SSMR Guide

A Guide to the Bylaws, Structure, &

Procedures of the Society for the

Study of Metaphysical Religion

Fifth Edition - 2002

Bylaws are shown in italics.



AMENDED AUGUST 24, 1996, and JULY 25, 2002

Prior to the adoption of the Bylaws in 1993, SSMR had no formal organization. Earlier drafts of the Bylaws were considered early in 1993 by an informal Board, led by Robert Winterhalter who was elected Chairman in 1991 shortly after the INTA Congress in Tampa adjourned. Actual Bylaws were adopted during the 1993 Congress. The organizational meeting was convened at 8 A.M., Sunday morning, July 25 in San Diego, California during the INTA Congress held in that city.

Article I - Name

This organization shall be known as the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion.

Article II - Object

The object of this organization, an interdisciplinary academic society, shall be to investigate and actively discuss philosophical, theological, social, and historical concerns surrounding the traditions and teachings of metaphysical religion, particularly New Thought; to conduct and promote research in this field, including but not limited to the practice of spiritual healing; to encourage academic institutions to broaden their religious studies course offerings to include New Thought, and to continue the expansion and development of library materials on metaphysical religion, especially New Thought, through the acquisition of historical and current books, pamphlets, magazines, noteworthy articles, and other resources such as audiotapes and videotapes, and to collaborate with others who are doing the same; to provide scholarships for students pursuing graduate degrees in the study of metaphysical religion; to support the production and improvement of standard reference materials which reflect the New Thought tradition; and to take such other actions as are necessary and proper to facilitate the achievement of these aforementioned goals.

Article III - Membership

Section 1 - Classes of Members

There shall be five categories of members, academic, professional/vocational, group, associate, and student.

Section 2 - Qualifications of Members

A - Academic Membership - Academic membership shall consist of individuals holding a Masterís and/or Doctorís Degree (earned, not honorary) from an accredited institution of higher learning.

B - Professional/Vocational Membership - Professional/Vocational membership shall consist of individuals who are ordained ministers, currently licensed ministers, or currently performing equivalent work as the primary professional leader of an established church, school, or similar organization of, or related to, New Thought.

A precedent has been established that equivalent work in a cyberministry may qualify a person as a Professional/Vocational member.

C- Group Membership - Group Membership shall consist of organizations which are in agreement with Article II of this document and are approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors of this Society.

The category of Group Membership was added to the Bylaws in 1996.

D - Associate Membership - Associate Membership shall consist of other individuals who do not currently meet the requirements of Article III, Section 2, A or B.

E - Student Membership - Student Membership shall consist of students who are currently pursuing a full-time academic program beyond the Secondary School level.

F - Definition of Charter Membership - Charter Members in any category shall be defined as those who join the organization and pay their dues on or before December 31, 1993. Each charter member shall receive a certificate from the Secretary, identifying himself or herself as an academic charter member, a professional/vocational charter member, an associate charter member, or a student charter member, as the case may be.

There were members prior to 1993, but the initial membership list was destroyed, so that it was necessary to begin a completely new membership list in 1993.

Section 3 - Dues

A- Amount of Dues - Annual dues for the first two fiscal years shall be $35.00 for academic and professional/vocational members, $25.00 for associate members, and $15.00 for student members. Individuals holding a Masterís and/or Doctorís Degree from an accredited institution of higher learning (earned, not honorary), and ordained ministers, may become life members for a payment of $500.00, payable in a lump sum or in four quarterly payments. For subsequent fiscal years, the voting membership may change the amounts of dues by a majority vote; but such changes shall not take effect until July 1 after the vote was taken.

Decisions as to the amounts of dues are determined by the voting membership. The amounts of dues in this Section have not changed, but could be.

After the Bylaws were amended in 1996 to add the category of Group Member, the membership voted to set dues of $75.00 per year for Group Members.

In 1998, the membership voted to establish a new policy, in which a Group Member that contributed $750.00 or more in a lump sum would be designated a Perpetual Group Member.

B - Fiscal Year - Beginning July 1, 1993, the membership year as well as the fiscal year shall be from July 1 through June 30.

The principal reason for setting the fiscal year from July 1 through June 30 is that our general membership meetings and board of directors meetings are generally held in July of each year, in conjunction with the Annual Congress of the INTA. Thus, annual treasurerís reports can be made within a reasonable time after expiration of a given fiscal year.

C- Charter Membersí Payment of Dues - Charter members shall pay their full first yearís dues in a single payment when joining.

D - Payment Schedule of Dues - Beginning January 1, 1994, payment of dues may be made either annually, or semi-annually in two equal payments. Those joining between July 1 and December 31 shall pay the full amount of dues in one or two payments, and those joining between January 1 and June 30 shall pay 50% for the six month period. No members whose dues are in arrears may vote.

Article IV - Officers

Section 1 - Elected Officers

Officers of this organization shall consist of a President, a Vice-president, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.

Section 2 - Terms of Office and How Elected

The Board of Directors shall elect officers, from among its own members, within two days after the election of Board members at the annual business meeting each year, and shall be installed in office immediately. Each officer shall serve for a term of one year, or until his or her successor is duly elected and qualified.

The Bylaws were amended in 1996 to rescind a requirement that such elections be held in July of each year. The 1996 INTA Congress/Expo was held in August (instead of the usual July), which required this amendment in order to elect officers in 1996.

Section 3 - Duties of Officers

A - President - The President shall preside at all general meetings of the Society, and at all Board meetings, including conference calls. He or she shall appoint all committees with the concurrence of the Board of Directors, and shall be an ex officio member of all committees except the Nominating Committee. He or she shall keep in periodic contact with the other Board members throughout his or her term of office, and shall coordinate the general work of the Society.

B - Vice-president - The Vice-president shall assume the duties of the office of President when the President cannot carry out his or her duties. In case of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice-president shall become President and a new Vice-president shall be elected from among the Board members for the remainder of the term. The Vice-president shall carry out special projects as requested by the President.

C - Secretary - The Secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept, the minutes of all general meetings of the Society and of all Board meetings. He or she shall send out notices of meetings and other relevant information during periods between meetings. He or she shall be custodian of the minutes and other records of the Society.

D - Treasurer - The Treasurer shall be custodian of the funds of the Society, paying out, or causing to be paid out, the same as authorized by the Board of Directors. He or she shall keep a record of all income and expenditures, and shall submit reports of the same annually, covering the prior fiscal year, to the general membership of the Society; and shall also submit such other financial reports as determined by the Board of Directors. He or she shall place the funds of the Society in such bank or other depository as is acceptable to the Board of Directors.

Section 4 - Vacancies

If a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the Vice-president shall automatically become President. If a vacancy occurs in another office, the Board of Directors shall appoint a successor from among its own membership, to complete the unexpired term.

Article V - Nominations and Elections

Section 1 - Nominating Committee

At least sixty days prior to the Annual Membership Meeting, a Nominating Committee of three members shall be appointed. This committee shall nominate no fewer than three members for the Board of Directors. The President shall appoint three members to the Nominating Committee, including one Board member and two non-Board members, or he or she may authorize the appointed Board member to appoint two non-Board members; but the President shall not serve as a member of this committee.

The original Section was amended in 1996. It provided that in 1993 only, the informal SSMR Board that then existed would serve as the initial Nominating Committee, and this was done.

The original Section required that the President would appoint all three members of the Nominating Committee in all subsequent years. This was amended to offer a second option, in which the President would appoint a Board member to the Nominating Committee, but that Board member would then appoint two additional members to the Nominating Committee.

Section 2 - Those Eligible to Vote

Only Academic and Professional/Vocational Members may vote for members of the Board of Directors, but other members may nominate candidates from the floor, engage in debate, and participate in every respect except voting.

Section 3 - Election Procedures

After the nominating Committee gives its report at the Annual Membership Meeting, the President shall call for additional nominations from the floor. Such nominations shall be allowed until the voting members approve a resolution that nominations be closed. If the number of nominees exceeds the number of positions open, the election shall be conducted by secret ballot. Proxy votes shall not be recognized.

The membership has freely exercised the right to nominate Board members from the floor.

Section 4 - Terms of Office

At the Membership Meeting in July, 1993, four members of the Board of Directors shall be elected for two years and three members for one year. In 1994 and subsequent years, Board members shall be elected for terms of two years.

Section 5 - Filling of Vacancies

Vacancies in the Board of Directors shall be filled by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. If, however, the vacancy occurs within 60 days prior to the next Annual Membership Meeting, the Board may, at its discretion, allow the vacancy to be filled by vote of the full voting membership.

In 1996, a vacancy occurred when a member of the Board of Directors resigned. This resignation occurred within 60 days prior to the 1996 Annual Membership Meeting, and a new Director was elected by the full voting membership to complete the unexpired term of the member who resigned.

When a Board member resigned in October, 2000, the Board of Directors appointed John Miller to complete his unexpired term. The Board met during the SSMR Regional Conference in Tampa.

Two other vacancies have been filled by the e-mail process.

Article VI - Meetings

Section 1 - Annual Meetings

Annual Membership Meetings shall be held in conjunction with the Annual INTA Congress, unless otherwise determined by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. All members may offer motions and resolutions, engage in discussions, and participate in every respect, except that only academic and professional/vocational members may vote.

Annual membership meetings have been held in conjunction with the Annual INTA Expo/Congress each year.

This Section was amended in 1996, to remove a requirement that such meetings be held in July of each year.

Section 2 - Quorum

A quorum shall consist of the members present and voting at all annual membership meetings, provided that written notice of such meeting shall be mailed to the last known addresses of all members (whether voting members or not) by the Secretary at least thirty days prior to such meeting.

Section 3 - Mail Ballots

Issues to be voted upon, except as specified in these Bylaws, may be delegated to the general academic and professional/vocational membership by means of a mail ballot. Such action, however, shall require the approval of a majority of the Board of Directors, or the written petition of at least 20% of all academic and professional/vocational members.

Section 4 - Effectuation of Mail Ballots

Mail ballots shall be effective if a simple majority of the full academic and professional/vocational membership have voted and returned their ballots to the Secretary within 30 days.

Article VII - Board of Directors

Section 1 - Composition and Authority

The Board of Directors shall consist of seven members who shall all be academic and/or professional/vocational members. The Board of Directors shall elect its own officers, give advice and consent to the President regarding committee appointments, and perform such duties as necessary for the operation of the Society.

Section 2 - Limitations of Authority

All purchases and sales of real estate, including land and buildings, must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the full academic and professional/vocational membership at the annual meeting or by mail ballot, as provided in Article VI.

Section 3 - Quorum

A majority of the Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 4 - Meetings

The retiring Board of Directors shall meet within two days before each Annual Membership Meeting, to review the agenda of such Membership Meeting as reported by the President, to review the report of the Treasurer for the previous fiscal year, to receive the report of the Nominating Committee, and to transact any other pertinent business.

This mandatory Board meeting has often been held as a breakfast or luncheon meeting. It serves its primary purpose of reviewing and completing preparations for the Annual Membership Meeting, though other business can also be transacted. Any SSMR member is welcome to attend SSMR Board meetings.

The newly elected Board of Directors shall meet within two days after each Annual Meeting, to elect officers, to implement decisions of the voting membership, and to transact any other pertinent business. Retiring Board members shall be invited to attend, but may not vote.

Committees for the new fiscal year are also appointed and ratified at this second Board Meeting.

Section 5 - Special Meetings

The President may call special meetings and telephone conference meetings, if and as needed throughout the year.

The President, on one occasion, convened a conference call of the Board of Directors, which was held August 11, 2000.

Section 6 - Mail Ballots

The President may submit issues to the full Board for decision by means of a mail ballot, where appropriate.

Article VIII - Committees

Section 1 - Standing Committees

A - Program Committee - The Program Committee shall plan and organize annual scholarly conferences, and such other conferences as the Board of Directors may approve, in cooperation with the President and the Board of Directors.

The Program Committee holds these annual scholarly conferences in conjunction with the Annual INTA Congress.

In 1997, the full voting membership established the following standards regarding SSMR Annual Conferences:

(1) The INTA will be requested to guarantee, to SSMR, a minimum of three hours to conduct its annual conferences.

(2) The INTA will be requested to guarantee that SSMR Annual Conferences will not be cancelled or shortened in favor of other, previously unplanned business meetings or other meeting.

(3) SSMR shall be allowed to select its own Chairperson for Annual Conferences, and to conduct such meetings according to its own procedures.

(4) A table and chairs shall be arranged in such a way that the speakers may comfortably function as a panel after they deliver their papers, facing the audience.

These standards have been respected and implemented at subsequent SSMR Annual Conferences.

In addition, in 1997 the SSMR Board of Directors approved the following standards for SSMR Annual Conferences:

(1) Speakers are limited to a given length of time, as appropriate considering the number of speakers in relation to the total amount of time allocated, including the need to provide a reasonable amount of time for a panel discussion. The Chairperson determines the length of time to be allowed, and appoints a monitor to enforce these time limits.

(2) All speakers shall attend the entire session at which they speak, and be available as part of a panel to answer questions from the Chairperson, other speakers, and the audience.

Annual Regional Conferences have been held in October, in or near Tampa, Florida. In 1996, the Board of Directors delegated total authority to Dell deChant in planning and carrying out these conferences. In 1998, the Board of Directors established one limitation on this blanket authority, effective in 1999; namely, the dates of Annual Regional Conferences must be pre-approved by the Board, to enable Board members to include these conferences in their calendars.

B - Publications Committee - The Publications Committee shall edit and publish a professional journal at least twice and no more than six times a year, in cooperation with the President and the Board of Directors. The Journal shall be a basic benefit of membership for all classes of members. The Publications Committee, further, shall publish such books, pamphlets, audiotapes, videotapes, and other publications as determined by the Board of Directors.

At the 1995 Annual Membership Meeting, a publications schedule was approved within the parameters of the Bylaws. This schedule established that the SSMR Journal shall be published twice a year, with special editions also authorized where appropriate.

In 1995, SSMR established a Website, and approved a plan to place New Thought on the Internet. Since then, SSMR has been a leader in increasing exposure to New Thought through the Internet.

In 1999, the Board of Directors voted to publish an annual SSMR Directory, to list the names, addresses and phone numbers of members and subscribers.

In 2002, the Board of Directors authorized the Editor of the SSMR Journal to obtain peer review of papers submitted for publication, when he deems it appropriate. Also, those doing the peer review are required to be proficient in the specific subject area addressed in a given paper.

C - Other - Other standing committees may be established by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Two additional standing committees have been established.

An Archives Committee, established in 1995, works to promote the progress of the INTA Archives. In 1999, the Board of Directors approved a plan to make this committee a joint committee of INTA and SSMR.

This joint commitee has enjoyed extraordinary success in organizing and expanding the Archives.

A Membership Committee, established in 1997, works to increase memberships and to publicize SSMR to that end. SSMR has developed an excellent trifold as part of this publicity.

This is in addition to the INTAís SSMR Committee, established by Article IX of the Bylaws.

Section 2 - Special Committees - Special committees may be established by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

In 1996, a special Bylaws Committee was established to draw up proposed amendments to the Bylaws. Diane Sickler, who has done bylaws work with other organizations, drew up their original draft. Then the proposed amendments were shared with other Board members, and voted upon by mail ballot where appropriate. The final draft of the amendments was adopted at the 1996 Annual Membership Meeting.

Section 3 - The President is an ex officio member of all committees, except the Nominating Committee.

Article IX - Affiliations

Unless decided otherwise by a majority vote in an annual meeting of the Society or by the International New Thought Alliance, the Society, although being an independent organization, shall be affiliated with the INTA, and this shall be by means of there being an INTA Committee on the Society composed of all members of the Board of Directors who are also members of the INTA. The Society may also affiliate with other organizations, provided that their goals are consonant with the object of the Society as stated in Article II, and would not invalidate the not-for-profit status of the Society.

Article X - Parliamentary Authority

Robertís Rules of Order, in its most recent revision, shall govern the proceedings of all meetings of the Society, its Board of Directors, and its constituent parts, except as provided by these Bylaws.

Article XI - Amendments

Amendments to these Bylaws may be made by a two-thirds vote, a quorum being present, at any regular annual meeting. Amendments to these Bylaws may also be made by a majority vote, provided that the Secretary has submitted the proposed amendment(s) in writing to the last known address of each voting member at least 30 days prior to the regular annual meeting.

Article XII - Dissolution

Upon the dissolution of the Society, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all of the liabilities of the Society, dispose of all the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the Society in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Board of Directors shall determine.

This Article does not express a negative view regarding SSMR or its future. Article XII is standard wording used to qualify organizations for not-for-profit status under federal and state laws.




Robert Winterhalter, President
Leddy Hammock, Vice-President
Mary Tumpkin, Secretary
Dell deChant, Treasurer
C. Alan Anderson
Christina Christina Hendrick Croft
Brad Jensen

C. Alan Anderson, Program Committee

Dell deChant, Publications Committee

Doug & Karen Jones, Archives Committee*

Dell deChant, Membership Committee

C. Alan Anderson, INTA Committee

*Since July 28, 1999, this has been a Joint Committee of INTA and SSMR

PO Box 37
New Port Richey, FL 34605-0037

Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion

Created on behalf of SSMR
May 7, 2001
by Alan Anderson or
Phone: (727) 934-2585

Latest revision Oct. 22, 2003

URL of this page: Latest revision Oct. 22, 2003

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