1. Conditions of Membership:
Membership of the Simi Hills Christadelphian Ecclesia is open to all those who accept the doctrines and precepts of Christ, as amplified in the apostolic writing, and as defined in the annexed “Statement of Faith,” “Doctrines to be Rejected,” and epitome of the “Commandments of Christ,” and who have been baptized (by whomsoever) after their acceptance of those doctrines and precepts.
2. Associate Membership:
Members are either Active or Associate. Associate Members are those who are in good standing but are absent from Ecclesial affairs for whatever reasons. Associate Members living in proximity to another Ecclesia are encouraged to transfer membership unless there is a valid reason acceptable to this Ecclesia. Every effort shall be made to encourage active participation. The Recording Brother shall ensure that the Ecclesial membership list is an accurate statement as determined by resolution of the Ecclesia.
3. Requests for baptism:
All requests for baptism shall be made to the Recording Brother, who shall expeditiously arrange for two dates: (1) a discussion period to determine the applicant’s understanding of God’s word in accordance with Clause 27 and (2) an anticipated baptism. The Recording Brother shall then announce the two dates by the telephone tree and/or at the next Sunday morning meeting. Upon agreement by the appointed brethren that the applicant understands the Gospel, the baptism date/time shall be confirmed by announcement, after which, in the absence of objection, the baptism shall take place. (See Ecclesia Guideline # 1 – Procedure For Baptism).
4. Transfer of Membership:
Upon receiving a request for transfer of membership by a Brother or Sister currently a Member of an Ecclesia in fellowship accompanied by a letter or phone call of recommendation from the prior Ecclesia, the Arranging Brethren shall meet to appoint representatives of this Ecclesia who will meet with the individual(s) requesting transfer for the purpose of informing them about this Ecclesia and answering any questions that may arise. All things satisfactory, the transfer will be announced at the first Sunday morning meeting following. In the absence of objection, the transfer is then effective. Members transferring to another Ecclesia shall notify the Recording Brother who shall announce the transfer at the next Sunday morning meeting, and by the telephone tree. In the absence of objection, a letter or telephone call of commendation shall accompany the transfer.
5. Application for Membership:
Applications outside the purview of Clauses 3 and 4 shall be made through written request to the Recording Brother, who shall:
1. Petition the Arranging Board for a committee, in accordance with Clause 27, to discuss the circumstances and the spirit of Clause 1 with the applicant.
2. Take such other investigative actions as deemed necessary.
3. And make recommendations to the Ecclesia.
Members of the Ecclesia (including associates) are in fellowship with one another and with all who satisfy the conditions of Clause 1. Fellowship is defined for this purpose as those who are welcome at the table of the Lord.
7. Cessation of Fellowship:
If any Brother or Sister depart from any element of Clause 1, or is presently absent without cause from the assembly for the breaking of bread, the Ecclesia may, at a Business Meeting or a special meeting, on the recommendation of a committee previously appointed in accordance with Clause 27, and after full consideration, resolve that the Brother or Sister has terminated the fellowship bond with this Ecclesia and the brethren in Christ.
8. Inter-Ecclesial Relations:
No Brother or Sister, whose fellowship with an Ecclesia in fellowship has ceased, shall be received until the matter has been investigated, in accordance with Clauses 5 and 27, and opportunity given to that Ecclesia to join in the investigation.
If an Ecclesia offers fellowship to a Brother or Sister after performance of Clause 7 by this Ecclesia, a joint investigation shall be arranged and the findings presented to the Ecclesia for acceptance. The two Ecclesias may agree to disagree. However, if the other Ecclesia refuses such an arrangement, it may be grounds for estrangement from that Ecclesia.
No accusations or evil report shall be listened to in public or private unless the Brother of Sister making it shall first have taken all possible steps to fulfill both the spirit and the letter of the principle enunciated in Matthew 18:15-18. Failure to do so shall itself be considered behavior unworthy of a disciple of Christ.
Meetings of the Ecclesia shall be held as follows:
1. On Sunday for memorial worship and exhortation.
2. On one evening in the week for Bible study.
3. On a minimum of two Sundays during the year for business.
4. Especially called for urgent business.
5. Special programs and lectures.
6. Especially called for the needful prayer of many.
7. Socially for fellowship as befits the family of Christ.
12. Order of Sunday Service:
Unless otherwise determined by the Ecclesia, the Presider shall order the Sunday meeting as follows:
5. Hymn (optional)
8. Prayer for the breaking of bread
9. Prayer for the wine
11. Closing prayer
Collection of funds shall be voluntary and unobtrusive. Personal checks are discouraged. A collection box shall be placed on a table near the bulletin board. Location and procedure shall be included in the fraternal announcements. All contributions shall be deposited in the general fund unless otherwise specified for use in special funds approved by the Ecclesia.
The Ecclesia may designate special funds collection for specific projects. A separate account shall be initiated for each special fund and terminated when no longer required. (See Ecclesial Guideline # 7 – Donation Instructions).
14. Order of the other meetings:
All other meetings of the Ecclesia shall be programmed by the Presiding Brother of the week who shall post the order prior to the start of the meeting. A non-Presiding Brother may be appointed by the Presiding Brother to preside and order the mid-week Bible class for experience. Special programs and lectures shall have a presider appointed by the Ecclesia.
15. Scheduled Meetings:
The three business meeting dates shall be the third Sunday in January (Annual Meeting), May, and September, unless valid circumstances requires deviation of no more than two weeks. The meeting dates shall be included on the Ecclesial appointment calendar, announced the previous three Sundays, and attendance encourage by the telephone tree the week prior to the meeting.
16. Order of Business:
The Presiding Brother shall chair the meeting. The Recording Brother shall order the agenda, provide copies to each Member, and take the minutes. The mid-year meetings require verbal reports and a written financial report on all Ecclesial activities since the previous meeting.
The annual meeting shall include:
1. Written reports from all appointed brethren.
2. Financial statement and examination of the books.
3. Confirmation of appointments presented by the Arranging Brothers.
4. Discussion of appointments presented by the Arranging Brothers.
5. Assignment of goals and activities for the New Year.
17. Special Meetings:
A special meeting of the Ecclesia shall be convened by the Recording Brother whenever he deems it necessary or at the request of three brethren. The meeting shall be announced (including the reason for such a meeting) by the telephone tree and at the next Sunday meeting and conducted as soon as possible thereafter. The minutes of the meeting, including circumstances and decisions made, are subject to review and confirmation at the next scheduled business meeting.
Those present shall constitute a quorum provided that the announcement procedure in Clauses 15 and 17 have been followed.
19. Meeting conduct and voting:
The Presiding Brother shall maintain order and recognize speakers. No Member shall be discouraged from speaking, but all discussion should be relevant and succinct. When the presiding Brother determines that the Members have reached an obvious consensus, he may so state, request a solution, and ask for dissent. All dissent shall be heard. Lacking objection, the resolution shall be declared valid. Any Member may call a vote. All voting shall be open unless a request is made for a secret ballot on a specific issue. A majority vote of Active Members present shall decide all business.
All Brothers and Sisters are considered serving their Lord in whatever capacity the Ecclesia calls them. In the appointment of all serving Members, the principles of service put forth by our Lord shall be paramount. The criteria of I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 shall be observed when appointing Arranging Brothers and Ecclesia representatives; the good of the Ecclesia and the harmony of the Brotherhood shall always be before us. All appointments to serve shall be confirmed by the Ecclesia at the next scheduled business meeting.
21. Arranging Brothers:
The Arranging Brothers, subject to the direction and will of the Ecclesia, shall order the business of the Ecclesia and are encouraged to coordinate with each other for the continuity of Ecclesial operation. Eligibility shall be in accordance with Clause 20 plus seven years continuous membership in an Ecclesia, the most recent two of which shall be in this Ecclesial. The time criteria may be halved in specific cases by Ecclesial resolution, (covered in Clause 23.)
22. Selection of Arranging Brothers:
The Ecclesia shall select, prior to November 15th, seven (7) Arranging Brothers including the Ecclesial offices of: Recording Brother, Finance Brother, and Activities Brother. Other offices may be added by Ecclesial resolution as the need becomes apparent. The method of selection shall be by secret ballots. Each Active Member of the Ecclesia is eligible to vote and should make their selection for each office based upon the voluntary initiative, recognized talent and experience of the Brother. All offices are for one year duration commencing January 1 of each year following selection. No Brother shall hold more than one office simultaneously. (See Ecclesial Guideline # 4 – Voting for A.B. Members).
23. Other Serving Members:
All Brothers and Sisters shall be eligible for other service one year after baptism including appointment to office and teaching. Brothers may be called upon to read and pray six months after baptism. All Brothers may exhort one year after baptism or Clause 5. Presiding and lecturing brethren, as well as a Sunday School Superintendent shall be selected in accordance with the same criteria for Arranging Brothers (Clause 21). Visiting speakers should be selected from their home Ecclesial list.
All other serving Brethren shall be appointed by the Arranging Brethren whose duty it is to oversee that function. Appointment shall be for one year. Selection shall be made with the consideration of a balance of voluntary initiative, recognized talent, and experience, keeping the spiritual growth and involvement of the Members and the good of the Ecclesia foremost.
25. Committee Representatives:
The Ecclesia shall appoint by resolution Members to various committees established by the Brotherhood. Discussion of selection in harmony with Clauses 20 and 24 shall precede the resolution. The representative shall be under the guidance of the Arranging Board but shall report directly to the Ecclesia.
26. Removal of Serving Brethren:
Any Brother or Sister may be requested to stand aside from Ecclesial appointments for due cause upon establishment of the facts to the Arranging Brothers. The decision shall be announced by telephone tree and as soon as practical, is subject to confirmation by the Ecclesia after execution of Clause 27.
27. Special Committees:
From time-to-time the need will arise to appoint special committees to investigate and make recommendations to the Ecclesia. The Recording Brother shall petition the Arranging Board when such a committee is needed. The Arranging Board shall appoint three members as follows: two from the Arranging Brothers, and one other Member. They shall select a chairman from among themselves who will coordinate all activities with the Recording Brother, and present the results to the Ecclesia. The various views within the Ecclesia should be considered when appointing a committee and the views of each committee Member shall be heard by the Ecclesia.
28. Property Trustee Committee:
The Finance Brother shall appoint a Property Inventory Accountant and a Properties Brother who, in conjunction with the Finance Brother, shall be accountable to purchase, store, maintain and disburse all Ecclesial property.
29. Sunday School Committee:
The committee shall consist of the Sunday School Superintendent and the teachers and is subject to the direction of the Ecclesia. The Sunday School Superintendent shall be appointed at the Annual (January) Business Meeting by the Ecclesia, and his selection of teachers for the following year shall be confirmed at the scheduled business meeting in May. The Sunday School year is from September to June. The committee shall meet as required to:
1. Determine class divisions based upon class balance, student age and capacity.
2. Agree upon a curriculum to insure continuity, total Bible teaching, and spiritual achievement.
3. Provide social activity, e.g., outings, gatherings, and programs.
4. Discuss and harmonize on teaching methods.
5. Arrange special classes as needed for first principles, new and
extraordinary students and young teens.
30. Alterations and Amendments:
Modification of this Constitution or Ecclesial Guidelines by addition, deletion or amendment shall be made only as follows:
1. A written proposal presented to the Recording Brother, including purpose, justification, and exact modification.
2. Copies disbursed to each Member one week prior to the next scheduled business meeting.
3. Discussion and resolution in accordance with Clause 19.