Congregationalism, is a system of church governance (“ecclesiastical polity”) in which every local church congregation is independent, ecclesiastically sovereign, or “autonomous”. Each local congregation is independent and self-supporting, governed by its own members. [excerpt from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregationalist_polity]
While we are proudly part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) family, Brea Congregational UCC is governed by members of the church (“the congregation”) who, on a yearly basis, approve the church budget and democratically elects members of our a church council made up of members of the church. The church council and its committees functions to take care of the business and relational parts of church operations, including recruitment of staff (including the pastor), managing the budget, setting priorities, managing capital projects, and arranging events, learning opportunities, and care for members.
In short, while the pastor is the spiritual head of the church, the council is the elected “executive” team that manages church operations to leave the pastor free to do the spiritual heavy lifting. Members vote on crucial matters such as the annual budget and leadership.