Diversity in Faith: A Christian Church for All People

Our bylaws

Article I – Name, Mission, Vision

Section 1. Name.

The name of this organization shall be Diversity in Faith.

Section 2. Mission Statement


We welcome all without prejudice to join us in

becoming friends of God,

growing in faith,

discovering their place in God's family

healing our world.


(Galatians 3.26-28; 2 Corinthians 5.14-21)


Section 3. Vision Statement

We envision

  • people who have never felt they had a place in God's family being welcomed and embraced as God's own children

  • being a hospital for the hurting where broken lives, broken marriages, partnerships, and relationships are healed

  • being a church that is not about serving ourselves but reaching out as Christ's hands and feet into the community

We dream of ministries

  • that are team-based not personality-driven

  • where new believers are equipped and set free to help serve and lead

  • that balance educating the mind, healing the heart, and meeting practical needs in the community

  • that multiply by birthing new ministries meeting new needs in new areas

  • where every person involved is given a voice.

 

 Article II. Non-Discrimination Policy

As a community of faith, we affirm that God does not discriminate against us based on race, gender, culture sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, class, disability, or any external trait, but welcomes all who have faith in Jesus.  Because of this, no ministry working under our auspices shall practice discrimination against people based on these external characteristics.



ARTICLE III  Governance of Diversity in Faith

    Section 1.  The Authority of Diversity in Faith .  The government of this church is vested in its members who exert the right to control all of its affairs. The primary governing body of the church will be a congregational meeting, in which decisions will be binding by a ¾ vote of the gathered church members. Votes by proxy will not be allowed. Unless the congregation elects a board of directors, all decisions will be made by a ¾ vote of the congregation. By a ¾ vote of the membership the congregation may elect officers to represent its wishes, including a treasurer, secretary, pastoral leaders, and a governing board.


ARTICLE IV Church membership

The only requirements for church membership shall be that the person (1) be of legal age or be granted permission by their legal guardian for said decision, (2) for said person to have professed faith in Christ, and (3) for said person to affirm the church's mission and statement of faith. To join the church, a person should express said desire and agreement to a minister or officer of the church, either in person or in writing.


ARTICLE V. OFFICERS

To help in the affairs of the church, the congregation may authorize and recall officers of the church to positions the congregation deems beneficial to the furtherance of the church and its mission through ¾ vote of its members at congregational meeting. All officers of the church must have and pass a criminal background check. By a 3/4 vote of the congregation, members may elect a governing board to handle the management of the physical, legal, and fiduciary governance of the church on behalf of the congregation including whatever number and type of offices the congregation elects are beneficial. Said body will stay in office for a limited term determined by vote of congregation, and may be recalled by a ¾ vote of congregation either in part or in full. In event of a total recall of board by congregation, the congregation will determine by a ¾ vote whether to continue a board or decide matters through regularly congregational meeting. In absence of a board, decisions will be made by congregational meeting. The minimum officers required for management of church include:

  1. TREASURER. The treasurer is the chief financial officer of the church, entrusted with collection, management, and distribution of funds. Decisions regarding same will be either approved by a vote of governing board or of the members in a congregational meeting.

  2. SECRETARY/CLERK. The secretary or clerk will be responsible for compiling and managing the records for the church, including but not limited to minutes for church meetings, membership records, and important legal records for the church.

  3. MINISTERS. Ministers will assist in meeting spiritual needs of the membership. See Article VI.


ARTICLE VI. CLERGY FORMATION AND ORDINATION

To meet the spiritual needs of our church and community, the church reserves the right to set aside members for leadership in the church through the rite of ordination, as well as to accept ministers with existing ordination credentials into the ordained ministry of its community. The church recognizes the historic Christian offices of elder or presbyter and deacon.

Section 1. Ministry formation

Formation for ministry candidates will follow a process approved of by a ¾ vote of the congregation. As a part of this process, the congregation will be free to grant elder candidates a one-year temporary licensure for ministry to assess their skills and calling to ministry or to have such candidates serve as deacon to assess their skills and calling for ministry.

Section 2. Elders or presbyters

An elder or presbyter is a person authorized to pastoral leadership in the church. Ordination or acceptance as an elder grants the person ordained or accepted into ministry the right and responsibility to lead in the sacraments, perform marriages, anoint the sick, preach in the church, perform funerals, and all other sacerdotal functions of Christian leadership. Traditionally elders are called “pastors”; however, the Bible describes elders fulfilling the roles of evangelist, pastor, Bible teacher, apostle (ie missionary/church-planter), bishop or overseer, and prophetic minister. Although pastors will be elders, the congregation will have freedom to ordain elders called to each of these ministries.

The ordination of an elder or acceptance as an elder will require a nomination by any member of the church to the congregation in a congregational business meeting of the church and a ¾ vote on said nomination by the gathered membership. Upon approval, the elder shall receive a certificate of ordination for ministry as an elder and take part in a ceremony of ordination or acceptance of credentials led by (an) approved representative(s) of the church approved by congregational vote.

Setting aside an elder for a specific ministry role (such as pastor, youth pastor, et al) shall follow the same process as ordination to the role of deacon: ie, requiring a nomination to church membership and ¾ vote by gathered congregational meeting. Such roles shall be annually confirmed by a ¾ vote of the church membership, as shall all changes to roles of elders in the church.

Section 3. Deacons

Deacons are ministry leaders overseeing key ministries of the church and assisting the elders in providing pastoral care for the congregation. Deacon candidates must be nominated by any church member. Deacons are licensed for ministry for a one-year term and given the authority to oversee a set ministry, to assist in the pastoral care of congregation on the pastoral care team, and assist in all sacerdotal functions of the church under the leadership of the elders. Once someone is nominated to become a deacon, the congregation will vote upon whether to accept said nomination. Such a vote requires a ¾ vote of the members.

Unlike the ordination certification of an elder or presbyter, the license to serve as a deacon must be renewed annually. If a person chooses to stay on as a deacon, each year that person must state such preference to the congregation and they will vote on whether to accept or reject that person's continued offer of diaconal ministry by a ¾ vote. If the deacon steps down or is not elected to an additional year of diaconal ministry, either a person must be nominated to fill said vacancy or the congregation must vote to close that diaconal position.

Upon election to be a deacon, a person will receive a one-year license to pastoral ministry and take part in a laying on of hands service officiated by (an) approved representative(s) of the church.


ARTICLE VII. Our Faith and Freedom

Section 1. Our Faith

(Although we join mainstream Christianity in affirming the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, as well as the historic confessions of the Christian faith, we choose the following statement of faith as best expressing our focus as a church:)


We are not alone, we live in God's world.


We believe in God:


who has created and is creating,


who has come in Jesus,


the Word made flesh,


to reconcile and make new,


who works in us and others by the Spirit.


We trust in God.


We are called to be the Church:


to celebrate God's presence,


to love and serve others,


to seek justice and resist evil,


to proclaim Jesus,


crucified and risen,


our judge and our hope.


In life, in death, in life beyond death,


God is with us.


We are not alone. Thanks be to God.


Section 2. The Four Freedoms.

We join churches in the free church tradition in upholding the following freedoms:

  • Soul freedom: Your soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body

  • Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government, civilian, or outside religious authority (subject only to the law where it does not interfere with the religious teachings and practices of the church)

  • Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual

  • Religious freedom: the individual is free to choose whether to practice their religion, another religion, or no religion; Separation of church and state is often called the "civil corollary" of religious freedom


ARTICLE VIII. DISOLUTION

For the church to dissolve, all remaining members must vote at a general church business meeting to close the church by a ¾ vote to close the church. At said meeting, members most vote as to where all remaining properties will be distributed, and approve disbursement of funds and property by a ¾ vote.


ARTICLE IX. AMENDMENTS

Amendments to these bylaws require a ¾ vote of the membership at a called congregational meeting.


Article I – Name, Mission, Vision

Section 1. Name.

The name of this organization shall be Diversity in Faith.

Section 2. Mission Statement

Our mission, based on Galatians 3:26-28 and; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 , is to assist people from all walks of life in finding friendship with God, reconciliation with each other,and their part in making an impact on their community without prejudice or discrimination based on their sexual orientation, race, gender, class, disability. or gender expression & gender identity.

Section 3. Vision Statement

We envision

  • people who have never felt they had a place in God's family being welcomed and embraced as God's own children

  • being a hospital for the hurting where broken lives, broken marriages, partnerships, and relationships are healed

  • being a church that is not about serving ourselves but reaching out as Christ's hands and feet into the community

We dream of ministries

  • that are team-based not personality-driven

  • where new believers are equipped and set free to help serve and lead

  • that balance educating the mind, healing the heart, and meeting practical needs in the community

  • that multiply by birthing new ministries meeting new needs in new areas

  • where every person involved is given a voice.

 

 Article II. Non-Discrimination Policy

As a community of faith, we affirm that God does not discriminate against us based on race, gender, culture sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, class, disability, or any external trait, but welcomes all who have faith in Jesus.  Because of this, no ministry working under our auspices shall practice discrimination against people based on these external characteristics.



ARTICLE III  Governance of Diversity in Faith

    Section 1.  The Authority of Diversity in Faith .  The government of this church is vested in its members who exert the right to control all of its affairs. The primary governing body of the church will be a congregational meeting, in which decisions will be binding by a ¾ vote of the gathered church members. Votes by proxy will not be allowed. Unless the congregation elects a board of directors, all decisions will be made by a ¾ vote of the congregation. By a ¾ vote of the membership the congregation may elect officers to represent its wishes, including a treasurer, secretary, pastoral leaders, and a governing board.


ARTICLE IV Church membership

The only requirements for church membership shall be that the person (1) be of legal age or be granted permission by their legal guardian for said decision, (2) for said person to have professed faith in Christ through baptism, and (3) for said person to affirm the church's mission and statement of faith. To join the church, a person should express said desire and agreement to a minister or officer of the church, either in person or in writing.


ARTICLE V. OFFICERS

To help in the affairs of the church, the congregation may authorize and recall officers of the church to positions the congregation deems beneficial to the furtherance of the church and its mission through ¾ vote of its members at congregational meeting. All officers of the church must have and pass a criminal background check. By a 3/4 vote of the congregation, members may elect a governing board to handle the management of the physical, legal, and fiduciary governance of the church on behalf of the congregation including whatever number and type of offices the congregation elects are beneficial. Said body will stay in office for a limited term determined by vote of congregation, and may be recalled by a ¾ vote of congregation either in part or in full. In event of a total recall of board by congregation, the congregation will determine by a ¾ vote whether to continue a board or decide matters through regularly congregational meeting. In absence of a board, decisions will be made by congregational meeting. The minimum officers required for management of church include:

  1. TREASURER. The treasurer is the chief financial officer of the church, entrusted with collection, management, and distribution of funds. Decisions regarding same will be either approved by a vote of governing board or of the members in a congregational meeting.

  2. SECRETARY/CLERK. The secretary or clerk will be responsible for compiling and managing the records for the church, including but not limited to minutes for church meetings, membership records, and important legal records for the church.

  3. MINISTERS. Ministers will assist in meeting spiritual needs of the membership. See Article VI.


ARTICLE VI. CLERGY FORMATION AND ORDINATION

To meet the spiritual needs of our church and community, the church reserves the right to set aside members for leadership in the church through the rite of ordination, as well as to accept ministers with existing ordination credentials into the ordained ministry of its community. The church recognizes the historic Christian offices of elder or presbyter and deacon.

Section 1. Ministry formation

Formation for ministry candidates will follow a process approved of by a ¾ vote of the congregation. As a part of this process, the congregation will be free to grant elder candidates a one-year temporary licensure for ministry to assess their skills and calling to ministry or to have such candidates serve as deacon to assess their skills and calling for ministry.

Section 2. Elders or presbyters

An elder or presbyter is a person authorized to pastoral leadership in the church. Ordination or acceptance as an elder grants the person ordained or accepted into ministry the right and responsibility to lead in the sacraments, perform marriages, anoint the sick, preach in the church, perform funerals, and all other sacerdotal functions of Christian leadership. Traditionally elders are called “pastors”; however, the Bible describes elders fulfilling the roles of evangelist, pastor, Bible teacher, apostle (ie missionary/church-planter), bishop or overseer, and prophetic minister. Although pastors will be elders, the congregation will have freedom to ordain elders called to each of these ministries.

The ordination of an elder or acceptance as an elder will require a nomination by any member of the church to the congregation in a congregational business meeting of the church and a ¾ vote on said nomination by the gathered membership. Upon approval, the elder shall receive a certificate of ordination for ministry as an elder and take part in a ceremony of ordination or acceptance of credentials led by (an) approved representative(s) of the church approved by congregational vote.

Setting aside an elder for a specific ministry role (such as pastor, youth pastor, et al) shall follow the same process as ordination to the role of deacon: ie, requiring a nomination to church membership and ¾ vote by gathered congregational meeting. Such roles shall be annually confirmed by a ¾ vote of the church membership, as shall all changes to roles of elders in the church.

Section 3. Deacons

Deacons are ministry leaders overseeing key ministries of the church and assisting the elders in providing pastoral care for the congregation. Deacon candidates must be nominated by any church member. Deacons are licensed for ministry for a one-year term and given the authority to oversee a set ministry, to assist in the pastoral care of congregation on the pastoral care team, and assist in all sacerdotal functions of the church under the leadership of the elders. Once someone is nominated to become a deacon, the congregation will vote upon whether to accept said nomination. Such a vote requires a ¾ vote of the members.

Unlike the ordination certification of an elder or presbyter, the license to serve as a deacon must be renewed annually. If a person chooses to stay on as a deacon, each year that person must state such preference to the congregation and they will vote on whether to accept or reject that person's continued offer of diaconal ministry by a ¾ vote. If the deacon steps down or is not elected to an additional year of diaconal ministry, either a person must be nominated to fill said vacancy or the congregation must vote to close that diaconal position.

Upon election to be a deacon, a person will receive a one-year license to pastoral ministry and take part in a laying on of hands service officiated by (an) approved representative(s) of the church.


ARTICLE VII. Our Faith and Freedom

Section 1. Our Faith

(Although we join mainstream Christianity in affirming the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, as well as the historic confessions of the Christian faith, we choose the following statement of faith as best expressing our focus as a church:)


We are not alone, we live in God's world.


We believe in God:


who has created and is creating,


who has come in Jesus,


the Word made flesh,


to reconcile and make new,


who works in us and others by the Spirit.


We trust in God.


We are called to be the Church:


to celebrate God's presence,


to love and serve others,


to seek justice and resist evil,


to proclaim Jesus,


crucified and risen,


our judge and our hope.


In life, in death, in life beyond death,


God is with us.


We are not alone. Thanks be to God.


Section 2. The Four Freedoms.

We join churches in the free church tradition in upholding the following freedoms:

  • Soul freedom: Your soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body

  • Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government, civilian, or outside religious authority (subject only to the law where it does not interfere with the religious teachings and practices of the church)

  • Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual

  • Religious freedom: the individual is free to choose whether to practice their religion, another religion, or no religion; Separation of church and state is often called the "civil corollary" of religious freedom


ARTICLE VIII. DISOLUTION

For the church to dissolve, all remaining members must vote at a general church business meeting to close the church by a ¾ vote to close the church. At said meeting, members most vote as to where all remaining properties will be distributed, and approve disbursement of funds and property by a ¾ vote.


ARTICLE IX. AMMENDMENTS

Amendments to these bylaws require a ¾ vote of the membership at a called congregational meeting.

 

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