathen Officers.

Section A: Gifts, Bribes, Payments, and Property

1. Charitable Donations

* All charitable donations with no alternative motives, no alternative agendas, and no plans of recompense are acceptable to Fort Wayne Heathens so long as they can go towards an established fund or program. Anything outside these restrictions will be refused or refunded.

2. Payment of Services

* All services provided by Fort Wayne Heathens are done so for non-profit purposes. Any individuals operating for personal gain using Fort Wayne Heathens as their medium will be subject to these bylaws, and face one warning before being removed from the group for a breach of these bylaws. We understand that there will be venders affiliated with events that we host, and mean to earn a profit, however these individuals are working on their own behalf and generating their own monetary reward in which Fort Wayne Heathens will share no profit with said individuals.

* When Fort Wayne Heathens performs a service or vends in exchange for monetary recompense, they are doing so to deposit those funds to an
established program or project fund, with no intentions of creating a surplus or profit for any personal, non-group related funding.

* Officers within Fort Wayne Heathens are assuming these roles on a voluntary status. No compensation in the form of monetary recompense, akin to wages, may be paid out to these voluntary officers.

* Payment of services to outside venues and vendors for Fort Wayne Heathens events must be approved by the Treasurer. Notification of approval must be verbal and written, as such, requests for approval must be written and verbal. Decisions regarding payment to venues and vendor for Fort Wayne Heathens must be made within 72 hours unless specified otherwise by a majority vote by officers in good standing.

3. Bribery

* Under no circumstances is Fort Wayne Heathens nor its officers allowed to accept any kind of bribe or fund given for alternative motives, as well as no money shall be given by Fort Wayne Heathens in a way that would define bribery. With these stipulations, Fort Wayne Heathens will have no business in handling money related to elections, political campaigning (i.e. SuperPACS) or any other non-organization related transactions.

4. Property

* Physical property granted to Fort Wayne Heathens belongs to the group, not to an individual. This property may be physical goods, land, buildings, vehicles, and any other real and tangible items. The Treasurer maintains these properties so long as they are an officer. This is part of their duties as an officer and properties are still owned by Fort Wayne Heathens.

5. Books and Records

* Fort Wayne Heathens shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall keep minutes of the proceedings of all meetings of its officers, a record of all actions taken by the officers without a meeting, and a record of all actions taken by committees established by the officers. In addition, Fort Wayne Heathens shall keep a copy of its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws as amended to date.

6. Fiscal Year

* The fiscal year of Fort Wayne Heathens shall be from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

7. Distribution upon Dissolution

* Upon termination or dissolution of Fort Wayne Heathens, any assets lawfully available for distribution shall be distributed to one or more qualifying organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the 1986 Internal Revenue Code (or described in any corresponding provision of any successor statute) which organization or organizations have a charitable purpose which, at least generally, includes a purpose similar to the terminating or dissolving corporation.

* The organization to receive the assets of Fort Wayne Heathens hereunder shall be selected in the discretion of a majority of the managing body of Fort Wayne Heathens, and if its officers cannot so agree, then the recipient organization shall be selected pursuant to a verified petition in equity filed in a court of proper
jurisdiction against Fort Wayne Heathens, by one or more of its managing body which verified petition shall contain such statements as reasonably indicate the applicability of this section. The court upon a finding that this section is applicable shall select the qualifying organization or organizations to receive the assets to be distributed, giving preference if practicable to organizations located within the State of Indiana.

* In the event that the court shall find that this section is applicable but that there is no qualifying organization known to it which has a charitable purpose, which, at least generally, includes a purpose similar to Fort Wayne Heathens, then the court shall direct the distribution of its assets lawfully available for distribution to the Treasurer of the State of Indiana to be added to the general fund.

Section B: Affiliations

* No officer may have any affiliations with a group and/or individual that would compromise the integrity, interests, and purpose of Fort Wayne Heathens.

* Affiliations may still be established at officer discretion so long as they do not violate Point 1, Section B, Article 6.

* Affiliations are not the same as members and may not have voting rights unless they are also officially made and recognized as members of Fort Wayne Heathens.