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ConstitutionBylawsDistinctivesHistoryOur Facility

Table of Contents

CONSTITUTION

Article 1 - Name

 The name of this church shall be Maranatha Evangelical Free Church. Pursuant to Sec. 6(1) of the Religious Societies' Lands Act our corporate name is The Trustees of Maranatha Evangelical Free Church, a religious society in the City of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba.

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Article 2 - Statement of Belief

We believe:

1. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

2. In one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.

4. That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.

5. That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is therefore lost and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit, and thus become children of God.

7. That water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.

8. That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ of which He is the head.

9. That only those who are thus members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church.

10. That Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church, and that every local church has the right under Christ to decide and govern its own affairs.

11. In the personal premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

12. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
 

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Article 3 - Mission Statement

Maranatha is to be a family of believers which glorifies God through Christ-centred teaching and application of His Word.  The Core Values of this church are:

1.  To preach and teach the Word of God for the edification, encouragement, instruction and discipline of our family of believers.

2.  To provide opportunity for Christian worship, service and prayer.

3.  To promote and support world-wide evangelism, discipleship and social justice by word and deed.

4.  To create and promote a welcoming atmosphere where individuals can grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.

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Article 4 - Non-profit Status

The organization shall be carried on without purpose of gain for its members and any profits or other accretions to the organization shall be used in promoting its objectives.

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Article 5 - Membership

This church shall receive as members those of any age who profess to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and who in their lives manifest the evidences of a true faith in God, and who are willing according to their ability to support the church by their personal participation, prayers and contributions.

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Article 6 - Church Government

The government of the church is vested in the members eligible to vote in business sessions.  The church shall hold business sessions at least semi-annually (usually in April for election of officers and other business, and usually in October for the establishment of the annual budget and other business).  Special meetings may be called by recommendation of the Board of Directors or the formal request to the Board by 10% of the voting membership.

The church shall be administered through appointed or elected officers who shall constitute the Board of Directors.  This Board shall include at least the Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Chairpersons of Standing Committees of the Board, and the Pastor(s).

The Administrative Committee shall consist of the Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer, with special responsibility of the legal documents and shall oversee the administration of the entire church program.

Although the church is autonomous, it is formally affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada and shall seek to co-operate with the denomination in the fellowship of the Gospel.

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Article 7 - Property Rights

The church shall have the power to acquire and own, by purchase, gifts, lease or otherwise, such real and personal property as is deemed necessary for the realization of the objectives of the church.  If division occurs in this church, the names and property shall belong to those who abide by its Constitution and Bylaws. If the church ceases to function and its organization is dissolved, the property shall be assigned to the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada to enable that District to renew the work or use the value thereof for further Gospel enterprises.

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Article 8 - Amendments

Amendments to this Constitution shall be made at a business session of the church, by a two-thirds vote, when the proposed amendments have been submitted in writing and introduced at a business session of the members at least three months prior to taking action on it. Quorum bylaws apply.

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Article 9 - Provisions for Bylaws

A supplement to this Constitution, known as Bylaws, shall embody decisions of the membership such as the conditions of various categories of membership, terms of office of Directors, and other such rules and regulations governing the activities of the church. Bylaws include matters that should not be subject to suspension or modification at any one business session.

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                                                                    November 2007

BYLAWS
 

Section 1 - Membership

 1.1. Procedures for membership application: Request for membership shall be made to a Director, usually the Pastor. Attendance and completion of membership classes encouraged before the application is presented to the Board. Membership classes will usually be run in February and September. The Board shall then consider the applicant's faith and life, including letters of recommendation from outside this congregation. Upon the Boards unanimous approval, the name of the applicant will be presented to the congregation to be considered for at least fourteen days. Any objection to the acceptance of an applicant must be given to a Director who shall inquire into the matter and confer if necessary with the Board for reassessment. If no objections stand, the applicant will be declared accepted and shall immediately possess the rights and responsibilities of membership.

 1.2. Any member who has withdrawn or has been discharged has no right in any business session of the church or in its property.

 1.3. A request should be made to a Director, usually the Pastor, when a member wishes to withdraw membership.  Members in good standing will receive a letter of recommendation upon request when moving to other congregations of comparable Christian faith.

 1.4. Any member habitually negligent in activities of this church or found to live or teach contrary to the Word of God and the statement of belief of this church, shall be admonished by a member of the Deacons Committee.  If correction is not made, the Deacons Committee will bring a recommendation to the Board of Directors and the Board of Directors shall initiate appropriate action, which may involve suspension of privileges or removal from membership.

 1.5. Members are expected to attend congregational business sessions.  Members who are of the age of majority and in good standing are eligible to vote on business procedures, and are eligible to hold positions on the Board of Directors, Deacons Committee, and the Nominating Committee.

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Section 2 - Qualification and Duties of Officers

 2.1. Officers shall be selected from the eligible members of the church. Men and women alike are eligible for election to the Board, but the traditional roles of male leadership shall be maintained for the positions of Chairman, Vice-chairman, and senior Pastor.

 2.2. Leaders in the church shall seek to be exemplary in the characteristics set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  All leaders need to be 18 years of age or older and be willing to sign and live according to the Covenant of Ethics for Maranatha.  Those serving with children must be trained and follow the Plan to Protect Policy.

 2.3. Terms of office:  Paid and appointed officers shall serve for a term of four years which is renewable with a two-thirds majority vote.  Elected officers shall serve terms of a maximum of two years (renewable) and elections shall be held in such a manner that a good proportion of terms would not expire at the same time.  Interim appointments may be made by the Board.

 2.4. Duties of Officers:

      2.4.1. All Directors are responsible for the appointment of responsible persons to their committees, to attempt to coordinate their portfolios with others, and to be responsible to the rest of the Board.

     2.4.2. The Board Chairman is responsible to preside at church business sessions, set the agenda, chair the Administrative Committee, and shall have signing authority as a Trustee.

     2.4.3. The Vice-chairman is a member of the Administrative Committee and assumes responsibilities delegated by the Chairman, and, in the absence of the Chairman, performs the duties of Chairman and shall have signing authority as a Trustee.

      2.4.4. The Secretary is a member of the Administrative Committee, has signing authority as a Trustee, and shall oversee the accurate record keeping of proceedings and decisions of all business of the church.

      2.4.5. The Treasurer is a member of the Administrative Committee, shall have signing authority as a Trustee, shall chair the Finance Committee, and be responsible for the fiscal management of the church.

      2.4.6. The Pastor(s) - The senior Pastor shall have primary responsibilities in prayer and proclamation of the Word of God. The senior Pastor shall be responsible for membership, marriage, and baptism registers. By virtue of office he shall have power of address in all committees of the church.  Associate Pastors shall have responsibilities specified upon appointment and recorded in the minutes.

     2.4.6.1. A Pastor is eligible to take a sabbatical every 7 years. The sabbatical terms will be agreed upon by the Sabbatical Committee and the Pastor with Board approval.

     2.4.7. Deacons - the Pastor(s), Board Chairman, and Board Vice-chairman shall be Deacons by virtue of those offices. Other Deacons may be elected to the Deacons Committee as deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors and Congregation.

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Section 3 - Committees

 3.1. Standing Committees:  The following shall comprise the usual standing committees of the Board of Directors:

      3.1.1. Administration: to oversee the administrative functions of the church, to evaluate public attitudes concerning the church and to communicate favourably the strengths of Maranatha, to maintain a positive physical environment, to plan Board of Directors' meetings, to oversee the smooth operation of portfolios, and to encourage those in leadership positions.

      3.1.2. Christian Education: to encourage acceptance of God as personal Saviour, to promote growth in knowledge of and relationship with God through example and study of Scripture, in people of all ages, and in various settings.

      3.1.3. Deacons: to provide leadership in spiritual direction for the church and its members by prayer and counsel, publicly and privately. They will also develop and coordinate the pastoral care done by the laity.

 The overlap of offices with Board positions is intended to assure that in matters of church polity the rights of members individually and as a congregation are upheld in keeping with the Evangelical Free Church Distinctives.  Deacons who do not serve on the Board of Directors will usually also emphasize the Evangelical Free Church Distinctives of inclusiveness, spiritual ecumenicity and outreach.

      3.1.4. Fellowship Ministries: to provide free and friendly social interaction to enhance the programs of the church where required, and to provide high quality spiritual and practical ministry for the people in the church and to channel their resources back into the church body.

      3.1.5. Finance: to provide effective and responsible leadership in the area of financial responsibility for the administrative needs and ministerial commitments with proper recognition of spiritual and available financial resources.

     3.1.6. Missions: to educate and raise an awareness within our congregation for missions; to raise up and support outreach to our local community; to raise up and support the global expansion of the church of Jesus Christ.

     3.1.7. Services: to see people welcomed and made to feel at home, and to identify, locate and welcome new people; to co-ordinate and facilitate high quality worship (enhanced through areas of sound, lighting and visual display in a manner that is supportive yet not distracting) and sharing of spiritual gifts/resources and communications with provisions for a balance of instruction in growing in the understanding and experience of a healthy relationship with God and one another appropriate to a multi-generational group venue on Sunday mornings and in specific group venues or alternative times, involving compassionate leadership seeking an environment conducive to celebration, reconciliation, and contrition.

      3.1.8. Youth: to minister to students and young adults through the Word and example, to promote growth in Christ as a group and as individuals through group activities, Bible studies and personal discipleship.

 3.2. Ad hoc Committees   

      3.2.1. Ad hoc committees and sub-committees shall be given specific terms of reference including time frame, leadership, and reporting structures.

      3.2.2. Official delegations shall also co-ordinate their work with the Administrative Committee.

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Section 4 - Business Procedures

 4.1. Business sessions shall conform as much as appropriate to generally acknowledged parliamentary procedures and Christian values.

 4.2. The following general steps usually constitute the process of a business matter:

      4.2.1. A matter (including any appeal or complaint) is brought to the attention of a Director.

     4.2.2. The Director shall study the matter, and in the case of a personal complaint, in keeping with Biblical instructions such as those in Matthew 18:15-35, Galatians 6:1-3, and 1 Timothy 5:17-21. If deemed appropriate to place the matter on the Board agenda, it shall be communicated to the Board Chairman.

     4.2.3. The Board discusses the matter and determines the level of ratification required.  Any two Directors may have a matter referred to the congregation for a decision.

      4.2.4. If deemed necessary, the Board makes a recommendation and places the matter on a congregational agenda.

      4.2.5. A congregational business meeting shall usually be announced at least four consecutive Sundays in advance.  The agenda will be posted at least two Sundays in advance.

     4.2.6. After a decision, the Board instructs responsible persons to implement the decision or makes further recommendations for its implementation (e.g. selection of committees in the case of continuing tasks). 

4.3. A quorum for business meetings of the Congregation or Board shall consist of a majority of eligible voting members.

    4.3.1.  If attendance for a Congregational meeting is insufficient, and the provisions of Article 6 of the Constitution are not applicable, urgent matters will be presented to the Board for a vote and those issues must receive a two-thirds majority to pass.

    4.3.2. Members whose voting privileges are suspended through discipline or by their own request (e.g. when in transition between churches) are placed on an inactive list and are not counted in the quorum.  Members who simply decline to vote on a specific item do not affect the quorum, but members who are deemed ineligible to vote on a specific item (see 6.5.) do affect the quorum.

4.4. All matters shall be determined by a majority (not plurality) vote except when otherwise specified in the Bylaws, or by decision of the session not in contradiction of the intent of the Constitution and Bylaws (e.g. such measures as consensus, unanimity, negotiation, and arbitration may by used when appropriate).  A tie vote in usual business (unless broken by the chair) results in a lost motion.

 4.5. Unless otherwise announced, Board meetings are open to members and guests who may address the Board at the Board's request or by application in advance to the Chairman.  Voting on issues by the Board shall be done in closed session or by secret ballot.

4.6. Records of Board meetings (excluding confidential matters) are available to members upon written request to the Board.  Access to confidential files may be provided at the Board's discretion.

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Section 5 - Election Procedures

 5.1. Voting for officers shall be by secret ballot and as individuals.  Any eligible voting member shall be granted the privilege of decisions by secret ballot upon request on any issue before the session.  Lack of an alternate candidate shall not usually constitute grounds for waiver of a ballot.

 5.2. If more than two candidates are considered at any election and none of them receives the required majority, a new vote shall be taken with the candidate who receives the lowest number of votes excluded as a candidate in this voting.  This shall be done until either one candidate received the required number of votes or only two candidates remain to be voted upon.  If a tie should develop between these two candidates, a ballot shall then be taken out after the next balloting and laid aside by the Chairman before the ballots are counted.  If the ballots when counted decide the election, the unopened ballot which has been taken out shall be destroyed.  However, if the ballots cause a tie between the candidates, the unopened ballot shall decide which candidate is elected.

5.3. A nominating committee shall usually be selected at the October semi-annual congregational meeting, to present a slate of all eligible and available candidates for the positions open on the Board.  The committee shall consist of two Directors appointed by the Board and two eligible members elected by the congregation.  The committee shall bring a final report with biographical information on the candidates, to the Board of Directors in time for inclusion on the congregational meeting agenda.

5.4. At least two members shall be selected from the congregation to serve as scrutineers in a meeting involving secret ballots.  They shall be under the supervision of the recording secretary or another officially designated member.

 5.5. Election and calling of a Pastor shall require a two-thirds majority, voting "yes" or "no" on one candidate.  Likewise, a two-thirds majority is required to retain the pastor when the issue is before the session.  Other terms of employment are subject to existing labour laws and to at least annual review by the Administrative Committee, Board, or Congregation, and shall be recorded in appropriate minutes.  Certification procedures (including licensing and ordination of lay leaders) will follow the usual procedures for business.

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Section 6 - Signing Officers and Financial Accountability

 6.1. The signing officers shall be the Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary and the Treasurer or their lawful attorneys.  These four shall constitute the Trustee Committee.  (See Sec.2 par.4)

 6.2. Two Auditors shall be appointed by the church no later than the first semi-annual business meeting held in the calendar year.  The audit shall examine the financial records of the church and such related transactions as will enable them to express an opinion on the fairness of the church's financial statement as at the end of its previous fiscal year.  The auditors will ensure that the maintaining of financial records is in accordance with government regulations and that all matters related to such regulations as found recorded in the minutes of business meetings corresponding to the period have been adhered to.  The auditors shall present their report with any recommendations in the second semi-annual business meeting.

6.3. Books and records (except recorded financial contributions of other individuals) may be examined by any member at a time and place as the Board may determine.

 6.4. The Board shall establish an annual balanced budget based on congregational financial support.  Expenditures outside the approved budget shall require the decision of the Board and shall only be authorized if funding of same is principally assured not to impact on the church's ability to service its approved budget.

 6.5. The Board shall establish conflict of interest guidelines when involving members' services for the church.

     6.5.1. Any member supplying services for a fee shall not be eligible to vote on any decision bearing on that provision of services.

     6.5.2. Members who are employees of the church are not considered to be in a position of conflict of interest in the ordinary business of the church. Employee members may decline to vote in some circumstances and the question of privilege to vote on a specific matter may be raised by any eligible voting member.

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Table of Contents

CONSTITUTION

Statement of Belief
Mission Statement
Non-profit Status
Membership
Church Government
Property Rights
Amendments
Provisions for Bylaws

BYLAWS

Membership
Qualification and Duties of Officers
Committees
Business Procedures
Election Procedures
Signing Officers and Financial Accountability
 

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