Superseding all previous articles and sections on this 26th day of July, 2009. Reprinted to acknowledge word choice throughout Article 2 and meeting date in Article 8.
Article I – Organization
The name of this Church shall be “THE FOLCROFT UNION CHURCH, INC.” and shall be registered as a non-profit organization under the laws of the COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. The fiscal year of the Church shall be the calendar year. This Church shall be located in the Borough of Folcroft, County of Delaware, and The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Article II – Doctrinal Stand
We believe the Bible to be the verbal, inspired Word of God and that it is the complete and final authoritative written revelation of God’s will and work, and altogether sufficient in itself as a rule of faith and practice. 2 Tim. 3:16-17
We believe that there is but one living and true God, and He is revealed to us in three persons who are executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption: Father – Genesis 1:1; Son – Luke 3:22, John 10:30; Holy Spirit – John 14:26, Matt. 28:19
We believe in the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation (I Peter 2:24, Acts 4:12, Heb.10:10) and that it is the personal belief in this which saves from sin (John 1:12, 3:18; Rom.10:9-10).
We believe in the personal abiding of the Holy Spirit in every believer. 1Cor. 6:19-20.
We believe in the personality of Satan and the reality of spiritual warfare. Job 1:6-7, Luke 4:2-13, Eph. 6:12
We believe in the everlasting life with God for the believer and everlasting separation from God for unbelievers. John 3:36, Rev. 22:3-5, 2 Thes.1:7-9, Matt. 25:41, Rev. 20:10
We believe that true Christians must live a life set apart from worldliness. Rom.12:1-2, 2 Cor. 6:14-18, James 4:4, Col. 3:1-2, 1 John 2:15-16.
We believe that the faith of a true Christian is manifest in a life of obedience to Christ and the Word of God. John 14:23-24
We believe that in the end times Jesus will rapture all living believers to Heaven; then a tribulation period of seven years will afflict the earth, followed by a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. After which Satan will be released for one last act of deception, culminating in his destruction and the final judgment of all unbelievers with the establishment of a New Heaven and New Earth for all believers forever. Zech 14:3-4, 1 Thes. 4:16-17, Rev. 20:3, 7, 10; 21:1
Article III – Mission Statement
Folcroft Union Church exists to:
Bring people to Jesus by
Reaching out in love so that we may
Exalt God by
Adding to His family and making
Disciples of His people.
Article IV – Membership
Section 1: All candidates for membership in this Church shall, upon completion of the membership classes, appear before two or more members of the Elders for examination before being accepted into membership. They will be expected to give a brief testimony as to the New Birth which they possess, ascribe to the Doctrinal Statement and Church Covenant, and give an adequate reason for desiring membership, showing the desire to support the Church by their presence, prayers, gifts and service.
Upon the unanimous recommendation of the Elders, the candidate shall appear before the Church Body, at which time the candidate will publicly confess the Lord as their Savior. The pledge of the Church body to prayerfully support and the extending of the right-hand of fellowship by the Pastor will then make said person a full-fledged member entitled to share equally in the blessings and testings of the Church.
Baptism is not required for admission to membership, but it is considered advisable as a rule of faith and practice.
Section 2: Membership shall cease only by (a) request, (b) death, (c) removal, or (d) expulsion, upon the action of the Elders and the Church body as hereinafter provided in this article.
- By request. Any member of this Church desiring to unite with any other church may be granted a letter of dismissal thereto by a two-thirds vote of all members present and in good standing at a regular business meeting, provided such request be approved by the Pastor and Elders before it is presented at the meeting.
- By death. Upon notification of death, a deceased member’s name shall be removed from the roll.
- By removal. Names of members may be removed from the Church Roll for any of the following causes:
- Absence for six (6) months or more without any report or information given to the Church.
- Uniting with another Church without a letter of dismissal from this Church.
- By expulsion. Members may, after trial before the Elders, be expelled from the membership of the Church for any of the following reasons:
- For any outward violation of the moral law.
- For pursuing any course of conduct unbecoming a professing Christian or which may, in the judgment of the Church, be disreputable to it as a body.
Any charge against any member shall be presented to the Elders in writing and if the Elders decide the charge is just, upon a unanimous vote of the members of said Elders present, the same shall be removed from the Church Roll and the member notified in writing. This action is to be taken only after prayerfully application of Matthew 18:15-17. The Church Body shall be notified of such action.
The member may, however, appeal such decision to the Body of the Church at a regular business meeting within three months. It shall require not less than a two-thirds vote of all members present who are in good standing, to reverse the Elder’s decision.
- The Pastor and Elders, prior to the removal of the names of any person from the Church Roll, shall do all in their power to prevail upon such members to fulfill their obligations to the Church. After doing all in their power, the Elders shall give three months notice, in writing, to such members of the intention to remove their names from the Church roll, and if, within said period, such members do not fulfill their obligations or show cause why their names should not be removed, the names of such members shall be taken from the Roll. The Church Body shall be notified of such action.
Article V -General Duties of Members
Section 1: Members of the Folcroft Union Church are expected to maintain a teachable attitude before the Lord, demonstrating a growing desire to walk in a manner pleasing to Him and edifying to the body of Christ. The Elders have the responsibility of the oversight of the conduct of the members in accordance with Article VI,, Subsection 1b, of the Constitution. In case of a severe disciplinary problem where expulsion of a member is being considered, the provisions of Article IV, Section 2, Subsection 2d shall prevail.
Section 2: Each member and worker of the Folcroft Union Church will strive to measure himself honestly in the light of the Word of God with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Guidelines for this are as follows:
Subsection 2a: They shall evidence consistent growth in grace and scriptural knowledge (II Peter 3:18) through a disciplined devotional life consisting of prayer and Bible study, and shall develop personal convictions based on Scripture (“for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” Romans 14:23) and will not allow any habit which is harmful or questionable to control them (“sin shall not have dominion over you” Romans 6:12).
Subsection 2b: They shall reorder their priorities so that they can be dependable and faithful to the services and activities of the Church on as regular a basis as possible so that they will not become a hindrance to others by haphazard attendance and participation (“not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is” Hebrews 10:25).
Subsection 2c: They shall cheerfully give of their abilities and substance in support of the work of the Lord through this Church. We believe it is God’s plan and command to support His work by this means (II Corinthians 8-9). The doctrine of tithing is recommended for prayerful consideration as a starting point for giving by each member.
Subsection 2d: They should cultivate and cherish brotherly love for all those connected with the Church; visit and sympathize with them in affliction; pray with and for them; administer relief to those who are in need; tenderly regard their reputation; affectionately and privately admonish them for faults and improprieties.) They should strive by all proper measures to promote their spiritual benefit and prosperity, not becoming involved in any practice which will cause another person to stumble (“It is good not to … do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak: Romans i4:21, John 13:34-35).
Subsection 2e: They shall honor, esteem and love their Pastor and others in authority, pray for them fervently and daily, and manifest a tender regard for their reputation (“let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor” I Timothy 5:17; “yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility” I Peter 5:5).
Subsection 2f: Toward those who are not connected with the Church, each member shall bear consistent testimony against evil practices; be exact in fulfilling obligations and promises; live in a peaceful and neighborly manner; perform acts of kindness and charity; set an example of industry, honesty, generosity and love; and look for opportunities to commend the Gospel to them, keeping one’s conduct above reproach before the unsaved so as to encourage the possibilities of winning them to Christ (“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” I Timothy 4:12).
Article VI – Officers and Deacons/Deaconesses
Section 1: Officers. The officers of this Church shall be the Pastor and the Elders. The officers and their spouses, should they be married, shall be members in good standing. I Timothy 3:8-13
Subsection la: Pastor. The Pastor must be a man thirty years of age or older. He shall conduct the public services of worship, and the general development of the Church work shall be under his supervision. He shall visit the sick and other persons, members or otherwise, as time permits and occasion seems advisable, and perform general pastoral duties as required. He shall be ex-officio a member of all boards and committees.
Subsection lb: Elders. The Elders shall be comprised of the Pastor and no more than nine other men. Each Elder must be a man of thirty years of age or older and have been a member in good standing for at least one year. He must possess a servant’s heart for the ministry and be a godly, spiritual man who is consciously and measurable striving to achieve the goals set forth for elders in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. His marital status must conform to the Church policy on divorce and remarriage. The Elders will be entrusted with the rulership and oversight of the entire Church program and congregation. Their main focus will be on spiritual long range planning and goal setting. The entire ministry of the Church will be divided into key areas; for example, outreach, education, worship, missions, finances and member services. The Elders are also responsible for setting policies either directly or indirectly for the entire Church.
A simple majority of Elders shall constitute a quorum.
The Chairman of the Elders is to be the direct consulate of the Pastor in all matters wherein council is deemed necessary. He shall act as moderator at all business meetings which will be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and must be opened and closed with prayer. In his absence, he shall appoint another member of the Elders to act for him. He shall preside during impeachment proceedings.
Section 2: Deacons/Deaconesses. The Elders will appoint Deacons/Deaconesses to serve in the ministry areas as the Elders deem necessary, using the responsibilities outlined in I Timothy 3. These ministry areas are to include, but not limited to, the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Financial Secretaries. The Deacons/Deaconesses shall be members in good standing.
Subsection 2a: Treasurer. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all monies from the Financial Secretaries and pay all orders drawn by the Elders. The Treasurer shall render a monthly report to the Elders comprising a statement of all monies so received and paid. The Treasurer shall keep a true and correct book of accounts and shall also render an annual report of all the receipts and expenditures during the year at the annual meeting of the Church. The Treasurer shall also be a member of the Finance Committee. (Appointed for two years.)
Subsection 2b: Assistant Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer in all aforementioned responsibilities, and in the event of the Treasurer’s absence, the Assistant Treasurer shall carry out and perform the duties of the Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer shall also be a member of the Finance Committee. (Appointed for two years.)
Subsection 2c: Financial Secretaries. It shall be the duty of the Financial Secretaries to receive and record all monies given at all services, recording the envelope receipts in a book provided for that purpose. They shall then record the total in a receipt book provided for that purpose and turn the money over to the Treasurer. Each month, the total of this receipt book shall be checked against the Treasurer’s book. They shall act in like manner in the receipt of all special funds. (Appointed for two years.)
Subsection 2d: Church Clerk. It shall be the duty of the Clerk to keep a careful record of the minutes of the regular business meetings of the Church, to keep a register of its membership, to give notice of its business meetings, to issue letters of dismissal voted by the Church, to conduct its correspondence, (unless otherwise ordered) and to preserve all papers and reports which the Church may direct to be placed on file. The Clerk shall give timely notice to the Elders of all members to be dismissed under Article IV, Section 2. (Appointed for two years.)
Article VII – Elections, Filling of Vacancies, etc.
Section 1: Pastor. Whenever the Pastorate shall become vacant, the Church shall proceed without further delay to fill the vacancy. Candidates whom the Elders shall invite shall be heard and an election of a Pastor then take place at a meeting especially called for that purpose. Notice of this meeting shall be given from the pulpit on two (2) successive Sundays immediately preceding the election. The election shall be by ballot and require a two-thirds vote of those members present and in good standing.
There shall be one month’s notice given to the Church by the Pastor in the event he wishes to resign. Likewise, the Church shall give the Pastor one month’s notice should his services no longer be required. In the event it becomes necessary to force the resignation of the Pastor, the Chairman of the Elders, upon the receipt of a petition to this effect, signed by twenty-five (25) members in good standing, shall call a special meeting of the Church. Two (2) week’s notice shall be given to every member of the Church, in writing, prior to this meeting, and a two-thirds vote of all members present and in good standing shall rule. In extreme cases, the Pastor may be excluded under Article IV, Subsection 2d.
Section 2: Elders. The election to the Elders will be governed by the following procedure: Elders will be elected for a three (3) year term. The Elders, within seven (7) days after the Annual Meeting, will organize the areas of ministry, and adopting any rules and regulations required for its functioning.
Should any Elder fail to fulfill their obligations to the Church, a resignation may be sought after the manner found in Section 1, paragraph 2, above. The one exception is the impeachment of the Chairman of the Elders, in which case, another member of the Elders shall be chosen to preside.
Subsection 2a: Nominating Committee. The nominating committee shall consist of chairman appointed by the Chairman of the Elders and at least four (4) members recommended by the congregation and appointed by the Elders before the last quarterly business meeting of the year. It is desirable that the committee members represent a cross-section of the congregation. The committee shall earnestly seek two (2) or more candidates for each office to be filled at the Annual Meeting by election. The committee shall seek to qualify candidates to determine if they are eligible, based on Bible and Elder guidelines. The Elders must approve all candidates.
Members shall be informed by way of the Church Bulletin and Bulletin Board at least 60 days before the Annual Meeting of their right and duty to submit names to the Nominating Committee. Names must be submitted to the Committee at least 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee will then consider all names in selecting the nominees for approval by the Elders and then presentation to the congregation by ballot, posted two (2) weeks before the Annual Meeting. The Committee shall inquire of nominees it they will accept the nomination, and if elected, carry out the responsibilities of the office. All Elders are to be elected by a two-thirds vote of those members present and in good standing unless otherwise specified in this Constitution.
Subsection 2b: Vacancy in Office. In case of a vacancy occurring through any cause whatsoever, the Elders will fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.
Article VIII – Business Meetings
Section 1: The quarterly meeting for Church business shall be held during the months of January, April, July and October. The January meeting shall be called the Annual Meeting for election purposes. The October meeting shall be called the Annual Goals & Budget meeting.
Section 2: Special meetings may be called by the Pastor, or upon the request of the Chairman of the Elders, or on petition of two-thirds of the then voting Church Membership. Notice of time, place and purpose should be placed in the Church Bulletin and on the Bulletin Board on two (2) consecutive Lord’s Days, immediately preceding such meeting, or in an emergency, when each member is notified of same by mail.
Section 3: Fifteen (15) members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 4: Members must be sixteen (16) years of age or over, in good standing, to have the privilege of voting.
Article IX – Dissolution
Should this Church cease to function and the membership vote to disband, all assets of the Church will be transferred to another non-profit religious corporation whose beliefs are similar to this Church. The assets shall be transferred in full compliance with whatever laws are applicable and shall be used for the general purposes of that corporation.
Article X – Amendments
Any proposed alteration or amendment of the foregoing must be presented in writing at a regular business meeting or special business meeting of the Church. A vote of such alteration or amendment is to be taken at a business meeting not earlier than one (1) month from the date of its presentation (Article VIII, Section 2). A two-thirds vote to those present and in good standing shall be necessary for its adoption. Notice of such proposed alteration or amendment shall be posted on the Bulletin Board to the Church from the time of its presentation at such stated meeting until the meeting on which action is to be taken on the same.