NPM–Grand Rapids Chapter By-Laws

(Adopted by membership March 3rd 2017)

These by-laws of the NPM Grand Rapids Chapter are considered to be part of, in addition to, and in full compliance with the 2016 edition of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Chapter Manual. These by-laws differ with the requirements of the NPM Chapter Manual only where that document permits local adaptation.

The Chapter Board

The Board consists of Chapter Director [CD], CD-elect, Immediate Past CD, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Membership Coordinator, Programs Coordinator, Publicity Coordinator, Newsletter Editor, Prayer Coordinator, Hospitality Coordinator, two Members-at-Large [MAL], and one Student MAL.  The terms of service vary. All serve for a term of two years, except the CD-elect, immediate past CD, and student MAL who serve for one-year. With the unique exception of the CD and CD-elect, board members may serve two consecutive terms in the same office.

The immediate past Chapter Director serves one year as a non-voting ex-officio board member, and may not be nominated for another elected office until that year has been served.

Additional non-voting ex-officio board members who serve indefinitely, include the Director for the Office for Worship, the Diocesan Director of Music, the Cathedral Music Director, and the Web Master.

All board members must be members of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM).

The Chapter Board may adjust the makeup and of the board according to perceived need.

Board Elections

The Chapter Director and a minimum of two additional appointed members form the nominating committee (or the board itself may undertake this role), and decides the slate of candidates to be presented, first to the board for approval (if appropriate), and then to the membership for a vote. Leading up to that process, any voting member may “nominate,” that is, propose prospective candidates (or volunteer themself) to the nominating committee, which must discern each candidate’s willingness and ability to serve.

The election is conducted by paper ballot at the annual banquet. It begins by opening the process up to additional nominees from the floor. The election can then either take place by completing and counting the votes via the paper ballots, or by motion from the floor and voice vote. This procedure may be altered for any given year by action of the board. All terms begin on July 1st and end on June 30th of the appropriate year.

Developed 2016-2017 by the NPM-Grand Rapids Chapter Board. Ratified by unanimous vote at the annual chapter member’s meeting, March 3, 2017,  Robert J. Batastini, chapter director. Copyright © 2017, NPM-GR


Board Members

The primary role of a board member is to actively participate in board meetings, sharing ideas and opinions around the conference table.

When a person accepts a position on the board, it is assumed that they will make every effort to:

            • Attend board meetings;

            • Spend a reasonable amount of time carrying out the tasks of their position;

            • Examine the agendas for each forthcoming meeting, and the minutes of the previous meeting, on a timely basis;

            • Reply to all board communications without undue delay;

            • Attend/participate in chapter events;

            • Advise the chapter director as soon as it is known that they cannot attend a particular meeting or chapter event;

            • Advise the chapter director as soon as it is known that they cannot carry out a specific task associated with their board position;

            • Make an ongoing effort to supply news, articles, calendar items, and other content for the chapter newsletter.

 If it is generally perceived that a board member is not performing their duties, the board may take up the issue, which may potentially result in that member being dismissed from the board.

Chapter Director

The Chapter Director (CD) is elected one year prior to taking office. He/she thus serves on the board for one year as CD-elect, and then assumes the office of  CD without further election. With one year following this as Immediate Past CD, the total commitment is four years.

In the absence of the Chapter Director—on an occasional or permanent basis, the CD-elect or Immediate Past CD assumes the duties of Chapter Director (depending which is in office at the time).

            • If the CD-elect finishes the vacated term of their predecessor, he/she then fulfills a full term in office as Chapter Director.

            • If the office of CD is vacated during the term of the Immediate Past CD, that person chairs the board until the board schedules an election.

It is understood that the chapter director is chief operations officer, requiring all board members to keep the CD advised of all chapter related efforts. Similarly, if circumstances prevent the expected effort, the CD should be advised without delay.

If a vacancy is created on the board, the Chapter Director may appoint a qualified person to fill out that term. The duties created by that vacancy can also, by mutual agreement, be assigned to another board member for the remainder of that term.

The chapter director shall have the discretion to invite up to three special guests to the annual banquet at the chapter expense, so long as he/she determines it contributes to furthering a worthwhile relationship between the guest and/or the organization they represent, and the chapter.


Board Meetings

The Grand Rapids NPM Chapter Board commonly meets on the second Saturday of the month, ten months of the year (excluding July and December). This schedule can be adjusted by decision of the Board. Meetings are conducted informally, that is, without the use of customary parliamentary procedure. Decisions are made via general consensus (as defined by Merriam Webster as: the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned). If however, any board member, at any time, on any matter, so wishes, she or he can call for a motion, second, discussion, and formal vote.

The Board has the power to collectively make all decisions regarding board business and expenditures, insomuch as they are consistent with the guidelines set out in the NPM Chapter Manual. These decisions are made during official Board meetings conducted at the pre-announced day and time.

Financial Matters

Past Chapter Directors are traditionally Banquet Guests. This should be identified as an expense drawn from the general fund, and not be factored per se into the banquet financial report. In other words, the appropriate amount will be drawn from the general fund and added to the banquet receipts, solely for the purpose of accurate and representative bookkeeping. When the banquet bills are paid, the excess amount returns to the general fund as banquet income.

Since the national chapter manual indicates that the Chapter Director should make “every effort” to attend the national conventions, the chapter should pay his/her convention registration (excluding travel and housing) at the early-bird rate.

The free-will collection at the annual Musician’s Blessing should be taken each year to fund the Student Initiative.

For other chapter sponsored events the Board may set the appropriate participant fees.

Before dispersing funds, the Treasurer must obtain approval of the Chapter Director or board. For pre-approved expenses occurred as result of a board action, e.g., a clinician’s fee and expenses, or facilities rental, the Treasurer need obtain no further approval. 

All chapter expenditures are subject to available funds, and are subject to board review.


Chapter Membership

All chapter members are strongly encouraged to maintain their national membership in NPM. At the very least, this should apply to the principal musician of each parish. The chapter exists as a constituent part of the national organization, and has an obligation to support NPM through maintaining a full roster of local memberships.

The Parish Membership program is primarily a system by which parishes opt to become benefactors of the chapter. Currently, the dues are $150. The additional income derived from this program provides the major source of funding for the successful functioning of the chapter. Any and all members of the music ministry of these parishes are eligible to become regular voting members of the chapter at no additional cost. They must, however, formally enroll as voting members. The form is at

Schools and other diocesan organizations are eligible for parish [institutional] membership.

  • All members of the music ministry of parishes holding a Parish Membership, are entitled to receive the chapter newsletter, for which they must opt in by so informing their parish music director.

Regular voting member chapter dues are currently set at $20 per individual.


Student Initiative

The SI is a program by which the chapter pays for the National NPM membership dues of any qualifying student pursuing a full or part-time career in liturgical music or a related field. It is also available to seminarians with a expressed unique interest in liturgical music. The application form and full details are found at

            Qualifying students are eligible for this benefit throughout four years of college and two years of graduate school, and must be under 21 at the time of enrollment. The board has the final word in determining individual eligibility.

            Depending upon the available funds, and the number of students enrolled in the initiative, the board may opt to offer additional benefits to these students, e.g., assistance with the cost of attending a convention or institute, cost of the banquet. The board may determine other ways to use the funds to support these student memberships.

            If the funds exceed the demand by a significant amount, the board my choose to transfer a portion of the SI funds into the general account.