The historical tradition of our church has been to have two organizations share responsibility for First Parish Church: the Church and the Parish. This arrangement arose during a period in which the government and religious life of the York community were intertwined in a manner that is unimaginable today. In colonial times, the Parish “assessed” those living in the community with a “tax” to support the pastor of FPC and the “Assessors” of the Parish were charged with the responsibility of collecting the tax and seeing that the funds were used appropriately. FPC owned most of the land in the center of the town and continues today owning the land on which the town hall, old cemetery, and historical buildings, e.g., Jefferd’s Tavern and Remick Barn, are situated, in addition to the acreage of First Parish Cemetery and Parish Woods. As First Parish Church separated from the town of York, the Parish assumed responsibility for managing FPC property and finances while the Church continued overseeing the spiritual life of FPC, creating a fundamental division of governance between the financial and religious aspects of First Parish Church. The dual structure has evolved over the years to reflect a “mission” focus and expenditure for the Church and a “property and employer” focus and expenditure for the Parish.
Effective March 1, 2016, the congregation voted to merge the Parish and the Church and to incorporate as First Parish Church York, Maine as a not-for-profit church operating in the State of Maine. This was an historical event in the life of our church. Although we respect our history, operating in a more secular world has lead us to change the way we have governed ourselves and conducted our financial and business affairs. We now operate with a Church Council that acts as a Board of Directors on behalf of the members of First Parish Church between meetings of the membership. The Church Council consists of four officers -- a Moderator, Vice-Modertator, Treasurer and Clerk -- and representatives of the congregation (three) and the five Boards -- Assessors, Deacons, Christian Edication, Missions and Music Ministries. Our Pastors are ex-officio members of the Church Council.
The ByLaws for First Parish Church York, Maine can be reviewed under the Parish ByLaws tab on this website.