Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren

Wardensville, WV

We are currently updating the church constitution.† Please review the attached rough draft and let Gilda, Josh, or Jan know of any changes you recommend.

Text Box: Second Draft - Revised


Constitution of the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren

Name

The name of this congregation is the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren.  The congregation maintains two buildings known as The Sugar Grove Meetinghouse and The Mount Vernon Union Church, where church functions are held.  

Affirmation of Faith and Purpose

The Sugar Grove Church of the BrethrenÖ

is founded upon the faith that there is but one God who is a personal God who in holy love creates, sustains, and orders all;
confesses Jesus Christ as the Lord of the church and of all life:
believes that the Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts and minds of believers, creating and sustaining the church through the gospel, giving guidance and comfort, and uniting believers with their Lord and with one another;
maintains the New Testament as its only creed and rule of faith.  In the Holy Scriptures is recorded Godís search for all people, which is climaxed in Godís redemptive act in and through Christ.  Through the Bible God still speaks and continues to accomplish Godís redemptive purposes;
believes that the gospel is the good news that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.  Through the gospel Godís sovereign will and Christís redeeming grace are revealed;
holds that the church is the body of Christ and is under the Lordís mandate to be faithful in accepting and transmitting the gospel by word and deed;
considers that all members of the congregation, of the body of believers, are responsible for the total ministry of the church;
accepts the ministry of the church to be the proclamation and fulfillment of the gospel for all people both near and far, and the nurture of individual believers in the Christian faith and life.



Vision and Mission

We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. We believe that Jesus is the beloved Son of God though whom all sin is forgiven because of his death and resurrection on the cross. We believe that we are to follow the example 
of Christ by teaching his love and forgiveness to the world and in our communities. We believe all sin can be forgiven and overcome through the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of believers within the Church.
It is our Mission to spread the Word and Love of Jesus Christ throughout our communities and the World. We are to help in all ways to strengthen (body, mind and soul) our brothers and sisters in the world so they can come to know Christ and to become better Christians so that the word and love of our Lord Jesus Christ continues until the end of time itself.


Relationship to the Whole Church

The Church Universal
The local church is part of a larger whole, which comprises the complete body of Christ.  The local church, therefore, shall recognize other Christian bodies and denominations and shall seek to cooperate with and give direction to the united efforts of the church.

The Church Denominational
The congregation shall covenant to support faithfully the program of the Church of the Brethren, recognizing Annual Conference enactments of the Church of the Brethren as having governing force in its life, and shall remain a member of the Church of the Brethren or its successor. The congregation shall send delegates to those official conferences of the Church of the Brethren in which it is entitled to have representation.  In case of strife or division, if any part of the congregation refuses to abide by its obligation as a member of the Church of the Brethren, that part of the congregation, whether a majority or minority of its membership, that continues in unity with the Church of the Brethren shall be recognized as the lawful congregation and shall continue in possession of all the property of the congregation.

If the congregation (a) disbands, (b) departs from membership in the Church of the Brethren, or (c) so decreases in numbers and financial strength as to render the congregation unable to fulfill its purpose, the district of the Church of the Brethren in which it is located, or the successor, shall have the right to take charge and control of all property and thereafter to hold, manage, and convey the same at the discretion of the district.  All action taken by the district relating to the property of a congregation shall be in conformity with the provisions of the Church of the Brethren Manual of Organization and Polity.


Membership

	We believe that the New Testament affirms that life in Christ means life in the body of Christ, the church.  We live out our affiliation with the universal church in the context of a local fellowship of believers.  We are called to care for each other, be accountable to one another, and work together to live out our calling as Christís body.  Membership in the congregation of the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren is open to all people who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and accept the calling to live out their faith in the covenant community as taught and practiced by the Church of the Brethren.  People may become members of the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren in one of three ways:

confession of faith and baptism by trine immersion as practiced by the Church of the Brethren.
a letter transferring membership from another congregation of the Church of the Brethren or of another Christian denomination.
Reaffirmation of faith and renewal of the commitment to membership made at an earlier time in another Christian congregation.

New members will be received with joy.  They will be encouraged to offer their gifts and talents to the work of Jesus Christ in this community of believers as well as receiving nurturing and support in faith to the extent it is available from the congregation.

Classification of members for statistical purposes will be in line with the classification delineated in the Church of the Brethren Manual of Organization and Polity 2001.

Membership in the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren may be terminated by: 
death, 
transfer of membership by letter, 
withdrawal at the request of a member, or 
removal when a member has joined another church without requesting a letter of transfer, or all attempts at reconciliation with the church have failed.

Church Council (Congregational Business Meeting)

	The church council (Congregational Business Meeting) of the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren is the church meeting in business session.  (Meetings will be held four times a year on the fourth Sundays of January, April, July, and October or as rescheduled.  Special called meetings may also be held.) It is the final authority and governing body of the congregation.  All active and Associate Members are voting members of the church council (Congregational Business Meeting.)  Church Council (Congregational Business) meetings will be conducted by the Moderator (Church Board Chair) using Robertís Rules of Order, endeavoring in all decisions to be led by the Holy Spirit to do the will of God through Jesus Christ.  The Church Board Chair(ís) or appointee will conduct meetings in the moderatorís (Board Chairís) absence.

Officers of the Church

	The church council will elect a moderator (board chair) from within or outside of the congregation for a three-year term.  The moderator (board chair) is eligible for as many consecutive terms as are agreeable to both parties.  The moderator (board chair) shall lead church council meetings (congregational business meetings).

	The church council (congregational business meeting) will call a church clerk and a church treasurer.  The church clerk will be called for a three year term and be eligible for two consecutive terms.  After two consecutive terms, a person will not be eligible to serve as church clerk for at least one year.  The church treasurer will be called for a three year term and be eligible for two consecutive terms.  After two consecutive terms, a person will not be eligible to serve as church treasurer for at least one year. 
 

Nominating Committee

	At its January meeting the church board shall appoint a nominating committee of three people who are not on the church board.  The nominating committee will prepare a slate of names for church board for the following year.  The number of names on the slate will be determined in consultation with the existing board based on the leadership needs of the church.  At least half of the slate will be made up of those who have served on the church board the previous year so that continuity is maintained.  The slate will be presented for approval at the October church council meeting.

Church Board

	The church board shall consist of church members from a slate approved by the church council at its October meeting.  The nominating committee will strive to make sure that the board reflects the total make up of the church membership.  All board meetings are open to all members of the church.  Board meetings will be scheduled quarterly.  The board will elect a new chair at the last meeting of every calendar year to begin in the new calendar year.
	The church board is accountable to the church council.  They will oversee the ministries of the church, in all matters striving to be led by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.  Specific ministries of the church will be led by those who have the talents and calling to carry them out.  The congregation as a whole will work to encourage members to develop and use their individual gifts.  Additional committees will be formed for specific functions as the need arises.


Deacons

	Deacons will assist the pastor with the caring ministry of the church.  Their ministry will include, but not be limited to, visiting the sick and shut-ins, being available to help with the anointing service, welcoming visitors, and assisting with communion.  Service as a deacon will be reevaluated each year.  Each year the church board in consultation with the deacons will determine the number of deacons needed for the coming year.  The church board will then fill those positions.

Trustees

	The church will appoint three legal trustees to be our official signators. They will serve five-year terms and be eligible for two consecutive terms.  After two consecutive terms, a person may not serve as trustee for at least one year.  Trustees will be appointed by the choice council (congregational business meeting.)  based on the recommendation of the church board.  Trustees will not be personally liable for any church indebtedness.

Records

Official documents of the church shall be preserved and maintained as follows:

Deeds, contracts and other legal documents shall be registered with the appropriate government authorities as well as being held by the church treasurer along with other documents pertaining to the finances of the church.
Minutes of church council and church board shall be maintained and held by the church clerk.
Records of membership and attendance shall be maintained and held by the church clerk or appointee along with related correspondence.
Church records no longer in active use may be transferred by church council action to the appropriate depository for historical archives.