ARTICLE IX: Adoption and Amendments
Section 1. Adoption. This Constitution and By-Laws supersedes any and all previous Constitutions. It shall be considered as adopted, and in immediate effect, if and when it is accepted by a two-thirds majority vote at a meeting called for that purpose. Copies shall have been made available, in writing, and the date and time of the meeting announced at least thirty days prior to the vote (in compliance with the provisions of the previous constitution).
Section 2. Amendments. This Constitution and By-Laws, or any part of it, may be amended by a two thirds majority vote of a quorum at an administrative meeting of the church specially called for the purpose, except that any amendment or revision of the Articles of Faith (Article III) requires a three-fourths majority vote. Any proposed amendment must first be approved by the Deacons, then made available to the membership, in writing, and notification given of the date and time of the meeting, at least two weeks prior to the meeting. A record shall be kept by the Church Clerk of all amendments proposed and the adoption proceedings. Any amendment adopted shall be filed with the State in accordance with the Laws of the State of Maryland.
ARTICLE X: Church Covenant
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another as one body in Christ. We engage by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations. We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating substances; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay. We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
APPENDIX A: Rules of Order
For the conduct of Church administrative meetings, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)
REGULAR ADMINISTRATIVE MEETINGS
I. Usual agenda of a regular administrative meeting.
1. Prayer and meditation.
2. Reading of minutes of previous meeting.
3. Report of Church Treasurer.
Note: A motion “to consider” items 2. and 3. is not necessary. These are regular reports before the church. They are to be read first, then a motion to approve as read, a second, discussion, and a vote on the motion is the proper order.
4. Report(s) of other church officers, if any. These reports are to include reports of any actions assigned to the officer by church motions previously approved.
5. Unfinished business. These are items tabled or postponed from the previous meeting. If a motion was made in the previous meeting, another motion is not needed. The matter is before the church and must be acted upon.
6. Reports of Committees. Reports from committees must give the status of actions required by previous motions approved by the church, until such actions are completed.
7. New Business. It is the privilege of any member in good standing to present any matter which, in that person’s judgment, should come to the attention of the church. However, such procedure is usually unwise unless the member is prepared to make a motion and unless the counsel of the committee or officer responsible for the matter has been sought. a. Consideration of the recommendations of the Deacons. b. Authorization of non-budgeted expenditure of money. c. Consideration of major repairs or replacement of equipment.
8. Granting of letters of dismissal, if any.
II. Items usually considered in a special administrative meeting.
No items of business shall be considered in such meetings except for the one matter for which the meeting is called. The following matters would normally be handled in a special administrative meeting:
1. Call or dismissal of a Pastor.
2. Amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws.
3. Church Discipline.
4. Sale or purchase of Real Estate Property.
5. Approval of a major building program.
III. Procedures to be followed concerning conduct, reports, motions, resolutions, etc.
1. All matters shall be handled in a Christ-like manner. If, at any time, in the judgment of the moderator, the tone and spirit of the meeting becomes critical, divisive, or breeds strife, then the moderator shall dismiss the meeting and the matter be referred to prayer.
2. A matter may not be discussed until a motion has been made and seconded.
3. If a motion is made by a body, such as a committee or the Deacons, the person seconding it may not be a member of that same body, since this would effectively be seconding one’s own motion.
4. Once a motion has been made and seconded, it must be voted upon unless withdrawn by the one making it and the one seconding it.
5. During the discussion of a motion, a new motion dealing with the same or another subject matter may not be presented. The discussion shall be limited to the motion before the church.
6. To provide opportunity for everyone to participate, each person shall limit his remarks to a maximum of three minutes during discussion. The moderator shall grant the floor to each person who desires to participate in the discussion, in turn, before anyone is permitted to speak the second time. In all cases, only one person shall speak at a time.
7. An amendment to a motion may change neither the meaning nor the purpose of the original motion. It is concerned with method, clarification, time, place, persons, etc. At times an amendment, as proposed, would have the effect of changing the meaning or purpose of the original motion. In such cases, it is the duty of the moderator to rule that the adoption of such an amendment would deny the meaning or purpose of the original motion, and is consequently out of order.
8. If an amendment to a motion is accepted by the original mover and seconder, no vote on the amendment is necessary. When an amendment is accepted, either as stated above or by majority vote, then a vote on the original motion, as amended, following any further discussion, is in order.
9. There are other specific motions which are always in order when a matter is under discussion. These are:
a. A motion to “table” the matter.
b. A motion to commit the matter to a committee.
c. A motion to postpone action.
d. A motion to call for the question.
e. A motion to adjourn.
f. A motion to reconsider.
Note: None of these motions can be made while another member is speaking, or a vote is being taken. While such motions are always in order, it is often unwise to make use of them. Any time one of these specific motions is made and seconded (except for the call for the question, which does not require a second), it shall be voted upon immediately and without debate. If it passes, its intent will take effect immediately and without further discussion. Comments on each type follow:
a. The effect of a motion to “table” a matter is to postpone action. The “tabled” motion will be considered at a subsequent meeting as though it had been made at that meeting.
b. The effect of a motion to “commit to a committee” is to postpone action in the belief that the matter under discussion merits further study. It means that the majority believes that careful study by the smaller group would be profitable to all. The findings and recommendations of the committee shall be presented to the church at a subsequent meeting.
c. The effect of a motion to “postpone action” is the same as to commit to a committee, except that no committee is assigned to study the matter, rather all the membership at large are granted time to gather further information.
d. A “call for the question” is to call for the cessation of discussion, and immediate action on the motion before the church. It should be seldom used in a church body, because the effect of it is to deny opportunity for discussion to some. A call for the question does not require a second. When such a motion is made, the moderator shall say, “Shall the main question be put now?” If the vote is affirmative, the motion must be acted upon by the body without further discussion.
e. The effect of a motion “to adjourn” is to cut off further discussion without an opportunity for a vote, unless there is a condition of time in the motion. If the body decides to adjourn at a given time, it is the duty of the moderator, without another motion, to adjourn when the hour arrives.
f. A motion “to reconsider” has reference to a motion which has formerly been adopted. Such a motion can only be made by a person who voted with the majority when the original motion was passed. If this motion prevails, the original motion is considered to be before the church as though it had never been acted upon.
10. Any member has the right to appeal a ruling of the moderator, although such action should be rare. In the case of an appeal, the moderator shall say, “Shall the appeal be sustained?” If the majority votes not to sustain the appeal, then the ruling of the moderator stands. If the majority votes to sustain the appeal, then the ruling of the moderator does not stand.
11. It is the duty of the moderator to call to order any member, who in any discussion or otherwise, violates any regular rule of order. Moreover, any member has the right to call a “point of order”, if in his judgment the moderator has failed to observe or has wrongly interpreted the rules of order or procedure. In the event the moderator refuses to recognize the point of order raised, then an appeal to his decision may be made as stated in Item 10 above.
IV. Miscellaneous Matters.
1. In stating a motion, or when one is being made or acted upon, the person having the floor shall stand. The moderator shall stand when he has not granted the floor to another.
2. In the event of a tie vote, the moderator may vote, or decline to vote. If he declines, the matter is decided in the negative, since there was not a majority as is required for it to pass.
3. No member may speak on a matter prior to making a motion, unless he is explaining why such a motion should be made. However, it is better to make the motion, get a second to it, and then explain the motion.
4. All motions should be written out and handed to the clerk, so as to have an accurate record of the wording. The written motion should be prepared ahead so that it can be handed in at the time the motion is made.