St. Christina's Parish Constitution
Working Towards a Brighter Future
CONSTITUTION OF ST. CHRISTINA’S PARISH
ARTICLE 1: NAME
The name of this church is St. Christina’s Parish. The Head Office of St. Christina’s Parish will be 11 Huff Ave. Brantford, Ontario, Canada. N3R 2A2
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE
This church exists to glorify God by making disciples of all people, through the means of prayer, evangelism, teaching, fellowship and worship. We opened this church to spread a message of the hope that we all have in Jesus Christ. We are an interdenominational Parish, serving, Evangelical, Non-Denominational, Society of Jesus faiths, forming a new generation of worship geared to today’s ever changing world. We welcome all whether you are married, single or from the LGBT community. We strongly believe all people have the right to worship and follow the teaching of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We strongly feel that this hope is not found in religion or anything that we can see, but only in a personal relationship with Jesus. Our mission at St. Christina’s Parish is to see you CONNECT, GROW, SERVE AND SEND . . .
. CONNECT with God through evangelism/Non-Denominational faith and Sunday services;
. GROW in Christ through Sunday messages and Small faith groups;
. SERVE God and others through our local church and its ministries in our community.
. SEND Our message of hope and love to all those in need.
At St. Christina’s Parish, we believe in Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved.
ARTICLE 3: ORGANIZATION AND INCORPORATION
This church is an independent evangelical and non-denominational, church: The authority of this church derives from the Lord Jesus Christ and is vested in its membership, governed through its appointed officers and according to this constitution.
ARTICLE 4: AFFILIATION AND FELLOWSHIP
This church shall have fellowship with other Bible-believing churches and individuals of like faith.
ARTICLE 5: CONFESSION & STATEMENT OF FAITH
We accept the Apostles Creed. We find this confession to be an aid in controversy, a confirmation in faith, a means of edification in righteousness and a basis for church unity. We acknowledge, however, the inerrant Scriptures to be the supreme authority in all matters of faith, morals and order.
As a summary of our beliefs we teach the following fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.
Section 1 The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired and divinely preserved Word of God, they are inerrant in the original languages, and the complete authority for faith and life, infallible and God-breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Matthew 5:18.)
Section 2 The Godhead
A. We believe there is one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit … a co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Corinthians. 13:14)
B. We believe the Triune God is infinite, it is eternal, and it is unchangeable in His being, His wisdom, His power, His holiness, His justice, His goodness, and His truth; and He is creator of all things. (John 4:24, Luke 24:39, Psalm 90:2, Galatians. 3:6, James 1:17, Isaiah 44:24, Revelations. 9:6, 1 John 3:20, Psalm 147:5, Psalm. 139:7-10, Jerimiah. 23:24)
Section 3 The Person and Work of the Father
A. We believe the Father, who is spirit, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, was active in creation and, along with the Son sustains all creation. He is the first cause and source of all things. (John 6:46, 1 Timothy 6:16, Genesis. 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 8:6)
B. We believe the Father willed and decreed the plan of salvation. By decree, He elects, He calls, He justifies, He forgives, He reconciles, He adopts, glorifies the redeemed. (Matthew 26:39, Romans 8:28-33, Ephesians 1:3-6)
Section 4 The Person and Work of the Son
A. We believe Lord Jesus Christ, is the eternal Son of God, He became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man. (John 1:1-2, 14, Luke 1:3 5)
B. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His life of perfect obedience to the Law, His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, and our justification is made sure by His physical, resurrection from the dead. (Romans. 3:24-25, 1 Peter 2:24, Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter. 1:3-5)
C. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and now sits at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of our representative, our intercessor, and our advocate. (Hebrews 9:24, 7:25, Romans 8:34, 1 John 2:1-2)
Section 5 Work of the Holy Spirit
A. We believe the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11, Ephesians 1:13-14)
B. We believe He is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth; and it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. (John 16:13, 1 John 2:20, 27)
Section 6 Creation, the Fall and the Depravity of Man
We believe God created the heavens and the earth from nothing, by His Word, in seven days. Man was created in the image of God, but in Adam’s sin the race fell, and inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. We also believe Man is totally depraved and totally unable to remedy his lost condition. The created order, declared good by God when He created it, was subjected to the effects of the fall of Man and sin. It awaits redemption in its current imperfect state. (Genesis. 1:26-27, Romans. 3:22-23, 5:12)
Section 7 Salvation
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by His grace alone and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. (Ephesians 2:8-10, Ephesians 1:7, John 1:12, 1 Peter 1:18-19)
Section 8 The Assurance of Believers
A. We believe that all who are redeemed, once saved, are preserved by God’s power and are in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30, Romans 8:1, 38-39, 1 Peter 1:5)
B. We believe it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word. This privilege is contingent upon a continuing walk in the Spirit, without which such assurance is presumptuous. (Romans 13:13- 14, Galatians. 5:13, Titus 2:11-15, Hebrews. 11:14-4:1, Hebrews. 10:22-29)
Section 9 The Nature of the Believer
We believe that every saved person possesses power to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear the fruit to the glory of the Father through their indwelling Holy Spirit. (Romans. 6:13, 8:12-13, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 5:16-25, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:14-16, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 3:5-9, 1:8-10)
Section 10 The Church
A. We believe the Church, which is the body and espoused Bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all the saved. (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27, 1 Corinthians 11:12)
B. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28-32, 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-11)
Section 11 Ordinances
We believe and affirm there are two church ordinances: water baptism for believers and the Lord’s Supper. It is these are acts of obedience that are of great benefit to individual believers and to the body as a whole. However, we acknowledge they are not to be regarded as a means of salvation or as inherently containing grace. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, 1 Corinthians 1:14, Acts 8:35-37, 10:47-48, Acts 8:12)
Section 12 Missions
We believe it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of the Holy Scripture and to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind. (Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8, 2, Cor. 5:19-20)
Section 13 Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of The Fall of Man; Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and he, and the fallen angels and unsaved mankind will be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7, Isaiah 14:12-17, Matthew. 4:2-11, 25:41, Revelation 20:10)
Section 14 The Second Advent of Christ
Our core belief is to teach the personal, imminent, coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones as well as His eternal reign with them in the new heavens and new earth. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Rev. 19:11-16, 21:1—4)
Section 15 The Eternal State
We believe all men will be bodily resurrected, the saved will have eternal life, and the unsaved will have judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:46, John 5:28-29, 11:25-26, Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13)
ARTICLE 6: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 The Purpose of Membership
We believe the New Testament presents a picture of individuals who, once committed to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, will identify themselves with and commit themselves to a particular local body. In order to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as outlined in Article 2, this church recognizes the need for formal membership. We also recognize that the body of Christ includes every regenerated believer, whether a member of this church or not, all will be welcome.
Section 2 Qualifications for Membership
We believe any person who desires to unite with this church shall be 16 years of age or older, shall express personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and shall give clear evidence of having been born again and demonstrate a sincere desire to live a godly, exemplary, and obedient Christian life. One of the ways such faith is often expressed is by having been baptized as a believer.
Section 3 Procedure for Receiving Members
Requests for membership shall be made to any administrative member of the church or the pastor. Upon making such a request, the person shall be given a copy of this Constitution and any other materials deemed appropriate by the administrative member or pastor. The pastor shall meet with the applicant following review of the material, answer any questions, and listen to the person’s testimony. Upon a successful interview and unanimous approval by administrative member and pastor, the applicant shall be accepted into membership.
Section 4 Termination of Membership
A. By death.
B. By erasure, occurring either as a result of the member requesting that his or her membership be cancelled or as a result of a determination by the Elders in response to repeated or prolonged absence and subsequent inquiry by the Elders to determine the cause of such absence.
C. By church discipline. (See Article 7)
ARTICLE 7: CHURCH DISCIPLINE
The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Cor. 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Tim. 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Gal. 6:1). Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the administrative member or pastor, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.
Before such dismissal:
A. It shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn or correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration;
B. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then the warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two other individuals, who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent;
C. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then it shall be brought to the attention of the administrative member or pastor. If the administrative member or pastor determine after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Timothy 5:19 and Titus 3:10, that there is corroborating evidence the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the administrative member or pastor shall inform the church at a regular service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regular service;
D. If the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church at a regular service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the administrative member or pastor, then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.
Because of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, we the people of St. Christina’s Parish will not pursue legal action or sue the administrative member or pastor, or church staff in connection with the performance of their official duties.
ARTICLE 8: GOVERNMENT
Section 1 Fiscal Year and Congregational Meetings
The fiscal year of this church shall be from January 1 to December 31. There shall be an annual business meeting of the church. Other meetings may be called at the discretion of the administrative member. All business meetings must be announced at the morning worship service prior to the business meeting or all resident members must be duly notified. If a vote is taken, a secret ballot vote may be requested in any business meeting by any member. Any member shall vote by absentee ballot with a written and signed request.
Section 2 Regular Business of the Church
The regular business of the church shall be conducted by the administrative member or pastor in accordance with Article 8 of this Constitution. The administrative member or pastor shall be the official representatives to act for the church in all legal business transactions.
ARTICLE 9: DISSOLUTION
No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, officer of the corporation or any private individual and no donor, member, or officer of the corporation or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the corporation assets. Upon dissolution any assets of the corporation shall be conveyed as determined by a congregational meeting, provided said conveyance complies Canada Revenue Agency Guidelines
ARTICLE 10: ORDINATION
It shall lie within the province of this church to ordain to the Gospel ministry such men as have a desire, can give a satisfactory account as to their conversion, call to the ministry, and preparation for the same. Examination of the applicant as to these matters shall be in a public meeting and shall be conducted by the administrative member or by a duly selected and qualified group of church members assembled for this purpose.
ARTICLE 11: AMENDMENTS
This Constitution shall not be changed at any time in the future by any amendment to any article or provision of this Constitution wherein it provides for the complete autonomy and self-government of this church; but this Constitution may be otherwise amended by the action of the membership assembled in congregational meetings to add future Elders, Deacons or Administration members. Such changes must go before membership where a three fourths vote must carry such changes.
Any proposed amendment must be publicized to the congregation at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting at which action is taken.
Amendments to the Constitution shall require a three-fourths majority vote of members present at a congregational business meeting.