Church Rules 1994

At a Special Church Meeting held on Thursday 17th November 1994, the rules for the guidance of the organisation of this Church were revised and these rules adopted.

1. Introduction

The persons comprising the membership of this Church, believing that Christ directed his followers to live together in Christian fellowship and jointly observe all Church ordinances (as sanctioned by the example of the Apostles and Apostolic Churches) have agreed to these rules for the guidance of all who may be members of this Church.

2. Doctrine and General Rules for the Conduct of Church Business

This Church, as a member Church of the United Reformed Church in The United Kingdom, accepts such statements of faith and rules for the conduct of its affairs as are contained in the Manual of the United Reformed Church in The United Kingdom.

3. Membership

Applications for membership are to be made to the Minister or Secretary. The Elders will carefully consider each application and report to the Church Meeting who, if satisfied that the applicant is endeavouring to live the Christian life, will elect. It is required that a person shall have attained the age of 16 years before admission to membership. Persons who are members of other Christian communions may be admitted by transfer with the agreement of Elders’ and Church Meetings.

All persons received into membership of the Church, whether by confession of faith or by transfer, shall be required to make a declaration of faith in accordance with the statement concerning the nature, faith and order of the United Reformed Church and Section 1, Schedule A of the Scheme of Union.

4. Privileges, Duties and Responsibilities of Membership

  1. Attendances, as regularly as possible in public worship, in the Communion of the Lord’s Supper and the Church Meeting.
  2. Being faithful in Bible reading and prayer and giving personal help in some of the various forms of Christian work taken up by this Church.
  3. Gifts as God has prospered you for the support of the Ministry, Church expenses, and the spread of the Gospel among those who do not know God - this being the great mission of the Church.

To encourage systematic giving, this Church has adopted the weekly envelope system. Those members of the church and congregation who adopt this scheme, promise a regular self-assessed contribution, for which numbered envelopes are provided.  Members who are tax payers are also encouraged to use the covenant scheme.

5. Church Meeting

The Church meeting is the representative gathering of the Church for fellowship, for the admission, transfer, suspension and removal of members, for the reception of reports and for discussion and decision concerning the Church in this place.  It is the Church assembled in order that the Spirit of Christ may direct its members in all things touching the work of God. All members should therefore regard it as an obligation, as well as a privilege, to attend.

The Church Meeting may invite other persons who regularly  worship with the local church but whose names are not on the membership roll to attend and speak at its meetings but no such person shall have the right to vote.

The Church Meeting shall normally meet monthly and at least once a quarter. Notice of Church Meeting shall be given in Church on the two Sundays prior to it taking place. Members wishing to raise matters at the Church Meeting should give notice to the Secretary ten days prior to the meeting. No major policy decision may be made under “Any Other Business”.

20% of the membership shall constitute a quorum.

All matters submitted for decision by the Church Meeting, apart from the calling of a Minister and the election of Elders, shall be decided by a simple majority of the members present.

Alterations or additions to these rules can only be sanctioned by a majority of two-thirds present at a Church Meeting called expressly for this purpose, this meeting being announced on the two Sundays prior to the meeting, such additions or alterations being exhibited in the Church on at least two Sundays before the meeting.

6. Ministry

The Lord Jesus Christ continues His ministry in and through the Church, the whole people of God called and committed to His service and equipped by Him for it. This service is given by worship, prayer, proclamation of the Gospel, and Christian witness; by mutual and outgoing care and responsibility; and by obedient discipleship in the whole of daily life, according to the gifts and opportunities given to each one.

For the equipment of His people for His total ministry the Lord Jesus Christ gives particular gifts for particular ministries and calls some of His servants to exercise them in offices duly recognised within His Church. Some are called to the ministry of Eldership and some are called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

A) Elders

Elders are called to share with the Ministers of Word and Sacrament in the pastoral oversight and leadership of the Church taking counsel together in the Elders Meeting for the whole Church. A member of the Church is eligible to serve as an Elder on attaining the age of eighteen years and having been a member of this Church for the preceding twelve months.

The Church recognises that there needs to be a balance of spiritual, pastoral, administrative, practical and leadership gifts within the Elders’ Meeting and to keep this balance the Elders’ Meeting shall determine the number of serving Elders from time to time and recommend this number to the Church Meeting. The Elders’ Meeting shall nominate from among themselves a Secretary to be elected by the Church Meeting to serve both the Church and the Elders’ Meetings.

Elders are elected by the Church Meeting, normally in November, ordained to their office, and inducted to serve for a period of three years. An Elder may be elected to serve for further terms of three years. After nine years continuous service an Elder shall not be eligible for election until one year has elapsed.

Church members, on recognising the call to be an Elder or seeing the qualities in another Church member should inform the Registrar, Church Secretary or the Ministers. The Elders’ Meeting normally in October will include consideration of Elders for the following year and bring nominations and recommendations to the Church Meeting. Church members will he reminded of this on the two Sundays prior to this meeting.
 
The election will be by ballot and may include postal votes. For the election of Elders a majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes cast shall be required.

In the event of an Elder resigning before his or her term of office is completed, and another Elder being elected to fill the vacancy, the person so elected will be due to retire when the joint term of office is completed. (i.e. a maximum of three years.)

B) Minister

The Minister is commissioned to conduct public worship, to preach the Word and to administer the Sacraments, to exercise pastoral care and oversight, and to give leadership to the Church in its mission to the world.

In calling a Minister a majority of not less than three-quarters of the votes cast at the Church Meeting shall be required.  A postal vote may be allowed in exceptional circumstances provided the member has met the prospective Minister.

The Minister shall be a member of the ‘governing’ committee of every organisation having connexion with the Church.

7. Finance

The Church Meeting will elect a Treasurer who will keep a proper account of all receipts and expenditure, and render a clear statement at the end of each financial year, i.e. 31st December, or such time as the Church may appoint.  The Treasurer will normally be elected to serve for three years and for a maximum of nine years.  The Church accounts and those of affiliated societies are to be audited annually by two suitable members who shall be appointed annually by the Church Meeting.

 


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