The Constitution by hcj


									                                       The Constitution
                            of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church
                                      Kitchener, Ontario
                      as adopted by the Congregation on month day, year

                                     HISTORICAL NOTE

This is Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church’s fourth revision of its Constitution. This present
revision builds on the founding Constitution adopted by the congregation on October 3, 1924, as
well as the revision of January 4, 1954, and November 30, 1986 (including amendments in 1987
and 1989). A fuller history of the life and ministry of the congregation can be found in the
publications, Risk and Endurance: A History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church and Of Such
Is The Kingdom: A Pictorial History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. As a congregation,
our prayer is that this Constitution will help us to build on a strong tradition of creative and
innovative congregational ministry and is dedicated to those who, having faithfully responded to
Christ’s call, continue to inspire us to extend the peace of Christ to our world.


Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church is an Anabaptist/Mennonite congregation that seeks to
actively align itself with God’s mission in the world. The congregational commitments and
organizational structure in this constitution are intended to support the ministry and mission of
the Congregation. They serve the faith community by providing a framework within which
ministry is engaged, discernment can be embraced, leadership can be exercised with freedom as
well as accountability, and the Congregation is enabled to be a good steward of its property and
finances. These foundational structures and understandings enable congregational life and
ministry and are intended to support the Congregation’s commitment to align itself with the
activity of God’s Spirit in our midst and in the world.

                                          I. IDENTITY

The name of the congregation shall be Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. Worship gatherings
and congregational administration will be conducted primarily from the church premises located
at 57 Stirling Avenue North, in the city of Kitchener, in the province of Ontario. For the purposes
of this constitution, Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church will hereafter also be referred to as the

                                       II. AFFILIATION

Founded in 1924, Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church is an historic peace church that is affiliated
regionally with Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and nationally with Mennonite Church
Canada. In addition, the Congregation also maintains affiliation with other Mennonite bodies
such as Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite World Conference. The congregation
embraces these affiliated bodies as ministry partners and enjoys a covenant relationship with
them that is characterized by mutual support and accountability.

The Constitution of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church                                    Page 1 of 5
Kitchener, Ontario
                                         III. PURPOSE

Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church is:

“A congregation nurturing households of faith, joyfully responding to God through worship,
spirituality and prayer, learning the faith, caring relationships, and living justly and peacefully.”

The following ministry commitments reflect the core mission of the Congregation:

1. Worship & Ritual
Our community of faith responds joyfully to God’s goodness and grace through acts of
congregational and household worship. Scripture, music, prayer, rituals, proclamation, and faith
sharing are the ways we respond to God’s presence in our lives, are nurtured by God’s love, and
are equipped for ministry.

2. Spirituality & Prayer
As a congregation, we support personal and corporate spiritual formation by encouraging active
participation in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, scripture reading, and generosity.
Congregational and household resources will be devoted to helping individuals lead a reflective
and prayerful life so that we might be shaped by the power of the Holy Spirit and formed in the
image of Christ.

3. Learning the Faith
In order to understand the significance of faith for ourselves and our world, we will use
congregational and household resources to provide opportunities for all ages to learn the
essentials of Christian faith and belief. Through intergenerational relationships, age appropriate
learning, and creative educational resources, we are committed to learning the scriptures and the
meaning of Christian faith in a Mennonite perspective.

4. Caring Relationships
Seeking to reflect God’s hospitality, acceptance, and supportive love, we will facilitate and
nurture caring relationships within the individual household and the larger congregation. We
commit ourselves to developing caring relationships that will form a community of grace,
nurture, and support for persons of all ages and provide a welcoming home for people new to our

5. Living Justly & Peacefully
Responding to the call to live in right relationship with God, the earth, our neighbour, and each
other, we will strive to embody God’s reconciling love in our congregation and our households.
We commit ourselves to actively witness in our community and our world to God’s concern for
restored relationships, peace, and justice. As agents of God’s reconciling love, we invite others to
embrace God’s way for the world and to share in the ministry of Christ that seeks to make all
things new.

The Constitution of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church                                      Page 2 of 5
Kitchener, Ontario
                                  IV. FAITH & PRACTICE

Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church acknowledges the current confession of the larger Mennonite
Church as reflected in Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (Herald Press, 1995). The
Congregation utilizes this confession as its primary orientation and guide for the understanding
of its faith, theology, and Christian practice and ordinances.

In reference to understanding congregational and denominational polity and the role and practice
of ministerial leadership, the Congregation is guided by A Mennonite Polity for Ministerial
Leadership (Herald Press, 1996).

In addition, the Congregation is also guided in its ministry by the vision statements and ethical
covenants of its denominational partners in ministry, as well as by its own congregational vision
statement and Congregational Covenants. Covenants that are adopted by the Congregation are
intended to provide clarity, support, and guidance for specific issues of congregational life and
practice and are intended to enrich the life and ministry of the faith community.

                                       V. MEMBERSHIP

1. Basis of Membership
Membership in Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church is based on a covenant relationship between
members that is first rooted in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Individually members
are united in a covenant relationship with Christ, which in turn unites them in a common bond as
members of the body of Christ. As participants in the body of Christ, members are mutually
accountable to each other and to the Congregation, and resolve to share in the congregational
mission of representing the presence of Christ within the Congregation and the world.

2. Admission of Members
Anyone may be received into membership by the Congregation who has been baptized, gives
evidence of Christian character, is willing to be guided by the confessions of faith embraced by
the Congregation and by its Congregational Covenants, and has made a mature, public
confession of faith. Previously baptized persons may be admitted from another congregation or
denomination upon confession of faith. Where possible, a letter of recommendation from the
sending congregation may be presented.

3. Responsibilities of Members
a) The covenant of membership indicates an individual’s willingness to actively participate in
   the life and ministry of the Congregation. Members resolve to follow Christ in all of life, and
   to participate where possible in public worship, study, faith formation. Members also make a
   commitment to support the ministry and mission of the Congregation with their prayers and
   with their gifts of time, talents and financial resources.

The Constitution of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church                                   Page 3 of 5
Kitchener, Ontario
b) The covenant relationship to Christ and to the Church is understood as the primary
   commitment of a member. It shall not be compromised by participation in organizations
   whose mission and values contradict those of the Church or by demands of the state that are
   inconsistent with the gospel.

c) Members resolve to live at peace with each other and are committed to Christ’s way of non-
   violence in all their relationships within and outside the Congregation. When conflict is
   experienced, members resolve to deal with it directly and in accordance with biblical
   principles so that the conflict has the potential to enrich rather than diminish their
   relationship with others or with the Congregation. Where possible, members are encouraged
   to settle their differences among themselves or with others without recourse to lawsuits.

d) Members commit themselves to actively engage in faith formation outside of public
   congregational life, to take time for faith formation in their personal households, and to pay
   special attention to the formation of faith in those dependents who are under their care.

4. Privileges of Members
Any member who has been received into the covenanted faith community of Stirling Avenue
Mennonite Church is referred to as a “Covenanted Member” and is eligible for membership in
Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Incorporated, a legal entity established by the Congregation
to oversee its institutional life. In addition to their Covenanted Member status, members may
also choose to receive the rights and privileges of being an “Incorporated Member.”

5. Termination of Membership
a) Membership in the Congregation will be terminated upon the written request of an
   individual. A letter requesting withdrawal of membership should be addressed to the
   Congregation and forwarded to the office of the Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church.

b) If, after a twelve-month period of inactivity, a member of the Congregation continues to
   remain inactive, the Congregation will contact such member at their last known address to
   inquire about that member’s intentions regarding continued membership. If such member
   continues to remain inactive without cause for the period of an additional twelve months,
   Church Council, at its discretion and after a unanimous resolution, may remove such member
   from congregational membership and will report its actions to the Congregation.

c) If any member of the Congregation, by un-Christian conduct, brings shame and reproach
   upon the name of Christ and the Church, the same shall be kindly corrected by the minister,
   and if necessary, by minister and deacons together. If after such correction, and after due
   opportunity has been given the member to make representation before the Church Council,
   the member still remains impenitent, such member may be dismissed from the Congregation
   by a resolution of Church Council that is confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote of the
   Congregation at a meeting called for that purpose.

The Constitution of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church                                  Page 4 of 5
Kitchener, Ontario
                                     VI. ORGANIZATION

Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Incorporated is a legal entity established by Stirling Avenue
Mennonite Church to be its servant in all matters related to the mission. The ministry of the
Congregation shall be administered by the Church Council under the governance mandate of By-
law #1 of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Incorporated, which provides for the management
of the Congregation’s organizational structure, legal affairs, and its property and assets. All
meetings, notices of meeting, quorums and resolutions of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church
shall be conducted according to the same provisions as those mandated under By-law #1 for
Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church Incorporated.

                                     VII. AMENDMENTS

This Constitution may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the Congregation called
by Church Council for that purpose. Notice of the proposed amendment shall be given at two
consecutive regular morning services of the Church. Two-thirds of the votes cast by a quorum of
covenanted members shall be required to pass an amendment.

The Constitution of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church                                Page 5 of 5
Kitchener, Ontario

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