Article I: Name and Affiliation
The legal title of this organization is Fulton Congregational Church, as incorporated under chapter 187 of the laws of the State of Wisconsin, September 12, 1961. Volume 24 Records, P. 396, Rock County Court House, Janesville, Wisconsin.
Article II: Object
The object of this church shall be the public worship of God, Christian fellowship and service, and the advancement of the Kingdom of God throughout the world
Article III: Government
- This church acknowledges Jesus Christ as its head and finds in the Holy Scripture, interpreted by the Divine Spirit through reason, faith and conscience, its guidance in matters of faith and discipline.
- The government of this church is vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all its affairs, subject in legal matters to the laws of the State of Wisconsin.
Article IV: Affirmation of Faith
- The Word of God – We believe the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; I Corinthians 2:12-13; John 10:35; Hebrews 1:1-2; Mark 12:36; Acts 3:18
- The Trinity – We believe there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinctly but harmoniously in the work of creation, providence and redemption. Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:16-17; John 15:26; Hebrews 9:14; I Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; Jude 20-21; Matthew 28:19
- God the Father – We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer when offered in faith, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:26; Psalms 90:1-2; John 4:24; Psalms 99:5,9; Job 37:15; I John 4:8-16; John 3:16; Nehemiah 9:16-19,31; Proverbs 15:29; II Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 66:18; Romans 3:5-26.
- Jesus Christ – We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, one mediator, true God and true man, We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and visible return to earth. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; I Corinthians 15:1-4; II Corinthians 5:19-20, Hebrews 7:25-27; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-3; Revelations 20:4-6; John 1:14; Matthew 1:20; Philippians 2:5-11.
- Holy Spirit – We believe in the Holy Spirit who convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment, who also regenerates, sanctifies, and empowers all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, guide, and comforter. John 14:16-18; John 16:7-14; Romans 8:9,14,16,26,27; Ephesians 1:13-14; Luke 12:12; John 3:18.
- Regeneration – We believe that all men are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5; II Corinthians 5:17; I Peter 1:23; Ephesians 4:24; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10.
- The Church – We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ associated for worship, work, and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. Matthew 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-47; Romans 12:15; I Corinthians 12:10-12; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 4:3-10; Colossians 3:14-17; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 1:7-8; Luke 24:46-49.
- Christian Conduct – We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well-being of his fellow men; that his conduct should be blameless before the world; that he should refrain from unchristian activities; that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions; that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ. We believe that every Christian should practice compassion, forbearance, and patience toward his brethren in the Lord, forgiving and forgetting any wrongs done against him, refraining from all gossip and unkind criticism, and always seeking to help the weak and to correct the erring. We believe that his conduct toward all who are outside the assembly of believers should be honest and above all reproach at all times. Colossians 3:1-17; Ephesians 4; Titus 2; Hebrews 10:24-25; Isaiah 47:11-14; Leviticus 19:26,31; Leviticus 20:26-27; Deuteronomy 18:10; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15.
- The Ordinances – We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water to show forth in a solemn and meaningful emblem his faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior and his identification with Him in death to sin and resurrection to new life. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of the Lord’s death until He comes again and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. Acts 8:26-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:13-17; Colossians 2:12; I Corinthians 11:23-28; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:7-20; Matthew 26:26-30.
- Religious Liberty – We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith; that every church ought to be independent and must be free from interference by an ecclesiastical or political authority; that therefore, Church and State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from dictation or patronage of the other. Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:6; Hebrews 4:14-16; I Timothy 2:5; Acts 4:17-20; Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13-17; Matthew 22:20-21.
- Church Outreach – Our church may cooperate with other Christian fellowships, home and abroad, on a voluntary basis. Galatians 6:2,10; John 15:12; Acts 1:8.
- The Last Things – We believe in the imminent, personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to call for His own who will appear before Him, and to establish His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the bodies of all mankind, the final judgment, the eternal bliss of the righteous, and the endless suffering of the wicked. Luke 12:35-40; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-6; I Corinthians 15; I Corinthians 3:10-15; I Corinthians 5:1-11; Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 22:11-14; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-6; 22:1-5.
Article V: Membership
1) Members – The membership of this church are those persons who have been publicly welcomed into its membership and are currently listed on its membership rolls.
2) Reception of New Members – Anyone expressing interest in membership of this church will receive information concerning these four areas:
1. Constitution, 2. Theology, 3. Missions Program, and 4. Ordinances.
After receiving this information, he/she may make formal application for membership. An applicant shall meet with the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses to give a personal testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, showing they are seeking to live a moral life based on biblical truths, after which the board may make recommendation to the church for a vote by which the assembled congregation may accept the applicant for membership.
A) It shall be the policy of this church to maintain a high moral standard in the lives of its members, especially those in leadership roles, in accordance with the scriptures; yet to recognize liberty of conscience and the weakness of the flesh, so that discipline shall be exercised in love.
B) Cases requiring discipline shall be first considered by the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, and if thought necessary referred to the church for action according to Matthew 5:21-25 and 18:15-22. The primary purpose of disciplinary procedure shall be to win back the wandering one by kindness and Christian love.
C) In no case shall a member of this church be removed from membership (except at his/her own request) without a full knowledge of the charges preferred against him/her, and full opportunity for explanation or defense. A two-thirds vote of the members present shall be required to exclude a member.
4) Termination of Membership
A) Any member desirous of discontinuing church membership can be given a letter of good standing and dismissal.
B) Members whose addresses have long been unknown, or who for a period of two years, in spite of kindly approaches, have not communicated with the church or contributed to its support, may by vote of the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, be dropped from the membership rolls.
C) Should a member become an offense to the church by reason of unchristian conduct, the church on recommendation of the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, may terminate his/her membership by a two-thirds vote at a duly called church meeting; but only after due notice and hearing; and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to amendment in accordance with the law of God. Matthew 18:15-17
Article VI: Services and Meetings
1) Worship Services
A) Services of worship shall be held at given hours each Sunday, except when temporarily suspended by vote of the church; under emergency conditions the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall be empowered to cancel services.
B) The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be at such times as authorized by the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses. The baptism of believers and dedication of children shall be administered at such time as the pastor or, in his absence, the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses may appoint.
C) Other services for worship, inspiration, prayer and study, including small groups, may be held as determined by the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses.
2) Business meeting – A business meeting is a gathering (a quorum) for church business purposes.
A) Annual /Quarterly Meetings – Quarterly meetings of the church shall be held in January (annual meeting), April, July (optional) and October, as shall be determined by the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses. The purpose of the annual meeting is to conduct elections, adopt a budget and set plans for the new year. Additionally, this and other quarterly meetings are a time to hear timely reports from the pastor(s), officers, boards and committees and to transact business. All reports shall be submitted in writing.
B) Special Meetings – Special meetings for business may be called by the Pastor, the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, or the Board of Trustees. The nature of the business to be transacted shall be stated in the call, to be issued ten days previous to the meeting, if the business is of corporate nature.
3) Quorum – A quorum consists of at least 21 members.
4) Moderators – The Moderator and Vice-Moderator are members of the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, appointed to conduct all business meetings. In the absence of the Moderator, the Vice-Moderator shall perform the duties of the Moderator. In the absence of both, the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall appoint a substitute Moderator.
5) Voting – All members are entitled to vote, with exception to indebtedness and hiring or dismissing of paid personnel, which requires legal voting age under state law. Elections shall be by ballot. Business reports including financial statements of income or expenditures must be voted for approval. A plurality vote shall rule in all cases except the following which require a two-thirds vote:
A) Amendment of this constitution
B) The hiring or dismissing of a pastor
C) The buying or selling of church property
D) In rules of procedure of deliberative assemblies
6) Nominations – There shall be at least one name for each office submitted by the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses. In cases where only one name is given, at least one more nomination must be made from the floor before a vote is taken, unless a unanimous vote is cast.
7) All board meetings are open and recorded, unless a vote by that board is taken to go into private session.
8) The church shall keep a faithful record of the proceeding of the church. The church Administrative Assistant shall keep a register of the members of the church, with dates and modes of their reception and removal; also a record of baptism, funerals, confirmations and marriages. He/she shall issue letters of good standing and dismissal; preserve on file all communications and written official reports; notify all persons elected to offices and committees; give legal notice of all meetings when necessary; report to the state as required on corporate matters; and shall perform such duties as usually pertain to the office of clerk of an assembly. Minutes from all quarterly church meetings will be recorded by the D&D Board Secretary, or their appointee, and shall be submitted to the Administrative Assistant as a church record.
Article VII: Management, Duties, and Terms of Office
1) Elected positions: All officers must be members of the church. All other positions are open to both members and non-members. Officers shall serve for three year terms. All other positions shall serve for two year terms. For all elected positions, after serving a maximum of two full terms, the person is ineligible for that position for one year. Although discouraged, a person may hold more than one elected position.
2) Officers – The officers of the church are as follows:
- Pastors (not elected)
- Board of Deacons and Deaconesses
- Board of Trustees
- Sunday School Superintendent
The pastors shall teach the word of God and minister to the spiritual needs of the membership and community. Their goal is to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach a unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). The pastors, along with the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall oversee the plans and work of the church. The term of office shall begin with the pastor’s arrival and continue while it is agreeable to the pastor and the church. Either shall give three months written notice when termination of the relationship is desired unless otherwise mutually agreed. Refer to Deacon & Deaconess employment policy.
4) Board of Deacons and Deaconesses:
A) The Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall develop a spiritual plan or course for the church and its ministry, coordinate the plans and work of the church towards that vision, and communicate with the other offices, boards, and committees with respect to that vision. With the pastor, the board shall minister to the spiritual needs of the church and community, promoting their spiritual welfare. The Deacons and & Deaconesses will make recommendations to the church regarding reception of applicants to membership and termination thereof.
B) The board shall supply at least one name for each office designated in the constitution before the annual meeting. The Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall assume responsibility of filling vacancies temporarily until the following business meeting. The board shall arrange for pulpit supply in the absence of the pastor. The board shall be responsible to organize a pulpit committee in the permanent absence of a pastor. The pulpit committee shall be responsible to the congregation for its actions, findings and recommendations. The Board of Deacons and Deaconesses shall be responsible for organizing other special committees as deemed necessary by the church.
C) The board shall consist of five deacons, five deaconesses, and the pastors. For two years, four shall be elected each year. Every third year, two shall be elected. The board shall annually appoint one non-voting member to each of the boards of Trustees, Missions and Memorials, Praise and Worship, Christian Education, Board of Celebrations, and Caring Ministries. The board shall annually select a secretary, and a chairperson who shall serve as the Moderator. The board shall also appoint a Vice-Moderator, who also shall act as a liason to the Pastor. The board shall also appoint a liason to the auxiliary organizations. The board shall meet at least nine times a year.
5) Board of Trustees
The Trustees shall be responsible for the financial affairs of the church. Trustees shall oversee the care and custody of the property of the church, including the proper filing of all papers relating to such property. The board shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer property without specific authority from the church by means of a two-thirds vote of the members present at a duly called meeting. The Board of Trustees shall present an annual budget for approval at the annual meeting. The board shall consist of six elected members with the Treasurer as a non-voting advisory member and one non-voting appointee from the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses. Two trustees shall be elected annually. The Board of Trustees shall annually select its own chairperson and secretary. The board shall meet regularly at least nine times a year.
The treasurer shall receive the money of the church, keeping separate account of each fund. The treasurer shall deposit or invest the funds and pay the bills as directed by the Board of Trustees, of which he/she is a standing member. The treasurer shall make a detailed report of the receipts and expenditures for the annual meeting. Accounts shall be audited by auditors appointed by the Board of Trustees when necessary. Also: Article IX
7) Board of Christian Education
This board shall be responsible to provide a plan and vision for all Christian education of the church; and to direct the related activities towards that vision. The board shall appoint and replace teachers and AWANA leaders; and account for the funds of both the Sunday School and AWANA separately. The Board of Christian Education shall consist of the Sunday School Superintendent, AWANA Commander(s), one non-voting appointee from the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, and two elected members. One shall be elected annually. The board shall select its own chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. The board shall meet at least nine times a year.
8) Sunday School Superintendent
The superintendent shall help meet the spiritual education needs of the church through the Sunday school. The superintendent shall plan, guide, manage and direct the activities of the Sunday school. The superintendent is a standing member of the Board of Christian Education.
9) Board of Missions and Memorials
The Board of Missions and Memorials shall seek out worthy missions programs, and develop a means of contributing to those ministries. Annually, the board shall select its own chairperson and secretary whose duty it shall be to submit a written account to the Clerk of any business done for inclusion in the permanent church record. The duties include administering all funds given as memorial gifts to the church in accordance with Article IX Section 2. The board shall account for missions and memorials funds separately. The Board of Missions and Memorials shall prepare a proposed annual budget of missions and shall recommend this to the Board of Trustees for inclusion in the annual budget of the church. The Board of Missions and Memorials shall consist of one non-voting appointee from the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses and six elected members. Three, of whom, shall be elected annually.
10) Board of Celebrations
The board shall be responsible for organizing the people, the facilities, and communications needed for church sponsored events as outlined in the BOC calendar. The board shall coordinate activities such as: potlucks, decorations, annual church picnic, pastor appreciation, graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations. The board shall be responsible for keeping a historical record of the activities of the church. The board shall select its own chairperson and secretary. The board shall consist of one Board of Deacon and Deaconess Appointee and six elected members. Three of whom, shall be elected annually.
11) Board of Caring Ministries
The board shall actively seek and facilitate the physical needs of the congregation and the community at large; organizing a volunteer effort of the congregation to fulfill those needs. These physical needs may involve visiting the sick and needy, distributing food and clothing, organizing shelter, raising cash donations, calling upon new members, caring for the infirmed or bereaved, or assisting in preparations for funerals or weddings at the church. The board shall select its own chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. The board shall submit a budget to the Board of Trustees before their annual budget meeting. The Board of Caring Ministries shall consist of one non-voting appointee from the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses and six elected members.
12) Board of Praise and Worship
The board’s mission is to facilitate the glorification of the Lord through the church’s praise and worship, by using inspirational songs, hymns, special music and/or musicians, dramatics, orchestra, choir, children’s sermons. The board shall submit a budget to the Board of Trustees before their annual budget meeting. It shall purchase such supplies, equipment and maintenance as needed within this budget. The board shall also replace the choir director, organist, or pianist as needed. The board shall consist of the choir director(s), organist(s), pianist(s), the pastor, one non-voting appointee from the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses, and two elected members. One shall be elected annually. The board shall meet at least nine times a year.
Article VIII: Amendments
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of those present at any regular or special church meeting provided that the proposed amendment shall have been presented in writing at any previous regular meeting and that all active, resident members shall have been notified by letter, email, or electronic transfer, ten days in advance of the vote. The proposed amendment shall be posted on the church bulletin board the two Sundays preceding the meeting.
Article IX: Finances and Auxiliary Organizations
- Offerings – The financial policy of this church shall be in accordance with the teachings of the scripture, whereby each one is instructed to give as the Lord has prospered him
- Conditional Gifts Endowments, Legacies, Memorials, Special Gifts.
A) All conditional gifts for investment shall be used in accordance with said conditions providing they are within the mission of Fulton Church. Fulton Church further retains the right to determine final distribution.
B) All other memorial contributions shall be deposited in a separate Memorial Fund.
1. Memorial gifts for designated purposes shall be referred to the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses for acceptance
2. Memorial funds shall be used for special projects and improvements, (such as the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses may propose and the congregation approve).
3. A record of memorial gifts shall be kept in a specific register on display in the church.
- Auxiliary Organizations – All organizations connected with the church and using its equipment are regarded as integral parts of the church and responsible to it.
Article X: Parliamentary Rules
Roberts’ Rules of Order or Sturgis’ Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure shall be the standard in deciding questions of parliamentary procedure.
Article XI: Procedures at Business Meetings
The following shall be the order in which business shall be conducted in each regular business meeting:
- The call to order – Moderator
- Vote to accept agenda
- Minutes of previous business meeting
- Report of the Pastors (submit confidential comments at annual meeting)
- Report of the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses*
- Report of Board of Trustees*/Treasurer*
- Report of Board of Christian Education*/Sunday School Superintendent*/AWANA
- Report of Board of Missions and Memorials*
- Report of Board of Celebrations*/Church Records
- Report of Board of Caring Ministries*
- Report of Board of Praise and Worship*
- Report of Auxiliary Organizations
- Report of Standing Committees
- Report of Special Committees
- Unfinished business
- New business
* – following the reports, elections (when necessary)