CONSTITUTION OF THE
FIRST CHURCH OF GOD, NEWVILLE
Revised November 12, 2000, November 9, 2003, November 14, 2004, November 12, 2006, and November 8, 2009
Whereas, the Churches of God, General Conference, accept the Bible as their rule of faith, conduct, and discipline, and,
Whereas, we, the members of the First Church of God, Newville, do declare that we are in full accord with the General Conference and the Eastern Region Conference of the Churches of God, General Conference in accepting the Bible as our rule and guide for Church membership and Church government, and,
Whereas, the necessity for a system of harmony and cooperation for the best interests of the Redeemer’s Kingdom exists, therefore,
Be it resolved, that for the above purpose, and in order that the business of the Church may be done in a regular and orderly manner, we hereby adopt the following constitution:
ARTICLE I NAME, PURPOSE, & RELATIONSHIP
Section 1. This Church, located at 475 Shippensburg Road, along Route 533, North Newton Township, Newville, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, shall be known as the First Church of God, Newville.
Section 2. The purpose statement of the Church is: The First Church of God, Newville exists to exalt God by showing His love through the fellowship of believers for the purpose of making more and better disciples.
Section 3. This congregation is connected with and subordinate to the Churches of God General Conference, its parent religious body. Should this congregation cease to exist as a corporate body, or cease to be subject to the purposes, usages, doctrines, and teachings of said parent body, then all of its property and effects then owned or held shall revert to the Eastern Regional Conference, Churches of God, General Conference, within which jurisdiction this congregation is located and affiliated by law. No asset will inure to the benefit of any private individuals.
ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Any person may become a member of this Church who has accepted Christ as his or her personal Savior and promises to take the Bible as his or her guide through life, and who subscribes to the following constitution and covenant: €œI hereby agree to be governed by the Constitution adopted by the First Church of God, Newville; to loyally and faithfully support the Church and her officers by attending all of the services that I can; to participate in the Church Ordinances; to endeavor to lead a pure Christian life; and to support the Church financially to the extent of my ability. I promise to do this regularly and according to the system that may be introduced by the Church Council, The Eastern Region Conference, Churches of God, and the General Conference, Churches of God.
Section 2. Anyone desiring to unite with the Church shall make application, written or oral, to the Pastor or Elders, who then shall present the application to the Church Council. The applicant may be fellowshipped at any Morning Worship Service.
Section 3. Inactive Roll: The Church Council shall annually prepare a list of those members of the Church who have been habitually absenting themselves from the Church services, have been failing to support the Church financially, or otherwise failing in the performance of their Church duties. Their names shall be removed from the active membership roll when:
A. the address of the members is unknown, and cannot be found after every effort has been pursued;
B. every effort has been expended to reenlist and relate the member to the fellowship of the Church through pastoral and lay visitation, including the officials of the Church and through official letters. This effort will continue for at least three years;
C. it has been ascertained that the person has united with another church fellowship, or is actively attending and participating in another church fellowship.
Section 4. Reinstatement of Membership: Any member who has been removed from Church membership may be reinstated by applying, orally or in writing to the Pastor and the Church Council. The member will also promise again to subscribe to this constitution and Covenant as stated in Section I of this Article.
Section 5. Letters of transfer or withdrawal shall be granted by oral or written request to the Pastor or the Church Council. The letter of transfer shall be signed by the Pastor and the President of the Church Council.
ARTICLE III SERVICES
Section 1. Worship Services shall be held each Sunday Morning, and any other time, as the Church Council may direct.
Section 2. Special services, revival, or worship shall be held at such times as the Church Council may decide.
Section 3. Ordinances
A. The Ordinance of the Lord”s Supper shall be observed at least four (4) times each year, on the first Sunday in October, on the first Sunday of January, on Maundy Thursday evening, on the last Sunday of June, or on alternate dates, or any other time suggested by the Pastor or the Church Council.
B. The Ordinance of the Washing of the Disciples’ Feet shall be observed with the Lord”s Supper on Maundy Thursday, and at any other time suggested by the pastor to the Church Council.
C. The Ordinance of Baptism shall be held at such times as the Church Council may direct, or at any other time suggested by the Pastor to the Church Council.
Section 4. The Pastor shall be in charge of all worship services and ceremonies conducted in the Church, unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the Pastor and the Elders. They shall be responsible for whoever occupies the pulpit
Section 5. The annual business meeting of the congregation shall be held on the second Sunday in November, or alternate date as approved by Church Council. The purpose of the said meeting shall be to elect two elders, two deacons, two deaconesses, and to consider such other business as may properly come before the congregation.
Section 6. A special congregational meeting may be called by the Church Council at their own option or at the request of twenty-five (25) members of the congregation. Two weeks notice of such a meeting shall be given.
Section 7. If, after many years of service, any person who has served as an elder, deacon, or a deaconess, and has discharged his or her duties in a commendable way, the same may be elected a life elder, a life deacon, or a life deaconess by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the congregation at the annual congregational meeting.
ARTICLE IV ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
Section 1. Notice of all meetings of the congregation shall be printed in the Church bulletin and announced two weeks in advance of the time of the meeting.
Section 2. The Council President shall preside at all congregational meetings. In the absence of the Council President the vice-president of the Council shall preside.
Section 3. All Officers and official business of the church shall be voted on by ballot.
Section 4. Eligibility to vote and hold office
A. All members of the Church having attained the age of fifteen years (15) or more shall have the right to vote for all elective offices and official business of the church.
B. Any candidate for church office on the Church Council shall be an active member a minimum of two (2) years, and be in agreement with the doctrinal statement of the Churches of God. Any candidate for elder shall have served previously as a deacon or deaconess for at least two (2) years.
Section 5. Church Council will consist of twelve (12) members. The term of office for elders, deacons, & deaconesses shall be for two (2) years; two (2) elders, two (2) deacons, & two (2) deaconesses shall be elected each year. Each elder, deacon, and deaconess will have the option of running for a consecutive two (2) year term upon completion of one (1) two (2) year term by informing the search committee of his or her desires. If no objections are raised by the nominating committee, his or her name will then be added to the ballot for elder, deacon, or deaconess along with the other nominees and they will be voted on at the regular congregational meeting.
Section 6. No Church Council member shall be elected to more than two (2) consecutive elected terms of office. At least one (1) year shall elapse before he/she can be elected to serve on the Church Council.
Section 7. If any member of council (other than a life elder, life deacon, or life deaconess) is absent from four (4) or more regular council meetings in a calendar year, for other than health reasons, they may be removed from council with a majority vote of members at a regular council meeting.
ARTICLE V DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The Pastor shall be responsible for all Worship Services, to preach, to visit the members of the congregation and counsel with them, to call upon the sick and those in hospitals, to serve on the Church Council, to work with the Church Council for the unity and the growth of the Church, and to work with and serve as an advisory member for all the Commissions. The Pastor shall adhere to the guidelines and duties further outlined in the most recent job description as approved by the Church Council.
Section 2. The Elders shall assist the Pastor in the spiritual leadership and spiritual development of the church family and shall assist the Pastor in fulfilling the Great Commission as defined in Matthew 28:18-20 to €œReach Newville and Beyond. € The Elders shall adhere to the guidelines and duties further outlined in the most recent job description as approved by the Church Council.
Section 3. The Deacons shall be responsible for the oversight of the finances of the Church operations and ministries. The Deacons shall adhere to the guidelines and duties further outlined in the most recent job description as approved by the Church Council.
Section 4. The Deaconess shall be responsible for the care ministries of the church family. The Deaconess shall adhere to the guidelines and duties further outlined in the most recent job description as approved by the Church Council.
Section 5. The responsibilities of the Trustees shall be to look after the Church property. They shall elect their own chairman and inform the Church Council of their selection.
Section 6. Persons must be members of this Church for five (5) years to be eligible for appointment as delegates to the Eastern Region. The delegates should make an oral or written report to the Church Council at the first meeting after the Conference meeting.
ARTICLE VI CHURCH COUNCIL
Section 1. The voting members of the Church Council shall consist of the Elders, Deacons, and the Deaconesses. Non-voting members shall include the Church Treasurer, the Christian Education Coordinator, and the Pastor.
Section 2. Each Administrative Council member shall serve on at least one of the following commissions: Christian Education/Sunday School Board, Missions, and Property Management. The Elders shall serve as the Commission on Church and Pastor Relations. The Deacons shall be responsible for oversight of the finances as defined in Article 5, Section 3.
Section 3. The Church Council shall meet monthly on the second Monday, except if the Monday be a holiday, then the Church Council shall meet on the third Monday, and at any additional times and places upon which they agree.
Section 4. Each year at the December meeting, all newly elected officers will meet with the regular Council members. After this meeting, the new Church Council for the following year shall organize by electing a president, vice-president, a secretary, and an assistant secretary. The members leaving Council will not have any voting rights in the reorganization of the new Council.
Section 5. At the December meeting the Church Council shall appoint for one (1) year only, a treasurer, an assistant treasurer, a financial secretary, and assistant financial secretary, a delegate and an alternate delegate to the Big Spring Inter-Church Council, a delegate and an alternate delegate to the Eastern Regional Conference, Trustees, and any committees not otherwise specified. Any of these officers may succeed himself/herself.
Section 6. Duties of the Church Council Officers
A. It shall be the duty of the president to preside at all meetings of the Church Council, to call special meetings, and to appoint committees, as directed by the Church Council. The vice-president shall perform the same duties in the absence of the president.
B. It shall be the duty of the secretary to keep a record of all proceedings of official meetings. He/she shall attend to all official correspondence, as directed by the Church Council. The assistant secretary shall perform the same duties in the absence of the secretary.
C. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to hold in trust monies of the church, and to pay out as directed by the Church Council. He/she shall make a monthly report to the Church Council of all receipts and expenditures, and a written annual report to the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting. The assistant treasurer shall, in the absence of the treasurer, perform the same duties.
D. The financial secretary with the assistance of the Deacons and Deaconesses shall be responsible for collecting and counting all money at each service, and shall record the amount of money in the envelopes, and all other receipts. The money is verified by the signature of the assisting Deacon or Deaconess. The money shall be deposited in the bank the next business day. The assistant financial secretary, in the absence of the financial secretary, shall perform the same duties.
Section 7. All vacancies in any office of the Church by death, resignation, or delinquency shall be appointed by the Church Council to fill the unexpired period and the appointees may succeed themselves.
Section 8. Social Activities in the Church Use of church facilities are available for church members, regular attendees, and outside groups as outlined in the Building Use Guidelines and Fees policy.
A. The church secretary, Council president and/or the Pastor may approve use of the buildings social activities and meetings by groups within the church (ie. Sunday School Classes, Happy Helpers, members, regular attendees, etc.), unless the event is questionable, then they may defer the decision to the Church Council.
B. The Church Council shall approve other social activities held on Church property.
C. There will be no smoking or alcoholic beverages permitted in any part of the Church or All Purpose Building (APB).
D. Any non-regular attendee requesting use of the Church or APB will be required to sign a contract and pay specific rental fees as determined by the Building Use Guidelines and Fees policy. Fees will be set and approved by the Church Council.
Section 9. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Pastor, the president of the Church Council, and the Elders. The list of nominations shall be submitted to the Church Council for approval. The Church Council shall appoint any additional committees as needed.
Section 10. The Administrative Council shall not spend, borrow, or contract to spend $5,000 or more for any item not included in the regular expenses budgeted for church business without the approval given in a scheduled congregational meeting by secret ballot, by obtaining at least three bids for that item.
ARTICLE VII COMMISSIONS
Section 1. Church and Pastor Relations
This Commission shall:
A. Consist of the Elders.
B. Work with the Pastor to plan and provide for the spiritual needs of the Congregation in terms of worship, counseling, and visitation.
C. Give guidance to the Pastor in an effort to maintain good relations between the Pastor and Church Members
D. With Conference delegates, and any member appointed by the Church Council, serve as a pulpit committee whenever a pastoral vacancy does occur.
E. Select a Music Committee who will give guidance in planning for music or special music where the need exists, in regular or special Worship Services.
F. With the Pastor, give guidance in planning and reviewing worship services
G. Cooperate with the Pastor and other Commissions in the discharge of their responsibilities so as to develop the best possible spiritual climate for the Church.
Section 2. Christian Education/Sunday School Board
This Commission shall:
A. Consist of the Sunday School officer, teachers, and the three Administrative Council members and shall work in cooperation with the teachers and Pastor in the overseeing and planning of the Sunday School Program and other Small Group Ministries.
B. Give guidance and establish policy for the proper operation of the Sunday School
C. Plan for Vacation Bible School
D. Give assistance in securing staff for the Sunday School and for Vacation Bible School and other small groups ministries.
E. Review training and teaching material as needed.
F. Recruit and provide training for teachers
G. Start new classes, change rooms, or combine classes when necessary.
H. Appoint officers and/or coordinators as needed to oversee the various Sunday School and Small Group Ministries.
I. Appoint a Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, A secretary for the Commission meetings, the pianist, the assistant pianist, and a committee to seek volunteers to read the Scriptures, to pray, to be greeters at the two doors, and a song leader. This committee will also make up the annual calendars.
J. Contact a person or persons to attend the Newville District and Cumberland County Conventions. These delegates will report any changes, requests, and any other pertinent information that helps establish better relations between and among area churches.
K. Be responsible to assist pastor for planning of and obtaining speakers for special days in the Sunday School Calendar
L. Meet bi-monthly, on the fourth Monday of the month (January, March, May, July, September, and November. The meeting dates may be changed by the approval of commission members.
M. Present regular reports to the Administrative Council and an annual report at the Annual Congregational Meeting.
Section 3. Missions
This Commission shall:
A. Consist of three (3) Administrative Council members and at least two members at large
B. Provide for, by careful planning and study, an effective year round program for missions
C. Promote world-wide and home missions
D. Constantly challenge the church members to an active participation in missions.
E. Meet bi-monthly, on the third Monday of the month (January, March, May, July, September, and November). The meeting dates may be changed by the approval of commission members.
F. Present regular reports report to the Administrative Council and an annual report at the Annual Congregational Meeting.
Section 4. Property Management
This Commission shall:
A. Consist of at least one Administrative Council member and at least three members at large. The members of this Commission shall be called the Trustees. The Trustees shall select their own chairperson
B. Have the responsibility for the maintenance and care of all church property
C. Give guidance to any programs for expansions and renovations of the physical property
D. Provide proper recording and safe keeping of all legal documents that relate to the church property
E. Provide for adequate and necessary insurance coverage
F. Employ and give guidance to a church custodian. A job description sheet should be given to the custodian relative to all expected duties
G. Not contract any debt in excess of $1000 per project and not to exceed $5000 per year without Council approval
H. Meet on the third Monday of every month, January through November. The meeting dates may be changed by the approval of the commission members.
I. Present regular reports to the Administrative Council and an annual report at the Annual Congregational Meeting.
Section 6. Members of these Commissions shall be appointed by the Church Council. Any Church member may be appointed to these Commissions as needed for the effective carrying out of the Church”s mission. All members will serve at least one (1) year and may succeed themselves
ARTICLE VIII AMENDMENTS
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended upon the recommendation of the Church Council at the annual Congregational Meeting or Special Congregational Meeting, and approved by two thirds (2/3) vote of the members voting.
Section 2. Any proposed amendment shall be posted for the Congregation to review at least (2) weeks previous to the time of final action.