All Souls Bylaws
The earliest bylaws were formed by decisions made in the first meetings of the church founders, documented in the first bound book of minutes (1819-1845), which can be found online in our
The bylaws of the church were adopted on February 14th, 1820, and have been amended, mostly in minor ways, over the years.
The latest version, last amended in 2009, is available here:
For a searchable transcription (thanks to James Moskin) of the minutes taken at the first two meetings of the church founders, click here:
The minutes of the meeting in February 1820, when the founders adopted bylaws congruent with the Laws of Incorporation of Religious Institutions in the State of New York, are here:
Unfortunately, we don’t have any copies of the actual church bylaws in their earliest form. Marietta Moskin, who wrote and edited the All Souls Quarterly Review for many years, wrote in 1995 that
"A diligent search of our Archives has not produced a copy of those original by-laws. The earliest copy of a revised set of by-laws found in the Archives dates back to 1843, but since by-laws have generally changed only slowly over the years, that 1843 document probably reflects the ideas of the original founders in 1820 quite faithfully."
To read the full article, click here:
The article says that bylaws were adopted in 1843, 1893, 1922, 1933, 1952, 1961, 1967, 1989, but we haven’t yet found copies of those versions.
A fairly important amendment was made to the by-laws in 1984, when one of the requirements for church membership was removed. Up until that time, the bylaws stated that signing the Membership Book was an acknowledgement that one subscribed to the Bond of Union:
“In the freedom of the truth and in the spirit of Jesus, we unite for the worship of God,”
In 1984, the requirement to subscribe to the Bond of Union was removed, and from then on a person only had to sign the Membership Book to become a member. See page 2: