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CHURCH OF BETHPAGE
ARTICLE I – MEETINGS
The meetings of the voting members of the congregation shall be quarterly, and shall be held on the third Sunday of the months of February, May, August and November.
Special meeting shall be called whenever the Church Council or the pastor deem it imperative; or upon the written request of five members addressed to the Secretary of the Congregation. In the event that a special meeting is called, notification of such meeting must be mailed to each member directed to his last address forty-eight hours before such meeting is held or public announcement for two consecutive Sundays prior to such meeting. The business of a special meeting shall be limited to the purpose for which it was called.
ARTICLE II – CHURCH COUNCIL FUNCTION:
The Church Council, under authority received from the voting membership and on its behalf, shall administer the affairs of the congregation; review procedures, progress, and problems connected therewith; and give direction to its individual members and their commissions. It shall supervise all auxiliary organizations within the congregation, and propose and administer the budget. It shall serve as a planning and coordinating council for the congregation, inviting leaders of auxiliary organizations to meet with it at least once a year to plan and coordinate the church program and calendar of activities. At least once a year it shall publish a plan outlining the planned activities for the next twelve months, and shall also publish an annual report to inform the congregation of past accomplishments and future plans. It shall establish such guidelines and adopt such measures as it deems necessary for the proper conduct of its business and that of its members, commissions, boards and committees.
The voting members of the congregation shall elect by ballot from among its male members, a President, Vice President, and six Elders, and from its male or female members a Secretary, Financial Secretary, three Trustees and six Commission Directors (Worship, Stewardship, Education, Evangelism, Fellowship and Property).
The Church Council shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Financial Secretary, Head Elder (Elder #1), Head Trustee (Trustee #1), six Commission Directors (Worship, Stewardship, Education, Evangelism, Fellowship and Property), and the Pastor ex-officio.
Members of the Church Council, Elders, and Trustees shall be elected for a term of two years. The President, Financial Secretary, Elders 1, 3 and 5, Trustee 2, Stewardship Commission Director, Christian Education Commission Director, and Property Commission Director shall be elected in odd-numbered calendar years.
The Vice President, Secretary, Elders 2, 4 and 6, Trustees 1 and 3, Worship Commission Director, Evangelism Commission Director and Christian Fellowship Commission Director shall be elected in even-numbered years.
One person shall not hold more than one elected position at the same time. All elected positions shall assume office on July 1 of the year of their election.
ARTICLE III – MEETING OF THE CHURCH COUNCIL:
Regular meetings of the Church Council shall be held in the second week of each month. Any voting member of the congregation may attend, but only council members have voting privileges. By notifying the President in advance, Commission Directors may assign a proxy vote to their co-director, and similarly the Head Elder and Head Trustee may assign a proxy vote to another Elder or Trustee, respectively. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor, by the President, or by three Council members upon written request to the president. Notice of the date, time, and purpose of a special meeting shall be made to each member of the Church Council at least forty-eight hours in advance of the meeting. Seven members of the Church Council (or their assigned proxy representative) shall constitute a quorum, and a majority vote of the members present at the meeting shall be required for any resolutions or legal acts on behalf of the congregation.
ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS:
The President, Vice President, Secretary and Financial Secretary shall constitute the officers of both the Congregation and the Church Council.
ARTICLE V – VACANCIES:
When a vacancy occurs in any elected position by death, resignation, or otherwise, the President, with the approval of the Church Council, shall appoint a replacement to serve with full voting power until the next congregational meeting when a new election shall be held for the vacant position. The term of office for the vacated position will remain the same as indicated in Article II of the By-Laws.
ARTICLE VI – DUTIES OF OFFICERS:
The officers of the congregation shall enlist and supervise the services of a church office secretary to provide the Church Council, Commissions, boards, the Pastor, and the congregation with any required secretarial needs. In addition, each officer shall have specific duties, as follows:
It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings of the Church Council and of the voting members. In his absence or inability to act, the Vice-President shall preside. In meetings of the Church Council or of the voting members held to discuss doctrinal matters, the Pastor shall preside, or in his absence or inability to act, one of the elders. The President shall conduct all meetings in an orderly and unprejudiced manner; when there is a tie in the vote, his vote shall decide.
The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in his absence, during his disability, or at his request. He shall also serve as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee and shall assist the President in such duties as the President may assign to him. He shall be authorized to sign checks for the disbursement of funds in the event of the absence, disability, or death of the Financial Secretary. He shall also see that the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws are upheld. Questions and parliamentary procedure not governed by the Constitution and By-Laws shall be decided by Robert’s Rules of Order.
The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings and decisions of the voting members and the Church Council in a proper minute book. He shall also receive and attend to all correspondence, invitations, etc., and shall be diligent in the discharge of the necessary duties of his office. At the termination of his office, he shall deliver the minute books, correspondence, and all documents pertaining to the business of the congregation in his possession to his successor.
The Financial Secretary shall see to the receipt of all monies of the congregation and see that they are promptly deposited in the bank. The Financial Secretary shall appoint a Treasurer and may appoint tellers, all approved by the Church Council, from among the members of the congregation to assist in the performance of his duties. When it is impossible for the Financial Secretary to see to the receipt of the monies himself, he may authorize the Treasurer or teller to do so against due acknowledgment to the Financial Secretary. The Treasurer, under the supervision of the Financial Secretary, shall also pay all bills, pay punctually all salaries fixed by the congregation, and book all receipts and expenditures. All disbursements must be made by check. The Financial Secretary shall keep an accurate account of all receipts and disbursements made by the Treasurer, and shall submit a report at every regular meeting of the Church Council and the congregation.
ARTICLE VII – COMMISSIONS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES:
Commissions, under the leadership of the respective directors, shall carry out the duties assigned to them in Article VIII below. They shall disburse the congregation’s budgeted monies in a responsible manner under the supervision of the Church Council.
Commissions shall meet regularly and keep minutes. Directors shall inform the Church Council each month of their Commission’s decisions, progress, problems, and expenditures.
Commissions shall also make reports at the regular meetings of the congregation. Every commission shall prepare a charter for Council approval, detailing the specific responsibilities of the commission. Each commission director shall appoint a co-director from the membership of the congregation, approved by the
Church Council, to assist in the duties of the Director. In addition to the Director and Co-Director, commission membership may vary according to need, but should be reported to the Church Council.
1. The Board of Elders:
The Board of Elders shall be composed of the six elected Elders and the Pastor ex-officio, with Elder #1 serving as the Head Elder. It shall be the responsibility of the Elders to encourage, assist and pray for the Pastor, be concerned with his welfare, and help and further his work in every possible way; for example, in visiting the sick, keeping order and discipline throughout the congregation, and preserving purity of doctrine and peace within the congregation. They shall also be concerned with the spiritual welfare of the congregation, regularly reviewing the public worship attendance and the use of the Sacraments by members of the congregation. They shall notify the Pastor of the sick, spiritually distressed, and other members in need of spiritual care. The elders shall also accompany the Pastor while making calls, if he so desires, and make calls in his stead when he is absent or unable. In the absence of the Pastor, or his inability to act, or during a vacancy, they should be diligent in securing the services of a substitute LCMS pastor or teacher, or when that is not possible they should conduct the regular services, and should deliver a prepared sermon sound in LCMS doctrine and approved by a LCMS pastor.
2. Board of Trustees:
The Board of Trustees shall be composed of the three elected Trustees, with Trustee #1 serving as the Head Trustee. It shall be the responsibility of the Trustees to represent the congregation in all suits at law, enter into contracts on behalf of the congregation, and to transact business devolving upon the congregation as an incorporated body. In all such corporate matters, the Trustees shall act only in accordance with the instructions and resolutions of the congregation, as set forth in Article XV of this Constitution. The Trustees shall maintain adequate insurance coverage, and set fees and regulate the use of all church-owned properties. They shall control the issuance of all keys, and keep an updated inventory of all property and equipment. The Trustees shall also have charge of all documents (legal papers, financial record, minutes, historical documents, etc.) Which are of no immediate usefulness, and provide for their safe storage and protection. They shall also see that an audit of the financial records be done each year. The Trustees may be entrusted with other duties at the discretion of the congregation.
1. Budget Committee:
The Budget Committee shall be composed of the Financial Secretary, Head Trustee, and the Director of the Stewardship Commission. The Financial Secretary shall be the Chairperson, and shall call a meeting of this committee no later than September 15th. He shall have previously requested statements from all relevant agencies included in the budget concerning their recommendations for the coming year. The budget shall be presented to the Church Council for its approval by its October meeting. It shall then be presented to the voting membership of the congregation prior to the November congregational meeting for approval at that meeting.
2. Nominating Committee:
A Nominating Committee consisting of three members of the congregation, with the Vice President Chairman Ex-Officio, shall nominate one or more candidates for each elected office and shall submit a list of such candidates at the regular April meeting. Additional candidates for each elected office may be submitted ay any member at this meeting. A complete list of the candidates shall be published or announced prior to the May congregational meeting. Elections shall take place at this meeting. Additional nominations may also be made from the floor at this meeting.
3. Other Committees:
The President may appoint other committees to meet various needs of the Church Council.
ARTICLE VIII – DUTIES OF COMMISSIONS
COMMISSION ON WORSHIP:
The Commission on Worship shall assist the Pastor in the planning of worship, including the enlistment and supervision of an organist and other personnel used in the preparation for the conduct of worship. It shall study ways to enrich the worship life of the congregation, including the use of new forms and variations in worship practice. The commission shall seek to lead the members of the congregation in the deepening of their personal worship experience and in regular participation in corporate worship.
COMMISSION ON STEWARDSHIP:
The Commission of Stewardship shall study and promote the expression of Christian faith in daily living and in the corporate life of the congregation. It shall teach the Christian use of money, leading members to higher levels of proportionate giving, and shall appoint a Recorder, approved by the Church Council, to provide quarterly and annual reports of contributions of all members of the congregation. It shall plan and enlist participation in every-member Christian stewardship confrontations. The Commission shall integrate new members into the life of the congregation and shall enlist the talents of members in the various aspects of the church’s ministry. The Commission shall also receive all requests for mission support on behalf of the congregation, evaluate them and make recommendations to the Church Council.
COMMISSION OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION:
The Commission of Christian Education, in association with the pastor, shall supervise the conduct of the educational agencies and programs of the congregation, including the enlistment and training of teachers and leaders, provision for adequate supplies, equipment, and facilities, and regular evaluation of the congregation’s educational program in the light of current trends. It shall make itself aware of recommended procedures and materials for a relevant educational ministry. It shall encourage youth and adults to study, individually and in groups, the Bible and the relationship of the Christian faith to current issues and problems. The commission shall promote the church’s publications and periodicals. It shall supervise activities conducted in and by the congregation for youth and shall encourage qualified youth to consider entering church vocations and other vocations of service to people. It shall provide adult and family social activities with an educational orientation.
COMMISSION ON EVANGELISM:
The Commission on Evangelism shall encourage a personal witness to the Christian faith as well as participation in the witness of the congregation. It shall study and promote a greater understanding of the mission and ministry of the individual Christian, the congregation, and the Christian Church. It shall plan and enlist participants in concerted efforts to reach the unchurched with the Gospel and to win them to Christ’s Church, and shall seek to regain former members who have alienated themselves from the church. The commission shall endeavor to use various means of communication in the propagation of the Gospel and shall promote public relations.
COMMISSION ON CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP:
The Commission on Christian Fellowship shall plan and oversee the social and service oriented activities of the congregation. It shall plan, coordinate, and enlist personnel for special events within the life of the congregation and shall provide for contact between the old and the young. It shall aid the Commission on Evangelism in the assimilation of new and returning members into the life of the congregation.
COMMISSION ON PROPERTY:
The Commission on Property shall see to the regular maintenance, protection and improvement of all property of the congregation. It shall provide for the necessary maintenance and care of all equipment, buildings and property, and shall supervise the work of a custodian and volunteer workers. When immediate maintenance is required, the Property commission shall have the right to act on its own, provided the sum to be expended is not in excess of Two Hundred dollars ($200). Expenditures above this limit must be approved by the Church Council.
ARTICLE IX – ORGANIZATIONS
All organizations shall exist to aid the congregation in ministering to its members and to aid its members in ministering to others. As outgrowths and expressions of the congregation’s life, the organization shall be subject to the supervision and direction of the Church Council.
ARTICLE X – SUNDAY SCHOOL
The Pastor is by virtue of his office the principal of the Sunday School. He shall be assisted by a superintendent, who shall be appointed by the Commission on Christian Education, for the term of one year. The teachers of the school shall be enlisted by the pastor and the Christian Education Commission, and the appointments shall be reported to the congregation. Only approved textbooks and lesson helps shall be used.
ARTICLE XI – MEMORIAL AND SPECIAL GIFTS
Memorial gifts of money will be placed in the General Memorial Fund to be used for special projects and items suitable for use as memorials as designated by the Church Council. Gifts of tangible nature, such as articles of usefulness or beauty will be accepted only after consultation with and the approval of the Church Council, thereafter to become the property of the congregation.
ARTICLE XII - MEMBERSHIP
Baptized members are all members, regardless of age, who have been baptized in the name of the Triune God, who are under the spiritual care of the Pastor of this congregation, and who have been received in accordance with the following rules:
Reception – Baptized members are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism by transfer from another Lutheran congregation, or with the consent of a parent or guardian in the case of children who were baptized in a congregation of another Christian Church.
Termination – A member in good standing shall, upon request, be transferred by the Pastor to another Lutheran congregation. A baptized member who has not become a communicant and has ceased to be under the spiritual care of the Pastor of this congregation may have his membership suspended by the Pastor in conjunction with the Worship commission. An effort must first be made to bring the member under such spiritual care.
Announcement - All changes in membership shall be reported by the Pastor to the Church Council at its next meeting.
Communicant members are those…..
1. Reception – Communicant members are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, following a course of instruction, of an un-baptized adult, through the rite of confirmation of a baptized person who has never been confirmed, by the transfer of a communicant of a congregation of another Lutheran congregation, by profession of faith of a communicant of a congregation of another Christian church, or by reaffirmation of faith of a former member of this or another Lutheran congregation. Instruction in the doctrine and practice of the Lutheran Church, the nature of which shall be determined by the Pastor in conjunction with the Christian Education Commission, shall precede reception into communicant membership, except when such reception is by transfer.
2. Termination – A member in good standing shall, upon request, be transferred by the Pastor in conjunction with the Board of Elders, to another Lutheran congregation. A member who joins a congregation outside the Lutheran fellowship shall have his membership terminated by the Pastor in conjunction with the Board of Elders. A member whose whereabouts is unknown and cannot be established shall have his membership terminated by the Pastor in conjunction with the Board of Elders. A member who conducts himself in an un-Christian manner, is admonished according to scripture, but refuses to repent, shall be excommunicated. He shall be encouraged to attend public worship, and efforts shall be made to bring him to repentance. When he does repent, the excommunication shall be lifted and he shall be reinstated as a communicant member of the congregation.
3. Announcement – Wherever practical, formal reception of communicant members shall take place in the presence of the congregation assembled for worship. At the discretion of the Pastor, reception may be private.
4. Renewal – New communicant members, upon their reception, and all previous communicant members shall
annually renew their membership with a commitment to serve the Lord and support the work of the Church for the following year. This annual commitment, under the supervision of the Stewardship Commission, shall address the requirements for communicant membership previously set forth. Member in good standing status shall also be reviewed annually, and shall be based on each individual’s desire and efforts exhibited towards meeting their previous year’s commitment. An individual may be reinstated as a member in good standing by exhibiting a desire and effort to meet their commitment for a three-month period. A member who is not in good standing for more that one year may have their membership terminated. Membership status ultimately remains the decision of the congregation.
ARTICLE XIII – ORDER OF BUSINESS
The following shall be the Order of Business for every regular meeting:
CHURCH COUNCIL – STANDING RESOLUTIONS
DECEMBER 10, 1987 – CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING
(New Business – Item #2)
The Finance Committee recommends that it be given authority to disperse 10% of our year-ending checking account balance to missions, determined by the Evangelism and Missions Commissions, over and above the budgeted mission funding for the year. Motion to accept and make this a standing resolution, seconded and carried unanimously.
JANUARY 14, 1986 – CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING
(New Business – Item #1)
The Finance Committee recommends a standing resolution the 15% of year-end checking account balance be put aside as a contingency fund. Motion made to accept recommendations was seconded and carried unanimously.
JULY 14, 1987 – CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING
(New Business – Item #7)
Our General Savings Account earns interest. A motion was made by Rick Balfour for a standing resolution to transfer any interest earned on the General Savings Account to St. Paul’s Contingency Fund. Motion seconded by Fran Hickey and carried unanimously.
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