The Board is composed of Members of the Church. No less than three and no more than seven fully-seated Board Members sit at any one time, serving nominal three-year terms. Members Advocates are also seated on the Board, serving nominal one-year terms, with no limit to the number of Members Advocates seated. Members Advocates participate fully in the desision making of the Board. Nominations to the Board are made by and voted by the Board.The internal process of the Board is functionally consensus based in operation. Taking inspiration from the history of The Plain People’s Churches, the Board will seek out the opinions of the Membership and confer together until a decision is reached that the entire Board can support. Sometimes this process can take quite a while and as often as not the Board will decide after reflection that no action needs be taken.
A number of safeguards have been created in this process to provide for long-term continuity of leadership and for the possibility that consensus cannot be reached in the process of the Board. In the event that an issue divides the Board, no action can be taken by the Board unless a majority of the fully-seated Board members are in agreement, at which point their combined votes will determine the Board’s action. Balancing this, the President of the Board can prevent the Board from taking an action. The President cannot compel the Board to take an action. Neither of these safeguards has ever been invoked in the history of the Board.
The Church was founded with the recognition that many of us are reluctant to “join” any religious organization. In fact, many of us came to an EarthReligious perspective out of dissatisfaction with many of the practices of established organized religions.With this in mind, Four Quarters follows a bifurcated or dual structure. The foundation of support for the work of Four Quarters is Membership in Four Quarters Farm; the Sanctuary and Church Camp are administered by the Church Corporation. Membership in Four Quarters Farm carries with it no religious affiliation with the Church. It is designed to allow an individual to fully participate in all of the spiritual benefits and activities of Four Quarters without feeling they have been forced to do something they may be uncomfortable with. See the "Types of Camp Membership" for more info.
However, many of us recognize that we are just as free to define the meaning of “Church” as is any other organization. After all, a Church is not a building or a bank account, but rather is a group of people who grow together in shared spiritual practice. And in that sense we are very much a Church. Our Constitution says it best:
What does that mean? Simply put, the camp and its buildings; our sewage, water and power systems; the equipment used for building and maintenance; are all owned by the non-profit corporation. Forever removed from the cycle of private ownership, Four Quarters can never become a housing development, involved in an inheritance dispute, or sold for profit. Now in our sixteenth year on the Land, Four Quarters has become an institution of permanence in an uncertain world. Together as Members, we are creating a lasting foundation for Ecologically Sustainable and Earth Spiritual living, values that will be much needed in our emerging new world of limits.
As a Church and Nonprofit it is important to understand that it is the Church Corporation that owns the assets of Four Quarters, not an individual. In fact The Land of Four Quarters has been set aside in such a way that it can never revert to private ownership. We believe that is very, very important. It is possible for a nonprofit to legally operate in such a way that much of its income is paid out in salaries to its officers, or to lease equipment and facilities that are owned by its officers. Although this is a legal practice, its long-term results are that the nonprofit is stripped of the benefit of owning its own assets and is unable to invest in its own growth and future. And Four Quarters pays no salaries to its officers or to the Church Wards. The Land, our tools and equipment, buildings and our vehicles are all titled to and owned by the Church.
Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary190 Walker Lane Artemas PA 17211 USA 814-784-3080 firstname.lastname@example.orgIncorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an InterFaith Non-Denominational Church, Monastery and Spiritual Retreat Center. All donations fully tax deductible as allowed by law. PA EXMP 75-538-546 FED EIN 25-1853964© 1995-2013 The Church of Four Quarters™, Four Quarters™ and Four Quarters Farm™ Free use of text expressly granted for all non-profit purposes; unchanged and with attribution to Four Quarters. All other rights reserved.