MONTAGU COMMUNITY CHURCH
(A Non-Profit Organisation No. 039-250, Act 71 of 1997)
This constitution governs the establishment of a body of men and women who acknowledge the sovereignty of God and His power unto salvation in the risen Lord Jesus Christ and who have given themselves in love and loyalty to Christ as Master, Saviour and Lord.
The Church shall be known as Montagu Community Church. (“MCC”)
2. BODY CORPORATE
The Church shall:
2.1 Exist in its own right, separately from its members.
2.2 Continue to exist even when its membership changes and there are different office bearers.
2.3 Be able to own property and other possessions.
2.4 Be able to sue and be sued in its own name.
The theological basis of the Church is both reformed and evangelical and its objectives are:
3.1 To operate as a fully established local Church in Montagu.
3.2 To hold services on a regular basis on Sundays, generally recognised as the Lord’s Day, and on other days of Christian celebration.
3.3 In general, to provide a base for the spreading of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
3.4 To assist members of the Church or members and organisations in the community, who the Church Council considers merit assistance, financial or otherwise, to counter hardship or promote basic welfare and education.
4. STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe in:
4.1 The full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, their authority and Sufficiency as not only containing, but being in themselves, the Word of God; the reliability of the New Testament in its testimony to the character and authorship of the Old Testament and the need to the teaching of the Holy Spirit to a true and spiritual understanding of the whole
4.2 The unity of the Godhead and the divine co-equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the sovereignty of God in Creation, Providence, and Redemption.
4.3 The utter depravity of Human Nature in consequence of the fall and the necessity for regeneration.
4.4 The true and proper Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His virgin birth; His real and perfect manhood; the authority of His teachings and the infallibility of all His utterances; His work of atonement for sinners of mankind by His vicarious sufferings and death; His bodily resurrection and His ascension into Heaven; and His present Priestly intercession for His people at the right hand of The Father.
4.5 The justification of the sinner solely by faith through the atoning merits of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
4.6 The necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, conversion and sanctification; also in ministry and worship.
4.7 The ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as being instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, but not in baptism as conveying regenerating grace neither in the Lord’s Supper as being a sacrifice for sin, not involving any change in the substance of the bread and wine.
4.8 The personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ in Glory.
4.9 The resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by Our Lord Jesus Christ, with the eternal blessedness of the righteous and the eternal punishment of the wicked.
The following persons shall be considered members:
5.1 Those who regularly attend services of worship and profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord, accept the Statement of Faith of the Church and its constitution.
5.2. An applicant who has been a member, in good standing, of any recognised Church which subscribes to the principles in the Montagu Church’s Statement of Faith shall qualify for immediate membership.
5.3 Application for membership shall be made to the Secretary by way of an application form. Every person desirous of becoming a member shall complete the prescribed application form thereby confirming acceptance of the constitution in its entirety.
5.4 The Church Council shall consider all applications and its
decision shall be communicated,
5.4.1 to the applicant as soon as possible; and
5.4.2 to the congregation at the first following Sunday service.
5.5 A person shall cease to be a member if absent from services without good reason over an extended period, and shows no continuing interest in the Church, or who has failed to maintain any association with the Church or for any other reason considered by the Church Council to be contrary to or in conflict with the Objectives or the Statement of Faith. Such decision will rest with the Church Council whose decision will be final.
5.6 A register of members shall be maintained.
6. Membership Privileges and Obligations.
6.1 Every member is entitled and expected to attend and vote at Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings (unless prevented by some reasonable cause) and in a spirit of prayerfulness and love, seek the welfare of the Church.
6.2 Members should endeavour to maintain and strengthen the fellowship in the Church by prayer, regular attendance at services, by engaging in its life and good works, and by conscientious giving of offerings in money or in kind as God’s gracious provision enables.
6.3 It is both the privilege and duty of members to seek to win others to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to welcome and introduce strangers to the fellowship.
Friends who wish to be associated with the life and worship of the Church but are not able for good reason to enter into membership, may be considered adherents. As such they are welcome to attend the general Church meetings but without voting rights.
8. CHURCH COUNCIL
8.1 There shall be a Church Council to which is entrusted the general spiritual oversight and management of the Church.
8.2 The Church Council shall consist of not more than 7 (seven) and not fewer than 4 (four) members of the Church elected at an Annual General Meeting of the Church plus the Pastor when one is in office.
8.3 The Church Council members shall serve for a period of 2 (two) years unless removed by a (two-thirds) majority of those voting at a meeting of the Church Council. In the case of an appeal against removal from office an appeal may be referred to the Trustees for a decision. Retiring Church Council members may stand for re-election.
8.4 The Church Council shall have the power, in terms of the law, and authority:-
8.4.1. to elect from its members a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, a Treasurer and a Secretary.
8.4.2. to co-opt members of the Church to assist in the various duties of the Church Council.
8.4.3. to achieve the Objectives of the Church.
8.5 Meetings shall be held as often as necessary but at least once a quarter. If the Chairman is not present at a meeting the Deputy Chairman shall act and, in the event of both being absent the members shall elect a Chairman from their number.
8.5.1 special meetings may be called by the Chairman by prior verbal or telephonic notice to members.
8.5.2 the quorum for meetings of the Church Council will be the presence of one half of its members plus 1 (one).
8.5.3 decisions at Church Council meetings shall be made and decided on a basis of the majority of those so present with the Chairman having a casting vote, in addition to his ordinary vote, if required.
8.5.4 minutes of all meetings must be kept and circulated before the next meeting at which the minutes of the previous meeting must be confirmed and signed and dated to that effect by the Chairman.
8.6 The Church Council may recommend a suitable candidate to the Trustees in the event of a vacancy from the pastoral office occurring after following the procedure set out below:
8.6.1 after having first taken all necessary steps, as they
deem appropriate, whether by publication or reference to institutions of spiritual teaching, learning and practice, to invite and canvass appropriately qualified and confessing applicants to the office of Pastor.
8.6.2 the Church Council shall furthermore by negotiation and agreement with any suitable applicant –
18.104.22.168. determine the terms and conditions of appointment and
22.214.171.124. require his consent and willingness on appointment to signify in writing his wholehearted agreement with the objectives of the Church and the Evangelical Reformed Faith as set out in Clause 15.2
8.6.3 provided that all the requirements as set out above are met satisfactorily, the candidate will be proposed to the Trustees.
8.6.4 should the Trustees approve the nomination by the Church Council; the candidate will be presented to the Church members and confirmed to office provided that not less than 90% (ninety) of the enrolled members present at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Church vote in favour of the candidate.
8.7 The letter of appointment of any candidate shall stipulate explicitly that the appointment is subject to a trial period of at least 6 (six) months and that the Church Council can terminate the appointment at any time prior to the expiry of the trial period. The Council shall further ensure that the Trustees are advised of the Council’s final decision regarding appointment or not at the end of the trial period. Should the Church Council deem it necessary for whatever reason, the trial period may be extended.
8.8 On appointment of any candidate to the pastoral office he obtains membership of the Church automatically.
8.9 In the event of the Pastorate being vacant, the Trustees shall be responsible for the appointment of all interim Preachers until such stage as the Pastorate has been filled.
8.10 The Church Council has no right to take action or decisions in conflict with any constitutional provision.
8.11 All decisions that are taken by the Church Council shall be binding on the members of the Church.
9.1 A Minister entrusted with the Pastoral office may be appointed and in the following manner:
9.2 The Trustees shall propose a suitable candidate. No candidate will be offered to the Church unless he previously signifies in writing his wholehearted agreement with the Objectives of the Church and his agreement with one of the Statements of Faith, as required of the Trustees.
9.3 The Church elects to the ministerial office in terms of a resolution adopted by not less than 90 (ninety) percent of the enrolled members present at an Extraordinary General Meeting called for that purpose.
9.4 Should the need arise to terminate the services of the Minister, it must be agreed to by a resolution adopted by 90 (ninety) percent of the enrolled members present at an Extraordinary General Meeting called for that purpose.
10. MEETINGS: ANNUAL AND Extraordinary GENERAL MEETINGS
10.1 Annual General Meeting
10.1.1 The Church financial year shall end at the end of June and the Annual General Meeting shall be held as soon thereafter as practicable and not later than the 30th September.
10.1.2 At such meeting written reports and audited Financial Statements shall be submitted by the Chairman/Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
10.1.3 Appropriate reports shall also be submitted by the various Ministries.
10.1.4 The written notice shall include all business to be
transacted at the meeting, as follows:
to adopt the minutes of the previous meeting.
to receive and consider for approval the Annual Report of the Chairman on the affairs of the Church and Financial Statements and the Auditor’s Report thereon.
to elect the office bearers and Church Council members for the ensuing year.
to appoint an Auditor for the ensuing year.
Rules and Regulations or other proposals proposed by the Church Council.
any other business within the competence of the meeting.
10.2 Extraordinary General Meetings may be convened at anytime by the Church Council or at the request of at least 15 (fifteen) members in writing and signed by all of them stating the purpose for which the meeting is desired.
10.3 Notice of Meetings
10.3.1 Notice of Annual General Meetings shall be intimated at services the two successive Sundays immediately preceding the day appointed for the meeting verbally and also by means of a written or printed notice.
10.3.2 Notice of Extraordinary General Meetings shall be intimated at services the three successive Sundays immediately preceding the day appointed for the meeting and the notice shall specify the purpose for which the meeting is called.
10.3.3 No business shall be transacted at any Annual General Meeting unless a quorum of the members are present at the time when the meeting proceeds to business. Such quorum shall be represented by 25 (twenty-five)percent of the total membership.
10.3.4 No business shall be transacted at any Extraordinary General Meeting unless a quorum of the members are present at the time when the meeting proceeds to business. Such quorum shall be represented by 67 (sixty seven) percent of the total membership.
10.3.5 If within 30 (thirty) minutes of the time appointed for any meetings, a quorum is not present, the meeting shall stand adjourned to the same time and place the following week, or if a public holiday, then the next business day, and if, at that meeting, within 30 (thirty) minutes a quorum is not present, then the members present shall be a quorum.
10.4.1 Only members who have attained the age of 18 (eighteen) years may be entitled to vote.
10.4.2 Only members in membership for the preceding 2 (two) months at the time of the meeting shall be entitled to vote.
10.4.3 Pastors shall be entitled to vote on assumption of the Pastorate.
10.4.4 All matters shall be decided by the majority vote of those present.
10.4.5 Voting shall be by show of hands unless:-
10.4.5.1 one member requests a ballot; or
10.4.5.2 a ballot is considered necessary by the Chairman.
10.4.6 Representation by proxies identifying and signed by the member who provides the proxy will be allowed.
11.1 Church funds shall be received by means of offerings at services and by contributions and donations.
11.2 The Treasurer shall keep proper records and appropriate books of account of all financial transactions and in accordance with generally accepted practices.
11.3 Bank accounts shall be established in the name of the Church into which all funds will be deposited. Such accounts may be either ordinary cheque or interest bearing accounts and funds may be freely moved between the same.
11.4 Notwithstanding 11.3 above, visiting Ministers, Preachers or performers may be compensated from the offertory subject to due and appropriate documentation.
11.5 The Treasurer shall operate the bank account/s and all withdrawals and transfers shall be signed by any two of the following Council members: Treasurer, Chairman, Secretary or a Church Council member nominated with that power.
11.6 Once every quarter the Treasurer shall present to the Church Council a Financial Statement for information and approval.
After the year-end the Treasurer shall prepare annual Financial Statements for approval by the Council and submit same to the appointed Auditor.
11.7 The Church Council shall have the power to make any disbursements to and investments with appropriate organisations.
11.8 Audited annual Financial Statements together with the supporting reports must be submitted to the Director of Non- Profit Organisations within 6 (six) months of the year end.
12. MOVEABLE AND IMMOVABLE PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL
12.1 The Church shall have power to buy, sell, donate, let or hire, exchange, transfer, receive by way of donation or otherwise, moveable and immovable property and to invest its funds in Government or Municipal stock, or on fixed deposits or otherwise, in Banks or Post Offices or approved organisations, and shall further have power to borrow money with or without security in such manner as the Church shall think fit, negotiate loans from Bankers or others by overdraft and by passing Mortgage or Notarial Bonds for registration with proper authorities.
12.2 All immovable property acquired by the Church in any manner shall be registered in the name of the Church.
12.3 All acquisition of immovable property in any manner and any proposal to sell, donate, exchange, mortgage, hypothecate or otherwise alienate or encumber any immovable property shall be done under due authority of an Extraordinary General Meeting resolution of the Church for such purposes and the Chairman shall be authorised to sign all documents and to do all things necessary to give effect to the resolution.
12.4 The Church may not give any of its money or property to its members or office bearers, other than in remuneration at reasonable rates for work done or reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of the Church, or in promoting its objectives under Clause 3.4.
12.5 Members or office bearers have no personal rights over assets of the Church.
The Trustees and all officers of the Church shall be and are fully indemnified against all actions, cost, charges, losses, damages and expenses which they or any of them shall or may incur in the execution of their duties, except such as they shall incur by their own wrongful action done intentionally or with gross negligence.
It shall be the duty of the Church Council to ensure that all aspects of Church business, whether internal or external and as is appropriate, be properly and continually recorded and preserved.
15.1 There shall be a body of Trustees whose responsibility shall be the maintenance of the Evangelical and Reformed theological position of the Church.
15.2 The Trustees will normally be 4 (four). Every Trustee before assuming office must signify in writing, wholehearted agreement with the Evangelical Reformed Faith as expressed in any one of the following Statements of Faith.
15.2.1 The Westminster Confession of Faith.
15.2.2 The Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England.
15.2.3 The Declaration of Faith and Order in the London Confession of 1689.
15.2.4 The Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order.
15.3 When a vacancy occurs the Trustees will nominate a suitable replacement to their Body to the Church Council. Following approval by the Church Council, the nominee is appointed.
16. MODIFICATION OF CONSTITUTION
This Constitution may be amended by a resolution adopted by not less than
75 (seventy five)percent of the members in accordance with Clause 5 present
at an Extraordinary General Meeting in the Notice for which the amendment
has been included, and at 3 (three) services prior to which the full details of
the amendments have been provided; except that Clause 4 (Statement of Faith), Clause 15 (Trustees) and Clause 9 (Pastorate) shall not be amended.
No amendment may be made which would have the effect of making the Church cease to exist
Should the Church at an Extraordinary General Meeting called as above and with the same requirement as to majority as in Clause 16 above, decide that the Objectives of the Church can no longer be achieved and that the Church should therefore be discontinued, then any assets, funds and proceeds from the sale of assets that stand to the credit of the Church shall be dealt with in a manner decided at a special meeting of the Church Council and the Trustees; provided that such assets, funds and proceeds shall be disposed of for the propagation of the Gospel, provided further that the organization to
which such disposition is made has similar objectives and is in agreement with Clauses 3 (Objectives) and 4 (Statement of Faith) hereof.
18. ADOPTION OF THIS CONSTITUTION
This Constitution was adopted at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on the 15th day of November 2015 by enrolled members of the Church.
Signed at Montagu on the 15th day of November 2015 by the Chairman and a representative of the Trustees.
M Folan (Chairman) D.N. Fraser (Trustee)