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Annual Covenant and Bylaws

Austin Mennonite Church Covenant for 2016

Annually the Austin Mennonite Church invites the commitment of those participating in the life of the congregation.  Through the practice of covenanting with each other we commit ourselves to this community of faith with the following understandings:

  1. Austin Mennonite Church identifies with the Christian faith in the Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective.  This means that we are Christ-centered, endeavoring to follow the way of Jesus.  We value peace, service, justice, community, scripture, priesthood of all believers, believer’s baptism, and simple living.  We also value learning from other interpretations of the Christian faith.

  2. We are open to dialogue with other faith perspectives.

  3. We meet together regularly for worship, study, prayer and fellowship.

  4. We support each other spiritually, emotionally, materially, and by giving and receiving counsel.  We especially regard the nurture and faith formation of children as important, at the same time we acknowledge that supporting each other involves the nurture of all persons in the congregation – children, families, single adults, and couples in committed and married relationships.

  5. We share and use the gifts, both spiritual and material, God has given us.  This includes sharing in the leadership of the congregation and supporting the congregation financially.

  6. We seek ways to use our gifts and talents to serve the needs of others in our neighborhoods, communities and the wider world.

  7. By God’s grace, we live as those whom Christ called to be peacemakers: renouncing violence in the resolution of conflict; bringing justice and reconciliation in our world; and demonstrating the love of God among us and in the broken world around us.

  8. We endeavor to live responsibly as caretakers of the environment, with the awareness of the needs of others around the world.

  9. We share the life and vision of the Austin Mennonite Church with our neighbors and friends in a positive and inviting way and as witnesses to God’s love.

  10. We are an inclusive community, a gathering of seekers welcoming each other as we are and, from wherever we have come.

We confess that in attempting to meet these goals we sometimes miss the mark.  However, we accept God’s grace and guidance and the nurture of this congregation as we live into this covenant with God and each other.  We reevaluate and renew this covenant and our commitment to God and to each other, on an annual basis.  May the Holy Spirit encourage and help us in witnessing to God’s love and faithfulness.

 

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By-Laws of Austin Mennonite Church

1. Introduction

(a) The name of this church shall be Austin Mennonite Church.

(b) This church is a fellowship of Christians committed to: bringing an Anabaptist presence to the city of Austin, supporting fellow Christians, witnessing to peace and justice in the city, reaching out to those around us, and proclaiming Christ’s Kingdom.

(c) The Austin Mennonite Church is affiliated with the Western District Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.

(d) The church recognizes two types membership — full and associate. Full membership shall be granted to those who have accepted the Lordship of Christ and are committed to the Mennonite doctrine and to this congregation.  They shall be received by baptism, confession of faith or transfer of membership.  Joining the congregation involves signing the membership covenant, which outlines the congregation’s understanding of the responsibilities of membership in the church. The congregation will reevaluate and renew the covenant annually.  Each member may participate on an equal basis in all the activities and decision making of the congregation.    Associate members are those who sign the covenant, yet retain permanent membership in another congregation.  Termination of membership may be by death, transfer of membership, by request for withdrawal, by excommunication, or by action of the Coordinating Council based on inactivity and non-participation.

(e) The congregation observes the Christian ordinances of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, marriage and parent/child dedication as according to scriptures.

*Baptism shall be administered upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord of life.  Instruction in the faith shall precede baptism.  The form of baptism shall be at the request of the person being baptized.

*The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is open to all professing Christians.

*Marriage is an institution ordained of God and shall be performed by a minister of the Gospel in conformity with the laws of the state, following proper guidance and instruction.

*It shall be the privilege of parents to participate with their children in a service of dedication to the responsibility of bringing up their children in an atmosphere of Christian nurture.

2.  Congregation

The congregation of Austin Mennonite Church shall consist of all resident Full Members, Associate Members and person who regularly attend Austin Mennonite Church. Authority rests in the congregation.  Decisions will be made in the context of the gathered body by consensus in meetings where more than 12 persons in the congregation are present.  The congregation will meet quarterly, or as necessary.  Goals for the congregation are set and reviewed by the congregation.  The congregation may delegate responsibilities to persons and committees.  Committees are set up by the congregation to function as decided by the congregation. The Coordinating Council can alter the number of persons needed for the conduct of church business.  In no case shall the Coordinating Council authorize less than 8 members of the congregation to conduct church business

3.  Administration

(a) Coordinating Council

The Coordinating Council shall consist of the moderator, minister, and the chair (or designated representative) of each standing committee.  All meetings shall be open for the participation of every member of the congregation. The Coordinating Council shall manage the assets of the congregation, be responsible for its legal affairs, and conduct whatsoever other matters with which it is charged by the congregation.  In particular the council will arrange for a yearly audit of the financial records of the congregation and give and receive council for different committee operations.  Agenda and scheduled meeting times for the Coordinating Council shall be announced at least one week advance in church.

(b) Committees

The Congregation and Coordinating Council will establish standing committees as needed.  Any committees established by Austin Mennonite Church shall be formed in the same manner.

Every committee shall consist of 3 –5 members of the congregation chosen by the congregation.  The members shall have a 2-year, renewable (staggered terms of service.  The committees will meet quarterly or as necessary.  Every committee will be accountable to the congregation and will report to the Coordinating council.  The committee will select a chairperson (except for finance committee which is chaired by the Treasurer.)

Standing Committees may include:  Worship, Education, Fellowship, Finance, Peace & Justice, Mission, or other innovative areas of church life.

 (c) Personnel

1.  Congregational Moderator

The congregational moderator shall be a full member in good standing chosen by the congregation.  The congregational moderator shall serve a 2-year, renewable term.  He/she is accountable to the congregation. A job description is an attachment to this document.

2.  Minister/Pastor

The congregation will determine the method used for calling a pastor. A job description will be written as part of any pastoral search process. The length of a minister’s term shall be according to contract, (normally 3 years) which can be renewed by consent of both the minister and congregation.  A pastoral/congregational review will be done early in the year before the contract expires.  The minister will be accountable to the congregation.

3.  Treasurer

The treasurer will be full member in good standing of the congregation chosen by the congregation.  The treasurer will service a 2-year renewable term.  The treasurer will be the chairperson of the finance committee.  A job description is an attachment to this document.

4.  Committee chairpersons

Committee chairpersons shall be selected by the respective committee with length of service as chairperson to be determined by the committee.  The chairperson shall serve as contact person for that committee.

5.  Publicity Coordinator

The publicity coordinator shall be a member in good standing chosen by the congregation.  The publicity coordinator shall serve a 2-year renewable term.  She/he will be accountable to the coordinating council.  A job description is an attachment to this document.

6.  Representative to Mid-Texas Mennonite Coordinating Council

The representative shall be a member in good standing chosen by the congregation.  She/he shall represent the congregation at Mid-Texas Mennonite Coordinating Council meetings for a term of 3 years.

7.  Conference Delegate(s)

The delegates shall be members in good standing chosen by the congregation.  The delegates shall represent the congregation at Conference meetings for terms of 2 years.

Changes in this document shall be by written ballot of a majority of the resident and/or active members.

Adopted at Austin Mennonite Church

Congregational Business Meeting

May 1, 1994

Revised January 11, 2002

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