First United is a church of 600-plus members that is affiliated with two denominations — the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Two Oak Park churches, First Presbyterian Church and First Congregational Church, united in 1975 to form First United Church of Oak Park. We follow the polity of both denominations and also have our own unique approach to governance.
May 2021: Church Council adopts governance policies
As part of current efforts to develop a comprehensive Policies and Procedures Manual, the Church Council approved a comprehensive governance chapter. The chapter serves as a compilation of policies and procedures for implementing the governance provisions of the Church’s Constitution, for further delineating the roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authorities of the participants in the Church’s governance, and for setting forth the processes by which decision-making and conflict resolution occur. The complete governance chapter is available here: Governance Chapter.
Church lay leadership
Our lay leadership consists of an elected Council of between 13 and 17 members (including two teenagers) to serve as the church’s governing body. Our Board of Deacons nurtures a culture of caring within the church community. Read about all of our church teams here. First United also has a rich history, which can be found here.
Council. Church Council is chaired by the Church Moderator and has a Clerk (Secretary). Council members serve three-year terms, with a one-time option to extend for an additional year.
All members of the congregation are eligible to serve on the Council. Council members are nominated by the church’s Nominating Committee and are elected by the congregation. Approximately one-third of the members are elected annually in the spring. Council meetings are open to the congregation and are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the Chapel.
Members of the pastoral staff are ex-officio members of Council without a vote. Church Council delegates specific responsibilities to each of the church’s committees, which report to the Council. It has charge of all financial affairs of the church, including the responsibility for recommending an annual budget for approval by the congregation.