CONSTITUTION OF THE WATSONTOWN BAPTIST CHURCH (Founded 1840)
We, the members of the Watsontown Baptist Church, in accordance with the teaching of the Apostle Paul and the Holy Bible that “all things be done properly and in a good and orderly way”, do establish and adopt this Church Constitution and By Laws for the proper administration and management of our church life and organization.
ARTICLE 1. Name
The name of this Corporation shall be the Watsontown Baptist Church of Watsontown, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Incorporated in 1876.
ARTICLE 2. Mission Statement
The mission of this Church shall be the advancement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We will seek to attain this end through the proclamation of God’s word in worship, personal evangelism, consistent Christian living, missionary endeavor, and Christian education.
ARTICLE 3. Denominational Affiliations
It is the purpose of this church to cooperate with the organized work of the following: the Northumberland Baptist Association, The American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware and the American Baptist Churches of the U.S.A. for the purpose of mutual help, wider fellowship and greater efficiency in carrying out Christ’s mission.
ARTICLE 4. Meetings
Section 1) WORSHIP SERVICES Public services shall be held each Lord’s Day, and the fellowship groups and the Sunday School shall hold weekly meetings. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at the discretion of the Diaconate Board. Other religious meetings may be appointed by the Pastor or Diaconate Board at their discretion.
Section 2) CHURCH MEETINGS The Annual Business Meeting shall be held in January for the purpose of receiving the annual reports of officers, boards and committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations; the transaction of necessary business; and the discussion of issues vital to the life and witness of the church.A quorum for the transaction of business shall be twenty.
Special meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor, Chairperson of the Diaconate or Church Clerk. Notice of such meeting, and the purpose for which it is called shall be given from the pulpit and put in writing in the bulletin at least two weeks in advance of the date of the meeting.
(At any of the regular meetings of worship, however, the church may without notice, act upon the reception of members, upon the transfer of members to other churches, and upon the appointment of delegates to councils; but not upon extraordinary business.)
Section 3) ORDER OF BUSINESS The order of business for the Annual Meeting shall be conducted by the Pastor, or in his/her absence, the chairperson of the Diaconate shall preside. All meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer. The order of procedure in the business meeting shall be as follows:
- a) Devotions
- b) Minutes of Previous meeting
- c) Treasurer’s Report
- d) Report of Committees
- e) Unfinished Business
- f) New Business
- g) Adjournment & Prayer
Section 4) ORGANIZATIONAL BUSINESS MEETING An organizational business meeting will be held before the last Sunday of each year for the purpose of electing officers and voting on the proposed annual budget. Copies of the proposed budget and the slate of officers shall be made available to the congregation at least 2 weeks in advance of the meeting.
Section 5) CHURCH YEAR The fiscal year of the church shall be January 1-December 31.
ARTICLE 5. Membership
Section 1) ADMISSION OF MEMBERS Persons may be received into membership by any of the following methods, subject in each case to the recommendation of the Diaconate and the vote of the church:
- a) By Baptism. Any person who confesses Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and who is in essential agreement with the doctrine and practice of this church may be received into fellowship of the congregation following their baptism by immersion.
- b) By Letter. A person who is in substantial accord with the doctrine and practice of this church may be received by letter of recommendation from any other Baptist Church.
- c) By Experience. A believer of worthy character who has formerly been a member of a Baptist Church and who, for a sufficient reason cannot present a letter from that church but who is in substantial accord with the faith and practice of this church may be received upon statement of his/her Christian experience.
- d) By Restoration. Any person who has lost their membership for any reason may be restored to membership upon recommendation of the Diaconate and vote of the church.
- e) Associate Membership. Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ, and holding membership in any evangelical church, may be received into this church as an associate member. They shall have all the rights and privileges of other members in the conduct and fellowship of the church, except as follows:
1) Members so received shall not vote on any measure affecting the disposition of the church property or its alienation from the denomination; but they shall have the right to vote on building propositions, enlargements, repairs etc.
2) Members so received shall not vote on any measure whose operation would affect the integrity of the church in its denominational affiliations, or void the Baptist method of receiving members on confession of faith.
Section 2) Dismissal of Members : Persons may be removed, transferred, or dismissed from membership by any of the following:
- a) By Death.
- b) By Letter. Any member in good standing may receive a letter of transfer and recommendation to any other Christian church by vote of the Diaconate. If the request for a letter of transfer is for an Associate Member, the letter to the church will include a statement indicating that the requesting member has not been immersed.
- c) By Exclusion. Should any person become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of un-Christian conduct, or by persistent breach of their covenant vows, the church may terminate their membership after due notice and a hearing by the Diaconate.Faithful attempts shall be made by the Diaconate and congregation to bring about repentance and restoration of such a person.
- d) By the Inactive List of Erasure. The Diaconate (either a sub-committee or the entire Board) shall prepare for themselves annually a listing of names of members who have failed for a period of one year to attend worship services, be involved or participate in the work and activities of the church, communicate with the church, or contribute to the support of the church due to lack of interest or without valid reasons.
If, after attempting to communicate with a person on this list and remind him/her of his/her membership commitment and responsibilities, the Board concludes that this person cannot/will not be reactivated, the Board may transfer his/her name to an Inactive List. Such action, if taken, will be reported to the Church Clerk immediately for his/her records, and to the congregation in the Annual Report.
Persons whose names are on the Inactive List are not eligible to have voice or vote in church business meetings or affairs; nor are they eligible to hold an elected office in the church. If, after another year, a person on this list does not renew his/her membership commitment and become active once again, he/she may have his/her name erased from the church rolls entirely. The Pastor and Diaconate Board will work together to make the appropriate determination in these matters, and will report whatever action is taken to the Church Clerk immediately for his/her records, and to the congregation in the Annual Report.
Any person on the Inactive List or whose name has been erased who wishes to renew his/her membership commitment and responsibilities can make this desire known (orally or in writing) to the Pastor or a member of the Diaconate. The Pastor and Diaconate shall take appropriate action regarding this person’s restoration to active membership, and shall report all positive action to the Church Clerk immediately for his/her records, and to the congregation in the Annual Report.