STOCKTON BAPTIST TABERNACLE CHURCH RULES

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1 STOCKTON BAPTIST TABERNACLE CHURCH RULES Church Rules Adopted 17 July NAME OF CHURCH. The Church shall be known as Stockton Baptist Tabernacle 2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Its aim shall be to serve as the body of Christ in order to extend the Kingdom of God and glorify His name. In pursuing this aim its objectives shall be to: Worship and pray Evangelise at home and abroad Nurture Christians Unify the membership Encourage and equip the congregation for Christian service Give pastoral care Support Social Action at home and abroad Relate to Baptists and other Christians generally as beneficially as possible Support world mission, including BMS World Mission 3. AFFILIATION It shall be in membership with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and with the Northern Baptist Association and the Evangelical Alliance. 4. MEMBERSHIP 4.1 Membership shall be open to all who profess repentance towards God, who have faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, whose lives bear evidence of their Christian profession, and who have confessed their faith in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit through the ordinance of Believers Baptism by immersion, except in circumstances which shall be acceptable to a Church Meeting. 4.2 Each candidate for membership shall be interviewed by two Church members appointed by the Oversight who shall inquire into the reality of his or her Christian faith, Christian character, and his or her readiness to serve the Lord. After visitation, a report and recommendation shall be submitted by these two members to be voted on at an Ordinary Church Meeting. Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 1 of 7

2 4.2.1 Each candidate for membership shall be invited to a Newcomers Evening or similar, which shall include teaching on the blessings and duties of membership, and the principles and practices of Baptists. 4.3 Those accepted for membership shall usually be received into the fellowship of the Church at a Communion Service. 4.4 Application for a transfer from this Church to another shall be dealt with by Letter of Transfer or Commendation by the Oversight. 4.5 Any Member of the Church whose conduct is incompatible with the Christian profession shall be visited by the Minister and/or Elders and lovingly consulted and, if necessary, cautioned. The aim of all such visiting is lovingly to restore the member concerned to repentance and to active church membership. If such attempts fail, the Oversight may take the matter to the Church Meeting 4.6 The membership roll shall be revised at least annually by the Elders. No name shall be removed from the roll without, if at all possible, due notice to and visitation of the person concerned. Deletion of names shall require the votes of at least 75% of those present and voting at an Ordinary Church Meeting. 5. ORDINANCES 5.1 The ordinance of Baptism shall be that of believers by immersion in water, except in circumstances which shall be acceptable to a Church Meeting, in the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It shall be available only to those who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. It is recommended that all candidates attend classes of instruction before being baptised. 5.2 The Communion of the Lord s Supper shall be observed at least once a month and all Christian people are invited to share in this. Members are expected to do their utmost to be present at the Communion Service, regarding it as a sacred privilege to do so. 6. CHURCH MEETINGS 6.1 Members when called together as described hereunder, and seeking the will of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and under the Lordship of Christ, shall be the final decision-making authority in all matters relating to all the affairs of the Church. The Oversight, all organisations, committees and groups, and their leaders shall be accountable to it. Such a meeting of Members shall be termed the Church Meeting. It shall be for the purpose of discussing important issues, and of discovering God s will for the Church, in order that it may fulfil its aim and objectives. 6.2 All business meetings of the Church are private and confidential to the Members. A third party may be admitted to all or part of the meeting by resolution approved by greater than 50% of those present but may not vote. 6.3 A minimum of 15% of the Members for the time being of the Church shall form a quorum for Ordinary and Special Church Meetings. 6.4 An Ordinary Church Meeting shall be convened not less than once in every quarter by or on behalf of the Oversight. Notice of such meeting and of the time and place appointed shall be given at each of the Public Services on each of the two Sundays immediately preceding the date of such intended meeting. Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 2 of 7

3 6.5 One of the Quarterly Church Meetings shall be the Annual General Meeting at which the Church Accounts and Annual Report will be presented. 6.6 Decisions at the Ordinary Church Meetings shall require a simple majority of 50% of those present and entitled to vote and voting, except where stated otherwise. 6.7 The following shall be matters for the decision of a Special Church Meeting, namely: The appointment, reappointment or dismissal of any member of the Ministerial Team or any full-time senior administrative post Matters concerning the alteration, improvement or enlargement of the buildings on the Church property or the addition to, pulling down, or rebuilding thereof, or the erection of new buildings Matters concerning the sale, demise, lease, exchange or mortgage of the church property or any part thereof and the application of monies arising therefrom Any permitted alteration of the Church s Trust Deed or Constitution Alterations to these rules. 6.8 Every Special Church Meeting shall be convened by the Oversight by Notice given in a similar manner to that prescribed for an Ordinary Meeting on each of two Sundays immediately preceding the date of such intended meeting. 6.9 It shall be the duty of the Oversight forthwith to convene a Special Church Meeting upon the receipt of a written request of at least 25 Members of the Church The purpose for which a Special Church Meeting has been convened and the matters intended to be transacted or dealt with thereat shall be stated at the time of giving notice of the meeting The following is the procedure to be observed at Church Meetings: In the event of an equality of votes the Chairperson of an Ordinary or Special Church Meeting (whether a member of the Church or not) shall refer the matter back to the Oversight or committee from whence it came for further consideration Votes shall be taken by ballot, if so demanded by not less than one tenth of the Members of the Church present at the Ordinary or Special Church Meeting No resolution passed at an Ordinary or Special Church Meeting shall be rescinded at a subsequent Meeting unless notice of the resolution for such rescission has been given at the Meeting (whether Ordinary or Special) preceding such subsequent Meeting A resolution at a Special Church Meeting shall not be deemed to have been carried unless supported by the votes of greater than 75% of the Members personally present, entitled to vote and voting at such Meeting At any Ordinary or Special Church Meeting the Minister or Senior Minister or Moderator for the time being of the Church shall (if he or she shall be present and willing to act as Chairperson of such meeting) be entitled to take the Chair, unless the Minister or Oversight, or a majority of them, shall have previously resolved that there shall be another Chairperson, in which case, or if there shall be no Minister or Moderator then holding office or present and willing to act as Chairperson, the Members present shall elect a Chairperson (whether a Deacon or Elder or a Member of the Church or some other person) before proceeding with the business of such Meeting. Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 3 of 7

4 6.16 Minutes shall be kept of the proceedings of every Church Meeting. Each set of minutes shall be approved at the next Church Meeting. Members shall have the opportunity to review the minutes and to correct any factual errors before a formal vote on the approval of the minutes is taken. If the minutes are approved the Chairperson of the Church Meeting shall confirm the Members acceptance of the minutes by signing and dating them as a correct record of the preceding Meeting. The minutes shall be conclusive evidence that any resolution stated to have been passed, was passed by the requisite authority at a Meeting duly convened The Minutes are to be available to Members by request at the Church Office for a period of 14 days prior to the Meeting at which they are to be confirmed. 7. TRUSTEES 7.1 Holding Trustees The Holding Trustees have a custodial role over the assets of the Church. They are legally required to ensure that the Church is acting within the terms of the Trust Deed and is not acting irresponsibly. 7.2 Managing Trustees The Managing Trustees shall comprise the Elders, Deacons, Secretary, Treasurer, Ministers, and any senior administrator, in accordance with the Constitution of the Church. They will exercise their powers, as detailed in the Constitution, within the scope of paragraph 6.1 of these Rules. 8. THE OVERSIGHT 8.1 The Oversight (which shall comprise the Ministerial Team, Secretary, Treasurer, Elders and Deacons) shall lead the Church in the discovering and implementing of God s will for the Church, in order that it may fulfil its God-given objectives. It shall thus give spiritual and practical leadership generally and, in particular, shall be responsible for day to day administration, acting on behalf of the Church in between Church Meetings, and also advising and guiding the Church in its decision making. The Oversight shall be accountable to the Church Meeting which shall have the right to revoke any of its decisions. One half of the Oversight shall constitute a quorum. 8.2 THE SENIOR MINISTER At the beginning of a pastoral vacancy the advice of the Regional Minister shall be obtained in regard to the considering or making of a call to the Pastorate and the appointing of a Moderator The Senior Minister shall fulfil all the conditions required of other Church Members and any other requirements of the Church s Trust Deed and Constitution, copies of which are available for scrutiny from the Church Secretary. 8.3 THE DEACONS Deacons will be regarded as business administrators of the Church. They are to be worthy of respect holding of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3:8) The maximum number of Deacons that can be appointed shall be decided upon from time to time by the Church Meeting as desired. They shall be elected from among Members of Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 4 of 7

5 not less than twelve months standing. The spouse of a serving Deacon or Elder shall not be eligible for election Deacons shall serve for a term of up to three years, but shall then be eligible for reelection, if willing to stand, for one further term of three years. One year shall then elapse before becoming eligible for election. Appointments to the Diaconate shall commence at a date agreed upon by the Church Meeting Nominations for the office of Deacon shall be made to the Church Secretary not less than 14 days before the Ordinary Church Meeting at which the election is held. Nominations must be submitted in writing with the supporting signatures of two Church Members. No person may nominate for election more candidates than there are places vacant. Requests for nominations shall be made at both services on the two Sundays immediately before the day when nominations must cease. The names of those properly nominated will be made available to Members by the Sunday prior to the election Voting shall be by ballot at an Ordinary Church Meeting. At the first ballot the Members shall be asked to vote for those whom they would prefer to serve as Deacons. They shall vote for no more candidates than there are vacancies. The chief scrutineer shall report in writing and in confidence to the Chairperson the number of votes cast for each candidate. Where there are no more candidates than vacancies those receiving the votes of greater than 75% of those present and eligible to vote shall be declared to be elected If there are more candidates than vacancies and if after the first ballot, some vacancies remain unfilled because insufficient candidates have greater than 75% of the votes, then the Chairperson shall delete the names of those who have not been elected with the lowest number of votes so as to leave as many names as there are vacancies. These names shall be submitted to that or another Church Meeting for balloting on the remaining places. Those who then receive greater than 75% of the votes of those present and eligible to vote shall be declared to be elected. 8.4 THE ELDERS Elders will be regarded as those who direct the affairs of the church (1 Timothy 5:17). and shepherds of God s flock that is under (your) their care, not lording it over those entrusted to (you) them, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5: 2-3).They will be self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. holding firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught (Titus 1:8-9) The maximum number of Elders that can be appointed shall be decided upon from time to time by the Church Meeting as desired. They shall be elected from among Members of not less than twelve months standing. The spouse of a serving Elder or Deacon shall not be eligible for election Elders shall serve for a term of up to three years, but shall then be eligible for re-election, if willing to stand, for one further term of three years. One year shall then elapse before becoming eligible for election. Appointments to the Eldership shall commence at a date agreed upon by the Church Meeting Nominations for the office of Elder shall be made to the Church Secretary not less than 14 days before the Ordinary Church Meeting at which the election is held. Nominations must be submitted in writing with the supporting signatures of two Church members. No person may nominate for election more candidates than there are places vacant. Requests for nominations shall be made at both services on the two Sundays immediately before the day when nominations must cease. The names of those properly nominated will be made available to Members by the Sunday prior to the election. Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 5 of 7

6 8.4.4 Voting shall be by ballot at an Ordinary Church Meeting. At the first ballot the Members shall be asked to vote for those whom they would prefer to serve as Elders. They shall vote for no more candidates than there are vacancies. The chief scrutineer shall report in writing and in confidence to the Chairperson the number of votes cast for each candidate. Where there are no more candidates than vacancies those receiving the votes of greater than 75% of those present and eligible to vote shall be declared to be elected If there are more candidates than vacancies and if after the first ballot, some vacancies remain unfilled because insufficient candidates have greater than 75% of the votes, then the Chairperson shall delete the names of those who have not been elected with the lowest number of votes so as to leave as many names as there are vacancies. These names shall be submitted to that or another Church Meeting for balloting on the remaining places. Those who then receive greater than 75% of the votes of those present and eligible to vote shall be declared to be elected. 9. SECRETARY AND TREASURER 9.1 The Church shall elect annually a Secretary and Treasurer on recommendation from the oversight normally from within their number. 9.2 Election shall be by secret ballot at an Ordinary Church Meeting. To be appointed 75% of those present and eligible to vote shall have voted in favour. 10. ORGANISATIONS AND COMMITTEES 10.1 Overall leaders of organisations and Chairpersons and Secretaries of committees shall be appointed by the Church Meeting upon recommendation of the Oversight. Other staff of organisations and committees shall be appointed by the Oversight after consultation with the office-bearers of the organisations and committees concerned Each organisation and committee shall accept the guidance and control of the Oversight and Church Meeting in all matters The Senior Minister shall be ex-officio President of all organisations and committees. 11. CHURCH ACCOUNTS 11.1 The Deacons are responsible to the Church Meeting for the management of the Church finances and they are also required to maintain public liability insurance in respect of the property and general activities of the Church and its organisations A statement of the Church Accounts duly examined or audited as required by the provisions of the Law relating to Charities shall be presented for adoption in every year to the Annual Church Meeting Financial Accounts shall be kept by every organisation and copies shall be submitted to the Deacons when requested. 12. ALTERATION TO THE RULES AND BASIS OF FAITH Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 6 of 7

7 These Rules and the Basis of Faith may be altered (providing the alterations do not conflict with the Church s Trust Deed or Constitution) by a resolution of a Special Church Meeting called for that purpose and where at least three months notice has been given at a Church Meeting. 13. BASIS OF FAITH That we, as a Society of professing Christians, meeting for worship in the Baptist Tabernacle, The Square, Stockton-on-Tees, and voluntarily united together in Church Fellowship, are Baptists. Colossians 1:18 We believe in : The Divine inspiration of Holy Scriptures as originally given. 2 Timothy 3: The Unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Godhead. John 17:3 & The universal sinfulness of man rendering him subject to God s condemnation. Isaiah 53:6; John 3: Redemption from the penalty and power of sin only through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Son of God. 2 Corinthians 5: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15: The indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer. Ephesians 1: The personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 1: One Holy Church, the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4: There are two sacraments or ordinances, which are Believers Baptism by immersion and the Lord s Supper or Communion. Acts 2: 38, Acts 8:38-39, Romans 6:4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Stockton Baptist Tabernacle Church Rules 17 July 2013 Page 7 of 7

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