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    Abstract of the Laws of Michigan Relative to the Organization and Control of Religious Societies

    SEC. 1. The people of the State of Michigan enact, That section two of an act entitled, “An act concerning churches and religious societies, establishing uniform rules for the acquisition, tenure, control, and disposition of property conveyed or dedicated for religious purposes, and to repeal chapter fifty-two of the revised statutes,” approved February thirteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, be and the same is hereby amended so as to read as follows:RESO 1.1

    SEC. 2. It shall be lawful for any number of persons of full age, not less than five, who may be desirous of forming themselves into a church, congregation, or religious society, and who shall sign articles of association for that purpose, to assemble together at such place as they may select, and by a plurality of votes by ballot, elect any number of discreet persons, being laymen, not less than three nor more than nine in number, as trustees, to take charge of the property belonging to, and transact all the affairs relative to the temporalities of such church, congregation, or religious society. At any time after such society shall have become duly organized, it shall be lawful for any such church, congregation, or religious society, at a meeting thereof, called in accordance with the provisions of this act, by a vote of two-thirds of the members of such society entitled to vote, present at any such meeting, to amend its articles of association in any manner not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, and such amendments shall become operative on filing a copy of the same, certified by the moderator, chairman, or president, and clerk, of such meeting, with the clerk of the county where such society is organized. (Extra session of 1862.)RESO 1.2

    SEC. 3. It shall be lawful for any such church, congregation, or religious society, to choose their minister, priest, curate, rector, parson, or officiating clergyman, for the time being, to be the president of said corporation and of their meetings, by a vote as aforesaid; and at the first election provided for in this act, every person who shall have signed the articles, and at any subsequent elections every person of full age, who has for six months been a stated worshiper with, or a contributor regularly for one year previous to the support of such church, congregation, or society, shall be entitled to vote.RESO 2.1

    SEC. 4. The minister, priest, rector, curate, parson, or officiating clergyman of such congregation or society, or if none of them be present, one of the elders, or deacons, church-wardens, or vestrymen thereof, and for want of such officers, any other person being a member or stated hearer in such church, congregation, or society, shall publicly notify said congregation of the time when, or the place where any election shall be held, at least fifteen days before the day of such election, and such notification shall be given for two successive Sabbaths on which such church, congregation, or society shall statedly meet for public worship, next preceding the election.RESO 2.2

    SEC. 5. Any two of the elders, deacons, church-wardens, or vestrymen of such church, congregation, or society, or if such officers shall not be present, then any two voters present, to be nominated by a majority of the voters, shall be inspectors of such election, receive the votes and determine the qualification of voters; and they shall immediately after the election certify, under their hands and seals, the names of persons elected to serve as trustees or vestrymen; in which certificate the name by which the said trustees or vestrymen and their successors in office shall forever thereafter be known and called, shall be particularly mentioned and specified, and such trustees may in said certificate be denominated vestrymen, or church-wardens and vestrymen, executive committee, or any other name stated in the certificate: Provided always, That they shall have all the power specified in this act, and be elected in the manner provided for in this act.RESO 3.1

    SEC. 6. Such certificate shall be acknowledged by the person making the same, as proved by a subscribing witness thereto, before some officer authorized to take acknowledgment of the deeds: and said certificate, with certificate of acknowledgment or proof thereof, and the articles of association, shall be received by the clerk of the county within which the church or place of worship of such congregation shall be situated, in a book to be by him provided for that purpose, who shall be entitled to ten cents for each folio for recording the same; and thereafter such trustees, and their successors shall be a body corporate, by the name expressed in such certificate. (Session laws of 1861.)RESO 3.2

    SEC. 7. Such trustees may have a common seal, and may alter the same at pleasure; and they may take into their possession and custody all the temporalities of such church, congregation, or society, whether the same shall consist of real or personal estate, and whether the same may have been given, granted, or devised directly or indirectly to such church, congregation or society, or to any other person or persons for their use.RESO 3.3

    SEC. 8. Such trustees may also in their corporate name, sue and be sued in all courts and places; and they may recover and hold all the debts, demands, rights, and privileges, all churches, buildings, burying-places, and all the estate and appurtenances belonging to such church, congregation, or society, in whatsoever manner the same may have been acquired, or in whose hands sover the same may be held, as fully and amply as if the right and title thereto had been originally vested in said trustees; and they may hold moneys or personal estate, raised or acquired for the purpose of erecting churches, or houses of residence for their minister or priest, or for the purchase of burial-ground, for a period not exceeding one year before investment thereof, and not exceeding the value or amount of twenty thousand dollars; and they may hold for a period not exceeding three years any land which may be lawfully conveyed to them not exceeding five thousand dollars in value, to be sold for the purpose of raising a fund for erecting, repairing, or improving a church or churches, or other building afore said, or for the purchase or improvement of any cemetery or burial-ground. But all such lands shall revert to the donor or grantor, his or her heirs or assigns, if not disposed of within the time aforesaid.RESO 4.1

    SEC. 9. The said trustees, or wardens and vestrymen shall also have authority under the direction of the society or congregation to erect churches and meeting-houses, dwellings for their ministers or their priests, or other buildings for the direct and legitimate use of their church, congregation, or society, to alter and repair the same, but for no secular purpose; and also under the direction of the society or congregation, to give, execute, or acknowledge, in their official capacity, any obligations and securities upon the property of such church, congregation, or society, for the payment of just liabilities which have been, or may hereafter be, created in the erection or repair of such church, meeting-house, or other building. (Session laws of 1861.)RESO 4.2

    SEC. 10. They shall also have authority to make rules and orders for managing the temporal affairs of such church, congregation, or society, and to dispose of all moneys belonging thereto, and to order and regulate the renting of pews or slips in their meeting-houses and churches, and the perquisites for the breaking of the ground and burial of the dead in the cemetery or churchyard, and in the said churches or meeting-houses.RESO 5.1

    SEC. 11. They may appoint a clerk and a treasurer of their board and a collector to collect their rents and revenues, and may regulate the fees to be allowed such clerk, treasurer, and collector, and may remove them and appoint others in their stead at pleasure; and such clerk shall enter all rules and orders made by such trustees, and payments ordered by them, in a book to be procured by them for that purpose.RESO 5.2

    SEC. 12. Any two of the trustees may at any time call a meeting of the trustees, and a majority of them, being lawfully convened, shall be competent to do and perform all matters and things which such trustees are authorized to do and perform; and said trustees may elect the minister, priest, curate, rector, person, or officiating clergyman of said society, for the time being to preside at such meetings, who shall have no vote except in case of a tie of the board, when he shall have a casting vote.RESO 5.3

    SEC. 13. The said trustees shall hold their offices, for three years; and immediately after their first election, as hereinbefore provided, the said trustees shall be divided by lot into three classes, numbered, one, two, and three; and the seats of the first class shall be vacated at the end of the first year, of the second at the end of the second year, and of the third class at the end of the third year, to the end that as near as may be, one-third part of the whole number of the trustees may be annually chosen.RESO 5.4

    SEC. 14. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the said trustees, at least one month before the expiration of the office of any of said trustees, to notify the same in writing to the minister, priest, curate, rector, parson, or officiating clergyman, or in case of his death or absence, to the elders or church-wardens, or if there be no elders or church-wardens, then to the deacons or vestrymen of any such church, congregation, or society, specifying in such notice the names of the trustees whose office will expire; and the minister, priest, curate, rector, person, or other officer receiving such notice shall in manner aforesaid, notify the members of said church, congregation, or society, of such vacancies, and appoint the time and place for the election to supply the same,RESO 5.5

    SEC. 15. Such elections shall be held at least six days before vacancies shall occur as aforesaid; and all such subsequent elections shall be held and conducted by the like persons and in the same manner as hereinbefore provided for the first election; and in case any vacancy shall occur by the death of a trustee, his refusal to act, or removal from the society before his term of office expires, or otherwise, notice thereof shall be given as aforesaid and an election shall be held, and another trustee chosen in his stead for the remainder of his term.RESO 6.1

    SEC. 16. No person belonging to any such church, congregation, or society, incorporated under the provisions of this act, shall be entitled to vote at any election after the first until he shall have been an attendant on public worship in such church, congregation, or society, at least six months next before such election, and shall have contributed to the support of such church, congregation, or society, according to the usages and customs thereof.RESO 6.2

    SEC. 17. The clerk of the trustees shall keep a register of the names of all such persons as shall desire to become stated hearers in the said church, congregation, or society and shall therein note the time when such request was made; and the said clerk shall attend all subsequent elections, in order to test the qualification of such voters if in any case they shall be questioned.RESO 6.3

    SEC. 18. Nothing in this act contained shall be construed to give such trustees the power to fix or ascertain the salary, or compensation to be paid, any minister or priest, curate, rector, or parson, but the same shall be ascertained and fixed by a majority of such society, entitled to vote at the election of trustees.RESO 6.4

    SEC. 19. It shall be lawful for the circuit court for the county in which any such religious corporation shall have been constituted, on the application of such corporation, if such court shall deem it proper, to make an order for the sale of any real estate belonging to such corporation, and to direct the application of the moneys arising therefrom, to such uses as the said corporation, with the approbation of said court, shall conceive to be for the interest of such corporation: Provided, That no such sale shall be authorized by the court in any case where it would be inconsistent with the express terms or plain intent of the grant, donation, conveyance, or devise by which the same was conveyed or devised to or for the use of such church, congregation, or society, prior to the passage of this act.RESO 7.1

    SEC. 20. At least thirty days’ previous notice of any such application to the circuit court shall be given, by publishing the same in some newspaper published in the country, if one be there published, if not, by posting up notices in three or more public places in said county.RESO 7.2

    SEC. 21. Provides that trustees may hold land, etc., in trust as trustees.RESO 7.3

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