Last Amended 2000
Constitution of Community Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
of Greenland, New Hampshire
Article 1. Name
The name of this Church shall be “The Community Congregational Church,” a member of the United Church of Christ.
Article 2. Purpose
The purpose of this Church shall be to maintain public services for the worship of God, the teaching and preaching of The Gospel, the administration of the New Testament ordinance and sacraments, and to exert as far as possible a Christian and moral influence in the Community and a Missionary spirit and testimony in the World at large.
Article 3. Faith
We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ and our Father, to whose deeds we testify. He calls the worlds into being, creates man in his own image and sets before him the ways of life and death. He seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. He judges men and nations by his righteous will declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, he has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death, and reconciling the world to himself. He bestows upon us his Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the Church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races. He calls us into his Church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be his servants in the service of men, to proclaim the Gospel to all the World and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory. He promises to all who trust him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, his presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in his kingdom which has no end. Blessing and Honor, Glory and Power be unto Him, Amen.
Article 4. Polity
We believe in freedom and responsibility of the individual soul, and the right of private judgment. We hold to the autonomy of the local church. We cherish the fellowship of the churches unit in district, state and national bodies for council and cooperation in matters of common concern, and gladly acknowledge our membership in the Rockingham Association of Congregational Christian Churches and Ministers of the United Church of Christ, and in the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and in the General Synod, The United Church of Christ. While affirming the liberty of our churches and the validity of our ministry, we hold to the unity and catholicity of the Church of Christ, and will consider uniting with all its branches and will earnestly seek, so far as in us lies, that the prayer of our Lord for his disciples may be answered, “That they may all be one.” We agree to maintain the institution of the Gospel, to submit ourselves to the orderly administration of the affairs of the church, and to walk together in brotherly love.
Article 5. Membership
Section A- Defining Membership
All persons who have received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in this church (or having been baptized elsewhere into the Christian faith and whose families become full voting members), shall be considered members of it, and shall be entitled to all rights, responsibilities, and privileges as a member of this family of the Body of Christ, except for full voting rights as described below. The full voting membership of the Church shall exist of those who present satisfactory letters of transfer from other churches, confirm their baptismal covenants, or confess their Christian faith and receive baptism (where not previously baptized). All persons desiring to become members of this Church shall be reported to the Church Council. The names of persons being recommended by the minister and the Church Council to become members of the church will be published in the Sunday Bulletin one week prior to their induction ceremony, with the understanding that any member having questions has adequate opportunity to discuss them with the Council or minister. The Public Worship Ministry Group shall then make plans with the minister for a Celebration of the Reception of Members, or for a Celebration of Confirmation, said celebration to be held during a regular service of public worship. Such persons shall become full voting members of the church, with all rights, responsibilities and privileges, upon their public assent and affirmation to its covenants. A college or ministerial student, upon request to the clerk, may, by vote of the Church, be granted a dual membership.
Section B- Termination of Membership
A] A member in good standing may on request and by vote of the Church Council be granted a letter of transfer and have his name removed from the rolls.
B] Members whose addresses are unknown or who for a period of two years, in spite of kindly reminders by the Church Council and who have not communicated with the church or contributed to its support, may be placed on an inactive list of the church upon the vote of the Church Council. If possible such persons will be notified of said action.
C] Should a member become an offense to the church and its good name, by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct or by persistent violation of covenant vows, the church may terminate membership, but only after due notice and hearing and after faithful effort has been made by the Church Council to bring the member to repentance and amendment.
D] The membership of no person shall be terminated (other than by the member’s request) except by vote of the Board of Church Council.
Section C- Restoration of Membership
Any person whose membership has been terminated, may for good and sufficient reasons be restored on recommendation of the Church Council.
Section D- Duties and Rights
A] Duties- Members are expected to be faithful to all duties essential to the Christian life, to attend regularly the services of the church, to give systematically for its support and benevolences, to share in its organized work, and to seek diligently the spiritual welfare of the church and the winning of others to Christ.
B] Rights- Members in good standing may act and vote in all business meetings of the Church, except items pertaining to financial matters which require that voting members be 18 years of age or older.
Article 6. Administration
The officers and committees of this church shall be: Minister, Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Assistant Financial Secretary, Auditor, Superintendent of the Church School, Historian, Benevolence Treasurer, Church Council, Board of Trustees and the following Ministry Groups: Evangelism and Education, Public Worship, Mission Ministry, and Community Ministry. All of the members of the above committees and the officers shall be active members of the church. Persons elected to fill a vacated uncompleted term shall complete side term and be eligible for re-nomination for the additional full term after which one year must elapse before becoming eligible for re-election.
Section A- Minister
The minister shall have the central place of leadership in all the affairs of the church. It shall be the Minister’s duty to preach the Word, to care for the stated services of public worship, to administer the Sacraments and rites, and to promote in all ways within his or her power the spiritual welfare of the church. The Minister shall serve as an advisory member of all boards and committees. The Pastoral relation may be dissolved by either the Pastor or by vote of the church upon two months written notice of such intention unless another written instrument is in force.
Section B- Moderator
The Moderator shall be elected at the annual meeting to serve for one year and shall preside at the business meeting of the church.
Section C- Clerk
The Clerk shall keep a complete record of all business meetings of the church. The Clerk shall keep a register of the members of the church, with the dates of the reception and removal, record Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, and make a full report to the church at its annual meeting, issue letters of transfer voted by the Church Council, preserve on file all documents and reports, notify all persons elected to office and to standing committees, and give legal notice of all meetings when such notice is necessary. The Clerk shall be elected at the annual meeting to serve for three years.
Section D- Treasurer
The Treasurer shall receive and disburse all current monies of the Church, and shall keep the Church accounts distinct form all other accounts, serve as an advisory member of the Church Council, shall make a monthly report of accounts to the Council, and make properly audited annual written reports of receipts and expenditures. The Treasurer shall be elected to a term of three years, commencing with the election of the Treasurer at the annual Congregational meeting in January 2000.
Section E- Financial Secretary
The Financial Secretary shall receive all church offerings, keep a record of all pledges and receipts, make regular deposits of church accounts, transmit the record to the Treasurer, submit an appropriate written report at the annual meeting, and shall be elected at the annual meeting to serve for three years. The Financial Secretary, with the concurrence of the Council, also shall be responsible for implementing, in consultation with the Steward, as well as with such other members of the Church as are appointed by the Church Council, the annual stewardship campaign of the Church and for developing the Church budget for presentation to the Congregation at the Church’s annual meeting. The Financial Secretary shall appoint, with the concurrence of the Church Council, a Memorial Secretary, who shall be responsible for the recording and acknowledgment of all memorial gifts to the Church, and an Assistant Financial Secretary who shall be responsible for aiding the Financial Secretary with receiving all church offerings, keeping a record of and acknowledging all pledges of financial support to the Church, making regular deposits into Church accounts, transmitting a record thereof to the Treasurer, and submitting the appropriate written report to the congregation at its annual meeting.
Section F- Benevolence Treasurer
The Benevolence Treasurer shall be appointed by the Church Council for a term of three years and shall be an ex-officio member of the Missions Ministry Group.
Section G- Auditor
The Auditor shall audit the accounts of the church and present a report to the church at the annual meeting and shall be elected at the annual meeting to serve for one year.
Section H- Superintendent(s) of Church School
The Superintendent(s) of the Church School shall direct the school and shall conduct its affairs upon such plans and with such methods as may be approved by the Education and Evangelism Ministry Group of which the Superintendent(s) shall be a member(s).
Section I- Steward
The Steward shall be the chair of Trustees and as such shall be responsible for the communication and coordination of the Trustees’ activities with the Church Council and the Congregation. In addition, the Steward shall consult with the Financial Secretary in developing and implementing the annual stewardship campaign of the church and developing the church’s budget.
Section K- Church Council
MEMBERS AND TERMS: The Church Council shall consist of nine elected members. The members shall be the Clerk, Treasurer, Steward, Financial Secretary, Member at Large, and the Chairs of the Public Worship, Education and Evangelism, Mission, and Community Ministry Groups. Members shall serve three-year terms and, with the exception of the Clerk and Treasurer, shall be eligible to serve no more than two consecutive terms without a break in service of at least one year. The minister shall be an ex-officio member, but shall not be entitled to vote in any Council action and may be excluded from any Executive Session of the Council by majority vote of the Council. The Council may also have members emeritus who shall also be non-voting members and shall be selected by the Council. Emeritus members shall serve at the discretion of the Council and may be excluded from any Executive Session of the Council by majority vote of the Council. Vacancies on the Council shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Council electing a replacement member to fill the specific vacancy for the remainder of that position’s term. The Chair of the Council shall be the Member at Large.
ELECTION: Members of the Council shall be elected to three year terms, with three members to be elected at each annual meeting of the congregation. Members may serve no more than two consecutive terms, without a break in service of at least one year, except for the Clerk and Treasurer who may serve consecutive terms without any break in service. When vacancies are filled, the person elected shall complete the term for that position on the Council before commencing a new three-year term. Each member shall be a member of the Congregation and shall be nominated by either the Nominating Committee or from the floor of the Annual Meeting, or a meeting called for that purpose. There shall be a vote taken for each position on the Council, with the person receiving the highest number of votes from the Congregation for that position being elected to that position.
DUTIES: The Church Council shall serve at the direction of the Congregation. The Council members may act through vote of a majority of those present at any duly called meeting where a quorum is present, a quorum consisting of five members or more. The Council, among other things, shall be responsible for the long-range vision of the Church, and establishing and promoting the propagation of our Church’s mission in concert with the wishes of the Congregation. The Council shall oversee and coordinate the ministries and activities of the Church, specifically including the Ministry Groups whose chairs are members of the Council and the Trustees. It shall do so through regular meetings, which shall be open to members of the Congregation unless the Council is in Executive Session by a majority vote if its members. At its meetings, the Council will set the policies and direction of the Church between meetings of the Congregation, the Council shall empower the Ministry Groups, Trustees, and committees of the Church to handle their specific duties consistent with the policies and directions set by the Congregation and the Council, and shall, whenever possible, delegate the specific decision making and operation of the Ministry Groups, Trustees, and committees to the groups themselves, who shall report to the Council. The Council shall also, at its first meeting each year, appoint a Nominating Committee, which committee shall be responsible for nominations for election of the Church officers, as well as members of the Council, the Church Ministry Groups and the Trustees at the next Congregational Meeting called for that purpose. The Nominating Committee shall consist of five members, three or more of which shall not be members of the Council. The Council may also appoint such other committees or subcommittees or may delegate duties to any ministry group, as it may deem necessary to fulfill its duties and to meet the needs of the Congregation and the Church. Any such appointment or delegation of duties must be made on an annual basis. To the extent that any officer, Ministry Group, Trustee or committee of the Church pursues a policy or course of action that conflicts with a stated policy of the Council, the Council shall attempt to meet with and discuss the conflict with the group or officer. If their differences are not resolved to the satisfaction of both, then such issue shall be presented at the next Congregational meeting for direction from the Congregation.
The Church Council shall provide for Lord’s Supper and aid in its administration. Whenever possible, the Lord’s Supper shall be served by two members of the Council and two members of the Congregation. It is the intention of the By-Laws to encourage the leaders and members of the Church to serve one another in Christ’s name.
The Council shall be responsible for the approval and administration of all contracts of the Church. The Council shall be responsible for filling the pulpit and for the overall ministry of the Church. The Council shall be responsible for preparing and submitting to the Congregation the Church’s budget each year, and for administering the budget enacted by the Congregation. Through the Church Steward, who shall be the chair of the Trustees of the Church, the Council shall oversee the assets of the Church, including the buildings and capital of the Church.
Section K- Church Ministry Groups
MEMBERS AND ELECTION: The four permanent Ministry Groups of the Church shall be those set forth below, together with any ad hoc committees established by the Congregation or Council, as they deem necessary. Each group shall have five members, including its Chair, who shall be a member of the Church Council. The group members shall be elected to three-year terms by the Congregation, with the terms to be staggered such that no more than two members are elected to three-year terms at any given annual meeting. Electing a new member for the remainder of the unexpired term shall fill vacancies. Recognizing that the Lord’s work requires many hands, each group shall be encouraged, where possible, to involve members of the Congregation to carry out specific tasks under the direction of, or in coordination with, a member of the Ministry Group. The responsibilities of each group, through meetings to be held at least ten times per year, are set forth below:
Education and Evangelism: The purpose of this Ministry Group is to make known the word of God. The members are responsible for developing specific programs for proclaiming and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes the Sunday school program, as well as youth and adult education and programs. The group shall also work with the other Ministry Groups to make sure that the Church’s teaching and evangelistic callings are considered in all that we do as a Church.
Public Worship: The purpose of this Ministry Group is to assist the minister in creating an experiences that will explore and expand the Congregations relationship with God and Jesus Christ. This Group is responsible for developing specific programs that enrich the weekly worship service, including but not limited to the music program, the sacramental ministry, and the dressing and supplying of the sanctuary (the altar clothes, candles, etc.). The Group is also responsible for providing feedback and support to the staff (ministers, organist, choir director, etc.) regarding the conduct of the worship service.
Missions: The purpose of this Ministry Group is to empower and enable individual members and the church as a body to recognize that as Christians we are sent forth into the world. This Group is responsible for developing specific programs that enable the church and its members to put the Christians Faith into action, by acts of service, justice, love and peace. It is to work with the Church’s Evangelism and Education, Public Worship, and Community Ministries, whenever and wherever possible.
Community: The purpose of this Ministry Group is to assure that the Church is an active and vital Christian presence supporting the community. This Group is responsible for developing programs that strengthen the connection between the Church and the community through fellowship groups serving all ages, seminars, suppers, and fairs open to the community. It is also responsible for working with the minister to promote the caring and concerns of the Church. This Group shall work closely with the Ministry Groups to make sure that the church is always reaching out to support and care for the community wherever and whenever possible.
Section L – Trustees
The Trustees shall consist of five members, including the Church Steward, who shall be the Chair of the Trustees. The Trustees shall be elected to three-year terms by the Congregation, with the terms to be staggered such that no more than two members are elected to three-year terms at any given annual meeting. Vacancies shall be filled by electing a new member for the remainder of the unexpired term. The Trustees are responsible for the maintenance, propagation and use of the building and capital of the Church. They shall oversee the investment of the Church’s funds consistent with the policies and direction of the Congregation and the Church Council. They shall also act to maintain, repair, and replace the buildings of the Church, and shall oversee any other assets of the Church that are not part of the operating budget. Through the Church Steward, they shall report to, and work with, the Church Council and the Congregation to accomplish the goals and policies of the Church as they relate to the Church’s assets.
Section M – Church Historian
The Church Historian shall be elected for a one year term at each annual meeting and shall keep a permanent record of all historical church memorabilia, church news, worship bulletins, copies of annual reports, and newspaper clippings about the Church and pastors; and shall keep files of all pastoral memorabilia of their terms of service. These materials shall be kept in safe-keeping in accordance with their historical importance and nothing shall be discarded without consent of a special or regular church meeting authorizing the removing and/or discarding of any materials.
Section N – The Pastoral Search Committee
When a Pastoral vacancy occurs, the Church Council shall present to the Congregation, at a meeting called especially for that purpose, a slate of nominees consisting of a representative from each of the Ministry Groups of the Church and Board of Trustees, and at least three members at large from other groups or constituencies within the Church. Alternates may be elected, as the Congregation deems necessary. All members of the Committee shall be active Church members. Upon its election, the Search Committee shall elect its own chairman (men) and Secretary. It shall meet regularly for the purpose of locating the most suitable candidate for the Ministry of the Church and presenting said candidate to the Congregation for examination and approval. The Guidelines established by the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ that are applicable at the time shall be closely adhered to by the Search Committee in determining its procedures.
Article 7. Meetings
Section A – Worship
Public worship shall be held, statedly, on the Lord’s Day and on such other occasions as the Church or the Public Worship Ministry Group shall determine. The Lord’s Supper shall be administered on the first Lord’s Day of every month and at such times as the Pastor and the Public Worship Group may determine.
Section B – Business Meetings
The Annual meeting of the church shall be held in January at such date as the Church Council shall determine, for the election of officers for the ensuing year; receiving written reports and hearing early reports of officers, organizations and departments, and to transact business and adopt new plans for the new year. The fiscal year of the church will run from January 1st to December 31st. Special meetings of the Church may be called by the Pastor or by the Clerk on the request of the Church Council, or on the written request of any fifteen members, specifying the object thereof. Such notice shall be read at the public service preceding the day fixed for the meeting. For action which involves property interests, the notice shall be given two successive Sundays. A Quorum at any meeting of the church shall consist of twenty-one voting members. A majority vote of the members present and voting shall be decisive. The Calling of a Pastor shall require a majority vote of all members present at a meeting especially called for this purpose. At any regular meeting for worship, the church may, without special notice, act upon the reception of members, and upon the appointment of delegates to councils and conferences of the church, but not upon other business. The Pastor may, and shall when requested by the Church Council, call from the pulpit special business meetings, the particular object of the meeting being clearly stated in the notice.
Article 8. Organizations
This church regards as integral parts of itself all organizations formed for the development of any part of its life and work. Of all such organizations the church shall expect a report at the annual meeting.
Article 9. Amendments
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at any annual meeting of the church, or at a meeting especially called for that purpose, the proposed amendments being stated in the call. No change shall be made in Articles 1, 2, 3, and 4 except at the annual meeting, said proposed change having been laid before the church in writing at a business meeting not less than one month before the annual meeting and read from the pulpit on the Sunday next succeeding such proposal.
Constitution adopted January 1954
First Revision January 1962
Second Revision January 1972
Third Revision January 1975
Fourth Revision January 1983
Fifth Revision January 1987
Amended (Article 5) October 1992
Amended (Article 7) October 1994
Amended (Article 6-Section U) January 1997
Sixth Revision January 1999
Amended (Article 6) January 2000