(1.1) The organisation hereby constituted will be called the Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church in English, De Goede Hoop Metropolitaanse Gemeenskapskerk in Afrikaans and ICAWA ZOLUNTU YENQILA YASEKAPA in Xhosa, known as Good Hope MCC.
(1.2) Its shortened name will be GHMCC (hereby referred to as the organisation or the church).
(1.3) Body corporate
The church shall:
- Exist in its own right, separately from its members;
- Continue to exist even when its membership changes and there are different office bearers;
- Be able to own property and other possessions;
- Be able to sue and be sued in its own name.
The Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church is a theologically progressive and inclusive spiritual community founded on the principles of Jesus Christ that celebrates diversity in a safe environment. We commit our hearts and dedicate our lives to this purpose.
Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church moves in the mainstream of Christianity and is founded in the interest of offering a spiritual home to all.
Our purpose is to spread the love of God in an affirmative and inclusive manner to all people of our community and beyond regardless of gender, race, language, culture or sexual orientation.
We strive to serve God among those who are seeking and celebrating the integration of their spiritually and sexuality. Also to restore their faith and love in God and to affirm their desire to be faithful to God as Parent, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit while true to their own sexual orientation.
It is our mission to have a real and urgent place in our society and to speak out against any injustices in our community.
It is our mission to be a haven of hope where there is love, care and understanding and to encourage and instruct those who offer themselves to the teaching and philosophy accepted by this church.
3. Value System
Our fundamental belief is:
We proclaim to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, to love and respect ourselves and in turn others.
And supporting beliefs are:
- While remaining respectful of its history, Good Hope MCC aspires to move with the times within a modern society.
- Every person in the church has been blessed with unique gifts and talents. We are called to use these for the benefit of the community and in so doing fulfill God's purpose.
Our responsibilities thus are to:
Share our blessings with one another
Display our faith without shame
Stand up for our beliefs
Work towards the expansions of God's realm
Be joyful in realm of God
To be of service to God and all God's people
To facilitate personal, spiritual growth and life-skills of all individuals
Proclamation of intent:
The Church and the Congregation will:
- listen to and respect every opinion
- take a stand against injustice and that directly affects the fundamental beliefs of our community
- provide guidance if not able to fulfill a need directly
- welcome everybody in the Church
- not condone bad or unbecoming conduct (see SOP's)
- promote healthy relationships
- not dictate spiritual beliefs or dogma, but rather facilitate and provide support with individual spiritual growth
(4.1) This church is a member congregation of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC); ascribes to the government, doctrinie, vision, mission and values of UFMCC; and agrees to abide by the UFMCC Bylaws made by the General Conference.
(4.2) The Universal Fellowship of Metropoitan Community Churches is designated to receive the churchs property in the event of dissolution or abandonment of the church.
(4.3) A decision to disaffililate from the UFMCC shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at a Congregational Meeting called for the purpose of disaffiliating.
5. Income and property
(5.1) The church will keep a record of everything it owns.
(5.2) The church may not give any of its money or property to its members or office bearers. The only time it can do this is
- when the church pays for work that a member or office bearer has done for the church. The payment must be a reasonable amount for the work that has been done and contractually agreed.
- when the church grants a donation to one of its members for humanitarian reasons, e. g. contributes towards medication for a distressed member
- the church contributes towards education of one of its members in order to enrich the ministries, e. g. for a counselling course.
(5.3) A member or office bearer can only get money back from the church for expenses that the person has paid for or on behalf of the church.
(5.4) Members or office bearers of the church do not have rights over things that belong to the church.
6. Members and Friends
(6.1.1) Criteria for membership
Any Christian who has completed a membership class may become a member by participating in the Rite of Membership. A member in good standing is a member who registers his/her attendance, provides identifiable financial support, makes a definite service contribution, and demonstrates interest and loyalty.
(6.1.2) Membership List
The list of members in good standing shall be maintained by the Secretary of the Church, who shall report changes monthly to the Church Council.
(6.1.3) Membership Review
The Church Council shall review the membership list in the month of February every year.
a) A member who does not have registered attendance, identified financial support, definite service contribution, and demonstrated interest and loyalty within the preceding period of six (6) months to one (1) year may be removed from the list of members in good standing and placed on a list of inactive members.
b) The Church Council shall notify this member in writing that the member has been placed on a list of inactive members and is not eligible to vote at any business meeting of the church.
c) If the inactive member has not attended, provided identifiable financial support, and demonstrated further interest or loyalty for a period of two (2) months immediately following notification, the Church Council shall have the authority, at its discretion, to drop any such member from the local church membership roll.
d) The inactive member may be restored to the list of members in good standing by a vote of the Church Council without a public reception into membership.
e) The inactive member who is not restored during the period of two (2) months immediately following notification shall be considered a former member.
f) A former member may be restored to the list of members in good standing after completing a membership class and participating in the Rite of Membership.
(6.1.4) Right to appeal
A decision by the Church Council to drop an inactive member from the local membership roll may be appealed by the inactive member to the next regular congregational meeting or a special congregational meeting called for that purpose. The decision of the congregational meeting is final. Pending the outcome of the appeal, the inactive member is not eligible to vote at any business meeting of the church.
a) The request for an appeal shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Church Council within thirty (30) days following the date when the inactive member was dropped from the local church membership roll.
b) The Church Council may consider the appeal and reverse its earlier decision without taking the matter to the congregational meeting.
c) Should the Church Council sustain its earlier decision and the inactive member wishes the appeal to continue, the request shall be included as an agenda item for the next regular congregational meeting or a special congregational meeting called for the purpose of considering the appeal.
(6.2) Friends of the Church
(6.2.1) A person who, for one reason or another, feels unable to become a member but who supports the goals of the church and wants to be a part of the work of the church may be designated as a Friend of the Church
(6.2.2) The list of friends of the church shall be maintained by the Secretary of the Church Council.
(6.2.3) Friends of the church may serve on appointed committees and may participate in all activities of the church. Friends may not vote at congregational meetings or serve on the church council. Friends shall not be considered in determining the number of Lay Delegates to UFMCC conferences.
(6.3) Discipline of Members and Friends
(6.3.1) This church cannot condone disloyalty or unbecoming conduct on the part of any member or friend. The church council is empowered to remove by majority vote any member or friend or take appropriate disciplinarily action.
(6.3.2) The action of the church council may be appealed to the next regular congregational meeting or a special congregational meeting called for that purpose. The decision of the congregational meeting is final. Pending the outcome of the appeal of discipline the disciplined member or friend shall remain under discipline and shall retain the right to vote at regular and special congregational meetings, including the congregational meeting held to consider the appeal.
a) The request for an appeal shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Church Council within thirty (30) days following the date when the member or friend was disciplined.
b) The Church Council may consider the appeal and reverse its earlier decision without taking the matter to the congregational meeting.
c) Should the Church Council sustain its earlier decision and the member or friend wishes the appeal to continue, the request shall be included as an agenda item for the next regular congregational meeting or a special congregational meeting called for the purpose of considering the appeal.
7. Congregational Meetings
(7.1) Government of the church is vested in its congregational meeting, which exerts the right to control of its affairs.
(7.2) An annual congregational meeting shall be held each year in the month of April. The time and place of the annual congregational meeting shall be determined by the church council.
(7.3) The church council shall notify members through congregational channels at least two weeks in advance.
(7.4) Each member in good standing has the right to vote. Proxy or any other form of absentee voting shall not be allowed.
(7.5) Decisions, including elections, requires approval by a vote of more than fifty percent (50 %) of those members present and voting, unless otherwise required by UFMCC Bylaws or this constitution.
(7.6) In order to transact business, no less than twenty percent (20 %) of the members in good standing must be present.
(7.7) The agenda for congregational meetings shall be determined by the church council. The agenda shall include, but not limited to,
a) agreement to the items to be discussed on the agenda
b) confirmation of the previous minutes with matters arising
c) election of members to the church council
d) election of lay delegates,
e) presentation of financial report
f) approval of budget
g) receiving reports from the church council and the pastor.
Members may request the church council to add agenda items by submitting additional agenda items to the secretary no later than one (1) week prior to the meeting.
(7.8) All votes for positions shall be taken by secret ballot. Votes of affirmation from the floor are not permitted.
(7.9) Special congregational meetings
(7.9.1) In addition to the annual congregational meeting, special congregational meetings may also be held. Special congregational meetings are governed by the same rules as those pertaining to the annual congregational meetings.
(7.9.2) A special congregational meeting may be called either by
a) majority vote of the church council
b) the pastor
c) a petition signed by at least twenty-five percent (25 %) of the members in good standing and submitted to the secretary.
(7.9.3) The nature and purpose of the special congregational meeting shall be stated in the petition and in notices and be written into the agenda.
8. Church Council
(8.1) The local church administrative body shall be the church council, which is authorised to provide administrative leadership for Good Hope MCC. All powers not delegated by this constitution is reserved to the Church Council subject to veto by a congregational meeting.
(8.2) The Church Council shall be responsible for providing the church with a set of Bylaws, which are subject to approval by a Congregational Meeting.
(8.3) The Church Council shall also have charge of all matters pertaining to the documents of legal organisation and incorporation or registration, church property, risk management, and physical and financial affairs of the church. The church council shall be responsible for collecting and disbursing funds, keeping adequate church records, and making timely reports to the congregation and UFMCC.
(8.4) Members of the church council must be members in good standing of Good Hope MCC. More than one person from a household, family, or committed relationship; someone who is a church employee; or someone who is a Clergy Candidate shall not be eligible to serve on the church council.
(8.5.1) There shall be seven members, including the pastor, serving as the Church Council:
a) The Chairperson
The pastor of the church shall be the chairperson of the church council.
b) The Vice Chairperson
To provide spiritual and administrative support to the chairperson, to assume appropriately defined role in absence of the chairperson of the church council, to ensure that the policies and the vision of the church through the church council is maintained.
c) The Secretary
The secretary is the administrative officer of the church.
d) The Treasurer
The treasurer is the custodian of the finances of the church/
e) Three members without pre-defined portfolio
(8.5.2) Should the church not have a pastor, the council shall consist of six members with a member of the laity assuming the role of chairperson. The secretary and the treasurer assume responsibility for the position of the Vice Chairperson.
(8.6) The term of office for members of the church council, except the pastor, shall be
a) two years for the vice chairperson, the secretary and the treasurer
b) one year for the council members without pre-defined portfolio
(8.7) Council Meetings
(8.7.1) The church council shall meet at least once a month no fewer than ten (10) times a year. Except for executive sessions, meetings shall be open to the congregation and to the public to attend as observers without voice and vote.
(8.7.2) The church council shall meet at least once a month no fewer than ten (10) times a year. Except for executive sessions, meetings shall be open to the congregation and to the public to attend as observers without voice and vote.
(8.7.3) The chairperson, or two members of the church council, can call for a special meeting. The agenda of the special meeting together with the meeting date has to be presented to the rest of the council with a minimum of 8 days prior to the meeting.
(8.7.4) The chairperson shall act as the chairperson of the church council meetings. Should the chairperson not being able to attend the meetings, the members of the church council will choose a chairperson for the council meeting out of their midst at the beginning of the council meeting.
(8.8) The church council may appoint for specific tasks additional members with voice, but without vote.
(8.9) The official officers of the church are chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer.
(8.10) In order to transact business, no less than a majority of the members of the church council must be present.
(8.11) All meetings of the church council are minuted. A copy of the minutes shall become part of the permanent church records, which must be kept safely and always be on hand for members to consult.
(8.12) The members of the church council shall be elected at a congregational meeting.
(8.13) In the event of a vacancy on the church council, the church council may appoint a qualified member to fill the vacancy until the next congregational meeting, where an election shall be held to fill the unexpired term.
(8.14.1) The church cannot condone disloyalty, unbecoming conduct, or dereliction of duty on the part of any members of the church council. Therefore, the church council may remove by a majority vote of the full church council any of its members guilty of the above, with the exception of the pastor, who must be disciplined in accordance with the UFMCC Bylaws. A petition submitted to the Secretary and signed by twenty-five percent (25 %) of the members in good standing may also initiate such a procedure.
(8.14.2) A disciplined member of the church council may appeal the action to the congregation at its next regular congregational meeting or at a special congregational meeting which may be called for this purpose. The decision of the congregational meeting is final. Until the congregational meeting to consider the appeal, the position held by the disciplined member of the church council shall be considered vacant.
(8.15) No director or officer of the church shall be liable for any act or failure to act by any other director or officer of the church or by any employee of the church. No director or officer of the church shall be liable for any loss arising from any fault in the title to any property acquired by the church. No director or officer of the church shall be liable for any loss arising from any fault in any security in which the church might invest, or from bankruptcy, insolvency, or wrongful act by any person to whom the Church might entrust any of its property. No director or officer of the church shall be liable for any loss due to error of judgment or oversight on his/her part, or for any other loss whatsoever occurring in the carrying out of the duties of his/her office, unless this loss arises from the directors or officers own wilful neglect or fraudulent or criminal actions.
(8.16) The church shall protect every director and officer of the church against all costs arising in relation to his/her relations with the church, unless they are occasioned by his/her own wilful neglect or fraudulent or criminal actions.
(9.1) The Pastor is the UFMCC clergy person with a license to practice who has been called by God and elected by the church to be responsible for the duties of teacher, preacher, and spiritual leader until such time that the relationship is terminated. The Pastor shall also fulfill such other roles and responsibilities as are stated in the UFMCC Bylaws and the policies of the church.
(9.2) In the event that a UFMCC clergy person is not available to serve as pastor, the church council may request the regional Elder to appoint an Interim Pastoral Leader, who shall be subject to a background check. The term of office of the Interim Pastoral Leader shall be one (1) year. If the Interim Pastoral Leader is a Member of GHMCC, then the Interim Pastoral Leader shall have the authority to fulfill all of the roles and responsibilities of Pastor. If the Interim Pastoral Leader is not a Member of GHMCC, then the Interim Pastoral Leader shall have the authority to fulfill all of the roles and responsibilities of Pastor, except that the Interim Pastoral Leader shall serve as chairperson of the church council and Congregational Meetings, with voice but no vote.
(9.3) The Pastor shall have authority for ordering all worship services of the church and determine when other worship services will be held. The pastor is the spiritual head and protector of the church.
(9.4) The Church Council and Pastor shall develop a covenant between the pastor and the church. The covenant shall include a job description and address such matters as compensation that is consistent with equitable local standards, benefits, allowances, and leave. All provisions of the covenant shall be subordinate to the Bylaws of the UFMCC.
(9.5) To the best of its ability, the congregation shall fund the Pastors transportation, registration, and per diem at General and Regional Conferences.
(9.6) Pastoral Search Committee
(9.6.1) In the event of a vacancy in the position of Pastor, a Pastoral Search Committee shall be responsible for presenting a qualified candidate for election at a Congregational Meeting. The Pastoral Search Committee shall develop and implement the pastoral search process, in consultation with the Regional Elder.
(9.6.2) The Pastoral Search Committee shall consist of six people, elected at a congregational meeting.
(9.6.3) In order to be elected as pastor of Good Hope MCC the candidate presented by the Pastoral Search Committee must receive more than seventy percent (70 %) of the votes cast during a congregational meeting.
(9.7) The pastor and congregation may choose at any time to terminate their relationship through mutual agreement. Unilateral failure to renew the pastors contract shall not constitute removal of the pastor from office. No petition for removal of the pastor passed on irreconcilable differences is valid unless preceded by the process of conflict resolution, as referred to in Article 9.
10. Conflict Resolution
(10.1) When there are conflicts or difficulty within the church that cannot be resolved, including conflicts between the Pastor and congregation, the church council, the pastor, or a petition signed by a minimum of thirty-three percent (33 %) of the members in good standing may invite the intervention by the Regional Elder to resolve the conflict, in accordance with UFMCC Bylaws.
(10.2) Removing the pastor from Office
(10.2.1) The church shall follow the process as outlined in the UFMCC Bylaws for removing the pastor from office for disloyalty, unbecoming conduct, dereliction of duty, or when irreconcilable differences arise that cannot be resolved through mutual agreement.
(10.2.2) Any petition to indicate the process of removing the pastor from office must be submitted to the Secretary of the Church Council and be signed by at least twenty-five percent (25 %) of the members in good standing.
(10.2.3) The Church Council may initiate the process of removing the pastor from the office by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the full Church Council.
(10.2.4) The Secretary of the Church Council shall send a copy of the completed petition or motion of the Church Council to the Regional Elder within tree (3) days.
(10.2.5) The Pastor shall remain fully compensated until the final action of the congregation.
(11.1) An accounting officer shall be appointed at the annual congregational meeting. His or her duty is to audit and check the finances of the organization.
(11.2) The treasurers job is to control the day to day finances of the church. The treasurer shall arrange for all funds except a reasonable amount of petty cash to be put into a bank account in the name of the church. The treasurer must also keep proper records of all the finances.
(11.3) Any church bank or other financial accounts shall require two signatures for withdrawals.
(11.4) The financial year of the church ends on the last day of February in each year.
(11.5) Should the church be registered as a Nonprofit Organisation in terms of the Nonprofit Organsations Act, 1997 (NPO Act No. 71 of 1997), the churchs accounting records and reports must be ready and handed to the Director of Nonprofit Organisations at the Department of Social Development within six months after the financial year end.
(11.6) If the church has funds that can be invested, the funds may only be invested with registered financial institutions as listed in Section 1 of the Financial Institutions (Investment of Funds) Act, 1984. Or the church can get securities that are listed on a licensed stock exchanges as set out in the Stock Exchange Control Act, 1985. The church can go to different banks to seek advise on the best way to look after its funds.
12. Changes and adoption to the constitution
(12.1) This constitution can be changed by a resolution. The resolution has to agreed upon and passed by not less than two thirds of the members in good standing who are at the annual congregational meeting or special congregational meeting. Members must vote at this meeting to change the constitution.
(12.2) This constitution shall become effective immediately upon adoption by the congregational meeting. Any former constitutions for the church are replaced by this constitution.
(13.1) The church may close down if at least two-thirds of the members in good standing present and voting at a congregational meeting convened for the purpose of considering such matter, are in favour of closing down.
(13.2) If the church closes down it has to pay off all its debts. After doing this, if there is property or money left over it should not be paid or given to members of the church. The denomination of Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, is designated to receive the churchs property or money should the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches meet the standards as set out by the Department of Social Development of the Republic of South Africa in the event of dissolution or abandonment of the church. Should the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches not meet the requirements as set out by the Department of Social Development, a Congregational Meeting shall give all remaining assets of the church to another non profit organisation that has similar objectives.
This constitution was voted for and is in place since the Congregational Meeting on 21 August 2005 and amended by a Congregational Meeting on 14 October 2007.