PEQUEA EVANGELICAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BYLAWS
(Last Revised January 2015)
Article I – Membership
Section 1 – Members: A member shall be any person who has been received into the church fellowship in accordance with Article I, Section 2 of these by-laws and whose name is recorded on the roll of membership of Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church.
Section 2 – Manner of Admittance: All persons seeking membership in Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church shall show their interest and sincerity by regular attendance in the worship services for at least one (1) month prior to their application for church membership, and must give testimony to a personal experience of salvation through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
All recommendations for church membership shall be submitted to the Official Board for approval. These recommendations must come from the pastor.
Applicant shall be received in one of the following ways:
- Profession of Faith: Upon meeting the above requirements, the applicant shall be received in accordance with the ritual of the Evangelical Congregational Church as outlined in the Discipline. All adults who are to be received by Profession of Faith must be instructed in the doctrine and beliefs of the E.C. Church as outlined in the Discipline before they are accepted into the membership.
- Letters of Transfer: A person may be received from another Evangelical Congregational Church upon presentation of a letter of transfer as a member in good standing from his church. It is suggested that he restate his vows in public worship service by answering the disciplinary questions. A person from another denomination may be received upon presentation of letter of transfer as a member in good standing from his church. They must be instructed in the doctrine and beliefs of the E.C. Church as outlined in the Discipline before they are accepted into the membership.
- Membership Instruction Class: In preparation for church membership, all young people without a letter of transfer shall receive instruction. The present Catechetical Instruction Book of the E.C. Church shall be used in its entirety as the basis of instruction. Regular attendance in all classes is required (classes missed must be made up). Also, regular attendance in the worship services during the period of instruction is required. As part of the instruction, each young person shall be given period written examinations and/or a final examination. He shall be received by Profession of Faith.
Section 3 – Member in Good Standing: In order to continue as a member in good standing of Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church, it is necessary to live in harmony with the church discipline, attend the public service, contribute to the support of the local congregation, and commune during the year.
Section 4 – Transfer of Membership: Any member in good standing desiring to transfer his membership from Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church to another church shall, upon his request, be given a certificate of membership by the pastor and transferred. A certificate of membership and transfer cannot be denied a member in good standing.
When in the judgment of the pastor and the Official Board there are sufficient reasons for withholding the certificate from a member, judicial proceedings shall be instituted as prescribed by the Discipline.
Section 5 – Removals: Removal of members from roll shall follow the procedure stipulated in the Discipline.
Article II – The Local Conference
Section 1 – Purpose: The Local Conference is the highest executive, judicial, and legislative body having immediate jurisdiction over the congregation. It serves as the connecting link between the church and the National Conference.
Section 2 – Business: It shall examine the members of the congregation and conference; institute any trials of church members; receive reports of the officers of the church, Christian Education Commission, and other organizations of the church; examine and recommend persons to the ministry; determine the pastor(s)' salary/salaries; accept the appointments of the National Conference; elect the stewards; and conduct any other business presented to it.
Section 3 – Membership: The membership of the Local Conference shall be composed of the Conference Minister, the pastor(s), all itinerant and licensed preachers of the local church, and all Official Board members.
Article III – Congregational Meetings
Section 1 – Purpose: There shall be in Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church an annual congregational meeting to review the work accomplished during the year, consider local opportunities and needs, and elect trustees and such other officers as may be permitted by the Discipline of the Evangelical Congregational Church and deemed necessary by the congregation. It shall hear reports concerning the work, present status, and future programs of the church and of its organizations and societies; shall make recommendations to the Official Board; and shall transact such business as may come before it.
Section 2 – Personnel and Organizations:
- Chairman: The pastor shall preside at the congregational meetings. In the pastor(s)' absence, the president of the Official Board shall preside. If the pastor(s) and the president of the Official Board are absent, the vice-president of the Official Board shall preside.
- Secretary: The secretary of the Official Board shall serve as secretary of the annual meeting and keep accurate minutes of the business; such records to be incorporated with and retained among the records of the Official Board. These minutes shall be open for inspection at all times. If the secretary of the Official Board is absent, the chairman shall appoint a qualified person to serve as secretary pro tem.
- Voting: All members in good standing, sixteen (16) years of age and over, are entitled to vote in all congregational meetings, except on matters which pertain to legal requirements of the state. In such cases only those of legal age may vote. All election of officers shall be by ballot; the candidate receiving the majority of votes shall be elected. Any member of the congregation may request a recount, which shall be done in the presence of him or her and two (2) other members.
Section 3 – The Annual Meeting: The annual meeting shall be called by the Official Board to be held during the month of January following the close of the conference year. At least two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting date, notice of the meeting shall be made orally from the pulpit and written notice shall be included in the church bulletin. The agenda of the annual meeting shall be:
- The chairman calls the meeting to order.
- Brief devotions.
- Reading of the minutes of the last meeting for information.
- Report of the church treasurer.
- Report of the following officers and organizations of the congregation: trustees, stewards, Christian Education Commission, and other organizations.
- Report of the pastor.
- Election of the following officers: trustees and class leaders.
- Other business.
- Reading of the minutes for approval.
- Adjournment and closing prayer.
Section 4 – Special Meetings: Special meetings of the congregation may be called by the Official Board. Special meetings shall be called by the Official Board upon the written request of ten percent (10%) of the members of the congregation in good standing.
Notice of such special meetings shall be given in the same manner as for the annual meeting, except that the purpose(s) of the meeting shall be stated, and only stated purpose(s) may be considered at the meeting.
Article IV – Official Board
The Official Board is the administrative body of Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church. However, the Official Board shall never take any action contrary to the will of the congregation expressed through a congregational meeting or contrary to a directive given by the Local Conference.
Section 1 – Membership: The Official Board shall consist of the pastor(s), the lay delegate, the alternate lay delegate, the class leaders, the trustees, the stewards, the Christian Education Chairperson, the church treasurer, and any additional members approved by the congregation at their annual meeting. Members of the Official Board who are under legal age shall be considered as advisory members.
Section 2 – Officers of the Board: At its first meeting following the annual congregational meeting, the Official Board shall elect from its members a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a church treasurer (the church treasurer may be elected from the membership of the Official Board or from the congregation), and other officers as may be deemed necessary by the Official Board. Vacancies in these offices shall be filled by the Official Board for the unexpired term.
The officers of the Official Board shall be elected for a term of one year.
The duties of the officers of the Official Board shall be as follows:
- President: Shall preside at all meetings.
- Vice-president: Shall preside in the absence of the president.
- Secretary: Shall keep accurate records of all the proceedings of the Official Board, and shall at all times make them available for inspection by the Official Board, the Local Conference, and/or the congregation; and shall engage in any correspondence on behalf of the Official Board and the congregation as directed.
- Church Treasurer: Shall receive from the stewards monies contributed in the worship services and shall keep accurate records of the same. Shall keep record of all other contributions given by the congregation and at any time make the record available for inspection by the Official Board. Shall pay all bills of the congregation by check as instructed by the Official Board. A monthly report shall be made to the Official Board concerning the funds and shall submit an annual report to the congregation at its annual meeting. The Official Board shall designate the bank which shall carry the account.
Section 3 – The Meetings: The Official Board shall meet on the first Tuesday of each month for its regular meeting, unless otherwise provided for by the Official Board. Special meetings may be convened at the call of the pastor(s), the president of the Official Board, or at the request of four (4) members of the Official Board.
Notices of all special meetings shall be given to the members of the Official Board by mail, phone, electronic communication, or by public announcement.
Section 4 – Quorum: A quorum shall be present for the Official Board to convene. A quorum shall consist of five (5) members.
Section 5 – Duties of the Official Board:
- To carry out any directive of the Local Conference and of the congregation.
- To conduct the business affairs of the congregation.
- To guard the spiritual life of the congregation.
- To approve and receive new members.
- To approve or disapprove letters of transfer, matters pertaining to the reception, transfer, and dismissal of members.
- To determine the use of the church building and other property belonging to the congregation, subject always to the authority and direction of the Local Conference.
- To call and provide for regular and special meetings of the congregation.
- To be responsible for investing special gifts or bequests given to the congregation in accordance with the terms of the gifts or bequests.
Section 6 – Agenda: For the sake of efficiency, the agenda of the Official Board shall be:
- Meeting called to order by the president.
- Reading of the minutes.
- Treasurer's report.
- Pastor's report.
- Old business.
- New business.
- Closing prayer.
Section 7 – Finances: The congregation shall be supported through voluntary contributions from the members of the congregation and other interested persons who may desire to contribute.
Any special offerings must receive the approval of the Official Board.
It shall be the concern of all our members to give of their substance cheerfully and to practice proportionate, systematic, biblical methods of Christian stewardship as outlined in the Discipline.
- Fiscal Year: The fiscal year shall correspond with the conference year.
- Depository of Funds: The depository of funds for Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church shall be at a bank chosen by the Official Board.
- Building Fund Money: All funds given to or designated for the account known as the church building fund shall be used expressly for the upkeep, repair, or addition to the structure of any and all church-owned properties.
- Sunday Evening Service Presided Over by Special Group: When any group takes charge of a Sunday evening service, the evening offering shall be given entirely to the said group.
- Special Speakers: Special speakers shall be paid out of the church funds only if the committee in charge of the service submits a request at least one month in advance to the Official Board.
- Bids: Unless the situation is deemed by the trustees to constitute an emergency, the Official Board must receive bids on any expenditures over one thousand dollars ($1,000).
Article V – Church Officials
Section 1 – Class Leaders:
- Elections: There shall be a prayer meeting class, supervised by class leaders. The pastor may serve as one of the assistant class leaders. They shall be elected at the annual congregational meeting and serve a one-year term.
- Duties: The class leaders shall have direct charge of the prayer meeting class (usually held on Wednesday evenings) and shall conduct it so as to contribute to the spiritual edification of the members. They shall be diligent students of the Bible; circumspect in their department so as to set a proper example to their classes; to be familiar with the doctrines and rules of the Evangelical Congregational Church so as to instruct the members in the same; and shall be ready to assist the pastor, as he may request, in giving spiritual oversight to the members.
- Organization: The class leaders shall meet with the pastor(s) as needed to plan the program of the prayer services, so as to promote spiritual growth in the membership of the church.
Section 2 – Trustees:
- Number and Election: The number of trustees shall be four (4), to be elected at the annual congregational meeting for a term of three (3) years. In each three (3) year cycle, they shall be elected as follows: Two (2) in the first year; one (1) in the second year, and one (1) in the third year. Any vacancy shall be filled by the trustees until the next annual congregational meeting, at which time the congregation shall elect a trustee to fill the unexpired term.
- Duties: The duties of the trustees are:
- To manage, keep in repair, and protect the real and personal property of the congregation.
- To negotiate for the purchases, lease, and sale of personal property of the congregation in accordance with the Official Board, or in the case of real property in accordance with the will of the congregation as it is expressed by a majority of the members present of legal age in good standing, in a properly convened congregational meeting.
- To protect the properties of the congregation with sufficient insurance coverage.
- To perform such financial duties as may be delegated to them from time to time by the Official Board.
- To perform such duties as may be assigned to them from time to time by the Official Board.
- Organization: The trustees shall meet annually for organization within thirty (30) days after the congregational meeting. They shall elect a chairman.
Section 3 – Stewards:
- Number and Election: The Local Conference shall elect three (3) stewards to serve a three (3) year term. They shall be persons of Christian maturity, familiar with the Discipline, and possess the necessary ability to transact temporal business. The pastor shall nominate candidates to the office of steward. In each three (3) year cycle, they shall be elected as follows: One (1) in the first year; one (1) in the second year; and one (1) in the third year.
- Duties: The duties of the stewards:
- As soon as possible after the National Conference the stewards shall meet with the pastor to consider the salary and other benefits for the well being of the pastor and his family for the coming year and shall make recommendations accordingly to the Local Conference.
- They shall provide the sacraments for Holy Communion.
- They shall procure or assist the procuring suitable housing for the pastor.
- They shall be responsible for counting the offerings received in the worship services before it is turned over to the church treasurer.
- They shall keep accurate record of the contributions of individual members, as received through the church envelope or individually identified contributions, and shall submit early statements of their contributions to each member of the congregation upon their request.
- Organization: Within thirty (30) days after the Local Conference, the stewards shall meet and elect a chairman. The chairman shall preside at all meetings of the stewards.
Section 4 – Lay Delegate: The lay delegate is the representative of Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church to the National Conference, thus is the liaison between the church and the conference.
The lay delegate must be of legal age, a member of good standing of Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church at least two (2) years, a person of good judgment, and able to make fair and honest decisions. The lay delegate is elected by the Local Conference.
There shall also be an alternate lay delegate elected by the Local Conference and subject to the same qualification requirements as the lay delegate. The alternate lay delegate shall represent Pequea Evangelical Congregational Church to the National Conference in the event of the lay delegate's absence or at the lay delegate's request.
Article VI – Christian Education
Section 1 – Purpose and Duties: There shall exist a standing Christian Education Commission, the duties of which shall be as follows:
- To supervise and assist all educational ministries of the church, including but not limited to the establishment and function of Sunday School classes.
- To develop new educational programs and ministries as need shall arise.
- To see to it that there exist educational ministries appropriate to all ages, sexes, educational levels, etc., present within our church body.
- To approve the appointment of teachers.
- To review and approve materials for use in teaching.
- To allocate space for classes or other educational functions.
- To constantly evaluate the total program(s) to determine if needs are being met.
- To work toward the cultivation within the church of a truly mission-oriented mindset, for the sake of gospel outreach at local and global scales.
- To arrange for the keeping of accurate and permanent records of meetings, programs, and ministry functions within the purview of Christian education, and to make these records available where needed.
Section 2 – Membership: The Christian Education Commission shall be comprised of no fewer than three members, who shall be appointed by the Official Board at their first meeting following the annual congregational meeting, with the addition of further members occurring at the board's discretion. Prior membership in the Official Board shall not be a requirement for membership in the Christian Education Commission. The pastor(s) of the church shall be ex officio members of the Christian Education Commission.
Section 3 – Officers: Within thirty (30) days after the meeting of the Official Board at which commission members are appointed, the Christian Education Commission shall meet and shall elect a chairperson. The duties of the Christian Education Chairperson shall be as follows:
- To preside at all meetings of the Christian Education Commission.
- To have immediate charge of the exercises and interests of the educational ministries of the church.
- To attend the Local Conference and to give report of the condition of the aforesaid ministries.
- To consult frequently with the pastor(s) in reference to the interest of these ministries.
- To admonish in love any teachers who may be neglecting their duties.
- To see that adequate supervision is made available to all educational ministries.
- To keep the members of the congregation informed on the needs, progress, and programs of the educational ministries.
- To organize or oversee a Vacation Bible School during the summer, or to serve as liaison between our congregation and any other congregation(s) with whose Vacation Bible School programs we may elect (as directed by the Official Board) to partner.
Section 4 – Meetings: The Christian Education Commission shall meet no less frequently than once per quarter, with the time and place to be determined by the chairperson.
Article VII – Simultaneous Officers
Section 1 – Restriction on Holding More Than One Office:
- A person holding one of the following offices may not hold any of the remaining two (2) simultaneously:
- President of the Official Board
- Christian Education Chairperson
- Lay Delegate
Article VIII – Church Use
Section 1 – Fees:
- There will be no charge to members of the congregation for use of the church building for events such as weddings, recitals, anniversaries, etc., providing said members do all setting up and cleaning up of building after the event.
- A fee of $25.00 (subject to change by the Official Board) will be charged for janitorial services when required.
- Non-members will be asked to donate $25.00 for the use of either the sanctuary or basement or a fee of $40.00 for the combined facilities.
Section 2 – Approval for Church Use:
- All requests for church use by non-members must be approved by the Official Board
- The Official Board requests notification of church use by church members.
Article IX – Limitation of Official's Liability and Indemnification
Section 1: The officials of the Corporation shall not be personally liable for monetary damages as a result of any action taken, or failure to act, unless such action or inaction constitutes both:
- a breach of or failure to perform his duties in compliance with the standards of fiduciary care prescribed in the Officials' Liability Act (i.e. in good faith, in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the Corporation, and with such care, including reasonably inquiry, skill, and diligence, as a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances); and
- self-dealing, willful misconduct or recklessness, subject to exceptions provided by said Act for his responsibility or liability under any criminal statute and his liability for payment of taxes.
Section 2: Every director, officer, or employee of the Corporation shall be indemnified by the Corporation against all expenses and liability, including counsel fees, reasonably incurred by or imposed upon him in connection with any proceeding to which he may be made party, or which he becomes involved, by reason of his being or having been director, officer, or employee of the Corporation, or any settlement thereof, whether or not he is a director, officer, or employee at the time such expenses are incurred, except in such cases wherein the director, officer, or employee is adjudged by a proper court guilty of willful misconduct or recklessness (misfeasance or malfeasance) in the performance of his duties; provided that in the event of a settlement the indemnification herein shall apply only when the Board of Trustees approves such settlement and reimbursement as being for the best interests of the Corporation. The foregoing right of indemnification shall be in addition to and not exclusive to all other rights to which such director, officer, or employee may be entitled.
Article X – Alterations and Amendments
Section 1: Any alteration, addition, or amendment to these by-laws shall be adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all the members present at a congregational meeting, regular or special.
Section 2: All proposed alterations, additions, or amendments to these by-laws shall first be presented in writing to the Official Board, who shall cause same to be announced and posted at the public services of worship at least two (2) successive Sundays prior to their consideration at any congregational meeting.