Genesee Baptist Church Constitution
ARTICLE I – Name
The name of this church shall be GENESEE BAPTIST CHURCH of Rochester, New York. Under this name it was legally incorporated on March 10, 1915, under the laws of the State of New York.
ARTICLE II – PHILOSOPHY AND PURPOSE
Genesee Baptist Church is a family and neighborhood oriented church, ministering to all ages, offering an informal worship service. We are a warm, loving and concerned church actively seeking ways of involving people. We re expending and creating programs in our outreach. Our church is responding positively to challenges from within and has a strong mission concern reaching far beyond the community. Genesee Baptist Church is for those seeking and growing in Christ. The Church’s ministry is founded on prayer, Bible study, fellowship and service, and there are, therefore, many groups involved in these areas.
The purposes of this church shall be the advancement of the Kingdom of God, according to the teaching of Jesus Christ, and it shall seek to attain this end through the public worship of God, the preaching of the Gospel, consistent Christian living by its members, personal evangelism, mission outreach and Christian education.
ARTICLE III – POLITY
The governance of this church shall be vested in the body of believers which comprises its membership.
In accordance with the laws of the state of New York regarding church corporations, the Genesee Baptist Church Corporation shall be composed of those members of legal voting age.
This church shall maintain affiliation and cooperation with the American Baptist Churches of the Rochester/Genesee Region and the American Baptist Churches in the USA.
ARTICLE IV – DOCTRINE
This church receives the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth, as contained therein, is in essential accord with the beliefs of American Baptist churches.
ARTICLE V – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Admission – Any person who professes Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, whose interpretations of the Bible and whose religious concepts are in substantial accord with those of this church, may, as provided in this Constitution, be received into membership through Baptism by immersion, or by letter from any Christian church, or by confession of faith.
Section 2. Transfer – If a member in good standing desires to unite with another church, a letter of transfer and recommendation for membership shall be provided upon written request from such church. The Church Clerk of Genesee Baptist Church shall send the letter of transfer to the Pastor or Clerk of such other church.
Section 3. Duties – Members are expected to attend regularly the services of this church, to contribute regularly to its support and the support of its mission and benevolence projects and to otherwise share in its organized work.
Section 4. Termination – Any member who wishes to terminate his/her membership may do so upon written request to the Board of Deacons.
Section 5. Inactive – Those members who have for a period of two or more years failed to participate in the activities of the Church or support of the Church without valid excuse shall, upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons, be placed upon an inactive list.
Section 6. Erasure – Upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons and a majority vote of the Church, a member’s name may be erased from the roll.
ARTICLE VI – CHURCH CABINET
Section 1. The Church Cabinet, on behalf of the Church, shall have management of the affairs of the Church and shall be charged with the responsibility of carrying out the purpose as provided in ARTICLE II hereof, through the auspices of the Boards, Officers and Committees as hereinafter provided. Any business of the Church Cabinet may be reviewed by the Church by the calling of a special business meeting, pursuant to ARTICLE XIII, Section 2.
Section 2. The Church Cabinet shall consist of the following members:
- Cabinet Chairperson
- Cabinet Vice-Chairperson
- Chairperson of the Board of Deacons
- Chairperson of the Board of Trustees
- Chairperson of the Board of Christian Education
- President of the Women’s Society (ABW)
- President of Men’s Fellowship (ABM)
- President of the American Baptist Youth (ABY)
A majority of members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 3. The Church Cabinet shall meet at least ten (10) times during the year. Additional meetings may be called by the Cabinet Chairperson or by request of three Cabinet members.
Section 4. In addition to the committees and officers of the Church provided hereinafter in this Constitution, the Church Cabinet may appoint other committees and/or individuals to particular positions.
ARTICLE VII – OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
Section 1. Cabinet Chairperson – The Cabinet Chairperson shall preside at all business meetings of the Church, the Church Corporation, and all meetings of the Church Cabinet. He/She shall be elected at the Annual Meeting to serve for two years. The Chairperson may be re-elected for one additional two-year term.
Section 2. Cabinet Vice-Chairperson – The Cabinet Vice-Chairperson shall attend all business meetings of the Church, the Church Corporation, and all meetings of the Cabinet, and shall preside at such meetings in the absence of the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson shall be elected at the Annual Meeting to serve for two years. He/She may be re-elected for one additional two-year term.
Section 3. Clerk – The Clerk shall be elected at each Annual Meeting to serve for one year. The Clerk, with the assistance of the church secretary, shall keep a complete record of the transaction of all business at the meetings of the church; shall keep a record of the names and addresses of members, active and inactive, with dates and manner of admission and dismissal; and shall notify all officers, committee members and delegates of their election and appointment. The Clerk shall preserve on file all communications and written reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such is required by this Constitution. The Clerk shall assist in preparing denominational reports; shall assume such other duties as the Church may assign from time to time; and shall deliver immediately to his/her successor all books and records for which he/she has been responsible as Clerk.
Section 4. Treasurers – The Treasurers shall be elected at each Annual Meeting to serve for one year.
Current Expense Treasurer and Assistant Current Expense Treasurer: They shall have custody of the general funds of the Church and shall make deposits and draw checks in the name of the Church. The Treasurers shall keep separate accounts of all funds raised or contributed for particular purposes, and no funds shall be disbursed by the Treasurers except for the purpose for which they were raised or contributed.
Funds received for the support of the Church and for the reduction of any Church indebtedness shall be disbursed by the Treasurers only on the order of the Board of Trustees. The Treasurers shall deliver immediately to their successors all books and records pertaining to the office.
The Special Accounts Treasurer will keep records of all investment funds of the church. The Special Accounts Treasurer shall present to the Church an itemized report of receipts and disbursements, showing the actual financial condition of the Church at each Annual Meeting, this report to have been audited previously by the Auditors. The Treasurer shall deliver immediately to his/her successor all books and records pertaining to the office.
Section 5. Financial Secretary and Assistant Financial Secretary – The Financial Secretaries shall be elected at each Annual Meeting to serve for one year. They shall record all pledges made for the support of the Church budget and keep a record of amounts paid by individuals against their pledges.
ARTICLE VIII – THE BOARDS
No person shall hold more than one of the following offices at the same time. The term of office shall be from Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting. When a Church member has held office for one term on any one of the following Boards, he or she shall not be eligible for re-election to the same office for a period of one year after the expiration of said term. If there are not adequate candidates to fill all Board positions, members can be allowed to serve an additional term, if they are agreeable.
Section 1. The Board of Deacons – There shall be at least twelve (12) Deacons, one-third of whom shall be elected at each Annual Meeting for one term of three years.
The Board shall elect annually a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The Board shall meet at least ten (10) times during the year, and may be called together at any other time by the Chairperson.
Duties of the Board:
1. It shall advise and aid the Pastor in the performance of his/her duties.
2. It shall have general oversight of the public services of the Church. It shall provide for the ushering, welcoming of visitors, receiving the offering, and be in charge of general special services. The Board shall be in charge of meetings for the development of the spiritual life and for the winning of new members.
3. It shall be responsible for the due observances of the Ordinances of the Church; namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
4. It shall arrange for pulpit substitutes during the Pastor’s vacation or during his/her temporary absences.
5. It shall be responsible for the visitation of the membership.
6. It shall administer the Fellowship Offering of the Communion Service to further the work of the Board.
7. It shall place two members on the Worship and Music Committee.
Section 2. The Board of Trustees – There shall be at least twelve (12) Trustees, one-third of whom shall be elected at each Annual Meeting for one term of three years. The Clerk and Treasurer shall have the privilege of attending its meetings and shall be present when requested by the Board.
The Board shall choose annually a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary, and shall meet at least ten times during the year. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by the Secretary, who shall notify the other members. A majority of the Trustees shall constitute a quorum.
The Board shall select annually from its membership such sub-committees as it may deem necessary to the performance of its work.
Duties of the Board:
1. The Board shall hold in trust all real property belonging to the Church and shall take all necessary measures for its protection, management and upkeep. However, it shall have no power to buy, mortgage, or transfer any property without specific vote of the Church Corporation authorizing such action.
2. It shall secure the services of a caretaker and carefully supervise the performance of his/her work.
3. It shall determine the use of the Church building for all extra or secular purposes.
4. It shall designate the Bank where the funds of the Church shall be deposited.
5. It shall be responsible for the annual construction of the total Church budget, taking under advisement the financial requirements of the other Boards and Committees.
6. It shall supervise the disbursement of funds appropriate to the performance of its work.
7. It shall arrange for an annual audit of all financial records of the Church.
8. The Board shall perform such other duties as may be imposed upon it by the Church or as may be required by the laws of the State of New York.
Section 3. The Board of Christian Education – There shall be at least nine (9) members of the Board, one-third of whom shall be elected at each Annual Meeting for one term of three years.
The Board shall elect a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and a Secretary/ Treasurer, and shall meet at least ten times during the year. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson, by three members of the Board or upon request by the Pastor. The Secretary of the Board shall notify the members of all meetings, enter accurate minutes of the meetings in a book to be kept for that purpose, have custody of and be responsible for all books, papers and documents pertaining to the affairs of the Board, and surrender all records to the Board when a new Secretary is elected.
Duties of the Board:
1. The Board shall prepare a report of the year’s Christian Education program, budget and activities for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Church.
2. It shall be responsible for the organization and administration of the entire educational program of the Church.
3. It shall be responsible for developing and interpreting to the members of the Church the educational goals and objectives.
4. It shall be responsible for studying the educational needs of the Church and for making decisions concerning (1) time schedule, (2) educational use of housing and equipment, and (3) elimination and addition of classes or organizations.
5. It shall be responsible for discovering, enlisting, training and appointing all church educational workers.
6. It shall be responsible for evaluating and supervising the curriculum of the education program.
7. It shall be responsible for educational programs in cooperation with other churches.
ARTICLE IX – COMMITTEES
Section 1. Nominating Committee – The Nominating Committee shall consist of two each of those members of the Boards of Deacons, Trustees and Christian Education who are serving their 2nd year of office. This committee shall prepare a slate of candidates to fill the various offices, Boards and committees, ascertaining each candidate’s willingness to serve if elected. A copy of the proposed slate of officers shall be posted on the Bulletin Board at least one week in advance of the Annual Meeting. The nominations to be presented at the Annual Meeting shall be in written form. Nominations may also be made from the floor.
Section 2. Worship and Music Committee – The Worship and Music Committee shall consist of two members from the Board of Deacons and at least three members from the congregation, selected by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting. The Music Director shall also be an ex-officio member of this committee. In addition, one youth may be elected to serve for a term of one year. The Worship and Music Committee shall be responsible to the Board of Deacons. The Committee shall work with the Pastor to develop the worship services of the Church and shall monitor the music program of the Church including the hiring and supervision of the Music Director, organist and other professional musicians.
Section 3. Memorial Gifts Committee – The Memorial Gifts Committee shall consist of at least three members, selected by the Nominating Committee, elected at the Annual Meeting and serving for a term of three years. Terms of office shall expire in such a way that no more than one member is replaced each year. This Committee shall supervise the expenditure of Memorial Gift funds, shall keep accurate record of all gifts received, properly acknowledge all donations and maintain the Book of Remembrance in which memorials are inscribed.
Section 4. Mission Outreach and Stewardship Committee – This Committee shall consist of five members. Three members shall be selected from the congregation by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting and serving for a term of three years. In addition, the Church Treasurer and Financial Secretary shall serve on this Committee. Terms of office shall expire in such a way that no more than one at-large member is replaced each year. One youth may be elected for a term of one year. The Committee shall promote mission giving to the programs of the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Rochester/Genesee Region, special offerings as necessary, mission education, and the development of the mission portion of the Annual Budget. It shall act in an advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees in formulating the Church Budget after seeking input from Boards, Committees and church members, organize and conduct an annual stewardship pledge drive, and shall be an advocate for soliciting funds from such sources as planned giving, wills, bequests and memorials.
Section 5. Pastoral Relations Committee – The Pastoral Relations Committee shall consist of the Chairperson of the Cabinet, the Chairperson of the Board of Deacons and three members selected by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Church. The terms of office would be adjusted so that no more than one at-large member is replaced in any one year. The Committee shall elect its own Chairperson. The Committee shall work to strengthen relationships between the Pastor(s) and the people, channel congregational expectations, consider the Pastor(s)’ compensation, help the Pastor(s) plan continuing education programs, recruit for church vocations, and be available to serve as a resource to a Pulpit Committee if needed.
ARTICLE X – REMOVAL OF OFFICERS OR MEMBERS OF BOARDS OR COMMITTEES
Church Officers or members of Church Boards or Committees may be removed from office in cases of improper conduct, or neglect of their official duties. This action shall be carried out upon the unanimous vote of the Cabinet. Such positions may be regained only by later election. A position shall be declared vacant in any case in which the person involved has become a non-resident or shall consistently fail to attend meeting s required of the position without giving prior notice to the appropriate chairperson.
ARTICLE XI – THE PASTORATE
Section 1. Senior Pastor – The Senior Pastor shall have charge of conducting Worship Services, administering the Ordinances, and ministering to the individuals of the congregation. The Senior Pastor shall administer the Church program and bring such recommendations as he or she sees fit to the Boards and Committees, and shall be an ex-officio member of all Boards and Committees of the Church and its auxiliary organizations, except the Pulpit Committee.
Section 2. Associate Pastor – If the need arises, the Church may call an Associate Pastor who shall assist and work with the Senior Pastor. Prior to the calling of an Associate Pastor, a job description for the position shall be prepared by the Senior Pastor and the Cabinet and given to the Pulpit Committee to share with candidates and as a guidance for its evaluation of the qualifications of a specific candidate. The Associate Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all Boards and Committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations, except the Pulpit Committee.
Section 3. The Pulpit Committee – When a vacancy occurs in pastoral leadership in the Church, a Pulpit Committee composed of five or more members of the Church shall be appointed by the Cabinet. This Committee shall take the necessary steps to secure a candidate for Pastor or Associate Pastor in full consultation with the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of the Rochester/Genesee Region. The candidate shall be a graduate of an accredited theological seminary, ordained and in good standing with the American Baptist Churches, USA. Only a person who is sympathetically cooperative with the purposes and programs of the American Baptist Churches shall be considered. The Committee shall investigate the merits of each candidate under consideration in regard to personal character, education, ministerial record and preaching ability in determining fitness of pastoral ministry in this Church. When a suitable candidate is found, the Committee shall recommend the candidate to the Church for consideration. Only one candidate shall be presented to the Church at a time.
Section 4. Calling a Pastor or Associate Pastor – The call of a Pastor or Associate Pastor shall come before the Church at a regular or called business meeting, after notice of such meeting and its purpose have been given at the Sunday morning service on the preceding Sunday. The election shall be by ballot and an affirmative majority of three-fourths of active members present shall be necessary to extend a call.
Section 5. Termination of Pastorate – The term of office may be ended upon at least sixty days’ notice on the part of both parties, on the part of a Pastor or of the Church. By mutual consent of both parties, the relationship may be terminated at an earlier date.
Termination of the office shall be voted on at a regular or called business meeting, notice of such meeting and its purpose having mailed to each member at least ten days prior to the date of such meeting. An affirmative majority of three-fourths of active members present shall be necessary for a valid termination of this office.
ARTICLE XII – ELECTIONS
Section 1. Time – The annual election of officers shall be held during the Annual Meeting of the Church.
Section 2. Qualifications of Voters – All matters pertaining to the legal issues of the Church Corporation shall be voted on only by members who are of legal voting age or older. All other matters pertaining to Genesee Baptist Church may be voted on by active members present at any regular or called meeting.
Section 3. Procedure – At least one week before the election, the Nominating Committee shall publicly post in the Church the names of one or more persons for each office to be filled. At the time of the Annual Meeting any member present may place in nomination the name of any eligible member for any office not so nominated. A majority of the ballots cast is necessary for the election of any officer.
Section 4. Vacancies – Should a vacancy occur during the year in any office, the Church Cabinet shall be authorized to fill the position for the unexpired term. The Church Cabinet shall consider such recommendations as may be made to it by the Nominating Committee.
ARTICLE XIII – MEETINGS
Section 1. Worship Services –
(a) The Church shall meet for worship, prayer and study at such times as the Board of Deacons shall determine.
(b) The Youth Fellowships and the Church School shall meet regularly at times fixed by the Board of Education.
(c) The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated at such times as may be designated by the Board of Deacons.
(d) Adults or children may be baptized by arrangement with the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.
(e) Other services of worship may be held as recommended by the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.
Section 2. Business Meetings – The annual business meeting shall be on or near the third Sunday in January or at any other time set by the Cabinet for the purpose of receiving the annual Reports of individual officers, boards and committees of the Church and its auxiliary organizations; the election of officers; and the transaction of other business as is proper to come before this meeting. Notice of the Annual Meeting shall be announced at the morning worship services on two successive Sundays prior to the meeting date. Annual Reports will be printed and made available on those Sundays when the Annual business meeting is announced.
A quorum for the transaction of business shall be 10% of active members, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution. Special business meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor or by the Cabinet or by five members giving written notice to the Cabinet. The Cabinet will set a date for such special meetings within three weeks of the date of notification of the call. Announcement of such meeting, and the purpose for which it is called, shall be given at the Morning Worship on the Sunday preceding the date of the meeting, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution. At any of the regular meetings of worship, however, the Church may, without notice, act upon the reception of new members.
ARTICLE XIV – RULES OF ORDER
All question of parliamentary law, not expressly dealt with in this Constitution, shall be settled in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised.
ARTICLE XV – AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS
The Church regards as integral parts of itself all organizations formed for the purpose of ministration which use the same name of the Church. The Church shall have general oversight of all such organizations and will expect a report from each at the Annual Meeting of the Church.
ARTICLE XVI – CHURCH YEAR
The Church shall be on a calendar year basis.
ARTICLE XVII – AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended at any regular or called business meeting of the church by a two-thirds majority vote of those voting members present, provided that notice of such amendment, stating the proposed change shall be announced and published in the bulletin on two Sundays preceding the voting.
ARTICLE XVIII – RESERVATION CLAUSE
The Church expressly reserves for itself the final decision in all matters relating to the revision of the Constitution, property improvement, purchase, lease, sale, encumbrance, and the hiring of dismissal of a Pastor (s). the Church also reserves for itself final decision on all matters of like basic nature.
ARTICLE XIX – REPEALING CLAUSE
Any Constitution or by-laws previously adopted by this Church are declared to be null and void.
Adopted by the Congregation of Genesee Baptist Church at the Annual Meeting, January 21, 2001.
Amended June 8, 2003.