27. Congregational Meetings

  1. The congregation shall consist of both communing and non-communing members of a particular church. Voting privileges shall be limited to communing members in good standing at that particular church. Any additional voting requirements and procedures are subject to the Bylaws of the particular church which must always be in accord with the Evangel Presbytery Book of Church Order.
  2. Whenever it may seem for the best interests of the church that a congregational meeting should be held, the Session shall call such meeting and give public notice two weeks in advance, and no business shall be transacted at such meeting except what is stated in the notice. The Session shall always call a congregational meeting when requested in writing to do so by one-fourth of the voting members of the church.

    Upon such a proper request, if the Session cannot act, fails to act or refuses to act, to call such a congregational meeting within thirty (30) days from the receipt of such a request, then any member or members in good standing may file a complaint in accordance with the provisions of BCO 46.

  3. A quorum of the congregational meeting shall consist of one-fourth of the voting members of the church.
  4. The Pastor shall be the Moderator of congregational meetings by virtue of his office. If it should be not feasible or inexpedient for him to preside, or if there is no Pastor, the Session shall appoint one of their number to call the meeting to order and to preside until the congregation shall elect their presiding officer, who may be a Minister of Evangel Presbytery or any male member of that particular church.
  5. A Clerk shall be elected by the congregation to serve at that meeting or for a definite period, whose duty shall be to keep correct minutes of the proceedings and of all business transacted and to preserve these minutes in a permanent form, after they have been attested by the Moderator and the Clerk of the meeting. He shall also send a copy of these minutes to the Session of the church.
  6. When a particular church is incorporated, its meetings for the transaction of the business of the corporation will be provided for in its charter and bylaws, which must always be in accord with Evangel Presbytery, and must not infringe upon the powers or duties of the Session or of the Board of Deacons.
  7. The corporation of a particular church, through its duly elected trustees or corporation officers, (or, if unincorporated, through those who are entitled to represent the particular church in matters related to real property) shall have sole title to its property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, and shall be sole owner of any equity in any real estate, or any fund or property of any kind held by or belonging to any particular church, or any board, society, committee, Sunday school class or branch thereof. The superior courts of the Church may receive monies or properties from a local church only by free and voluntary action of the latter.
  8. All particular churches shall be entitled to hold, own and enjoy their own local properties, without any right of reversion whatsoever to any Presbytery, General Assembly or any other courts hereafter created, trustees or other officers of such courts.
  9. The provisions of this BCO 27 are to be construed as a solemn covenant whereby the Church as a whole promises never to attempt to secure possession of the property of any congregation against its will, whether or not such congregation remains within or chooses to withdraw from this body. All officers and courts of the Church are hereby prohibited from making any such attempt.
  10. While a congregation consists of all the communing members of a particular church, and in matters ecclesiastical the actions of such local congregation or church shall be in conformity with the provisions of this Book of Church Order, nevertheless, in matters pertaining to the subject matters referred to in this BCO 27, including specifically the right to affiliate with or become a member of this Presbytery and the right to withdraw from or to sever any affiliation of connection with this Presbytery hereof, action may be taken by such local congregation or local church in accordance with the civil laws applicable to such local congregation or local church; and as long as such action is taken in compliance with such applicable civil laws, then such shall be the action of the local congregation or local church.

    It is expressly recognized that each local congregation or local church shall be competent to function and to take actions covering the matters set forth herein as long as such action is in compliance with the civil laws with which said local congregation or local church must comply, and this right shall never be taken from said local congregation or local church without the express consent of and affirmative action of such local church or congregation.

    Particular churches need remain in association with any court of this body only so long as they themselves so desire. The relationship is voluntary, based upon mutual love and confidence, and is in no sense to be maintained by the exercise of any force or coercion whatsoever. A particular church may withdraw from any court of this body at any time for reasons which seem to it sufficient.

  11. If a church shall be dissolved by the Presbytery, or otherwise cease to exist, and no disposition has been made of its property by those who hold the title to the property within six months after such dissolution, then those who held the title to the property at the time of such dissolution shall, if requested by the Presbytery, deliver, convey, and transfer to the Presbytery of which the church was a member, or to the authorized agents of the Presbytery, all property of the church; and the receipt and acquittance of the Presbytery, or its proper representatives, shall be a full and complete discharge of all liabilities of such persons holding the property of the church. The Presbytery receiving such property shall apply the same or the proceeds thereof at its discretion.

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