Having been brought, as we trust, by Divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and having been baptised upon the confession of our faith, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now most solemnly enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
1 We engage, in dependence upon the grace of God which helps our infirmities, to walk together in brotherly love, to exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, to participate in each other’s joys, to endeavour, with tenderness and sympathy, to bear each other’s sorrows, to sanctify the Lord’s Day, to strive for the advancement of our Church in knowledge and holiness, to promote its prosperity and spirituality, to sustain its worship, ordinances, and doctrines;
2 To contribute cheerfully to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the needy, and the spread of the Gospel through all the world, according as the Lord has given us, to avail ourselves of the great privilege for ourselves and for others;
3 To walk circumspectly and watchfully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, to abstain from every appearance of evil;
4 To preserve the good name of this Church by a consistent walk as the Lord shall give us grace, that no reproach shall be brought upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever remembering our relationship to Him as our Saviour and Lord.
“TO SERVE THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD; AND TO WAIT FOR
HIS SON FROM HEAVEN.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
TITHES & OFFERINGS
Having been received into the fellowship of the Church, you will, no doubt, desire to share in the responsibilities as well as the privileges of membership. You are accordingly invited to contribute by way of tithes and offerings, the object of which is to assist in providing for the considerable expenditure incurred in maintaining the Lord’s work.
The gifts of the Lord’s people for this purpose are gratefully received whether their contributions be large or small.
Envelopes are available in the church foyer. Please help yourself. Your monthly contributions may be placed in the offertory bag on any Sunday of the month.
May the Lord guide you as you consider this matter and may the service of giving be the means by which He will bring you much joy and blessing.
“God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7)
Adopted 14th May 1952, with subsequent alterations
and revisions up to 27 February 2001 and 14 October 2007
We, the members of the Mowbray Baptist Church, do ordain and establish the following clauses to which we voluntarily submit ourselves and hereby revoke all previous Constitutions, By-laws and any other rules which may heretofore have been made.
The name of the Church shall be the MOWBRAY BAPTIST CHURCH hereinafter referred to as the Church.
1.1 MEMBERSHIP OF THE BAPTIST UNION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
The Mowbray Baptist Church shall be a constituent member of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, but shall be independent of any control thereof save as is hereinafter provided. It shall remain in membership, unless the church resolve otherwise by a 90% (ninety percent) vote of members present at a properly constituted church meeting.
The purpose for which the Church is established and ordained is:
5 to bear united witness to the faith of its members in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments as the Bible and inspired Word of God;
6 to promulgate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the faith once for all delivered to the saints;
7 to aid in missionary work and in the winning of the lost to the Lord Jesus Christ; and
8 to build up its constituency in the most holy faith.
The Church will carry out its objects in a non-profit manner with an altruistic intent.
3.1 Statement of Doctrine
3.1.1 The Holy Scriptures. We believe that the Bible, composed of the Old and New Testaments in their original writings, is inspired of God, and is of supreme and final authority in faith and life. We believe in the supernatural as the vital element in the revelation and operation of the Christian Faith. (II Tim. 3:16,17; II Peter 1:20,21; Matt.5:18; John 16:12,13).
3.1.2 The Godhead. We believe in one God eternally existing in Three Persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; II Cor. 13:14).
3.1.3 The Person and Work of Christ. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true Man, and is the only Mediator between God and Man.
We believe in the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins, in the resurrection of His body, His ascension into Heaven, and His personal, visible return to the earth; and that salvation is received only through personal faith in His shed blood. (John 1:1, 2, 14; Luke 1:35; Rom. 3:24, 25; 4:25; I Peter 1:3-5).
3.1.4 The Personality of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit and that His ministry is to reveal Christ to men in the regeneration and sanctification of their souls. (Rom.8:9; I Cor.12:12-14; Eph.1:13,14).
3.1.5 The Total Depravity of Man. We believe that man was created in the image of God, but that he sinned and thereby incurred spiritual death. (Gen.1:26, 27; Rom. 3:22, 23; 5:12; Eph.2:12).
3.1.6 The Eternal State. We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; that this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. (Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; II Cor. 5:8; Phil.1:23; II Thes.1:7-9; Jude, verses 6,7; Rev. 20:11-15).
3.1.7 Church Ordinances. We believe that baptism is immersion of a believer in water; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; setting forth the essential facts in redemption—the death and resurrection of Christ, also the essential facts in the experience of the believer—death to sin and resurrection to newness of life.
We believe that the observance of the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of His death until He comes and is to be celebrated at certain intervals; all members should endeavour to attend regularly. (Matt. 28:19, 20; I Cor. 11:23-28).
3.1.8 The Responsibility of Believers. We believe that a New Testament Church is a body of believers thus baptised, associated for worship, service, the spread of the Gospel, and the gathering out of the Church from all the world. (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; II Cor. 6:14; 7:1; Acts 1:8; I Cor. 16:2).
3.1.9 Marriage. We believe that God has ordained the only form of marriage as a heterosexual relationship between a natural man and a natural woman who are lawfully married to each other. (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-24).
3.2 Baptist Principles
In addition to the above Statement of Doctrine, the Church identifies wholeheartedly with the following distinctive Baptist emphases. We believe in:
3.2.1 The Church as a whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The local church, being a manifestation of the universal church, is a community of believers in a particular place where the Word of God is preached and the ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are observed. It is fully autonomous, except in so far as it binds itself through voluntary association.
3.2.2 The Direct Lordship of Christ over every believer and over the local church. By this we understand that Christ exercises His authority over the believer and the local church directly, without delegating it to another.
3.2.3 Believer’s Baptism as an act of obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and a sign of personal repentance, faith and regeneration; it consists of the immersion in water into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3.2.4 The principle of Congregational Church Government, namely, that each member has the privilege and responsibility to use his/her gifts and abilities to participate fully in the life of the church. We recognise that God gifts His Church Overseers, who are called Pastors or Elders, whose primary function is to lead in a spirit of servanthood, to equip the members and to provide spiritual oversight, and Deacons whose primary function is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the church. This principle further recognises that each member should participate in the appointment of the church’s leaders, and that a constituted church meeting, subject to the direct Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture, is the highest court of authority for the local church.
3.2.5 The Priesthood of all Believers, by which we understand that each Christian has direct access to God through Christ our High Priest, and shares with Him in His work of reconciliation. This involves intercession, worship, faithful service and bearing witness to Jesus Christ even to the ends of the earth.
3.2.6 The principle of Religious Liberty, namely, that no individual should be coerced either by the State or by any secular, ecclesiastical or religious group in matters of faith. The right of private conscience is to be respected, for each believer this means the right to interpret the Scriptures responsibly and to act in the light of his conscience.
3.2.7 The principle of Separation of Church and State in that, in the providence of God, the two differ in their respective natures and functions. The Church is not to be identified with the State nor is it, in its faith or practice, to be directed or controlled by the State. The State is responsible for administering justice, ensuring an orderly community, and safeguarding the welfare of its citizens. The Church is responsible for preaching the Gospel and for demonstrating and making known God’s will and care for all mankind.
9 CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
4.1. The membership shall consist of:
4.1.1 Those whose names are on the Church register at the date of adoption of this Constitution and By-laws.
4.1.2 Those who, desiring membership, have given evidence of their personal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed that faith in baptism by immersion and have been accepted by the Church according to Clause 4.2.
4.1.3 Those who have been accepted by letter of transfer to this Church from some other Baptist Church, provided they have been baptised by immersion and have been accepted by the Church according to Clause 4.2.
4.1.4 Those in fellowship with Churches other than Baptist who have been accepted by letter of transfer to this Church provided they have given evidence of their personal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed that faith in baptism by immersion and have been accepted by the Church according to Clause 4.2.
4.1.5 Those not in fellowship with any Church or whose membership has lapsed, desiring membership who have given evidence of their personal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed that faith in baptism by immersion and have been accepted by the Church according to Clause 4.2.
4.1.6 Those who are members of another Baptist Church outside South Africa, but for reasons acceptable to the Church, also desire to be members of this Church and have been accepted by the Church according to Clause 4.2. Such member is deemed an Associate Member, but enjoys the full privileges and responsibilities of membership as any other member.
4.2 Admission of Members:
4.2.1 Baptised believers who wish to apply for membership or associate membership of the Church shall complete the prescribed form, available from the Church Secretary and accept the provisions of this Church Constitution.
4.2.2 Every application for membership shall be dealt with by the Church Council who shall appoint two members of the Church to interview the applicants to ensure that they meet the requirements for membership in Clause 4.1.
4.2.3 The interviewers shall report back to the Church Council who, if satisfied with the report, shall submit the application to a Church Meeting for approval that the person be received into membership of the Church.
4.2.4 Those who freely and voluntarily apply for membership or associate membership do so on the understanding that adherence to all the basic principles set out in the Church’s Statement of Faith, constitutes an inherent requirement for membership with the Mowbray Baptist Church and they consent to the fact that should any member violate such principles he/she may be required by the leadership of the Church either to accept their counsel and discipline or to forfeit his/her membership of the Mowbray Baptist Church.
4.3 Transfer of Members:
4.3.1 Any member in good standing who desires to join another Baptist Church shall be given a letter of transfer upon application by the Church concerned.
4.3.2 Any member in good standing who desires to join a Protestant Church of some persuasion other than the Baptist, shall be given a letter of introduction and commendation upon application by the Church concerned.
4.4 Termination of Membership:
4.4.1 The Council shall review the Church membership rolls annually and if it is felt necessary, they shall remove the names of such members from the Church roll who have not been in fellowship during the year. Such terminations of membership shall occur only after the Council has made a careful investigation into the reasons why a member has failed to fulfil the privileges and responsibilities of church membership.
4.4.2 Termination of membership may also be effected in terms of Clause 6.2.
4.5 Privileges and Responsibilities of Members:
Every member has the privilege and responsibility of:
4.5.1 Supporting the Pastor(s), Elder(s), Deacons and other members in prayer and fellowship.
4.5.2 Attending worship services regularly, partaking in communion services and supporting other meetings of the Church.
4.5.3 Attending all Church Business Meetings.
4.5.4 Actively involving themselves in the life of the Church by using their spiritual gifts and abilities to do everything possible to extend the kingdom of God and build up the Church.
4.5.5 Systematically supporting the Church financially by giving as much as they are able.
10 CHURCH GOVERNMENT
The Church acknowledges Jesus Christ as the supreme head of the Church, and undertakes to manage all its affairs according to New Testament teaching and recognises the sole authority of the Holy Scriptures in all matters of faith and conduct. The government of this Church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is vested in the body of believers who compose it, whose majority vote shall be final.
5.1 The Church shall exist as a legal entity in its own right, separate from its members or office bearers.
5.2 The Church shall continue to exist notwithstanding changes in the composition of its members and office bearers.
11 CHURCH DISCIPLINE
6.1 If any member is absent from the services of the Church for a period of more than six months without good reason known to the Pastor and/or the Council, the Council shall make enquiry into the matter. In the event of such enquiry producing no satisfactory result the name of the member concerned shall be reported to a Business Meeting for action as, after due consideration, the members present may decide.
6.2 In the unhappy event of any allegation of unworthy conduct being brought against a member, the Council shall make enquiry into the matter. If after the enquiry the Council deem such a course necessary they shall present a report to a Church Meeting, by which meeting any further action shall be determined after prayerful consideration.
6.3 In purely personal matters members shall be expected to act in accordance with the Lord’s injunction recorded in Matthew 18:15-17.
12 THE PASTORATE
7.1 The choice and appointment of the Pastor(s) are vested in the membership of the Church. If and when it is necessary to appoint Pastor(s) the procedure shall be as follows:
7.1.1 A Church Business Meeting called for the purpose (see Clause 10) shall appoint not more than seven members to act with the Church Council as a Special Committee whose duty shall be to make the necessary enquiries and to make recommendation to the Church as soon as possible. This Committee shall put before the Church only one name at a time.
7.1.2 The Committee’s recommendation shall be considered at a meeting called for that purpose (see Clause 10) and no invitation shall be sent forward unless at least 75% of the members present when the matter is considered vote in favour. Any invitation shall be contingent upon the prospective Pastor(s) accepting in writing the provisions of the Constitution, copies of which shall be supplied for their perusal.
7.2 Any engagement between the Church and Pastor(s) shall be terminable by three months’ notice by either side, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
7.3 The Pastor/Pastoral couple shall become members of the Church at his/their induction service.
7.4 The Code of Pastoral Ethics of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa shall be accepted and signed by the Pastor(s).
7.5 A Letter of Appointment including the duties of the Pastor(s) and the conditions of service shall be prepared and upon acceptance, be signed by the Pastor(s).
7.6 The Retirement Age of a Pastor shall be upon turning 65 years of age. Thereafter the Church may wish to extend the Pastor’s ministry on an annual basis.
7.7 Pastoral Vacancy: During a pastoral vacancy, the Church may elect a Moderator or Interim Pastor to take over the functions of the pastor. The election shall be by ballot with a 75% majority of eligible members present at a Special Church meeting called for that purpose.
7.8 The Pastor(s) shall be responsible to the Church membership via the Church Council. A Pastoral Committee, consisting of the Elder(s) and Church Secretary, with power to co-opt in special circumstances, shall deal with matters directly affecting the Pastor(s), and conduct an annual appraisal with the Pastor(s) concerning their ministry.
13 CHURCH COUNCIL
8.1. The Pastor(s), Elder(s) and Deacons shall together constitute the Church Council, which shall have the overall responsibility for the execution of the programme of the Church in all its various ministries. Life Deacons may also attend and participate in Church Council Meetings, but do not have a vote, nor are they counted for the purposes of a quorum, as in Clause 8.3.
8.2. The Church Council shall meet at least once a month, if possible.
8.3. Half of the number of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.
8.4. Save in the context of the Church Council, or in terms of specially delegated authority, neither Elders nor Deacons shall as a group have any separate decision making powers. However, the absence of the Pastor(s) and/or Elders from a duly constituted meeting of the Church Council shall not invalidate the decisions made at such a meeting.
8.5. The Council may make appointments for specific purposes and for such periods as the respective meetings may decide.
8.6. Wherever possible every matter of Council business shall be decided by consensus; and if that is not possible, then by the majority of votes cast. The voting shall normally be by show of hands, but by ballot if three members present so request, or if the Chairman so directs.
8.7. The procedure for the election of Elders shall be as follows:
8.7.1 The Church Council shall nominate, by not less than a two-thirds majority vote (excluding any nominee), Church members who in their opinion meet the Biblical qualifications of an Elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
8.7.2 The election of Elders shall be by ballot and normally take place before the appointment of Deacons at the Annual Business Meeting.
8.7.3 In the event of an Elder being elected at a Quarterly Business Meeting, the appointment will be deemed to have been made at the previous Annual Business Meeting.
8.7.4 No Elder shall be elected unless at least 60 percent of the members present vote in favour of the appointment.
8.7.5 Elders shall be elected for three years, but shall be eligible for re-election.
8.8. The procedure for the election of Deacons shall be as follows:
8.8.1 At each Annual Business Meeting the Church shall elect from its membership Deacons who shall have reached the age of twenty-one and have been in membership for not less than 12 months on a basis of two to every 50 members, or part thereof, if desired, with a minimum of six, for a period of two years or such shorter period as circumstances may require. Half the number of the Deacons shall retire at each Annual Business Meeting but shall be eligible for re-election.
8.8.2 Election of the Deacons shall be after nomination, every member being entitled to submit as many nominations as there are vacancies, provided that every such nomination is lodged with the Pastor or the Secretary at least seven days before the date of the election and is signed by the nominator and another member, with the consent of the nominee.
8.8.3 In any event no nominee shall be elected unless chosen by a majority of Church members present.
8.8.4 Vacancies for Deacons which occur in the Church Council shall, where possible, be filled with a minimum of delay by the vote of the Church at any meeting called for that purpose, and then shall serve for the remainder of the period of the Deacons they are replacing.
8.9. The procedure for the election of Life Deacons shall be as follows:
On the unanimous recommendation of the Church Council, supported by a two-thirds majority of members present at a duly constituted Church meeting, the Church may appoint a member who has attained the age of 60, and has served on the Church Council for at least 10, not necessarily consecutive, years as a Life Deacon, providing that the number of Life Deacons holding office as such at any time, shall not exceed two.
8.10. The duties of Pastor(s) and Elder(s)
It shall be the duty of the Pastor(s) and Elder(s) to watch over the spiritual interests of the Church, preach the Word, administer the Ordinances, shepherd the flock, and take charge of the religious services of the Church. By virtue of their office they shall be members of the Church Council and all other Committees, and shall have full voice with the other members of the official Committees of the Church.
8.11. The duties of Deacons
It shall be the duty of the Deacons to direct the administrative affairs of the Church and to assist in the spiritual affairs of the Church; assist the Pastor(s) and/or Elder(s) in the administration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism; co-operate with the Pastor(s) and Elder(s) in conducting the examination of those who seek to unite with the Church on confession of their faith, and exercise discipline where needed.
It shall be their duty to co-operate with the Pastor(s) and Elder(s) in shepherding the membership of the Church, tenderly watching for their souls as they must give account: “striving to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”, healing in so far as it is possible, all differences; giving counsel and comfort to the poor, the sick, and the afflicted; keeping order in the public assemblies of the Church; making provision for the supply of the pulpit in the absence of the Pastor(s) and in the event of his failure to do so; and taking full charge of all services not otherwise conducted by the Pastor(s) or Elder(s).
8.12. Minutes shall be kept of all Church Council meetings and be made available to Council members.
9. CHURCH OFFICE-BEARERS
The Church Office-Bearers shall be the Pastor(s), Elder(s), and the Church Treasurer and Church Secretary. The Church Treasurer and Church Secretary shall be appointed annually by the Church Council, preferably from among their own number at their first meeting after the Annual Church Business Meeting.
10. CHURCH BUSINESS MEETINGS
10.1 An Annual Church Business Meeting shall be called in August. At the Annual Business Meeting a report of the Church’s work and a financial statement for the past year shall be given, Examiner(s) / Auditor(s) to check the various accounts for the ensuing year shall be appointed, and the general election of Deacons and Elders shall take place (Clause 8.7/8).
10.2 Three further Church Business Meetings shall be held in November (quarterly), February (half-yearly) and May (quarterly).
10.3 A Special Business Meeting shall be called:
10.3.1 By the Church Secretary on instructions by the Council
10.3.2 When such a meeting is requested in writing by not less than twelve members, provided that the request states clearly the purpose for which the meeting is desired and is signed by all those concerned in the application. Such Special Business Meetings shall be called within one month of the receipt by the Church Secretary of a valid request.
10.4 Every matter of Church business shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast at a properly called Business Meeting, subject to the following conditions:
10.4.1 That members under the age of eighteen shall not be eligible to vote.
10.4.2 That voting be by a show of hands (except in the case of the election of Deacons and Elders, which shall be by ballot) unless at least six members present request a ballot.
10.4.3 That, if at least one-third of the members present so request, any matter brought forward without notice of motion or in the announcement of the meeting, shall be postponed for consideration at a future meeting.
10.4.4 A quorum for the transaction of business in all Church Meetings shall consist of twenty percent of the voting members, residing in the Cape Peninsula, except in the case of any special meeting called for the purpose of accepting new members. Should there not be a quorum at a Church Business Meeting within half an hour of the time appointed, it shall be adjourned for not more than one month when after due notice of such adjourned meeting has been given at the services on one or more Sundays, those present at the adjourned meeting shall form a quorum and the business shall be binding.
10.5 Attendance at Church Business Meetings may be limited to members only, at the discretion of the Chairman. However, in the event of non-members being present as observers, they may not participate in discussion nor do they have a vote..
10.6 Notice of Business Meetings
10.6.1 Notice of the Annual Meeting, Half-yearly and Quarterly Meetings or a meeting to fill a vacancy or vacancies on the Church Council (Clause 8.8.4) or a meeting to consider any alteration to the Constitution (Clause 15) shall be given at the services on at least two Sundays immediately prior to the proposed date of the meeting in question.
10.6.2 Any other Business Meeting may be called by notice given at the services on the Sunday immediately prior to the proposed date of the meeting in question.
10.7 The senior Pastor shall be Chairman at all Church Business Meetings and Council Meetings unless he is not available or unless he has recused himself. In his absence or inability to act, someone shall be chosen by the Council as Acting Chairman.
10.8 Minutes shall be kept of all Church Business Meetings and be made available to members.
11. CHURCH EMPLOYEES, AND DEPARTMENTAL LEADERS:
11.1 Other appointments may be made by the Council and/or Church members, for specific purposes, at such times and for such periods as the respective meetings may decide.
11.2 All appointments made by ministries and departments connected with the Church, shall be submitted to the Council for confirmation.
11.3 All ministries and departments shall be subject to the Council as a governing body.
11.4 The appointment of all ministry and department leaders shall be reviewed annually by the Council and reported in due course to the Church.
12. CHURCH FINANCE AND PROPERTY
12.1.1 The Church financial year shall end on the 30th June each year.
12.1.2 The Church shall be supported by the voluntary contributions of members and friends of the Church by means of offerings at the services, tithes, gifts, thank offerings and donations, or by any other method decided upon by the members at a Church Business Meeting, provided this is not in conflict with the spirit and teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
12.1.3 The Council on behalf of the Church shall have power to open and operate investments and banking accounts in the name of the Church.. Proper books of account shall be maintained by the treasurer.
12.1.4 The income and property of the Church are not distributable to its members or office bearers except as reasonable compensation for services rendered.
12.1.5 The Council with the authority of the Church shall have power to
1. Borrow money with or without security in such manner as the Church shall think fit and to pass mortgage and notarial bonds for registration with the proper authorities and to make, draw, accept, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, bills of exchange and other negotiable and transferable instruments.
2. Guarantee the performance of contracts by, and to enter into guarantees or suretyships of every description with any person, or group of persons operating as a Fellowship, or any duly constituted church having objects wholly or partly similar to the objects of the Church.
12.1.6 An Honorary Auditor (or Auditors) shall be appointed by the Church annually.
12.1.7 The Church’s accounting records and reports must be ready and handed to the Director of Non-profit Organisations within six months of the financial year end. The Church will submit the returns required by the South African Revenue Service together with the relevant supporting documents.
12.1.8 To comply with the requirements of the South African Revenue Service for Tax Exemption, at least 85% of the Church’s activities, measured either in cost or time spent, will be carried out for the benefit of persons in the Republic.
The Council, subject to a decision of the Church, shall be empowered to acquire by private treaty or public auction, lease or otherwise, any movable or immovable property on behalf of the Church, and to sell, let, mortgage or otherwise deal with or dispose of any movable or immovable property belonging to the Church, as they may deem fit in the interests of the Church.
12.3 Registration of Immovable Property and Church Trustees
All immovable property acquired or hereinafter acquired by the Church shall be the separate property of the Church, but as such property must be registered in the name of Trustees it is hereby declared that the Trustees of the Church shall be the same as the Trustees for the time being of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa and they shall hold the property on behalf of the said Church and deal therewith subject to the provisions of 12.2 – Property as the said Church may direct in terms of 12.4 – Transfer or Mortgage of Immovable Property hereunder. The said Trustees shall therefore be designated in the title Deeds of any Church property as follows: “The Trustees for the time being of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa and as such the Trustees of the said Mowbray Baptist Church”.
12.3.1 All property which the Church may acquire whether movable or immovable shall be held and administered solely for the furtherance of its objects and the propagation of its principles.
12.3.2 The members or Office Bearers of the Church shall have no rights in the property or other assets of the Church solely by virtue of their being members and Office Bearers.
12.4 Transfer or Mortgage of Immovable Property
Any purchase or lease of immovable property on behalf of the Church shall be effected upon the authority of a resolution of the Church passed at a Special General Meeting.
Any sale, donation, exchange, or mortgage, or other alienation or encumbrance of the whole or any part of the immovable property of the Church shall be effected upon the authority of a resolution passed at a Special General Meeting of the Church provided further that the consent in writing of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, this consent not being unreasonably withheld by the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, to such sale, donation, exchange, mortgage or other alienation or encumbrance, shall be obtained before the said resolution of the Special Church Meeting shall come into operation or be acted upon.
12.5 Application of Proceeds of Sale of Property
The proceeds derived from the sale or other disposal of any property of the Church shall be applied and devoted in such manner as the Church, or in the event of the Church having ceased to exist, the Baptist Union of Southern Africa may deem best fitted to secure the furtherance of the objects of the Church and the propagation of its principles.
14 BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Church shall observe Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in their New Testament simplicity, as enjoined upon His followers by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Baptism. In addition to those desiring to join the Church the Pastor shall be free to admit to baptism (immersion) any who desire to confess the Lord Jesus, provided he (the Pastor) has satisfied himself regarding their personal salvation.
Communion. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed, as far as possible, on the first Sunday evening and on the third Sunday morning of every month.
Participation at the Lord’s Table shall be open to all who confess Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as their personal Saviour.
15 PUBLICATION OF CONSTITUTION
As every member is presumed to know, and every prospective member is entitled to know the provisions of the Constitution, a printed copy thereof shall be supplied to every member and candidate for membership.
16 ALTERATION OF CONSTITUTION
The Constitution may be revised by Church resolution, but no change of any kind shall be made except by the following procedure:
Any member desiring to propose an alteration shall notify the Church Secretary in writing giving the exact terms of the suggested change. Notice of motion shall then be given at the ensuing Business Meeting in the name of the member concerned, and in the terms of the intimation sent to the Secretary. The proposal shall then come up for consideration and decision at a subsequent Business Meeting, which, if necessary, shall be called for the purpose.
No change shall be made unless at least two-thirds of the members present at such meeting record their votes in favour of the suggested alteration. Any amendment to the suggested alterations, if passed by a two-thirds majority, shall be presented at a subsequent meeting for confirmation by a two-thirds majority.
However, any amendment (and that includes additions and/or deletions) to any portion of Clause 3 shall require a ninety per cent (90%) majority both for the amendment and for any alteration to the suggested alteration.
16. DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH
16.1 By Resolution
The Church may at any time be dissolved by resolution of a majority of ninety percent (90%) of the members present and entitled to vote at a Special General Meeting of the Church. In the event of such a resolution being passed the Council Committee, or in the event there being no such Committee, other persons appointed by the Church, shall take the necessary steps to wind up the affairs of the Church and in particular to transfer the property of the Church in due and proper form to the Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
16.2 Ceasing Existence
In the event of the Church at any time ceasing to exist all property or rights to property owned by it shall ipso facto vest in the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, which shall hold and administer the same as the said Union may deem best fitted to secure the furtherance of the object and the propagation of the principles of the Church as herein before mentioned. The Church shall be deemed to have ceased to exist when the dissolution of the Church shall have been resolved upon in accordance with Clause 16 by the manner indicated, or when the members of the Church shall have become totally dispersed or when the public worship of God shall have been discontinued (in connection with the Church) for a period of three calendar months.
16.3 Breach of Doctrine and/or Baptist Principles
In the event of the Church through its Pastor, and/or Council and/or members ceasing to conduct its witness in keeping with the Statement of Doctrine and/or Baptist Principles embodied in this Church Constitution and Trust Deed, then and in that event the Church shall be dissolved and the assets thereof shall vest in and shall be transferred to the Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
The decision as to whether the Church has or has not ceased to conduct its witness in keeping with the Statement of Doctrine and/or of the Statement of Baptist principles shall vest with the Council of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa. The decision of the Council of the Baptist Union shall be final and absolute, but before final confirmation thereof the Council of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa shall afford any Church member or members aggrieved thereby the opportunity to make representation to the Council of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, such representation to be conveyed within 180 days of such decision, or such further period as the Baptist Union of Southern Africa may authorise.
17. RESOLUTION OF DIFFERENCES
In the unhappy event of serious dispute or anxious concern within the church which in the opinion of any one of the disputants is impinging on the effective ministry of the Church or is seriously threatening its unity, it shall be the right and privilege of any such Pastor or of any four members of the Council Committee or of any ten Church members to:
17.1 Call for a special meeting of the Council Committee with a view to resolving the differences. Three persons who are not members of the Church shall be nominated by the Council of the Western Province Baptist Association with which the Church is in membership, to be present at such a meeting. One of these people shall be nominated to serve as Chairman of the meeting or meetings.
17.2 It shall be the obligation of the disputants and of the Church membership as a whole to afford the Church Council and the three Association representatives when so invoked, every reasonable opportunity to assist in bringing about a God-honouring solution. The Association representatives may, if they so elect, submit a written report with appropriate recommendations.
17.3 In the unlikely event of these deliberations still not resulting in any satisfactory resolution of the differences or the areas of concern, then the Association representatives shall recommend to the Area-Co-ordinator that an independent person be appointed to lead the Church through a conflict resolution process.
18 CONFIRMATION / ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION
The Constitution as printed above was adopted at the Business Meetings of the Mowbray Baptist Church, called in terms of the Constitution, and held on 26 August 2007 and 14 October 2007.