The Troth
 


TROTH BY LAWS
Update Ratified - June, 2011

1. Name of the Corporation

The name of the Corporation shall be "The Troth". For reasons of organizational history, the Corporation may also conduct its affairs under the name "The Ring of Troth".

2. Definitions

2.1. The dominant religion of Germanic Northern Europe and Scandinavia immediately prior to roughly 1000 C.E. is commonly referred to as "Heathen religion", "Heathenism", or "Heathenry", also "Germanic Paganism", also "Forn Sid", also "Viking religion". A more recent and specific name for this religion is "Asatru". For purposes of this document, these terms are considered synonyms. A closely related religion is commonly referred to as "Theodism", "Theodish belief", or "Anglo-Saxon Heathenry".
2.2. "Discrimination" implies making distinctions, limitations, or exclusions within the organization based on criteria such as race, gender, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. "Non-discrimination" implies not making such distinctions, limitations, or exclusions.
2.3. An "affiliated group" is a group or organization, distinct from the Corporation but compatible with its purposes, that has asked to be recognized as such.
2.4. "Good standing" implies that membership dues are paid current, and no organizational proceedings have found cause to expel or otherwise limit a member's rights or privileges within the organization.
2.5. The corporation's Board of Directors shall also be known as the "High Rede". The corporation's Chief Executive Officer shall also be known as the "Steersman", "Steerswoman", or "Steer".
2.6. The corporation's "regular journal" is devoted to the corporation's primary purposes and goals. The corporation's "operating journal" records the decisions of the High Rede.

3. Purposes of the Corporation

The purposes of the Corporation are:

3.1. To serve as a church or non-profit religious service organization for religious needs of its members in Heathen religion;
3.2. To disseminate accurate knowledge about its history, beliefs, and practices;
3.3. To train clergy and scholars in the practice and study of Heathen religion;
3.4. To produce publications that educate, provide information on, and facilitate communication about Heathen religion;
3.5. To facilitate and promote cooperation and community among non-discriminatory groups and individuals practicing Heathen religion;
3.6. To acquire property and resources that promote the foregoing purposes.

4. Membership

4.1. Non-Discrimination

Membership in The Troth is open to men and women who profess and practice Heathen religion, where this membership affiliation is based on religious or cultural reasons, not for racial or political reasons. Discrimination, as defined above, shall not be practiced by The Troth, its programs, departments, officers, or any affiliated group, whether in membership decisions or the conduct of any of its activities.

4.2. Membership Categories

The Troth shall have three classes of members: New, Full, and Lifetime.

4.2.1. New Members

New members are those persons who have been members in good standing, as defined above, for less than one year.

New members are not eligible to vote in Corporate elections. New members may not hold any Corporate office.

4.2.2. Full Members

Full Members are those persons who have remained members in good standing, as defined above, for at least one year. Full Members whose memberships have lapsed for more than three months shall revert to New member status if they reapply for membership, and not be recognized as Full Members again until their membership has been reinstated for at least six months.

Full Members may vote in Corporate elections if they are at least 18 years of age.

4.2.3. Lifetime Members

Lifetime members are Full Members who have contributed a donation of at least $500 to The Troth, or who are awarded a Lifetime membership by unanimous vote of the High Rede to honor exceptionally meritorious service to The Troth. A Lifetime member may resign that membership at any time. A Lifetime membership may be terminated by the High Rede for disciplinary reasons if necessary. Lifetime members shall have their names listed in each issue of The Troth's regular journal, and may receive other benefits as the High Rede may decide. At the discretion of the High Rede or the Lifetime member, a LIfetime membership may be changed to a lifetime subscription to The Troth's regular journal.

Lifetime members are subject to the same voting and office-holding criteria as Full Members.

4.3. Incarcerated Members

Full Members currently incarcerated in correctional institutions shall have the right to vote. Incarcerated members may not hold any Corporate office, neither may they participate in any Troth programs.

4.4. Disciplinary Action and Expulsion of Members

The Troth reserves the right to discipline or expel any member who has been deemed to be in violation of The Troth's Mission Statement, Position Statement, these By-Laws, or articles of incorporation. Specific actions will be determined according to the following procedures, and will be announced in the operating journal.

4.4.1. Principles and Purpose of Discipline

In accordance with Heathen tradition, disciplinary procedures within The Troth seek first and foremost to maintain the integrity of the community, while striving to uphold the rights and freedoms of individual members.

There may be times when an individual member's behavior impedes the community's ability to maintain a constructive environment, or hinders the organization's ability to function. In these instances, disciplinary procedures may be invoked. Our Corporate actions must be timely, decisive, consistent, and fair. All members, whether those who bring forth grievances, or those who are examined as a result of those grievances, and regardless of their position within The Troth, will be treated justly and fairly in any disciplinary procedure. Officers and clergy within The Troth may be subject to more scrutiny and accountability than the general membership.

The Troth does not involve itself in personal disputes, and any allegation found to be the result of a personal dispute or disagreement will not be handled at the level of Corporate discipline unless member behavior impedes the community's ability to maintain a constructive environment, or hinders the organization's ability to function.

When a violation of civil law is involved, the organization will immediately file a complaint with civil authorities, or encourage such a complaint to be filed by the appropriate parties.

Disciplinary procedures within the organization are based on these By-Laws, and on the Mission and Position Statements. Procedures aim at prevention of problems, when that is possible, or at restitution and restoration, when prevention is not possible.

4.4.2 Jurisdiction

All regulations concerning member conduct and discipline shall apply to all members and local affiliated groups. It is expected that members will abide by basic standards of civil conduct even outside of activities and events sponsored by the organization. Discipline may be invoked, or membership status revoked, for members who are involved with any activities contrary to the organization's Mission or Position statements or By-Laws.

4.4.3 Initiation of Discipline

Disciplinary proceedings may be initiated by any Full member against any other member, relating to any action within the jurisdiction of the organization as defined here.

4.4.4 Rules of Evidence

Evidence must be directly related to the complaint, and must be verifiable by sources other than the initiator of the complaint.

5 Corporate Structure

5.1 The High Rede

Management of the corporation is vested in a Board of Directors, which shall be formally known as the High Rede. The High Rede shall be the chief policy-making body of the corporation. Except as otherwise provided in these By-Laws, the High Rede shall appoint Executive Officers and Operating Officers, ensure fair election of new members of the High Rede when vacancies occur, and adopt and amend these By-Laws as necessary. The High Rede may remove Executive Officers, Officers, and Clergy, and may revoke or deny membership, according to such procedures as it may establish, if it determines, in its sole discretion, that such action is in the best interests of the corporation and the community it creates.

5.1.1 Composition

The High Rede shall have between three and nine members. The actual number at a given time shall be decided by the High Rede, where a smaller High Rede may be appropriate for a smaller corporate membership. If the number of corporate members is greater than 500, an attempt to elect a nine-member High Rede is required.

5.1.2 Election

Members of the High Rede shall be elected by the Full Members of the Corporation.

One third (1/3) of the members of the High Rede shall be elected each year, according to procedures approved by the High Rede, published to the membership, and administered by the Elections Officer, to serve terms of three years, beginning at Trothmoot of the year in which they are elected. If a member dies in office or resigns, a successor shall be elected to fill the remainder of the departing member's term. If the number of members is not divisible by three, one less than one third of the members may be elected during some years. If the High Rede decides to grow or shrink its size, no less than one or more than three positions may be offered to vote in a given year. The goal of these rules is to ensure that the High Rede is continually populated by a majority of experienced members.

Any Full member may nominate one or more persons as candidates for the High Rede. Such candidates must have been Full Members of the Corporation for at least a full year preceding nomination.

The medium for High Rede Elections shall be determined by the Rede. A medium can included mail, email, or other appropriate means. The Corporation shall not be required to provide notice of or hold an annual meeting of the members for purposes of voting. In the election of members of the High Rede, members may not cumulate their votes by casting more than one vote for a single candidate. Any member wishing to vote by proxy must sign and date his/her proxy authorizing another Full Member to vote in his/her stead not more than 60 nor less than 10 days prior to the date on which ballots must be received by the Corporation. The signed and dated original of the proxy must accompany any ballot sent to the Corporation which is cast under authority of such proxy.

Kindred Affiliation Program groups shall each receive one (1) extra ballot per voting cycle. This ballot shall be made available by mail, and shall be printed on specially colored paper in order to distinguish it from Full Member ballots. There shall be no more than one (1) ballot provided per group. Kindred Affiliation Program groups may not use their special ballot to vote by proxy.

Minimum membership for a KAP affiliated kindred is 5 members. A majority (as defined in this document) of these members must be members of the corporation.

5.1.3 Meetings

The members of the High Rede shall meet at least quarterly via electronic mail, conference call, or face-to-face meetings to conduct Corporate business. At the end of each quarter, the Scribe shall prepare and submit to the Rede a summary of decisions and policies approved by the High Rede. This report shall be considered the official minutes of the administration, be published in the operating journal, and made available to all Corporate members.

An annual gathering of the Corporation, designated as "Trothmoot," shall be held during the month of June at a site agreed upon by an act of the High Rede. Attending this gathering shall be a requirement of all High Rede members. At this meeting, the High Rede members shall meet privately among themselves, and shall hold a business meeting open to all attendees of the gathering, where they shall report to the membership on the state of the Corporation, and where policies and procedures may be proposed and discussed.

A quorum of High Rede members is half the size of the current High Rede, rounded up. A quorum is necessary to conduct business.

For any proposition put to vote before the High Rede, a majority of votes in favor of that proposition by the members of the High Rede present in person or by proxy shall be the act of the High Rede, unless a greater number is required by the Articles of Incorporation or the By-Laws, All proxies must be in writing, signed and dated by the Rede members executing them, and their period of validity may not exceed three months. Any proxy may be revoked by providing written notice to the Steer and the person to whom the proxy was given. Proxies may only be given to current members of the High Rede.

5.2 Officers

Candidates for Corporate offices must be at least 18 years of age, and have been Full Members for at least one year. Some Officers require additional qualifications. Officers must maintain membership throughout their terms of office. Officers whose memberships lapse for more than three months shall be deemed to have resigned from their office. After this three month period, renewal of membership shall not reinstate a member to office.

Officers may not serve concurrent positions in other Heathen/Asatru organizations. General membership in other organizations is acceptable as long as it creates no conflict of interest.

Officers are encouraged to hold only one Office at any time.

5.2.1 Steer

The President of the Corporation shall also and primarily be referred to as the Steersperson (or Steersman or Steerswoman, as applicable).

5.2.1.1 Duties

The Steer shall be the chairman of meetings of the High Rede. If the Steer is unable or unwilling to perform this duty, then the Associate Steer (see below) shall be the chairman of meetings of the High Rede until the situation with the Steer is resolved. If both the Steer and Associate Steer are unable or unwilling to perform this duty, then the current member of the High Rede who has served longest in that office shall perform this duty until the situation with the Steer and Associate Steer is resolved. If there are multiple current members of the High Rede who have served longest in that office, then the one who has served the longest and has the greatest personal age shall perform that duty until the situation with the Steer and Associate Steer is resolved. The manner of resolution may depend on whether the Steer and/or Associate Steer is/are dead, disabled, unable to communicate, unwilling to cooperate, or resigned from office. The High Rede shall document and adopt formal procedures for dealing with these different situations.

The Steer oversees the general administration of the Corporation. The Steer convenes and presides over the communications and meetings of the High Rede, and the public business meeting at the annual Trothmoot. The Steer shall retain possession of the official minutes of the meetings and actions of the High Rede. The Steer may appoint assistants as necessary, but must inform the Rede of all such appointments. The Steer shall be responsible for planning and management of Trothmoot, although this task may be delegated. The Steer shall be responsible for formally convening Trothmoot, although this task may be delegated. An outgoing Steer shall be responsible for the Trothmoot planned during the last year of his or her term.

5.2.1.2 Election

The Steer shall be elected by the High Rede at Trothmoot following an advisory vote consistentwith those adopted for the election of Rede members, and results shall be announced to the membership in the operating journal.

5.2.1.3 Term

The Steer shall serve a term of three years, beginning at Trothmoot of the year in which s/he is elected, and may be reelected.

5.2.1.4 Succession

5.2.1.4.1 Incapacity

If the Steer becomes physically or mentally unable to perform the duties of office ("incapacity"), then the Associate Steer assumes the Steers's duties, but not the title, until either the Steer is again able to perform or the Associate Steer's term of office expires. At the Spring Rede Meeting, a vote shall be taken by the Rede whether or not to hold a general election for the Steer. If so, this election begins a new standard cycle of the Steer's term of office.

5.2.1.4.2 Death or Resignation
If the Steer dies in office or resigns, then any Rede member may publicize, convene, and preside over a Rede meeting to elect a new Steer and Associate Steer. Any Rede member presiding over such a meeting shall attempt to notify, invite, and include all other Rede members by reasonable means and in a reasonable time of no less than two days. If The Troth's regular members' email list is operating, that shall be the means of notification and invitation. If the email list is not operating, then regular email, telephone, or regular mail may be used to notify and invite.

5.2.1.4.3 Interim Steer
As Rede members join such a meeting, or as concurrent meetings are discovered and coalesced, the presiding member ("Interim Steer") shall be identified by the following rules:

If the Associate Steer is alive and capable and present, then the Associate Steer becomes the Interim Steer. If the Associate Steer is not alive or capable or present, the current Rede member present who has served the longest on the Rede becomes the Interim Steer. If multiple Rede members present have served the longest, then the current Rede member who has served the longest and has the greatest personal age becomes the Interim Steer.

5.2.1.4.4 Election of Successors
The best known Interim Steer as defined here presides over a private Rede meeting to elect a new Steer and Associate Steer. This Rede meeting shall be conducted using whatever technology is most feasible at the time. The results shall be announced on the members' email list if it is operating. If the public announcement of a new regular election cycle has not already been made by the Elections Officer, then a new election cycle for Steer will be scheduled during the next regular election cycle.


5.2.2 Associate Steer

5.2.2.1 Duties

The Associate Steer (or Associate Steerperson, or Associate Steerswoman, as applicable) is responsible for whatever duties are delegated to him/her by the Steer.

5.2.2.2 Election

With the advice of the current Steer, the Associate Steer shall be elected from among the serving members of the High Rede.

5.2.2.3 Term

The Associate Steer shall serve a term of one year, and may be reelected.

5.2.3 Executive Officers

The Corporation also implements various Departments and Programs. Departments are permanent fixtures within the Corporation; Programs may be created and/or disbanded based on the needs and interests of the membership. All Departments and Programs are headed by an Executive Officer who is responsible for the operation of his/her Department or Program.

5.2.3.1 Duties

Executive Officers are required to attend and participate in quarterly business meetings. Other duties are specific to each Department or Program, as defined within the Department's or Program's charter.

5.2.3.2 Election

Executive Officers are appointed by the High Rede, or elected from within their respective Departments or Programs, depending upon the nature of each Department or Program, usually either at or shortly after Trothmoot.

5.2.3.3 Term

Unless stated otherwise within these By-Laws, Executive Officers serve a three year term, and may be reappointed. Executive Officers may resign their offices by submitting a resignation, in writing, to the High Rede. At the option of the High Rede, any such resignation may be deemed to be effective upon receipt, rather than on a date specified in the resignation.

Executive Officers may be removed from office at any time by the High Rede at its sole discretion.

5.2.4 Operating Officers

Some Departments and Programs have Operating Officers reporting to their Executive Officers, depending upon the operational needs of those Departments and Programs.

5.2.3.1 Duties

Operating Officers carry out specific duties within that office's Department or Program, as defined within the Department's or Program's charter.

5.2.3.2 Election

Operating Officers are appointed by the High Rede upon the advice of a Department's or Program's Executive Officer, usually either at or shortly after Trothmoot.

5.2.3.3 Term

Unless stated otherwise in these By-Laws, Operating Officers serve a one year term and may be reappointed. Operating Officers may resign their offices by submitting a resignation, in writing, to their Executive Officer, or to the High Rede. At the option of the Executive Officer or the High Rede, any such resignation may be deemed to be effective upon receipt, rather than on a date specified in the resignation.

Operating Officers may be removed from office at any time by the High Rede at its sole discretion.

5.3 Departments

5.3.1 Administrative Department

5.3.1.1 Executive Officer: Secretary

The Executive Officer of the Administrative Department is the Corporation's Secretary. The Secretary retains important correspondence, and holds the Corporate book and seal. The Secretary shall be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Corporation's Administrative Department, including the organization, storage, and maintenance of all Corporate records in hard copy and electronic formats. S/he supervises the Officers and volunteer staff of the Administrative Department, including but not limited to the Scribe, Reckoner, Elections Officer, and Scribe, and therefore is required to understand and be able to perform the duties of all these offices. Further, the Secretary is expected to work with the High Rede, the Steer, and all other Executive Officers in order to coordinate administrative services as required. Candidates for this office must be Full Members of the Troth. The Secretary is appointed by the High Rede to a three year term, and may be reappointed. The Secretary may take on any of the subordinate offices of this department upon the approval of the High Rede.

5.3.1.2 Scribe

The Scribe shall make and keep a complete and accurate record of all actions considered by the High Rede, whether in a meeting or otherwise. This record shall include the text of the proposed action, the date of final determination, the outcome of the vote, the numbers of affirmative votes, negative votes, and abstentions, and the specific votes of each Rede member. The Scribe shall keep a copy of all records made, and shall forward the official records to the Steer, the High Rede, and the editor of the operating journal at least quarterly. The Scribe is the Parliamentarian within Rede meetings. The Scribe is responsible for all Rede-level publications. The Scribe is responsible for reading and answering general correspondence. The Scribe may not be sitting member of the High Rede.

5.3.1.3 Reckoner

The Reckoner of Accounts is the Treasurer of the Corporation. S/he shall record financial transactions, receive, deposit and disburse monies as instructed by the High Rede, and by standing policy of the Corporation. The Reckoner shall also maintain complete and accurate financial records and the bank account(s) of the Corporation. The Reckoner shall produce quarterly reports on the Corporation's financial status for the High Rede, and prepare an annual financial statement for each fiscal year, defined as 1 January to 31 December of each year. This report shall be due by 15 March of each year. The Reckoner shall prepare and file any forms or reports required by governmental agencies. The Reckoner shall prepare a budget for each succeeding year and deliver it for approval by the High Rede at Trothmoot. The Reckoner may appoint or hire assistants as needed to carry out these tasks, but must inform the High Rede of any such appointments or hirings. The Reckoner may not be sitting member of the High Rede.

5.3.1.4 Elections Officer

The Elections Officer shall be responsible for announcing the phases of an election cycle in a timely and appropriate manner to the membership. Also, the Elections Officer shall prepare and deliver ballots to the membership. The Elections Officer shall assure that all ballots, whether paper or electronic-transferred-to-paper arrive at Trothmoot. All ballots must be recounted and witnessed by at least one Rede member not involved in the election, and one non-Rede member. In the event that the Elections Officer cannot attend Trothmoot, one other oathed Troth Officer must be present, excluding anyone on the ballot. If the Elections Officer cannot attend Trothmoot, then the ballots must be mailed after initial counting to the Steer via rapid and secure mail. The results must also be e-mailed to the Steer as a backup, in the event of delayed or lost mail. The recount must take place prior to the open business meeting held at Trothmoot. The Elections Officer may not be sitting member of the High Rede.

5.3.1.5 Clerk

The Clerk maintains a membership database by appropriate means. The Clerk processes membership requests and fees, and notifies members when their memberships are about to lapse, and again when they have lapsed.

5.3.2 Information Services Department

The Informations Services Department manages all computer- and internet-related operations of the Corporation.

5.3.2.1 Executive Officer: Chief Information Officer

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) manages Computer Operations for the Corporation. CIO tasks include, but are not limited to, providing a membership database for use by the Clerk, providing accounting software for use by the Treasurer, providing and maintaining a Corporate website, and providing and maintaining various means of electronic communications as may be deemed necessary by the High Rede, such as electronic mailing lists and online forums. S/he may appoint or hire assistants as needed to carry out these tasks, but must inform the High Rede of any such appointments or hirings. This CIO is appointed by the High Rede to serve a one year term, and may be reappointed.

5.3.3 Publications and Merchandise Department

The Publications Department is responsible for the timely production and distribution of publications and other materials by the Corporation. Items produced by this Department are expected to be appropriate for the Corporation, and neither actionable nor seriously embarrassing.

5.3.3.1 Executive Officer: Shope

The Shope is the Director of Publications for the Corporation, and shall supervise publication of the regular journal, the operating journal, and other publications of the Troth. S/he may appoint or hire assistants as needed to carry out these tasks, but must inform the High Rede of any such appointments. The Shope informs the High Rede of problems and progress with publication and merchandising activities. The Shope may also be the Editor of either the regular journal or the operating journal, but not both.

5.3.3.2 Editor of the Regular Journal

The regular journal traditionally has the title "Idunna". The Editor of Idunna oversees the editing, preparation, production, and distribution of Idunna four times a year under the supervision of the Shope and with the assistance of such other persons as s/he deems necessary.

5.3.3.3 Editor of the Operating Journal

The regular journal traditionally has the title "Mimir's Well". The Editor of Mimir's Well oversees the editing, preparation, production, and distribution of Mimir's Well as needed and authorized by the Steer under the supervision of the Shope.

5.3.3.4 Merchandise Coordinator

The Merchandise Coordinator oversees the procurement, storage, and shipment of such non-publication tangible items as the High Rede and/or the Shope deem appropriate for sale by the Corporation, S/he may appoint or hire assistants as needed to carry out these tasks, but must inform the High Rede of any such appointments or hirings.

5.3.4 Public Relations Department

The Public Relations Department handles the Corporation's interests in the media and with the general public, to project the Corporation and Heathenry/Asatru in general in an accurate, fair, and positive light.

5.3.4.1 Executive Officer: Public Relations Officer

The Public Relations Officer actively promotes the Corporation and Heathenry/Asatru in general in the media, and responds to reporting relevant to the Corporation and Heathenry/Asatru in general. S/he advises other Officers on the conduct of public appearances and interviews with the media.

5.3.4.2 Troth Contact Officer

The Troth Contact Officer responds in a timely manner specifically to external requests regarding events sponsored by the Corporation, local affiliated organizations, and membership in the Corporation, when such requests cannot be handled automatically by the Information Services Department.

5.3.5 Internal Affairs Department

5.3.5.1 Executive Officer: Ombudsperson

The Ombudsperson takes note of concerns, complaints, or inquiries of individual members or local affiliated groups, gathering facts and presenting this information through the appropriate channels of responsibility, ending if necessary with the High Rede. S/he works to solve problems within and between the Corporation and its members in an impartial manner, attempting to avoid issues of personality, faction, or favor. The Ombudsperson shall stay informed of the volunteer needs and new services of the Corporation, using the information contained on the membership forms to encourage new and old members to remain as active as possible. S/he may appoint assistants as needed to carry out these tasks, but must inform the High Rede of any such appointments. S/he is appointed by the High Rede to serve a term of one year, and may be reappointed for a maximum of three consecutive terms. The Ombudsperson shall not hold any other office within the Corporation, nor any other voting position beyond those rights of an individual member during his or her term as Ombudsperson.

5.3.5.2 Moderator

The Moderator watches the members' online discussions for inappropriate content. These discussions are expected to be relevant to Asatru or the workings of the community, and they are expected to proceed in a civil manner in accordance with the Corporation's Position Statement. Persons whose postings are not within these boundaries, or whose postings disrupt online discussions, may be placed on moderation: their messages will be delayed while the Moderator reviews them for appropriateness, and inappropriate messages will not be posted. Offenders may even be barred from posting, subject to review by the High Rede. No one is immune to moderation, including members of the High Rede and the Executive staff. Participation in the online discussions is a privilege of membership, not a right.

The Moderator and Ombudsperson shall create rules regarding how moderation is performed, subject to approval by the High Rede. They shall seek to formulate and maintain rules that are objective and fair, and which have repeatable results. These rules shall be posted to the online discussions at regular intervals to be determined by the Moderator and Ombudsperson.

The Moderator is appointed by the Ombudsperson, who may appoint others to assist the Moderator with the task. All persons performing moderation shall be full members of the Corporation. They serve at the pleasure of the Ombudsperson and the High Rede for as long as the person is willing to perform the task.