Constitution and By-Laws

Arena Congregational Church
383 Oak St
Arena, Wisconsin, 53503

Telephone: 608.753.2242

Article I: Name Article VII: Meetings
Article II: Object Article VIII: The Pastor
Article III: Government and Fellowship Article IX: Officers, Boards, and Committees
Article IV: Confession of Faith and Covenant Article X: Organizations
Article V: Membership Article XI: Authority and Amendments
Article VI: Worship and Offerings

Article I
(Name)

The name of this church shall be the "Arena Congregational Church" of Arena, Wisconsin, Iowa County.

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Article II
(Object)

The object of this church shall be to develop in men and women, a consciousness of their relationship with and their duties to God and their fellow men, to maintain the worship of God, to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to enlist men as His disciples, to instruct them in His way of life, to inspire them with a love of truth, a passion for righteousness, and an enthusiasm for service.

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Article III
(Government & Fellowship)

The government of this church is vested in its members who exercise the right of control in all of its affairs. While this church is accountable to God alone and no other ecclesiastical body, it will hold itself in fellowship and communion with all Christian churches in reciprocal respect.

This church was founded and organized on Oak Street in the village of Arena, Iowa County, in the State of Wisconsin, on November 11, 1863.

This church was incorporated on August 26, 1948 in Iowa County, in the state of Wisconsin.

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Article IV
(Confession of Faith & Covenant)

We adopt the following principles as an expression of our faith and doctrinal attitude:

  1. The Holy Bible is our only rule of faith and practice, with the right of interpretation by the individual conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only Head of the church and our only Savior.
  3. The Christian Life is communion with God and fellowship in the body of Christ, the Church.
  4. The following is our Church covenant adopted May 5, 2002

We are banded together as a Congregational Christian Church to maintain the worship of God, to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to develop in men and women a consciousness of our relations and duties to God and our fellow men and women; and to inspire each other with love for redeeming truth, a passion for righteousness, and an enthusiasm for service. To this end we publicly pledge our personal loyalty to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and we covenant with God and with one another that we will strive to express his spirit in our lives, both as individual believers and as a church; to live together as Christian friends and to submit ourselves to the government of this church; always working for its progress, giving liberally of our means for its support, and praying for its increase in efficiency, its purity in life and purpose, its peace and fellowship in service, and seeking in every way to make it an influence for the building up of the kingdom of God.

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Article V
(Membership)

Section 1.

The members of this church shall be persons who have been received by the majority vote of members in attendance of the church through recommendation by the Pastor and Governing Board and by confession of faith as follows: (Follow this link to the Liturgy for New Members)

  1. Baptism and Confession of Faith
  2. Reaffirmation of Faith
  3. Letter of Transfer
  4. Confirmation
  5. Restoration

Any person whose membership has been terminated may be restored to full and active membership by reaffirmation of faith and by a majority vote of the members present of the congregation at a duly called meeting for that purpose.

All perspective members shall receive the outlined instructional lessons concerning Congregationalism and basic Biblical teachings prior to church membership.

Members shall be received at a meeting as determined by the Pastor and Governing Board.

Section 2. Christian duty:

We believe as Christians we are expected to walk in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and Holiness, to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrine, to contribute systematically to the support of this ministry and its expenses, to faithfully uphold this church before God in our prayers; and to spread the Gospel to all nations to the best of our ability.

Section 3. Termination:

  1. By letter of withdrawal:

Members in good standing may on their own request and by the vote of the Governing Board:

  1. Be granted a letter of transfer to any particular Christian Church
  2. Be released from membership after due conference and deliberation
  1. By inactivity:

Inactivity is defined to include the following:

  1. Failure to attend regular services
  2. Failure to support activities of the church
  3. Failure to give financial support to the church if able to do so

If a resident member has been inactive for one year and shows no just cause for neglecting his duties and after periodic visits by the Pastor and/or members of the Governing Board and is unwilling to renew his active connection with this church his name may be transferred to a retired membership roll by a majority vote of the Governing Board.

Prior to this action the Governing Board shall notify the member of the action in writing. Upon placement on the inactive list all rights and privileges shall be terminated such as voting privileges and usage of the facilities without charge with the final determination to be made by the Governing Board.

  1. By Exclusion:

Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by immoral or anti--Christian conduct and persist unrepentant to brotherly counsel by the Pastor, such a member will be subject to a just hearing and after two-thirds vote of the members present of a duly called meeting may be censured, suspended, or excluded from membership. This severe action is taken only after faithful efforts for reconciliation have been made in accordance with the laws of Christ. (Matthew 18:15--17)

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Article VI
(Worship & Offerings)

Section 1. Worship.

Services of worship shall be held at given hours each Sunday except when temporarily suspended by vote of the church. Other services may be held as determined by the Pastor.

We believe that Jesus Christ our Lord left two (2) ordinances which are an integral part of the activity of the church.

  1. The first ordinance is Baptism or Dedication.

The sacrament of baptism or dedication for adults or infants shall ordinarily be administered in the church at such times as the Pastor or in his absence, the Governing Board appoints.

  1. The second ordinance is The Lords Supper.

We believe that all, who are believers in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, shall partake in the communion of believers at the Lords Supper to commemorate together the love of Jesus Christ. We further believe that each participant in the Lords Supper should exercise self examination before participating in this ordinance. This church shall conduct this ordinance quarterly at regular church services.

Section 2. Offerings & Special Funds.

  1. Offerings.

The church shall seek support by receiving offerings at each of its regular worship services. The current and benevolence expenses will be met in this manner. The benevolence obligation shall be sent in twelve (12) monthly installments.

  1. Special Funds.

A special fund drive will be held when funds are not available from the treasury.

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Article VII
(Meetings)

  1. Annual Meeting.

The annual business meeting shall be held during the month of January or on a date determined by the Governing Board, to hear the yearly reports of the officers, to transact business, and to set up plans for the coming year.

  1. Budget Meeting.

The budget committee shall meet in October to prepare a budget for the ensuing year. The budget shall be presented to the Governing Board in November so changes and any actions may be taken on the budget. The final budget shall be presented to the congregation two (2) Sundays prior to the annual meeting. A stewardship message or messages shall be given during the month of November.

  1. Special Meetings/Regular Services as Business Meetings.

Special meetings for business may be called by the Pastor or the Governing Board or upon request of five (5) active members of the church. In cases of necessity the regular worship services may be considered competent to transact business. Such a meeting shall be after the close of the worship service.

  1. Rules and Regulations
    1. Notice of Meetings

Public announcement must be made from the pulpit at two (2) consecutive regular Sunday services for all annual and special congregational meetings. The nature of the business to be transacted shall be stated in the call and also be stated in the Sunday bulletin.

  1. Quorum: 20% of active members
  1. Voting: Elections shall be by ballot unless suspended by majority vote of active members present. All active members present are entitled to vote.
  1. Official Year: The official year of the church shall be the calendar year and all officers shall assume their duties after election and continue in office until their successors are elected. The fiscal year shall be from January 1 to December 31.
  1. Reports: All officers of the Governing Board, Pastor and organizations shall report at the annual meeting of the church.

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Article VIII
(The Pastor)

Section 1. The Call Of The Pastor.

The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite time by a two thirds () vote of the active members present of the church at a duly called meeting for that purpose. When a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, a pulpit committee from the congregation and Governing Board shall be elected to canvas, with the assistance of the 4 Cs, available ministers for selection and consideration of the Church.

While the term of the Pastor shall be indefinite, the church may at any time, by a majority vote of members present at a meeting called for that purpose, request a resignation with the expectation that it will be presented within sixty (60) days.

On the other hand, the Pastor shall give sixty (60) days notice in case he/she wishes to leave of their own volition; but in case of loss of ministerial standing termination of the Pastor, shall be effective immediately.

Section 2. Duties Of The Pastor.

The Pastor shall have charge of the spiritual welfare of the church with the assistance of the Governing Board. The Pastor shall seek to enlist men and women as followers of Christ, preach the gospel, administer the ordinances, be responsible for all services of public worship and administer activities of the church in cooperation with the leaders of the church. He/she shall minister to the spiritual needs of the church and community by caring for the poor, the sick, the sorrowing, the indifferent and the stranger. The Pastor shall be kept informed of the activities of every organization in the church. The Pastor shall provide the proper instruction to perspective members and in particular, provide a confirmation class for the young.

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Article IX
(Officers, Board, Committees)

Section 1. Governing Board.

The representative body elected to carry on the normal business of the church shall be called the Governing Board. It shall consist of nine members of the church, elected by the congregation for a three year term, in three classes. Only one member per household may serve on the Governing Board during the same period. Vacancies on the Governing Board shall be filled by appointment by the Governing Board for the balance of that year. Remaining term to be filled by special election at the next annual meeting.

The body may be enlarged or decreased by a majority vote of members present at a duly called congregational meeting for that purpose.

A quorum shall be a simple majority of its membership. In the event of a tied vote the disputed subject will be voted on by the membership of the church at a duly called meeting for that purpose.

The Governing Board shall elect from its members a President, Vice--President, Clerk, Treasurer and a Financial Secretary who shall serve as officers of the church and Governing Board, for a term of one year and may be eligible to retain that office two (2) years in a row.

The duties and responsibilities of the officers and other appointed committees are listed in a separate handbook of job descriptions.

  1. Ex-Official members of the Governing Board.

The presidents of all church organizations and the Pastor shall be ex-official non-voting members of the Governing Board.

Section 2. Duties of the Governing Board.

It shall be the specific duty of the Governing Board to implement the Constitution, formulate the strategy and program, and exercise spiritual oversight and supervision of the church with the Pastor.

All organizations shall be under the supervision of the Governing Board, but shall normally delegate authority to the officers of these organizations.

They shall examine all applicants for membership to be reported to the church.

With the clerk, they shall annually renew the membership for discipline as provided in the constitution, and act upon removal of names from the rolls as occasion may warrant.

They shall be responsible for the preparation and administration of the Lords Supper and Baptism.

They shall constitute a memorial committee for the proper use of memorial gifts.

They shall have care and custody of the property of the church and have charge of its financial affairs. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer property without authority given by vote of the church. They shall evaluate the property of the church yearly. They shall hire church employees with the exception of the Pastor and maintain church buildings and equipment. They may appoint a member of the Governing Board to hire a caretaker and maintenance help for the church property.

They shall approve all non-budgeted expenditures.

At the annual meeting the Governing Board, through the treasurer, will report the financial condition of the church.

The President, the Clerk, and the Treasurer shall be empowered to borrow, buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer property upon being given authority by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the active members present at a duly authorized meeting of the church f or that purpose. The amount of the loan and the purpose of the loan must be so stated in the public announcement.

Permission for use of the pulpit or the church must be obtained from the Pastor and Governing Board.

Section 3. Committees Of The Church.

Any or all members of the Governing Board may serve on committees, according to the wish of the Governing Board and any member of the congregation may be enlisted to serve on any committee.

  1. Christian Education Committee.

The Sunday School Superintendent shall act as chairperson of this committee. They shall have supervision and direction of all educational work of the church, Christmas and/or other special programs or activities. They shall have the authority to appoint all teachers for the Sunday School and the Vacation Bible School. It is also their responsibility to secure suitable curriculum and materials for the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School with the assistance of the Pastor. Vacation Bible School shall be held at an appropriate time with the approval of the Pastor and the Governing Board.

  1. Spiritual Life Committee.

This committee shall be appointed by the Pastor in approval with the Governing Board and shall cooperate with the Pastor in ministering to the spiritual interest of the church and community. They shall assist in the caring for the poor, the sick, the sorrowing, the indifferent and the stranger.

  1. Ushers.
  2. The head usher shall be elected at the annual meeting. A Job description is included in a separate document of job descriptions.

  1. Nominating Committee.

Three retiring members of the Governing Board shall constitute the nominating committee. Each November this committee shall prepare nominations for members to be elected at the annual meeting of the church. The names of the nominees will be presented to the church not later than two (2) Sundays previous to the annual meeting. Nominations may be made from the floor and such names will be written in as candidates.

  1. Other Committees.

Other committees may be appointed by the church or Governing Board as needed.

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Article X
(Organizations)

All organizations connected with the church and using the facilities and equipment are regarded as integral parts of the church and under its general jurisdiction.

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Article XI
(Authority & Amendments)

This constitution shall be in full force and effective from August 26, 1990. All constitutions and by-laws previously adopted by the church are hereby revoked.

This constitution may be altered or amended by a two-thirds () majority vote of the active members present at any regular or special meeting of the church called for that purpose. The proposed amendments shall be inserted in the call of the meeting, the current amendment also shall be stated in the call.

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