THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE
FAITH AND PRACTICE
CLINTONDALE FRIENDS CHRISTIAN CHURCH
302 Crescent Avenue
P.O. Box 105
Clintondale, New York 12515
Approved April 19, 1996
Revised December 3, 2000;
November 10, 2002; October 17, 2003;
April 15, 2005 and December 3, 2006
Friends have been worshiping in Clintondale since 1790. We recognize and appreciate the heritage we have had since our church was organized as a Friends worship group in 1801.
In 1995 our congregation launched on a new journey, becoming an independent Friends church. We incorporated as a Friends meeting under the New York Religious Corporation Law, changing very little in our faith and practice that had come to us through our association with the Religious Society of Friends.
In 2000 we revised our By-Laws to reflect a new, more biblical organizational structure. And in 2002 we decided to adopt a “doing business as” name for our congregation: Clintondale Friends Christian Church.
Ever mindful of the rich heritage we have in Friends, and the ways in which our Friends faith and practice have influenced who we are and how we worship and do ministry, we feel the need to restate the “faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) We are on a journey of faith, and this is our latest - but probably not our last - declaration of faith and practice. May it be useful in helping us on our journey, and may we be found faithful along the way.
SECTION ONE: FAITH
STATEMENT OF FAITH
CLINTONDALE FRIENDS CHRISTIAN CHURCH
1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired and only infallible, authoritative Word of God. (II Tim. 3:16,17)
2. We believe in the triune Godhead as eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (II Cor. 13:14)
3. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious death and atonement through His shed Blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His present priestly ministry. (I Tim. 3:16; Rom. 3:25,26)
4. We believe in evangelistic and missionary fervor and endeavor. (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15-18)
5. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. We further believe in the keeping power of God. ( Heb. 9:22; Jude 24,25)
6. We believe that sanctification, holiness and the overcoming life is God’s design for the Church, which is the Bride of Christ. (Eph. 5:25-27)
7. We believe that sexual purity is a necessary expression for all of God’s children and requires abstinence from adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, or other sexual relationships or practices forbidden by Scripture. (Heb. 13:4; I Cor. 6:18; Lev. 18:1-30)
8. We believe that marriage is the uniting of one man at birth1 and one woman at birth1 in covenant commitment for a lifetime and is a sacred institution established by God. (Matt. 19:4-6)
9. We believe that since mankind is created in God’s image, human life is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, from conception to the grave. (Gen. 1:27; Psalm 139:13,14)
10. We believe that water baptism is for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, bearing witness to the Gospel of Christ's death, burial and resurrection and sealing one's commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4)
11. We believe that Communion, when shared by believers, witnesses to the saving power of the Gospel, to Christ’s presence in His Church, and looks forward to His victorious return. (I Cor. 11:23-26)
12. We believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost and in the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit as evidenced in charismatic gifts and ministries, and in the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6; Eph. 4:11; I Cor. 12:8-11; Gal. 5:22,23)
13. We believe that divine healing is obtained on the basis of the Atonement.2 (I Pet. 2:24; Matt. 8:17)
14. We believe in Christ’s imminent personal return in power and great glory, and in His present and everlasting dominion. (Acts 1:8; Rev. 1:7; Dan. 7:14)
15. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of eternal punishment. (Jn. 5:28,29; Rev. 20:15)
© 2002 Elim Fellowship. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.
1 The words at birth are our addition to Elim’s Faith Statement, recognizing the increasing inclination of some to seek a sex change. We believe that marriage is between a man who was born a man and a woman who was born a woman.
2 Atonement: The process of reconciliation with God, i.e., the Cross of Jesus Christ.
SECTION TWO: PRACTICE
CLINTONDALE FRIENDS CHRISTIAN CHURCH
CLINTONDALE, NEW YORK
Article I NAME
A. The legal name of this organization shall be the Clintondale Friends Church of the Religious Society of Friends, Incorporated.
B. The name by which this church shall be commonly called shall be Clintondale Friends Christian Church.
Article II PURPOSE
The purpose of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church is manifold. It exists for
• the worship of God,
• the fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ,
• the teaching and equipping of believers for the work of ministry,
• the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person, and
• acts of service in the name of Jesus Christ.
Article III HERITAGE
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church acknowledges its debt to the Religious Society of Friends and shall continue to honor that heritage. We remember the words of Jesus, "I have called you friends." (John 15:15)
Article IV AFFILIATION
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church is unaffiliated with any denomination or sect.
Article V STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church acknowledges as the basis of its faith and fellowship the Statement of Faith of Elim Fellowship.
Article VI AUTHORITY
A. All authority in Clintondale Friends Christian Church resides in its Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We shall ever seek to listen to and obey God as disclosed in Jesus.
B. The written authority for the Clintondale Friends Christian Church is the Bible in its entirety, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is to be read through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in the light of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
C. Delegation of authority.
1. God delegates authority in the church. The final human authority in the Clintondale Friends Christian Church resides in its membership.
2. The Clintondale Friends Christian Church delegates its authority to its elders, officers, and pastors for the accomplishment of the purposes mentioned above.
3. Although all members and attenders are welcome at the meetings of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church, only Active Members will have the privilege and responsibility of making decisions at such meetings.
D. The Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall have authority to hold property and other assets.
E. The Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall have authority to engage such staff as needed for the accomplishment of the purposes mentioned above.
Article VII ORGANIZATION
Membership carries a responsibility, indicating a commitment to this church and to its programs and activities, recognizing that the Clintondale Friends Christian Church is a local expression of the universal Church of Jesus Christ. Such membership is to be taken seriously.
Members are those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who endeavor to be faithful in keeping his commands, and who support the Clintondale Friends Christian Church through their time, talents and financial resources.
Any member who is under the discipline of the Board of Elders may be dismissed from the fellowship only after proper procedures of biblical discipline have been followed (see Matthew 18:15-17.) Being under discipline means being in persistent violation of Christian faith and practice that is harmful to the body of the church. Such discipline is designed to bring reconciliation and restore the member to full, active participation.
B. Elder Board
1. The Clintondale Friends Christian Church establishes an Elder Board consisting of men of the congregation who are called by God, qualified according to Scriptural standards and appointed as elders by the membership of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church.
2. The process of appointment is as follows:
a. Nominees must be active members of the church. Nominations will be brought to the congregation by the Elder Board two weeks prior to a congregational meeting. The membership will be encouraged to pray about the nominations and speak to the Elders prior to the congregational meeting.
b. The congregation will have the opportunity to accept or reject the nomination, but will not have the opportunity to nominate others from the floor.
c. The membership shall receive a ballot upon which a positive or negative choice can be made. Ballots may be accompanied by comments for such choice, and the ballot must be signed. This assures that any reasons for not appointing an elder can be investigated thoroughly by the Elder Board. Such investigation shall be limited only to the person(s) having objections and the Elder Board. Ballots that are not signed are considered void.
d. The Elders will consider the ballots of the meeting and announce the results as soon as possible.
3. The elders shall serve until
a. released by the Spirit of God from such service,
b. they resign from office, or
c. are removed for cause by the membership. Such removal shall follow the guidelines of Matthew 18.
4. The elders are called by God to the position and are recognized as such by the congregation. Such a calling is for life, until a request to be removed is received from an elder, there is a problem that necessitates such removal or until it becomes obvious that the call on the elder’s life has been removed by God. The elders of the church should rotate their active terms of service, thus providing over the course of time a group of “sitting” elders and another group of elders who take time off from official duties.
5. The elders of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church are co-equals in authority and ministry, seeking together for the mind of the Lord in all the affairs of the church. They shall be mutually accountable to each other.
C. Other Appointed Positions
1. The following positions shall be established, and shall only be filled by active members of the church:
a. Deacons. After demonstrating faithfulness and competency in a given area of ministry, an individual may be appointed a deacon to serve in that area. All of the deacons of the church will comprise a Board of Deacons and will meet regularly to coordinate their various ministries. The Board of Deacons as well as individual deacons shall report to the Board of Elders.
b. Presiding Clerk. The Presiding Clerk conducts the quarterly meetings for business, developing an agenda for consideration, and determining the "sense of the meeting" regarding decisions that have been approved. The Presiding Clerk conducts the meetings for business so as to exercise a fruitful, uniting influence in reaching decisions with constant reference to the standard of the witness and teachings of Jesus and the relevance of these for our time. The Presiding Clerk is recognized for legal purposes to be the President of the Corporation.
c. Recording Clerk. The Recording Clerk keeps a faithful record of the proceedings of the meetings for business, and is responsible for drafting and mailing correspondence as approved by the congregation. In carrying out these duties, the Recording Clerk works closely with the Presiding Clerk, clearing drafts of the minutes before they are presented for the approval of the church, securing approval of the Presiding Clerk and signatures, when required, for correspondence. The Recording Clerk is recognized for legal purposes to be the Secretary of the Corporation.
d. Treasurer. The Treasurer receives and disburses funds as directed by the church, maintains regular accounts of the monies received and paid out, and makes regular reports to the Elder Board as well as quarterly and annual reports to the congregation. The Treasurer is available to offer annual reports to members of their contributions to the church. The Treasurer is recognized for legal purposes to be the chief financial officer of the Corporation.
D. Process of appointment is as follows:
1. The Elder Board will act as a nominating committee. The Elders will review regularly the appointments already made and will seek persons to serve when openings arise. After active discussion with possible appointees, the names will be brought to the congregation for approval.
2. Appointments will generally be for a one year period, but may be continued from one year to the next if agreeable to all concerned.
3.. Dismissal. Those in other appointed positions may be dismissed if they become inactive or if they are removed for cause by the membership. Such removal shall follow the guidelines of Matthew 18.
E. The Senior Pastor is accountable first of all to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church and, secondly, to the Clintondale Friends Christian Church through the Elder Board. The senior pastor is to give spiritual leadership to the church and community, particularly through preaching and teaching the Word of God. He serves as an elder of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church.
F. Other positions of responsibility, including staff positions, may be established as deemed necessary by the Clintondale Friends Christian Church.
Article VIII FREQUENCY OF CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS
The Elders and Deacons are responsible and accountable for the operation of the church. This responsibility is delegated to them by the congregation.
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall meet quarterly for the purpose of receiving reports from the Elder Board and others working on behalf of the congregation and for doing such business as is required. It shall have authority to modify its schedule of meetings if necessary.
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall use the calendar year for appointments and budget. At the October meeting the Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall approve any appointments to office and the budget for the coming year. The October meeting shall serve as the annual meeting of the Corporation.
Special called meetings will need two week's notice, except in emergency situations.
Article IX BUSINESS PROCEDURE
If a real religious fellowship grows out of our meetings for worship, it will naturally be carried over into our business meetings and into our social life, so that the whole congregation will be interested in all its members, and be knit together as a body of workers for the cause of Christ. The right conduct of our business meetings even in matters of routine is important to the spiritual life of our congregation, and in so far as we are concerned in promoting the kingdom of God, we may rightly feel that our business is a service for him.
Our church conducts its business meetings with an eye to being led by the Spirit of God in all things. We seek unity, not necessarily unanimity, and that not unity of human opinion, but rather unity in the will and Spirit of God.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and is able to lead us himself. Not just in matters of church discipline but in all of our affairs, where two or three are gathered in his name, there is Christ in the midst. (Matthew 18:20)
We do not vote, but rather seek to arrive at the "sense of the Meeting." That is, the presiding clerk will listen to the various voices in a given business meeting to see if he or she is able to sense where God might be leading us. From time to time in the meeting the clerk will put forward what seems to be God's will, and the members will offer feedback to the clerk's offerings. When all present feel that they have agreement regarding God's will, then it will be minuted and the matter concluded.
If there are individuals present who feel strongly that a matter should not go forward, it can be held up for a time, usually through tabling it to the next meeting. If after several attempts to reach unity, the same individuals feel strongly opposed, they will be asked if they are willing to "stand aside," in order to allow the matter to pass in spite of their reservations. If they refuse to stand aside and the Meeting feels easy to proceed with the decision, such opposition will be minuted (by name, if desired) and the matter can then be approved by the Meeting.
This sometimes rather lengthy process is designed to make sure that we have heard God's will. It is not always the case that the majority is able to hear God better than a lone individual. The most important thing is that we hear God and act on what we hear.
Article X PECUNIARY GAINS OR PROFITS
No part of the net earnings, properties or assets of the Clintondale Friends Christian Church, on dissolution or otherwise, shall inure to the benefit of any private person or individual or any member or officer of this corporation.
Article XI DISSOLUTION OF THE CORPORATION
On dissolution of this corporation, all properties and assets of this corporation remaining
after paying or providing for all debts and obligations shall be distributed and paid over to such fund, foundation or corporation as the membership shall determine, for such purposes as they shall prescribe and with the concurrence of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Article XII CHANGES IN THE BY-LAWS
The Clintondale Friends Christian Church shall have authority to make changes in the By-Laws, with written notice mailed to the membership 30 days prior to the meeting at which time such changes will be considered.
I certify that this is an accurate copy of the revision of THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE containing the FAITH AND PRACTICE of the CLINTONDALE FRIENDS CHRISTIAN CHURCH approved at a congregational meeting held on Sunday, December 3, 2006.
Daniel P. Whitley
Recording Clerk and Secretary of the Corporation.