ARTICLE ONE: NAME
The name of this corporation as contained in the charter is “The United Church of DeRuyter”.
ARTICLE TWO: PURPOSE
It shall be the purpose of this congregation to provide for the worship of God; to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; to celebrate faithfully the Sacraments instituted by our Lord; to be witnesses of that Gospel in our community and through out the world; to render loving service toward humankind; to strive for holiness, righteousness, justice, and peace; to encourage one another and build each other up; to discover and use our spiritual gifts for the ministry of the Gospel; and to establish the spirit of Christian unity, love, and fellowship in this community. This congregation shall also make all efforts to establish a working relationship with other expressions of the Body of Christ in this community/area so as to make a more unified and meaningful witness in the ministry of reconciliation within the fellowship of the Body of Christ, the community, and the world as a whole.
ARTICLE THREE: GOVERNMENT, POLITY, AND ADMINISTRATION
This church acknowledges Jesus Christ as its head and finds in the Holy Scriptures, interpreted by the Divine Spirit through reason, faith and conscience, its guidance in matters of faith and discipline.
The government of this congregation is ultimately vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all of its affairs.
The congregation shall have an Annual Meeting and such other meetings as are provided for in the By-Laws and Constitution.
The legislative and administrative power of the congregation shall be the members assembled in a duly called meeting as provided for in this constitution. The members gathered at a called congregational meeting will decide such questions as may be required by the Laws of the State of New York; such as extensive repairs ($1000.00) of church property; major expenditures ($1000.00) not approved in the budget; call and dismissal of a pastor; or changes in the Constitution and By-Laws. All other business is entrusted to the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE FOUR: FAITH AND COVENANT
Faith – This church acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, the Son of god and Savior of humankind. It acknowledges as brothers and sisters in Christ all who share this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two Sacraments; Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
One expression of this faith is:
“STATEMENT OF FAITH”
“We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, and to His deeds we testify:
He calls the world into being, creates man in His own image, and sets before him the ways of life and death.
He seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
He judges men and nations by his righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, He has come to us and shared our common lot conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself.
He bestows upon us His Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the Church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races.
He calls us into His Church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be His servants in the service of men, to proclaim the gospel to the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at His table, to join Him in his passion and victory.
He promises to all who trust Him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, His presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in His kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him. Amen.”
Covenant – We covenant one with another to seek and respond to the Word and the will of God. We purpose to walk together in the ways of the Lord, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the Church to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, while worshipping God, and striving for truth, justice, and peace. As did our fathers and mothers, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the kingdom of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.
ARTICLE FIVE: MEMBERSHIP
1. Any person may become a member of this congregation who is baptized, who endeavors to live a Christian life, and who accepts that which is set forth in this Constitution and By-Laws. Membership can be obtained in the following manner: on confession of faith or confirmation and baptism (if not previously baptized), on presentation of satisfactory letters of transfer from other churches or if letters are not available, by reaffirmation of faith.
2. Members shall pledge themselves to attend the regular worship of the church and
celebration of the Lord’s Supper, to live the Christian life; to share in the work of
church; to contribute to its support and benevolences; and to seek diligently the
spiritual welfare of the membership and the community.
3. Termination – Any person may terminate his membership by transfer to another
church or by resignation. Members whose addresses long have been unknown, or
who for a period of two years, in spite of kindly approaches, have not
communicated with the church, or contributed to its support, may by vote of the
board of directors, on recommendation of the Diaconate Board, be transferred to a
4. Restoration – Any member whose membership has been terminated may be
restored to full membership by vote of the Board of Directors on recommendation
of the Diaconate Board.
ARTICLE SIX: WORSHIP
1. Services – Services of worship shall be held at stated hours each Sunday, except
when temporarily suspended by vote of the Board of Directors and the congregation. Other services of worship, inspiration, prayer and study may be held from time to time as determined by the pastor and the Diaconate Board, or by the Board of Directors.
2. Sacraments – The sacraments of Baptism (Baptism of adults and Baptism or
Dedication of children) and the Lord’s Supper shall be administered at such time as the Pastor and the Diaconate Board shall determine. The invitation to the Lord’s Supper shall be such as to include all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth.
ARTICLE SEVEN: BUSINESS
(A) Annual Meeting – The annual meeting of the church shall be held in January, specific date to be determined by the Board of Directors. It shall hear the yearly reports of the officers, boards, commissions and auxiliary organizations of the Church. It shall elect officers, boards and commissions, adopt an annual budget, set up plans and transact such business as may be presented for consideration.
(B) Special Meetings – Special business meetings may be called by the Pastor or the board of Directors, and shall be called by the clerk upon the written request of any ten adult members of the church.
2. The annual meeting and special meetings shall be announced at the services on the two preceding Sundays and in the form of a letter when deemed advisable. Notice of special meetings shall include a statement of matter to be presented.
3. Quorum – Twenty-five adult members shall constitute a quorum to transact business.
(A) All members of the church (15 years old and above) as listed on the active membership roster shall be entitled to vote on all matters except where limited by New York State religious corporation law.
(B) Proxy Voting – Members in good and regular standing who, because of
illness, a death in the family, business obligations, or being out of the area
for an extended period of time, are unable to be present for the voting
sections of the Annual Meeting or other officially called business meetings
of the church, may authorize a member of the church to stand as Proxy in
voting by filing a copy of said Proxy with the Clerk of the Church prior to
the beginning of any duly called business meeting. The individual holding
the Proxy shall act for all votes at the meeting for which the Proxy is issued
even if the individual authorizing the Proxy is in attendance. The Proxy
shall be limited to the business meeting for which it is issued. A person
may hold no more than one Proxy for any given meeting.
5. Term limitations and pre-requisites for offices, boards, and committees: This Constitution and By-laws sets specific term limitations and pre-requisites for certain positions. All efforts should be made to meet these requirements, however, in a situation where a need to override a pre-requisite or a term limitation exists, this may be done by a 2/3 vote of the voting members of the congregation.
ARTICLE EIGHT: OFFICERS, BOARDS, & COMMISSIONS
The officers shall be the Chairperson of the Board, Financial Secretary, Clerk and Treasurer.
The Chairperson of the Board shall be elected by ballot at the Annual Meeting of the Church for a term of one year from the adjournment of the meeting at which he/she is elected, or until his/her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. He/She shall have had previous experience on the Board, and shall not serve in this office for more than two years in succession, and shall not be serving in any other capacity on the Church Board or in any other elected position. He/She shall conduct all congregational meetings as Moderator of the Church, or shall appoint an acting Moderator from the Church membership.
The Financial Secretary shall be elected by ballot at the annual meeting for a term of one year from the adjournment of the meeting at which he/she is elected, or until his/her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. He/She shall receive all funds contributed to the United Church of DeRuyter with the exception of Women’s Fellowship, shall keep a proper account with each subscriber to the budget, and render quarterly statements of the same, shall deposit all monies received to the proper treasurers, and shall render a monthly statement to the Board of Directors. He/She shall serve as fourth member of the Commission on Finance and Stewardship. The Board of Directors, in consultation with the Financial Secretary, shall appoint an Assistant Financial Secretary to assist the Financial Secretary in the discharge of his/her duties.
The Clerk shall be elected by ballot at the annual meeting for a term of one year from the adjournment of the meeting at which he/she is elected, or until his/her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. He/She shall take faithful minutes of the meetings, keep the records of the congregation, care for the correspondence of the church, and shall give all notices as required by the church.
The Treasurer shall be elected by ballot at the annual meeting for a term of one year from the adjournment of the meeting at which he/she is elected, or until his/her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. He/She shall receive monies from the Financial Secretary, shall pay bills of the church on order of the Board of Directors, shall keep an accurate record of all receipts and disbursements and make monthly reports of such transactions to the Board of Directors. He/She shall serve as fifth member of the Commission on Finance and Stewardship.
The Financial Secretary, Clerk and Treasurer shall be eligible to succeed themselves, except that they shall not serve more than five years consecutively.
All Commission representatives to the Board and/or Commission Chairmen shall be selected by the various Commissions following the annual meeting, but prior to the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting.
The Mission Treasurer shall receive monies from the Financial Secretary and transmit the same to the appropriate agencies as directed by the Commission on Missions and shall make a report of such transactions at the annual meeting of the church.
The Historian shall keep a journal of all occurrences of interest to the church. He/She shall be the custodian of all records and minutes no longer in current use and shall deposit same in a permanent place of safekeeping as provided by the Board of Directors.
The Diaconate Board shall consist of twelve active members, four of whom shall be elected annually to serve for a term of three years. After serving two full terms, a member shall be for one year ineligible for re-election. In addition to the twelve active members, the Youth Group may elect two teen representatives to the Diaconate Board. A member who has served many years may be elected a Senior Deacon or Deaconess and upon such election shall be entitled for life to all the privileges of an active member of the Diaconate Board, except the right to vote. The Diaconate Board shall be organized by the selection of its own chairperson and such other officers as it may deem necessary. These shall be elected from the active members. It shall be the duty of the Diaconate board to cooperate with the Pastor in ministering to the spiritual interests of the church and community. They shall assist in the preparation and administration of the ordinances, in caring for the poor, the sick, the sorrowing, the indifferent and the stranger. They shall receive applications by letter or otherwise for admission to church membership and shall examine all applicants as to their fitness therefore; they shall make an annual survey of the church roll and shall submit recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding necessary revisions.
The Commission on Christian Education shall consist of the Sunday School Superintendent, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, Secretary, and Treasurer and three member-at-large. The various Bible Study Groups and the Youth Group may elect a representative to the Commission on Christian Education. The officers shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of one year. One member-at-large shall be elected each year for a term of three years. The Commission shall have supervision and direction of all educational work of the Church. It shall be responsible for the Church School, Youth Group Ministries, Vacation Bible School, Various Bible Studies, and the educational ministries of the Church. It shall inaugurate and maintain other educational activities from time to time. It shall cooperate in missionary education and the educational aspects of the program of auxiliary organizations. It shall seek to teach the ideals of Christian Stewardship. It shall, whenever advisable, promote and maintain a church library. It shall administer the funds contributed by the church school with the advice of the school and subject to the directions of the church.
The Commission on Missions shall consist of three members, one being the Mission Treasurer. They shall be elected annually to serve for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the Commission to provide for the dissemination of missionary formation, to oversee the distribution of all mission moneys and to recommend special missionary projects which they deem worthy of support by the church.
Commission on Finance and Stewardship. This Commission shall consist of five members; three of whom shall be elected at the Annual Meeting and two of whom shall be the Financial Secretary and the Treasurer of the church. Of the three elected members, one shall be elected annually for a term of three years; and one shall serve as Commission representative to the Board of Directors. It shall be the duties of the Commission to be responsible for the annual budget for the church, and to organize and follow up the annual fund raising campaign.
The Building Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors. It shall consist of at least three members but not more than seven members. The duties of the Building Committee are: ensure adequate facilities for worship and the Christian Education Ministries, responsible for the care and custody of the buildings and grounds, maintenance of church properties, establish a five year plan for the renovation, maintenance, and upkeep of properties, and assist in the procurement of funding for the Building Committee.
Duties of the Pastoral Relations Committee. The pastor’s salary arrangements will be reviewed and recommendation made annually in September by the Church’s Pastoral Relations Committee prior to the drafting of the Church’s annual budget, giving specific consideration to length of service, effectiveness of leadership and increase in the cost of living. It is understood that the Pastor and the Pastoral Relations Committee shall extensively study and review the priorities of the Church and the effectiveness of the mutual ministry at least quarterly and that the Church Board will seek verbal or written evaluation from the congregation at least every three years, using any and all resources. This is NOT for the purpose of a salary review, but to encourage oral or written participation by all of the Church’s members in determining the strengths and weakness of the Pastor in meeting the Church’s needs. Ultimately it is for discerning how to best carry out the purposes of the Church.
ARTICLE NINE: NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Church shall have a nominating committee consisting of five church members, all of whom shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of one year from the adjournment of the meeting at which they are elected. Members shall be eligible to succeed themselves, except that they shall not serve more than three years consecutively. Members of the nominating committee shall make nominations for all officers and commission members to be elected at the annual meeting, at which meeting additional nominations may be made from the floor. The nominating committee shall take into consideration all suggestions presented by the various commissions. This committee shall be responsible for filling vacancies which occur during the year, with the approval of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE TEN: WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP
There shall be a Women’s Fellowship of the church, which shall include all the women members of the church and such other women of the community as desire to associate for fellowship, worship, education and Christian service. The Fellowship shall elect their own officers and shall have their own by-laws. They shall submit a report of their activities to the annual meeting of the church.
ARTICLE ELEVEN: THE PASTOR
The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite period by a 75% vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting for this purpose. The call may be terminated by either party by giving written notice of sixty days. The church action must be by majority vote of members present and voting at a properly called meeting, and statement of purpose of meeting given in the call and through the mail. The termination period may be adjusted by mutual agreement between pastor and congregation. In case of loss of ministerial standing by the Pastor, relations shall cease at once.
Pastoral Relations Committee/Search Committee – when a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, the congregation shall elect a Search Committee of six members. A few of the resources available to the committee to secure a list of available ministers are:
o Houghton College
o Nyack Alliance Seminary
o Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
o The Master’s Seminary
o Cedarville College
o Multnomah Bible Seminary
Using these resources and any other resources the search committee agrees on, they shall settle upon the one who in its judgment, shall be called to the pastorate, introduce him/her to the church, and at a duly called meeting, propose his/her election. The Search Committee shall continue as a Pastoral Relations Committee. They shall arrange themselves in classes of one to three-year terms, two members to be replaced at each annual meeting. In the event of an ensuing pastoral vacancy, current members of the Pastoral Relations Committee shall be give opportunity to be placed in nominations to be selected from the congregation at large. Following the election of the Search Committee, the existing Pastoral Relations Committee shall then be dissolved.
Duties of the Pastor – The Pastor shall have in charge the spiritual welfare of the church with the assistance of the Board of Directors and the Diaconate board. He/She shall seek to enlist followers of Christ, preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments, have under his/her care all services of public worship, and administer the activities of the church in cooperation with the various boards and committees. The pastor shall be ex-officio as advisory member of all boards and committees.
No other minister shall use the property of the church in the performance of any ministerial act without the consent of the resident pastor when available and if not available, by at least two members of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE TWELVE: THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Composition – The Board of Directors shall consist of at least twelve persons, members in good standing of the United Church of DeRuyter, to be designated as follows:
The Clerk, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer
One from the Finance & Stewardship Commission
One from Missions Commission
One from the Christian Education Commission
One from the Diaconate Board
One from the Women’s Fellowship
Sunday School Superintendent
One from Pastoral Relations Committee
One from Building Committee
One Teen Representative
The Sunday School Superintendent, the Pastoral Relations Committee Representative, and the Building Committee Representative may serve on the Board of Directors in another capacity but will be only entitled to one vote.
The Pastor shall serve ex-officio.
Term of Office – The members-at-large shall be elected for a three-year term and shall not be eligible to succeed themselves until after the lapse of one year. The seven members representing the Commissions, Diaconate Board, Women’s Fellowship, Building Committee, and Pastoral Relations Committee shall be elected for one year and shall not serve more than three consecutive years.
Meeting and Organizations – The Board of Directors shall meet each month, with the exception of July and August, the time to be set by itself. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor, the Chairperson of the Board, or by seven board members. The board shall elect its own officers and committees unless otherwise provided for. The quorum of the board shall be seven members.
General Powers and Duties – The Board of Directors shall have general control and oversight of all affairs of the church. Under the direction of the congregation and except as otherwise provided, the board members shall have the care and custody of the property of the church and shall annually appoint a Building Committee to supervise and organize the work required, as authorized by the board. The board shall have charge of all financial affairs of the church. The board shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer real property or authorize expenditures for extensive repairs ($1000.00) of church property or major expenditures ($1000.00) not approved in the budget without specific authority by vote of the congregation. The board may appoint such agents and employees, other than those provided for, as it shall deem necessary for carrying on the activities of the church, and each person so appointed shall hold office during the pleasure of the board and shall perform such duties, possess such powers, and receive such compensation as shall be prescribed by said board. All transactions involving signatures such as contracts shall contain the signature of the chairperson of the board and the church clerk. The Board of Directors shall be the governing authority of the Memorial Fund. Memorial Funds will not be used for Mission Projects, Building Projects or General Operating Expenses of the church unless specifically designated for such expenditures by the donor(s). Any purchase from the Memorial Fund that exceeds $500.00 shall be approved by the congregation. Memorial Funds will be used specifically for items that will enhance worship.
ARTICLE THIRTEEN: FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year shall end on the last day of December each calendar year.
ARTICLE FOURTEEN: AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended at any meeting of the United Church of DeRuyter by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, provided that the proposed amendment is published with the notice of the meeting, except Articles 1 through 5, for which sixty days’ notice shall be required.