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Bylaws
October 23rd, 2010 by admin

These bylaws pertain to the Circle of the Silver Phoenix,
founded in Laurel, Maryland on September 18, 2005.

Purpose

The Circle of the Silver Phoenix (CSP) is an Eclectic Wiccan
organization with a focus on in-person teaching. We have the following purposes:

  1. To facilitate members religious experience and to provide an
    opportunity and environment for growth and self-discovery, and space to
    encourage an individual’s connection to the divine;
  2. To develop and nurture a relationship to Nature and its cycles,
    via celebration of Esbats and Sabbats and other appropriate activities;
  3. To teach CSP’s Eclectic Wiccan tradition of beliefs and skills
    to students;
  4. To educate those who take on a personal calling to minister to
    others within the Wiccan experience;
  5. To celebrate the God and Goddess in their many aspects;
  6. To do our best to act in accord with the Wiccan Rede; and
  7. Where appropriate, to educate the general public about Wicca

Membership/Degrees

The CSP may not discriminate for membership on the basis of physical
disability, sexual orientation, race, political ideals, past religious history,
gender or age, with the exception that we have a minimum age of 21. However,
we do have standards of conduct and expect members and guests to reasonably
adhere to the Wiccan Rede and to our philosophy. Members may be asked to leave
CSP or a particular event if their behavior and/or beliefs reflect negatively
on Wicca in general or CSP in particular.

Membership is voluntary and members may choose to terminate their association
with CSP at any time.

Because CSP is a teaching circle, degrees are tied to levels of the
curriculum. See the section on Classes for a discussion of the curriculum.

Membership categories are:

  1. Seekers/Guests – these individuals attend full moon rituals
    and other open events but are not currently enrolled in a class, nor have they
    completed a full year of classes. They may not attend Council meetings and may not vote.
  2. Neophytes – these are individuals currently taking the first
    year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open events.
    They may attend Council meetings but do not vote.
  3. First Degree (Apprentice) – these individuals are currently taking the
    second year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open
    events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote. This is the first
    level which is considered full membership. In order to become elevated to First
    Degree, students must have successfully completed the Neophyte year curriculum
    and been approved by the High Priest(ess) and by his or her teacher. See the
    curriculum for the responsibilities of the student related to ritual participation.
  4. Second Degree (Journeyer) – these individuals are currently
    taking the third year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats
    and open events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote. In
    order to become elevated to Second Degree, students must have successfully
    completed the First Degree curriculum and been approved by the High Priest(ess)
    and by his or her teacher. See the curriculum for the responsibilities of the
    student related to ritual participation.
  5. Third Degree (Adept) – these individuals have successfully
    completed the entire three year curriculum. They may attend full moon rituals,
    Sabbats and open events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote.
    Adepts may also teach classes using the standard curriculum. In order
    to become elevated to Third Degree, students must have successfully completed
    the Second Degree curriculum and been approved by the High Priest(ess) and by
    his or her teacher. Third Degrees may hive off to form a daughter group and may
    be ordained. See the section on Hiving/Ordination for more details.
  6. Associates – Members of the Chantry of the Silver Veil (the
    Mother Coven) may be considered Associate members of the Circle of the Silver
    Phoenix at the level they have achieved at the Mother Coven, with the exception
    that they may not vote at Council meetings. Associate membership status is at
    the discretion of the High Priest(ess). Associate Adepts may act as guest
    teachers, counselors, etc. as needed. Members of other groups that hive off
    from the Chantry of the Silver Veil (sister organizations) or of groups that
    hive off from the Silver Phoenix (daughter organizations) may be considered
    Associates at the discretion of the High Priest(ess). Associates may choose
    to become full-fledged members of the Circle of the Silver Phoenix at the level
    they achieved in the mother, sister, or daughter organization at the discretion of the
    High Priest(ess).
  7. Clergy – Members who are Clergy will overlap with either the Adept or Associates
    categories. Clergy are individuals who have been ordained by the Circle of the Silver
    Phoenix or by the Chantry of the Silver Veil or another group in the Silver Veil family.
    Clergy may act as celebrant for marriages, handfastings, Wiccanings, funeral services,
    and any other rituals, particularly those that require formal and/or legal ministerial
    recognition. The Council, as a group, bestow legal clergy rights and privileges on
    members who meet the criteria of this category. Council voting rights are dependent
    upon the individual’s status as Adept or Associate and is not changed by status as
    Clergy. For further information on the requirements for ordination within the Silver
    Phoenix, see the section on Hiving/Ordination.

Members at any level who do not participate for a year or
more will be considered Inactive. They may be considered active members again
at the discretion of the High Priest(ess). The exception is Inactive members
who have taken a planned sabbatical of more than three months and less than two
years. They will be considered active members again by attending two
events. Absences of three months or less do not require taking a sabbatical.
Inactive members may not vote on the Council.

Classes

CSP has a standard three year curriculum. It is expected that the first year of
coursework will correspond with the Neophyte level of membership, the second
year of coursework will correspond with the Apprentice degree and level of
membership, and the third year of coursework will correspond with the Journeyer
degree and level of membership. Someone holding the Adept degree and level of
membership will have successfully completed the entire standard curriculum. If
there is a delay in the actual elevation, coursework may continue into the next
year’s curriculum in expectation of the elevation occurring.

Students will be elevated from Neophyte to Apprentice as a group, that is,
when everyone in the class who wishes to be elevated has successfully completed
the Neophyte year’s curriculum. Elevation from Apprentice to Journeyer and
from Journeyer to Adept will occur on an individual basis, based on the
student’s meeting of the requirements for that level, at a time period of no
less than a year and a day.

The curriculum is under the jurisdiction of the High Priest(ess) and any
Adepts that are teaching. Standard curriculum classes are only taught by the
High Priest(ess) or an Adept.

As part of Open Houses or other events, CSP may present seminars on items
in addition to the standard curriculum. These seminars may be taught by anyone at
the Apprentice level and up, as approved by the High Priest(ess). Attendance at
these seminars will be open at various levels, at the discretion of the seminar
teacher and the High Priest(ess), based on prerequisites needed for the seminar.

Offices

With the exception of High Priest(ess), all offices may be
filled or left vacant. More than one office may be held by an individual. Offices
may be filled by volunteers. If more than one person volunteers, the job may be
shared or may be filled by the individual voted to the position by the Council.
It is requested that volunteers be willing to fill the position for a term of
one year, renewable to multiple terms. Additional temporary or permanent offices
may be created and filled as the Council deems necessary.

High Priest(ess):

The High Priest(ess) votes on and chairs the Council; coordinates the teaching
program; provides counseling as necessary; leads rituals as necessary; performs
student elevations; represents the CSP to the Pagan community and the public at
large; provides overall guidance to the work of the CSP; enhances the CSP as a
safe environment for the growth of the individual members; and exercises final
authority regarding ritual, initiation, ordination and other religious matters.

Summoner:

The Summoner makes sure members are aware of event schedules and keeps track
of who is expected to attend events. Works with the Scribe to make sure that
contact information for members is up-to-date. A Summoner may hold the position
for the entire CSP or individual Summoners may be assigned for each individual class.

Scribe:

The Scribe keeps all written records, including but not limited to: minutes
of the Council meetings, formal correspondence, CSP projects, rituals, and
activities, and contact information of the membership. Membership contact
information is kept in conjunction with the Summoner.

Quartermaster:

The Quartermaster keeps track of all financial activities
for CSP, including supplies. The Quartermaster is also responsible for seeing
that post-ritual clean up occurs.

Contact Coordinator:

The Contact Coordinator is the first contact for Seekers and Guests. The
Contact Coordinator explains the activities of the group, interviews interested
parties for matching interest and suitability, filters out individuals who are
not good matches, and introduces those who he or she deems suitable to the group.

Council

The Council consists of the High Priest(ess) and any full members with voting
rights as described in the section on Membership. Any Council meeting attended
by more than 50 percent of the voting membership, rounded up for odd numbers,
is considered to have a quorum.

The Council shall make decisions by consensus. When consensus cannot be
reached, the Council may refer the decision to the High Priest(ess), who shall
consider all that has been discussed and make the decision.

Council meetings shall take place a minimum of quarterly.

The scope of the Council is as follows:

  • Program planning and activities
  • Finance and budget
  • Community contact, networking, and affiliations
  • Other administrative areas as required

Hiving/Ordination

The requirements for hiving off and for receiving ordination
are listed here under the same heading because they will often occur in conjunction;
however, the requirements are different and are delineated separately.

Hiving

The official hiving off and creation of a new group is only available to an
Adept. In order for an Adept to hive off, the following must occur:

  1. The Adept must have at least two students or members for the new group, in
    addition to the Adept.
  2. The Adept must have taught a minimum of one year of the standard curriculum or
    a minimum of six seminars in addition to that required by the standard
    curriculum or demonstrated teaching skills in some other fashion
    acceptable to the High Priest(ess).
  3. The Adept must submit a written petition to the Council, outlining the new
    group’s structure and format and documenting the completion of the other
    requirements. The group’s structure may be documented in the form of draft
    bylaws or something less formal. The Council cannot reject the group’s
    structure, but may make recommendations.

Ordination

Ordination is only available to Adepts. In order for an Adept to be ordained,
the following must occur:

  1. The Adept must have demonstrated continuing education in applicable skills
    from outside of CSP.
  2. The Adept must write their own personal code of ethics in regard to duties as
    clergy and submit the code to the High Priest(ess) for approval.
  3. The Adept must submit a written petition for ordination to the Council,
    describing the skills he or she believes are required for clergy and
    documenting how those skills have been developed. The petition should also
    document how the other requirements were met.
  4. The Adept must have an interview with a quorum of the Council and be approved
    by a two-thirds vote of that quorum.

Privacy Clause

  1. The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other information
    relating to individual members and prospective members shall be considered
    confidential and may not be disclosed to non-members without express permission
    of the individual involved.
  2. Disclosure of confidential information may, at the discretion
    of the Council, be ground for being barred from membership and group events.

Responsibility Clause

  1. Members agree to indemnify and hold harmless the CSP as a
    whole, against any loss or damage, including theft or damage of personal or
    public property, injury, real or imagined, including but not limited to
    physical, mental, spiritual, social or emotional resulting from membership
    within the CSP.
  2. Members agree to indemnify and hold harmless any individual(s)
    within the CSP against any loss or damage, including theft of damage of
    personal or public property, injury, real or imagined, including but not
    limited to physical, mental, spiritual, social, or emotional resulting from
    membership within the CSP.

Oath of Secrecy

The CSP does not require an oath of secrecy beyond that implicit in the
Privacy Clause. The goal is to protect and respect the privacy of individuals,
rather than to restrict the dissemination of information.

Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a vote of the Council.


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