DOCTRINES AND DISCIPLINE
UNITED MISSIONARY CHURCH
Prior to 1947 known as the
MENNONITE BRETHREN IN CHRIST CHURCH
still known by the latter name in the
A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up
unto you of your brethren, like unto me;
Him shall ye hear in all things
whatsoever He shall say unto you (Acts 3:22)
Published by The General Conference
Revised to Date
For sale at the
Bethel Publishing Co.,
We are fully decided that as a church organization it is meet and right, as well as necessary for the convenience and harmony among the members, to have a written discipline in regard to doctrine and church government. We are aware that there may be
some who will object to any form of discipline or government other than that found in God's Word, nevertheless we doubt very much if there is in this day a church organization which has not some form of church discipline, code of laws, or rules and regulations, written or verbal, for church government, or church doctrine peculiar to its faith. The only difference observable by us between a written and verbal discipline is the decided preference of the former over the latter, for the reasons already assigned, in addition with many others which might be given. We have no hesitancy, therefore, in presenting to the public these, our views, in reference to God's Word as we understand it. May we say kindly to all into whose hands it may fall, "Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good." If there is anything herein which is not in harmony with the sacred teachings of the Bible, receive it not; if it is God's truth, then it is as sacred and binding upon you as though you read it from the sacred page or heard it sounded from the pulpit. That its principles be strictly adhered to and carried out to the honor and glory of God, and not alone professed on the part of Christian professors, is the greatest care and desire of those whose sentiments are herein expressed as a church organization.
All Scripture references are from the King James Version unless indicated otherwise.
ORIGIN OF THE REFORMED MENNONITES.
Through the direction of God and the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost, a number of ministers of the Mennonite Church were brought to realize and deeply feel the responsibility weighing upon them as the ambassadors for Christ and were from time to time seriously impressed with convictions that greater and more earnest efforts should be put forth to promote the glory of God and build up his Zion on earth by extending the borders of the Church, and practically carrying out the principles of Christianity.
In order to accomplish this more fully, they were inclined to believe that protracted, prayer and fellowship meetings were essential means thereto, which were not practiced in the church at that time.
In the year 1869, December, one of the ministers of the Canada conference, who hitherto had not experienced a change of heart, was happily converted to God through Christ, and at once introduced these means of grace above referred to, in his field of labor. In taking this step he incurred upon himself the displeasure and disapproval of the bishops generally. But it was the means resulting in a glorious revival of the Christian religion and in the conversion of many precious souls, throughout the Church, both in Canada and in the United States, which consequently resulted in an excommunication of all who believed in this way.
On the 15th day of May, 1874, a conference was called at Eby's meeting house Berlin, Ontario, at which place such that believed in present salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and those who had experienced the pardon of their sins, and had the evidence of their acceptance with Christ, formed themselves into a Church organization, and as a name of distinction, adopted REFORMED MENNONITES.
ORIGIN OF THE UNITED MENNONITES
The following year, 1875, the New Mennonites manifested a desire to become one with the Reformed Mennonites, inasmuch as no material difference existed between the two branches, as they also, from similar circumstances, had formed into a separate body a number of years previous.
At a special meeting held at the Bloomingdale meeting house, Waterloo county, Ontario, the 23rd day of March, 1875, the two branches formed into one society, by uniting with each other into one body, and adopted the name UNITED MENNONITES.
Names of Elders
Samuel Sherk Solomon Eby
Peter Geiger John Krupp
John McNalIy Daniel Brenneman
John Baer John Steckley
Noah Detweiler Henry Wismer
Names of Probationers.
Joseph Raymer Menno Bowman
Names of Deacons.
William Hembling Joseph Schneider
ORIGIN OF THE EVANGELICAL MENNONITES.
Of the origin of the Evangelical Mennonites suffice it is to say that in the State of Pennsylvania, in 1853, several Mennonite ministers, with a number of their members, united together to labor for the conversion of souls, through whose efforts, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, many were brought to Christ and happily converted.
On the 24th day of September, 1858, they held their first conference in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; and by the Divine influence and blessing of God, have been sustained as a branch of the vine, notwithstanding the various disadvantages under which they have labored.
ORIGIN OF THE EVANGELICAL UNITED MENNONITES.
In the providence of God an acquaintance was formed between the Evangelical Mennonites and the United Mennonites, and a desire was soon cherished on the part of each society that a union might be effected between them, which, by the blessing of God, was accomplished at a special conference, called expressly for that purpose, Nov. 8, 1879.
To ratify and confirm the union, the following acknowledgement was subscribed to by the conference.
This is to certify, that we the undersigned members of the Evangelical Mennonite conference of Pennsylvania, and the United Mennonite conferences of Canada, and Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, upon authority, and in the name of the several General Conferences, upon due consideration and prayerful investigation, by mutual agreement, have, in the fear of God, united together as one body, adopting as a name of distinction,
EVANGELICAL UNITED MENNONITES.
William Gehman, Eusebius Hershey
Solomon Eby, David Henning
Samuel Musselman Joel Rosenberger
Daniel Brenneman Abraham Kauffman
Sidenham Lambert William Yeakel
Joseph Schneider Jonas Musselman
Jacob Ruch Abel Strawn
Daniel Koch Michael Landis
John Baer David Gehman
ORIGIN OF THE BRETHREN IN CHRIST.
About the year 1838 there found itself amongst the members of the River Brethren a difference in doctrinal points, which caused a division, and those that differed from their doctrine on these points, organized themselves into a body and adopted the name BRETHREN IN CHRIST. The Lord greatly blessed their labors to the salvation of many precious souls.
ORIGIN OF THE MENNONITE BRETHREN IN CHRIST.
About the year 1882 the Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical United Mennonites formed an acquaintance with each other, and desires were soon expressed to form a union between the two bodies, which was effected through divine guidance by a special conference held at Jamton, Ohio Dec. 27, 1883.
To ratify and confirm the union the following acknowledgement was subscribed to by the conference
Ratification.—This is to certify that we the undersigned, members of the Evangelical United Mennonite Church of the United States and Canada; and the Brethren in Christ of the United States, upon the authority and in the name of our respective General Conferences; upon due consideration and prayerful investigation, by mutual agreement, have, in the fear of God, united as one body, adopting as a name of distinction, MENNONITE BRETHREN IN CHRIST.
George W. Wright Moses Blackburn
George D. Waitman Peter Pike
Menno Bowman Isaiah Smail
Sidenham Lambert Solomon Eby
William Geliman Samuel McDonald
Daniel Brenneman Abel Strawn
Peter Walter John Rasor
ORIGIN OF THE UNITED MISSIONARY CHURCH
Petitions from several of the Annual Conferences were made to the General Conference which convened in Potsdam, Ohio, November 5-10, 1947, that consideration be given to a change in the church name in use at that time. The Conference recognized these requests and elected a committee to further consider this matter and to bring in a report to the Conference assembled. A report favorable to a change was adopted and the Conference proceeded to a ballot vote in order to determine the desire of the body in the matter. The result was that two-thirds voted for a change. A ballot vote was taken to determine the name desired which resulted in the name UNITED MISSIONARY CHURCH being chosen.
The Pennsylvania Conference did not favor the change in church name but elected to continue to function under the name MENNONITE BRETHREN IN CHRIST. General Conference voted to permit the Pennsylvania Conference to maintain their relationship full and unqualified to the General Conference body and to continue under this name Indefinitely.
ARTICLES OF FAITH.
The Following Articles Contain our Unanimous Confession of Christian Faith.
GOD, THE CREATION OF ALL THINGS. AND
There is but one Eternal, Omnipotent, Incomprehensible and Triune God — the Father Son and Holy Ghost — who is the Creator of the heavens, earth and sea, and all that is therein, visible and invisible; Governor and Upholder of the same, by His wisdom and the word of His mighty power, amongst which He created man after His own image, and formed him of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, inbued with many great gifts; placed him in the Garden of Eden or Paradise where he enjoyed sweet fellowship and communion with Him and gave him both a command and a prohibition (Gen. 1: 1; 2: 1-9, 15-17. John 10: 30; 1 John 5: 7, Rev.19:6).
THE FALL OF MAN.
Our first parents did not remain in this glorious and happy state of their original
creation, but, being deluded through the subtlety and deception of the devil, disobeyed and transgressed the command of their God and Creator, incurring upon themselves and their posterity the sentence of death. (Gen. 3: 5, 7, 17; Rom. 5:12).
THE RESTORATION OF MAN.
Notwithstanding the fall of our first parents from the state of their original purity and happiness, into a state of unhappiness, degradation and death, God devised for them a way of salvation through the gift of His beloved Son, of whom He gave promise and testified through all His prophets; and who, in due time, came into the world, "tasted death for every man," became the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and has thus "brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." (Gen.3:15; John 3: 16,
17; Heb. 2: 9; 2 Tim. 1: 9,10).
THE WORD OR SON OF GOD, WHO BECAME MAN.
The Son of God is the Word, the Eternal and true God, of one substance with the Father, who took man's nature upon Him, by being conceived and born of the Virgin Mary; so that both natures, Divine and human are perfectly and inseparably joined in Him. Therefore He is Christ (the anointed), very God and very man, who suffered, was crucified, died and was buried and rose again, in order to reconcile us to the Eternal Father, and to present Himself a sacrifice for both our original and actual sins. (John 1: 1-3, 14; 2 Cor. 5: 19).
THE HOLY GHOST.
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, very and Eternal God. His office and
work is, to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; also to imbue the children of God with power, stability and energy to contend earnestly for the faith of the Gospel, to comfort and lead them into all truth. (John 15: 26; 16: 8; Acts 1: 8; John 20: 22; 1 John 5: 7).
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
The canonical books of the Holy Scriptures contain all the instructions necessary to salvation, and whatsoever is not contained therein, nor can be proven thereby, is not to
be required, nor believed as an article of faith, neither to be received as necessary to salvation. (John 5: 39: II Tim. 3: 15, 16.
Original sin is that corruption and depravity of the human nature in consequence of the fall whereby man has become estranged from God and is disqualified to do the will of God perfectly. (Rom. 7: 21; 8: 7; 1 Cor. 3:1-4).
Man, having become so completely ruined, has neither the will nor power to turn to God, and if left to himself, would remain in his wretched and miserable condition forever. But blessed thought, the “grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men;” hence, God graciously employs the means of enlightening and awakening the mind of the sinner to a sense of his poverty and wretchedness, and then extends the invitation, that – “whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely." But just so long as man refuses to comply with the requirements of God, and rejects the invitations of His word, salvation cannot be secured by him. (John 6: 44; Rev. 3: 20; 22: 17).
Genuine repentance toward God consist in a knowledge of, a sorrow for, and a confession and forsaking of sins brought about by the knowledge of the goodness of God and the convincing power of the Holy Spirit accompanying the truth as it is preached or read. (Matt. 3: 2; Acts 20: 21; 2 Cor. 7:10: 1 John 1: 9, first clause).
Genuine and saving faith is that simple trust in the promises of God in Christ through which all doubt is excluded from the heart and peace and rest are produced in the soul. According to the language of the Holy Scriptures, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Rom. 5: 1; Heb.11: 1, 6).
JUSTIFICATION AND REGENERATION.
Justification and regeneration imply the forgiveness of sins, and a change of heart, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 3: 3; Rom. 5:1).
Entire sanctification necessarily follows justification and regeneration; for, by it is implied a setting apart for, the continual service of God, the individual, justified and regenerated; also a cleansing from all sin and all unrighteousness, which are removed only by the application and cleansing process of Christ's blood. It is an instantaneous act of God, through the Holy Ghost, by faith in the atoning merits of Christ's blood, and constitutes the believer holy.
The personal indwelling of God through the Holy Ghost in the believer is the greatest theme of the New Testament. If we are really filled with the Spirit we must have Him in our body. We will then know what it means to be quickened in our mortal flesh by the Spirit that dwelleth in us.
We therefore are perfect – perfectly saved – the will of God perfectly performed in the soul. We must get a Scriptural conception of the reality and possibility of such a life. The Scriptures speak of:
1. The sanctification of Christ (John 10:36; 17:19), as His setting apart as a servant and the sacrifice for sin.
2. The sanctification of believers unto God. (1 Cor. 1:2; I Thess. 4:3; II Thess. 2:13)
The sanctification of believers is two-fold, viz:
1. That which is wrought for them, or sanctification, past and perfect. (I Cor. 1:2; 6:11 R.V.; Acts 20:32; 26:18.) The work of God the Father (Jude 2), and Christ the Son. Heb. 2:11; Eph. 5:26.
2. That which is wrought in them, or sanctification experimental and practical wrought by the Spirit, (I Thess. 5:23); through the Word (John 17:17).
The divine injunctions to the regenerated child of God are, to sanctify Christ in his heart as Lord (I Pet. 3:15); to present his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Rom. 12:1); to mortify his members which are upon earth; for they who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, (Col. 3:5; Gal. 5:24; Rom. 6:6); to put off the old man with his deeds and to put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, (Eph. 4:22, 24; Col. 3:9, 10); to reckon himself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. (Rom. 6:11; Gal. 2:20); to yield himself unto God for service, (Rom. 6:13-16); being made pure in heart (Matt. 5:8; Acts 15:9) and a partaker of the divine nature, (II Pet. 1:4), that he may have his fruit unto holiness (Rom. 6:22)
The believer endeavoring to lead a holy life is warned against conformity to the world (Rom. 12:2); against unequal yokes and unholy alliances (II Cor. 6:14-17), and against teachers and holders of evil doctrines (II John 9, 11). He is also commanded to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16); to be holy in all manner of life (I Pet. 1:15, 16); to follow after holiness (Heb. 12:14) and to cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1), because He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified all of one (Heb. 2:11). Therefore the children of God are called saints or holy ones, holy brethren, and holy men of God (Rom. 1:7; Heb. 3:1; II Pet. 1:21). Thus sanctification is both instantaneous and progressive, and is necessary for Christian life and service, and the preparation of the saints for the inheritance among them that are sanctified. (Acts 20:32).
GROWTH IN GRACE
Even though in the regenerated state we may bring forth fruit, the state that we attain through entire sanctification fits us for the development of those heaven-born principles imparted to us in regeneration. (Eph. 4:15; II Thess. 1:3; II Pet. 3:18.)
The child of God thus regenerated is exhorted to renounce all sin and sinful gratifications and live a life of faith (Heb. 10:38). He is told not to lay up treasures on earth (Matt. 6:19-21) nor to trust in uncertain riches, financial speculations or in the worldly beneficial societies of the present day which weaken his faith in God and retard his spiritual growth and development, but rather follow after holiness without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14.)
All sickness is the result of sin directly or indirectly. (Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:15-23; Job 2:7; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38; John 5:14). God has made provision in the atonement for the healing of the body (Isa. 53:3, 4 R. V.; Matt. 8:16, 17); 1 John 3:8. The mode given us for the healing of the sick is the laying on of hands, and anointing with oil and praying over them (Mark 16:13; 16:17, 18; James 5:14, 15).
Good works are not conditions of life and salvation, but are the natural results of a regenerated and sanctified heart, from which, as naturally as water gushes forth from every, respective fountain after its kind, and every tree bringeth forth fruit after its own nature, supreme love to God and love to man, with every other corresponding trait of Christian character, will naturally show forth themselves in all the various avocations and deportments of life.
By grace are ye saved, "not of works," for when we have done all that is our duty to do, we must say, We are unprofitable servants. (Matt. 7: 16-20; John 15: 5, 8, 16;
The Scriptural method of supporting the Lord’s work is by freewill offerings. Giving is to be considered as a part of our worship of Almighty God. It is to be entered into cheerfully out of gratitude to God for His blessings, and out of a sense of obligation to promulgate the Gospel. Since tithing antedates the Mosaic Law, was confirmed in the Law, and was approved by the Lord Jesus Christ, and since the New Testament clearly indicates that our giving is to be proportionate, believers ought to givenot less than the tithe to the support of God’s work. However, our Christian stewardship in material things is not necessarily fully discharged when the tithe has been paid. (Gen. 14:20; Gen. 28:22; Mal. 3:8; Matt. 23:23; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6,7; Acts 4:32).
SIN AFTER JUSTIFICATION.
Not every sin committed after justification, is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Therefore the grant of repentance is not denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, it may so happen, that we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and we may even then, by the grace of God, rise again, through the workings of the Spirit, and turn to God and receive forgiveness of our sins.— 1 John 2:1; Rev. 2:5.
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
The Church of Jesus Christ is composed of all true believers who are designated His "sheep," who hear His voice and follow Him, who know Him and are known by Him and who are a separate people from the world, "a peculiar people." Supreme love to God and love to all men (enemies included), being a true characteristic feature, peculiar to them only, they may readily be distinguished from the world. Their ground and pillar of hope is that of the "apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner Stone." “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." "Blessed is that people whose God is the Lord." (Matt. 16:18; John 10: 1-5; Eph. 2: 20; Tit. 2: 14).
Water Baptism has no saving or cleansing efficacy. It is a visible or outward sign of an internal work of grace, in regeneration and consecration to the service of God. It is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God; hence, cannot with propriety, be administered, only to such as have, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, realized the forgiveness of sins, and have the evidence of their acceptance with God. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 8: 37, 38; 1 Peter 3: 21)
WASHING THE SAINTS’ FEET
The Lord Jesus has instituted and commanded washing the saints’ feet, who also Himself washed the disciples' feet, and has thereby given an example, that we "ought to wash one another's feet. (John 13: 4-17; 1 Tim. 5:10).
THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Lord's Supper is the ordinance which our Saviour instituted in the night of His betrayal, with bread and the fruit of the vine.
We are to observe it, to commemorate that upon the cross, to redeem us from the curse of sin and death.
That the bread of communion and the cup of blessing were not intended for a full meal, we infer from the language of Paul when he says: "If any man hunger, let him eat at home," and, "What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?''
Christ draws our attention to the fact, that it is not to be a natural, but a spiritual feast,
when he says, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you."
The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is faith. Therefore the Supper was instituted for the children of God only. God has also wisely directed that each one examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10: 16; 11: 20-29).
Holy matrimony is a sacred institution of Divine origin; and believers should enter into so solemn an engagement in the fear of God, seeking direction and guidance of Him who knoweth to direct all things according to the good pleasure of His will, and according to the teachings of God's Word. This solemn engagement should be "only in the Lord."
Believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The trouble and despair subsequent upon entering the marriage state of those whom God hath not joined together, is incalculable, and should be a solemn warning to any and all who contemplate this step, to take the matter with all sincerity of heart to God in prayer. (Gen. 1: 27; 2: 18; 1 Cor. 7: 39; 2 Cor. 6: 14, 15).
God ordained and instituted the civil government for the punishment of evildoers and for the protection and defence of the good. We respect these powers with due loyalty, and are willing to be submissive, subjective and obedient to their authority, so long as not intruded upon in things which should militate against the supreme law and will of God. We pay willingly and cheerfully tribute and customs demanded of us, and pray for their protection, prosperity, and welfare, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty." (Matt. 17: 27; Rom, 13: 1-7; 1 Pet. 2: 14).
WAR, PEACE AND SELF DEFENSE
Revenge And resistance to evil by violent means, are strictly forbidden to the followers of Christ, according to the word of Christ and the teaching of His apostles. The Word has bidden us to “love your Enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them which despitefully use you and persecute you," "resist not evil,” “avenge not yourselves," and “if thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head; be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." When Peter would have defended his Lord with the sword, he was admonished. "Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Christ said too, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight: but now is my kingdom not from hence." Paul also taught. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal." Moreover, this word which our Lord taught He exemplified in the whole manner of His life, above all in His self-sacrificing death on the cross. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not." The whole tenor of the Gospel is in harmony with these Scriptures.
In the light of the above, we are constrained as followers of Christ to abstain from all carnal warfare. We cannot encourage participation in a conflict between nations, nor in strife between classes, groups, or individuals. In all such situations we must be "wise as serpents, harmless as doves," giving ourselves wholly to the ministry of reconciliation, and fulfilling the terms of our Great Commission, to preach the Gospel of peace, and to lead men everywhere to salvation through Jesus Christ. We must be "ready to every good work," ready to suffer, if need be for conscience sake, and to "take joyfully the spoiling of our goods." but we cannot resist evil with evil, or return blow for blow. (Matt. 5:39-44; 10:16, 26-52; John 18:36; Acts 5:29; Rom. 12:19-21; Eph. 6:12-15: II Cor. 10:4; Heb. 10:34; I Pet. 2:21-23).
Christ has strictly forbidden the swearing of oaths, when He says, "I say unto you, Swear not at all; but let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." It is evident that the apostles regarded it, and strictly insisted upon its careful observance. James says, "Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation.
From these clear testimonies we conclude that the swearing of oaths is forbidden and not tolerated; and that anything beyond an affirmation is violating the command of our Saviour. We regard our affirmation as sacred and binding as though we had confirmed it by an oath. (Matt. 5: 34-37; Jas. 5: 12).
THE CALL TO THE MINISTRY.
The call to the ministry is of such vast importance that God alone is able to decide as to who shall go forth as laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, as ministers of the Gospel.
The Saviour says, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest;" and Paul says, "How shall they preach except they be sent?" Hence, only such as the Lord has called, qualified and sent forth to preach the Gospel, can be an efficient means in His hand to further His cause, prosper the Church, and be successful in winning souls to Christ. (Matt. 9:38; Rom. 10:15).
THE LORD’S DAY
We believe the Lord’s Day to be of divine origin. The Jewish Sabbath was obligatory upon those living under the law of Moses until the time of its consummation. We recognize the first day of the week as being the Lord’s Day under the present dispensation, the observance of which we hold obligatory and sacredly binding upon the followers of the Lord Jesus in commemoration of the glorious victory achieved through His resurrection from the dead on that eventful day; it also having been duly and persistently observed by the Apostolic Church, and also being the day upon which the Holy Ghost was poured out on the disciples. (John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7).
THE COMING OF CHRIST
We believe that the hope of the Church is centered in the personal return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who will Himself return in like manner as He ascended. We are exhorted to comfort one another with these words. (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4: 18).
Importance (Matt. 24:42, 44: Mark 13:33-37; Luke 12: 35, 36; 21: 36).
Object of hope (Titus 2: 13; I Pet. 1:3- 9; I Thess. 4: 17; John 14:3; I Cor. 1:7,8.
Motives to activity and holiness (Luke 9:26; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4,5; I Tim 6:14 I Peter 4:2- 4; Titus 2:12,13; Heb. 10: 36,37; Jas. 5:7,8; Rev. 2: 25; 3:11; I Thess. 3:12,13; I John 2: 28; 3: 2,3; I Thess. 5:4-6).
Scoffers do not believe in His coming II Peter 3:3-7, 11, 12;
He will come to those that look for him (Heb. 9: 28).
The Millennium (Rev 20:1-6), or day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:8) will be ushered in by the appearance of Christ in His glory (Luke 21: 27) with his church (1 Thess. 3:13; Zech. 14:5), or ten thousand saints (Jude 14), to reign on earth, (Rev. 5:10; Zech. 14:9) one thousand years, during which time the devil will be bound, (Rev. 20:1-6) and Christ will reign in righteousness (Psa. 46:9; Psa. 72:8,10,11, 17; Isa. 2:1-4) until His enemies become His footstool( Heb. 10:13 ; Isa. 11:6-9; Hos. 2:18).
The Scriptures tell us that the believer has been judged as a sinner at the cross of Christ and shall not come into judgment for he is passed out of death into life. Jno. 5:24 R. V.; as a child in the family of God, he is being judged and chastened during his lifetime (Heb. 12:5-8; I Pet. 4:17; I Cor. 11:30-32), and as a servant, he shall be judged at the judgment seat of Christ after the rapture, (I Cor. 4:2-5; II Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; I Cor. 3:13-15).
The Son of man shall come in His glory and stand upon the Mount of Olives and will judge the nations (Zech. 14:1-3; Psa. 96:13; Matt. 25:31-46), and will vindicate His people Israel.
At the close of the millennium, God will cast the devil into the Lake of Fire, and He will sit upon the great white throne and judge the wicked dead, cast death and hell into the Lake of Fire, and bring forth the new heaven and new earth, (Rev. 20:10-14, II Pet. 3:13).
GENERAL RULES OF OUR SOCIETY.
Christians should make use of the means of grace provided fur them in the various services of the Church. This is not only a duty, but a privilege. The Psalmist said: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." A New Testament exhortation is found in the following words: "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb. 10:24, 25).
We esteem it as becoming true worshippers, upon entering the place of worship, in reverence to God, and from a sense of gratitude for being permitted to meet with His people, also to invoke the blessing of God upon the service, that the worshipper engage in silent prayer before the Lord.
We recommend that services be opened promptly as announced, and that worshippers should seek to be present at the time of the opening of service. Congregational singing should be consider an important part of worship. Since kneeling in prayer is both a scriptural and a reverent prayer attitude, we recommend that in public worship our congregations kneel together in prayer.
After such appropriate opening of services, the minister will read the Scriptures and deliver the sermon, after which the services will be concluded with prayer, singing, and benediction.
SPECIAL OR REVIVAL MEETINGS.
In addition to the regular appointments for public worship we make special efforts, in the way of revival meetings, for the awakening and conversion of sinners and sanctification of believers. We believe these to be the most efficient means available to this end, when entered into in the spirit of faith. In addition to these, we encourage the opening of new missions in halls, or others places in the various cities and towns where the Gospel may be preached every night in the year. We also recommend the holding of open air, tent and camp meetings.
PRAYER AND FELLOWSHIP MEETINGS.
Prayer and fellowship meetings are necessary in the Church, not only for the benefit of its members, to preserve them from falling into lukewarmness, but to exert a good influence upon the rising generation, or any who may attend.
They are Scriptural, and approved of God, and when held once a week, or even oftener in the spirit of true love to God and the brethren, they will prove to be efficient means against the enemy, and preserve life and power in the church.
They are to be opened by singing and prayer, then the leader will read a portion of God's Word, suited to the occasion, with appropriate remarks when the privilege is extended to all, to exercise themselves in prayer and testimony, according to the promptings and desires of their hearts. (Mal. 3: 16, Acts 12: 12).
Believing that it is good that each member be examined and encouraged before the class, therefore a class meeting should be held in each class at least four times a year, shortly before the Quarterly Conference. Let the meeting be announced in due time so that all may know it, and let each member be urged to attend. After the members are present, the minister will open the meeting the same as prayer and fellowship meeting, after which he, or the class leader, will request each member, personally, to testify as to his or her standing in Christ, after which the leader of the meeting will give such instruction or admonition as he may see fit. (Mal. 3:16; James 5:16, 2 Cor. 13: 5).
DUTIES OF MEMBERS
It is expected of all who desire to continue as members of this society, that they continue to evidence their salvation, by giving attention to public worship, the ministry of the Word, Family devotions, secret prayer, fasting, the study of the Scriptures, the observance of the ordinance of the Christian Communion and the Washing of the Saints’ Feet.
We strictly enforce upon each member of the society the duties toward each other which the Saviour inculcated, namely: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established; and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church; but if he shall neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" And again: "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matt. 18:15-17. Matt. 5: 23, 24).
No one shall have any right to receive a complaint, or in any way encourage any member therein, before the above injunctions have been complied with.
Singing has been an important part of worship in all ages and is one of the most soul-cheering, and animating exercises belonging to the solemn worship of God. When Christians unite together in singing the praises of God, "with the Spirit, and with the understanding," it is truly sublime; and in its effects is calculated to elevate the minds and affections above the things of time and sense, to things heavenly and divine.
It is very desirable that all who can should participate in this part of the divine service of God.
The Psalmist said, "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, and praise my God while I have my being;" and again: "Sing unto the Lord a new song; let all the earth sing unto the Lord.''
The Apostle said: "Singing and making melody in your hearts unto the Lord."
In reference to wearing of apparel, the Holy Scripture gives us no definite instruction, as regards the mode and style; only that Christians should adorn themselves in "modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.''
It is not especially taught in God's Word as to the mode or style of dressing, yet there are directions given, strongly protesting against extravagance and intemperance; therefore it is necessary to guard against extremes in dressing, as well as in eating and drinking.
Simplicity in manner of dressing has no more saving efficacy than anything else of a like nature. We must be clothed with the garments of salvation, and covered with the robe of righteousness.
Be it known that our influence is decidedly against the useless practice, vain indulgence and sinful habit of wearing sumptuous attire, costly array, or any of those articles which are strictly prohibited in the Holy Scriptures. We admire neatness and cleanliness, and insist on decency, with becoming propriety, in the wearing of modest apparel. (Isa. 3:16-26; 1 Tim. 2: 9, 10; 5: 9, 10; I Peter 3: 3-6) .
The use of intoxicating liquors, as a beverage being the cause of incalculable misery in the world, the evil influences of which are enormous in their effects upon society at large, no member shall be permitted to make or prepare ardent or intoxicating liquors, to deal in them, or use them as a beverage.
We recommend that all members of our denomination take an active part in prohibiting this evil.
HARMFUL INDULGENCES AND HABITS
Seeing as we do the evil effects of that filthy weed, tobacco, and since we as a Church want to exert our influence against it, be it known that we consider as unbecoming and inconsistent with our Christian profession all harmful indulgences such as snuffing, chewing and smoking tobacco, using narcotics, or any kindred habits which are only for the gratification of the depraved appetite. Our influence is strictly against them and we recommend to our ministers not to receive any as Church members who are addicted to the use of any of them. No person shall be elected to any office in the Church, Sunday School, Young People's Society, or any other society of the Church, and no applicant for Local Conference License received who is addicted to the use of tobacco or narcotics in any form. (Isa. 55:2; I Cor. 6:12; II Cor. 7:1).
SECRET, OATH-BOUND SOCIETIES.
We believe it to be highly inconsistent and anti-scriptural for Christians to be members of secret oath-bound societies. There is nothing belonging to Christianity which His followers need to keep concealed, or of which they need to be ashamed. Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, end glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:16). He also said: "I spake openly to the world: I ever taught in the synagogues, and in the temple, whither the Jews resort: and in secret have I said nothing" (John 18:20)
History has confirmed the fact, that secret, oath-bound societies obstruct good government, often sheltering the guilty, and thus prove a menace to society.
Upon these considerations and the doctrinal position of the church on oaths (Article XXV, p. 22, no member of the Church shall be allowed to belong to any secret, oath-bound organization. (II Cor. 6:14-7:1; Eph. 5:11, 12).
CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD
It shall be strictly enjoined upon members of our society that they shall not conform to the world, by participating in anything, or in any gathering, or in any game or other form of amusement, the purpose of which is merely to gratify the carnal mind or will of the flesh. (I John 2:15-17; I Thess. 5:21-22; II Cor. 6:14-18; Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 2:1-3)
BRINGING TO TRIAL, FINDING GUILTY, AND
REPROVING, SUSPENDING, OR EXCLUDING DISORDERLY
PERSONS FROM THE SOCIETY OR CHURCH PRIVILEGES
How shall an accused member be brought to trial?
Before the society of which he is a member, or a select number of them, in the presence of the Presiding Elder, or preacher, in the following manner:
After the admonitions of sec. V, page 29 have been fully carried out without bringing reconciliation between the parties, then let the accused and the accuser be brought face to face; but if this cannot be done let the next best evidence be produced. If the accused person be found guilty by the decision of the members before whom he is brought to trial, and the accusation be such as is forbidden by the Word of God, sufficient to exclude a person from the kingdom of grace and glory, let the minister or preacher in charge expel such member. If the accused person evade a trial, by absenting himself, after sufficient notice, and the circumstances of the accusation be strong and presumptive, let him be esteemed guilty, and accordingly be expelled. Trustworthy witnesses from without shall not be rejected.
But in case of neglect of duties of any kind, imprudent conduct, indulging in sinful tempers or words, or disobedience to the order and discipline of the church, let private reproof be given by a leader, or preacher; and if there be an acknowledgement of the fault, and proper humiliation, the person shall be acquitted. If no proper humiliation and confession are manifested, the preacher shall admonish such an one in the presence of one or two faithful members. If this effort proves fruitless in bringing him to the proper acknowledgment, let the case be brought before the society or a select number of them, and if there be no sign of real humiliation, the offender must be cut off.
If a member of our Church shall be clearly convicted of endeavoring to sow dissensions in our society, by inveighing against either doctrines or discipline, such a person so offending shall be first reproved by the preacher of his circuit, and if he persist in such pernicious practices, he shall be expelled from the church.
Nevertheless, if in any of the above mentioned cases, the preacher differ from a majority of the society, or the select number, concerning the innocence or guilt of the accused person, the trial, in such case, may be referred by the preacher, to the ensuing Local Conference.
If there be a murmur or complaint from any excluded person, in any of the above mentioned instances, that justice has not been done, he shall be allowed an appeal to the next Quarterly Conference, except such as absent themselves from trial, after sufficient notice is given them, and the Quarterly Conference shall finally determine the case. After such form of trial and conviction, such a person shall be excluded from church fellowship until contrition be manifested, and confession be made.
Members who habitually neglect their duties shall be dropped at the annual revision of the class books in case they have been duly informed by the minister in charge without producing the desired effect.
How shall an accused minister be brought to trial?
Any minister against whom a charge is preferred for unwise or unbecoming conduct, or teaching any doctrine or doctrines contrary to our discipline, shall be admonished by the District Superintendent on whose charge he labors or lives, and in case he persists in such practice the District Superintendent may suspend him from preaching until the next Annual Conference where he shall be tried.
If a minister is charged with immortal conduct, and the District Superintendent on whose charge he lives or labors, after careful investigation considers the charge to be well founded, may at once suspend him from preaching until the next Annual Conference where he shall be tried.
How shall a District Superintendent under charge be brought to trial?
Each Annual Conference shall elect by ballot a Standing Committee of three ministers who give themselves unconditionally into the hands of the Conference, who shall examine any District Superintendent of that Conference in case any charges are preferred against him. And if he be found guilty they shall have power to suspend him from his office until the next Annual Conference, where he shall be dealt with.
Divorce is the breaking down of God’s institution of marriage. We are grieved over the prevalence of this sin. Let our ministry continue to cry out against it according to the Scripture Matt. 19:6.
In consideration of the grace of God as revealed in such Scriptures as John 8:3-11; and I Cor. 6:9-11, we do nt refuse church membership to persons who have been divorced and remarried, if they give evidence of Divine forgiveness and continue in Christian grace. Such persons shall not hold offices of public prominence.
No brother or sister shall retain membership in our church, who will marry again after having been divorced, or who will marry a divorced person, saving for fornication or adultery.
No minister shall be permitted to solemnize a marriage in which one or both parties are divorced.
THESE are the general rules of our society, all of which are in harmony with the spirit of the word of God. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul, as they who must give an account, that we will admonish him of the error of his ways, we will bear with him for a season; but if then he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.
Baptism shall be administered to believers and by immersion only.
At the appointed time and place of the baptismal service, there shall be singing and prayer, after which the officiating minister may give a brief address.
The candidates shall then be questioned as follows:
Question- Can you testify that you through repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have experienced the forgiveness of your sins, and enjoy peace with God?
Question- Are you willing to renounce the world with all sinful gratifications, and cleave unto the Lord, and consecrate your all to His service?
Question- Are you willing to be taught from the Word of God, and to yield obedience to all that He enjoins upon you?
The minister, asking the name of the candidate, shall baptize him, saying …. name …. Upon the confession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
Applicants for church membership shall first be examined by the pastor, or a committee, and such as are approved, on confession of their faith, may be received into church membership in a public manner. The minister in charge shall ask the necessary questions and afterwards extend to them the right hand of fellowship in the Name of Christ and His Church. A suitable number of members shall greet them with a hearty welcome.
Believers who have not been baptized may be received into full church membership on condition that they be baptized at the first opportunity after their reception.
Members of other denominations who desire to transfer their membership to our church, shall present to the pastor a recent letter of standing. They shall give clear testimony to a saving faith, and shall be approved by the pastor or a committee and be recognized publicly.
The following questions shall be asked:
Question - Have you, through repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, received forgiveness of your sins?
Question— Are you willing to serve God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind: especially discharging every duty reasonably belonging to the service of God, such as the faithful attendance of public worship, reading of the Scriptures, prayer, praise, and faithfully discharging your
duty towards God and the church?
Question- If you have not as yet followed the Lord in baptism will you do so at your first opportunity?
Question- Are you willing to renounce the world with all sinful gratifications and practice chastity, temperance, sobriety and conduct yourself modestly and circumspectly as becometh Christians?
DEDICATION OF CHILDREN
Since the Scriptures give a number of instances where children of Godly parents were formally and publicly dedicated, we heartily encourage our people to dedicate their children to the Lord, by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Elders, who shall furnish proper certificates. (Lev. 12:2-6; 1 Sam. 1:24-28; Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 2:22-24; 18:15-17.)
Form for Dedication of Children:
To the Congregation:
Forasmuch as God in His great mercy has entered into covenant relation with man, wherein He hath included children as partakers of its gracious benefits, we publicly present our children to the Lord in recognition of His goodness and grace.
Hear what the Holy Scriptures say:
"And they brought young children to him, that He should touch them; and his disciples rebuked them that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them." (Mark 10:12-16).
To the Parents:
Dear Parents, inasmuch as this child (these children) is (are) now presented for dedication to the Lord, and is(are) by you consecrated, or given to God and His service, it becomes your duty to see that he (she or they) is (are) taught as soon as he (she or they) is (are) able to understand the nature and purpose of this dedication; and that he (she or they) shall be instructed in the Word of God, and encouraged to memorize portions of it, and that he (she or they) shall be taught to reverence and respect the house of God and its worship.
Question.— Do you recognize the serious responsibility which comes to you with the gift of this child, and that it is your duty to teach and train him (her or them) from his (her or their) earliest years for the service of God as He instructed His servants of old? (Deut. 6:6-7; 11:18-20). Do you recognize it as your duty and sacred trust to bring him (her or them) up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)?
Do you therefore, solemnly engage to fulfill these duties so far as lies in your power, the Lord being your helper?
Answer: “We do.”
Minister shall say, laying his hands on the child:
(Full name of child) I hereby dedicate you to God and His service, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. "The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:24-26).
The minister shall then pray.
At the day and time appointed for the solemnization of matrimony, the persons to be married having been qualified according to the law, standing together, the man on the minister's left hand and the woman on the right, the minister shall say: "There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and His disciples, to the marriage." (John 2:1, 2).
Dearly beloved: We are gathered together in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in the bonds of Holy Matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that exists between Christ and His Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with His presence and
His first miracle which He wrought, and is commended of St. Paul to be honorable among all men; and therefore, is not by any to be entered into inadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly and in the fear of God.
Be ye well assured that if any persons are joined together otherwise than God's Word allows, their marriage is not blessed of God. Into this holy estate, these two persons come now to be joined.
(Here suitable Scriptures can be read and prayer offered, if desired.)
Then shall the minister say:
Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?
The one who presents the bride in marriage shall make appropriate reply such as. "I do," or "Her mother and I."
Then they shall give their troth to each other in this manner: the minister receiving the woman at her father's, or friend's hand, shall cause the man with his right hand to take the woman by her right hand, and shall say:
TO THE GROOM:
Do you ................. , take this woman, whose hand you now hold, to be your true and wedded wife, and do you solemnly promise before God and these witnesses to love, cherish, honor, and protect her, and her only, as long as ye both shall live" If so,answer, "I do."
Then shall the minister say:
TO THE BRIDE:
Do you ................., take this man who now holds your hand, to be your true and wedded husband, and do you solemnly promise before God and the witnesses to love, honor, cherish, obey and protect him; to forsake all others for his sake; and to cleave unto him and him only, so long as ye both shall live? If so, answer, "I do."
The minister shall then ask the Groom to repeat after him the following:
I, ................., take thee, ................., to be my wedded wife; to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and thereto I pledge my troth.
The minister shall then ask the Bride to repeat after him the following:
I, ................., take thee, ................., to be my wedded husband; to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and thereto I pledge my troth.
Then shall the minister say;
Forasmuch as ................. and ................. have consented to live together in holy wedlock, and have pledged their troth to each other in the presence of God and this company and have confirmed the same by the joining of hands, now therefore by the authority conferred upon me by the laws of the State of ................. and by the Church of Jesus Christ, I pronounce you husband and wife, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In this new relationship let me remind you that henceforth you are one in interests, one in reputation, and above all, one in affection. These, therefore, whom God hath joined together let not man put asunder.
The Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Amen.
(Prayer can again be offered, if desired.)
Before leaving the house, the minister will be governed more or less by circumstances.
If time permits, he will give a short exhortation, or offer a few words of comfort to the bereaved, there may be singing and prayer. If convenient, the minister will lead the procession to the place of services or burial as may be decided upon. The burial before or after services is to be governed by circumstances, or the choice of the relatives or interested parties.
At the Grave—When the remains are laid in the earth, the minister shall say:
"I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believth in Me shall never die."
“Verily, verily, l say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."
"Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow and continuethnot." (John 11:25, 26; 5:24. 25 28; Job 14:1,2)
Inasmuch as it has pleased the Lord, in whose power are life and death, to remove our departed (.................) from our midst, we therefore commit the body to the earth: Earth to earth! Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust! awaiting the resurrection through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by whom each must come forth in his own order when this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, and all shall appear in His presence, according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me …. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors: and their works do follow them " (Rev. 14:13).
If all services are over previous to the burial, the benediction shall be pronounced at the grave.
DEDICATION OF CHURCHES
At the time of dedication, the minister in charge of the service, or some other minister appointed to officiate, shall read an appropriate Scripture passage. Then a dedicatory hymn shall be sung, followed by prayer; then the sermon. Then the congregation shall rise before the Lord and the following declaration be made by the District Superintendent, or his appointee.
Beloved: it behooves us in this solemn hour, to appear before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, the Source and Giver of all good, who has given us the intention and the ability to build this house, and it being now accomplished by His help, we therefore dedicate it to His service.
Our Divine Redeemer gives us the precious assurance that He will meet with His people where they assemble themselves.
Thus, encouraged and strengthened in faith, we have confidence that the Most High, who inhabiteth eternity and dwelleth also in those who are of a contrite and humble spirit to comfort them, will accept this house which we have built to His glory, at our hands, and regard it with His good pleasure, to the salvation and benefit of those who may from time to time here assemble to magnify His holy Name.
Having this confidence, we now declare, designate and consecrate this house as the (name of church) of the United Missionary Church (or Mennonite Brethren in Christ) (name of place), unto the Triune God. We dedicate this house to the singing of His praise, the offering of thanksgiving, prayer, reading, expounding and preaching of His Word, the administration of the Ordinances, and the observance of such other devotional services as are according to the rules adopted and practiced in public worship by the United Missionary Church (or Mennonite Brethren in Christ) agreeable with His Word. May His Name here be magnified, and His kingdom be built up to the salvation of men.
That this dedication may be confirmed by God, let us also consecrate ourselves, and all that we are and possess, without reservation or condition, to Him as His people, for His service, in accordance with His rightful claim through the covenant of grace by Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Then the congregation shall engage in prayer to God to accept the offering.
Doxology and benediction.
ORDINATION OF PROBATIONERS.
On the day appointed there shall he a suitable sermon or exhortation delivered. After the names of those to be ordained have been read aloud, the Presiding Elder shall read the following articles to all who may be chosen for ordination:
"A bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover
of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast to the faithful Word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the
gainsayers." (Titus 1:7-9).
Question: Do you feel inwardly persuaded that you are moved upon by the Holy Ghost to take upon you the office of the ministry of the Gospel, to serve God in the Church of Christ, to the honor and glory of His holy name?
Answer: Of this I am persuaded.
Question: Do you believe the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testament?
Answer: I do believe them.
Question: Will you apply due diligence to frame and fashion your life according to the doctrines of Christ; and to make yourself as much as in you lieth, a worthy example of the flock of Christ?
Answer: I will, the Lord being my helper.
Question: Will you obey them to whom the charge and government over you is committed, and follow their godly admonitions with a willing and ready mind?
Answer: I will, by the grace of God.
After prayer, the District Superintendent and elders shall lay their hands upon the heads of each one of them and say:
Take thou authority to execute the office of an elder in the Church of God, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Take thou authority to read and preach the Word of God, and to administer the ordinances of the Church of Christ.
After prayer, read Luke 12: 35—38.
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He shall return from the wedding, that when He cometh, and knocketh, they may open unto Him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching. Verily, I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants."
After this, the following benediction is to be pronounced:
The peace of God keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our
Officers—Their Election and
LOCAL CONFERENCE OFFICERS
At all our Church and Sunday School elections, no member shall be eligible to vote who has not reached the age of sixteen years.
SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS
At the time of the annual Sunday School re-organization, the voting membership of the church shall elect from their membership a brother or sister as Sunday School Superintendent. The vote shall be by ballot with a majority vote being required for election. A vice-superintendent shall also be elected who shall serve in the absence of the superintendent. They shall not hold office longer than one year without re-election.
1. The superintendent shall &cc that the school is punctually opened, directed and closed on time: that each class is provided with a Christian teacher competent to teach; that the school is properly graded; and that everything in the school is done in a Christian manner.
2. The superintendent shall be responsible to the Local Conference to whom he shall submit the statistical reports and other necessary information.
3. In all matters of administration, the superintendent shall consult the pastor for direction.
4. We recommend that the pastor meet regularly with the officers and teachers of the school for the purpose of discussing the lesson, and counseling on the problems of the school. If the pastor is not able to be present, or does not choose to preside, the superintendent shall take his place.
At the close of the Conference year, at a meeting which has been well announced, the voting members of the church shall elect from their membership class leaders who may be either brethren or sisters of deep piety having Christ's cause at heart. They shall be elected by ballot with a majority vote being required for their election. They shall not hold office longer than one year without being re-elected.
1. They shall never cease praying for. and watching over themselves, to obtain such grace from God, that they may, in observing these rules according to the commandments of God, be faithful leaders, and give their brethren and sisters good instruction by their own deportment. (I Pet. 5:2-3).
2. They shall cordially love the class committed to their charge frequently pray for them in secret, visit them occasionally, hold public prayer meetings at least once a week, and be diligent in supplication, in intercession and in thanksgiving: the like exercises being commanded by Jesus Christ and His holy apostles.
3. They shall not seek to dominate over their brethren and sisters, but watch over them in love and see that they progress in the divine life, not only according to the form, but to see that they grow in the true knowledge and love of God; and advise, teach, reprove, comfort and admonish them, as circumstances require.
4 They shall be careful that all things are conducted in their classes according to divine and human order and that they inform the pastor of such who lead a disorderly life and will not be admonished as well as of those who purposely or habitually neglect their duty of doing good.
5 They shall be responsible to their respective Local Conferences to whom they shall submit a report of their activities.
Each local church shall determine the number of deacons to serve in the local church.
They shall be elected at the time of the annual Local Conference business meeting, and shall not serve longer than three years without re-election.* They shall be elected by ballot from the membership by the members of the church over which they are to preside: a majority vote being required to elect.
Qualifications of deacons arc stated in I Timothy 3:8-13.
*Whereas deacons who have been ordained were ordained with the understanding that it was for life, their ordination is to be honored and the above provision does not apply in such cases.
1. They shall provide the emblems and other necessaries for the Lord's Supper and Washing of the Saints' Feet, and to the best of their ability assist the minister in his labors, if required.
2. They shall see if there are any poor in the district over which they preside; and if so. to inquire into the nature of their need, and take such steps to provide for them as they may deem proper.
3. They shall be responsible to their respective Local Conferences to whom they shall submit a report of their activities.
Wherever stewards are elected they shall be members of the church, who earnestly seek after the prosperity of the church and have good natural and acquired ability to transact temporal business. They may be either brethren or sisters of sound piety.
They shall be elected at the close of the Conference year. The pastor shall make nominations and the class shall elect. They shall not hold office longer than one year without re-election.
1. They shall, as soon as possible after the Annual Conference, make themselves acquainted with the needs of the pastor.
2. They shall personally require each member in their respective classes to contribute quarterly, monthly, or weekly, as the Local Conference may decide, according to their several abilities, toward the support of the pastor.
3. A book shall be kept by each steward wherein is contained an accurate account of all moneys collected and paid out, which shall be examined by the Local Conference.
4. They shall be responsible to the Local Conference to whom they shall submit a written report.
If it is desired, church treasurers, who shall have similar qualifications to those of stewards, may be elected by the Local Conference. They shall not hold office for longer than one year without re-election.
1. They shall keep an accurate record of all monies entrusted to their care and disbursed by them.
2. Their accounts shall be open to examination by the Local Conference to which they are responsible. They shall report annually, or as often as required.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Local Conference shall elect a judicious Board of Trustees from their membership, three or more in number, as they may desire, or as may be legally required. Unexpired terms of office may be filled at any regular, or specially called Local Conference.
They shall be elected by ballot, or open vote, as the Annual Conference may decide; a majority vote being required for election.
No member of the board shall serve longer than three years without re-election.
1. Regulations relative to the organization and function of the Board of Trustees shall be left to the discretion of the Annual Conference.
2. They shall be responsible to their respective Local Conference to whom they shall submit an annual report, and periodical reports as may be required by the Local Conference. Their books shall be open for inspection at all times by the Local Conference.
(See also article under CHURCH PROPERTY, page 81.)
LOCAL CONFERENCE WORKERS
1. If there is a brother or sister who has convictions of a call to preach the Gospel (See Article XXVI. page 23), such shall make it known to the minister in charge of the congregation of which he or she is a member.
2. If the minister considers such an one a proper subject as Paul writes in I Tim. 3, he shall bring the matter before the class, and if two-thirds of the class present vote (by ballot) in favor of the person, he shall recommend him or her to the Local Conference.
3. Then the District Superintendent with the minister in charge will examine the state of grace, nature of the call, moral character of such, and with two-thirds consent (by ballot vote), the Local Conference may grant a Local Conference License giving him or her the privilege of laboring as directed by the Local Conference or the District Superintendent.
4. The Local Conference License shall be renewed annually at the last Local Conference in the Annual Conference year, provided the worker receives two-thirds of the votes of those present and that the vote be by ballot.
5. Such who have labored satisfactorily under a Local Conference License for at least six months, may make application to the Local Conference for a recommendation to the Annual Conference, which may be granted them after examination, by consent
of two-thirds of the Local Conference members present.
1. They shall labor according to the direction as given them by the Local Conference or the District Superintendent.
2. They shall be responsible to their respective Local Conferences to whom they shall submit a report of their activities.
3. They shall ever conduct their lives in such a way that they will in no case bring a reproach upon the cause of Christ.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OFFICERS
1. Probationers may bo received on a three-year term of probation provided they pass an examination on the Discipline satisfactorily.
2. After being received by the Annual Conference, they shall be unconditional and labor according to the direction of the Annual Conference or the District Superintendent.
3. During their period of probation, they shall pass the Reading Course as prescribed by the Discipline and the Annual Conference.
4. No probationer shall be ordained until the Church is fully satisfied that he is capable of taking charge of a work, is fully in line with our doctrine, is willing to minister according to the direction of the Conference and our Discipline, and intends to continue in the itineracy.
5. Probationers who have passed their Reading Course and have proven themselves capable of taking charge of a work in the judgment of their respective Annual Conference may be ordained. Such who do not desire to continue in the itineracy after having been on probation for five years shall be referred to their respective Local Conferences.
6. If a minister having been ordained by another denomination desires to join an Annual Conference of our Church, after the requirements of Part I, Section VII, par. 1, page 56, have been fulfilled, he shall make application to the Annual Conference in person.
He shall pass a thorough examination on our Church Discipline under the supervision of his District Superintendent and a special examination on the Bible by the Examiners on the Reading Course before he is admitted into the Conference.
He shall be required to read the books of our Reading Course, before, or during the term of his probation. Under the above conditions lie may be admitted on a three-year term of probation.
1. If a charge be assigned to him, his duties are the same as those of the pastor, except solemnizing marriages, which he shall be allowed only by permission of the District Superintendent wherever this does not conflict with the laws of the State. He may administer baptism and communion also by permission of the District Superintendent.
2. All probationers shall submit a report to their respective Local and Annual Conferences to whom they are responsible.
Any sister who feels a call to the ministry shall follow the same procedure as a brother minister. (See Part I, Sec. VII, page 56). Having completed the Reading Course satisfactorily, having served three years of probation, and having proved herself capable of taking charge of a work, she may be recognized as an Approved Ministering Sister by her Annual Conference.
Such as have been licensed according to the Discipline, may be recognized as evangelists, helpers, and missionaries subject to the District Superintendent or the minister in charge.
They shall submit a report to the Local and Annual Conferences as long as they are Approved Ministering Sisters.
1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed; never be triflingly employed; never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at any place than is strictly necessary. Be serious. Let your motto be "Holiness unto the Lord." Avoid all lightness, jesting and foolish talking. Conduct yourself prudently with women. Take no steps toward marriage without first consulting your brethren. Believe evil of no one without good evidence (unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it). Speak evil of no one; because your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned. Tell everyone under your care what you think wrong in his or her conduct, and that lovingly and plainly, as soon as may be, else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom. Avoid all false show. A preacher of the Gospel is servant to all. Be ashamed of nothing but sin. Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time; and do not amend our rules, but keep them. You have nothing to do but to win souls; therefore, spend and be spent in God's cause, and go always, not only to those who want you, but to those who need you most.
2. Observe that it is not your business only to preach so many times and take care of this or that society; but to be instrumental in saving as many as you can; to bring as many sinners to repentance as you can, and with all your powers to build them up in holiness, without which they cannot see the Lord. Therefore, you will need to exercise all faith, wisdom, and grace.
3. Act in all things not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel, in preaching and visiting from house to house, in reading, meditation and prayer.
4. No minister of our Society shall be allowed to take active part in politics and shall discourage the members in the same.
5. An ordained minister leaving the active work of our Society (except for reasons accepted by the Annual Conference) shall forfeit his voice in his Conference until satisfaction be given to said Conference.
6. Any minister who has been passed at the preceding Annual Conference and also at the preceding Local Conference may, at his request, receive a transfer to any other Annual Conference from the District Superintendent.
7. No minister shall have charge of the same field longer than three years in succession, except by two- thirds vote of the Annual Conference. The Annual Conference may fix a definite tenure of office.
8. The pastors shall be stationed at the Annual Conference by a committee consisting of the District Superintendents and a number of, or all the delegates.
Duties of Pastors
1. The pastor shall have oversight of all the organizations on his charge.
2. He shall have charge of the re-organization of the Sunday School.
3. The General Rules shall be read to the church once each year by the pastor or his appointee.
4. He shall send transfers of members of his church to other churches only at the request of the parties concerned, and said transfers shall be sent to the pastor of the said church.
5. The pastor shall be held accountable to his Local and Annual Conferences for the faithful performance of his official duties.
The District Superintendent shall be elected by ballot vote by the Annual Conference from among those ordained ministers who are willing to minister according to the direction of the Conference and our Discipline. We recommend that the Conference favor such men for the office who from year to year continue to minister according to the direction of the Conference and Discipline.
They shall be elected for a term of one to three years, as the Annual Conference may decide: no District Superintendent shall hold office for more than six years in succession unless he receives two-thirds of the votes of Annual Conference. The Annual Conference may fix a definite tenure of office.
A Vice District Superintendent shall be elected by the Conference who shall fill the unexpired term of the District Superintendent should he become unable to longer fill the office.
1. To travel and preach in the district assigned to him.
2. To preside over Local and Annual Conferences.
3. In case of necessity, the District Superintendent has the power, in the interval between the Annual Conferences, to change or transfer preachers and to remove or suspend immoral ones within the bounds of his district until the next Annual Conference, according to the direction of the Church Discipline.
4. He shall take heed not to be remiss in attending to his appointed meetings and in holding Local Conferences, and at his direction he can appoint and hold tent meetings. He shall preach and exhort according to ability, and ever be intent to set his brethren in office a good example in godliness.
5. He shall take special care that our Discipline be inculcated in all parts within the bounds of his district.
6. He has the superintendence of all the churches within the bounds of his district.
7. He shall see to it that missionary meetings are held at every appointment and that offerings are received for the missionary cause.
8. He shall read the duties of officers once a year on each charge at the first Local Conference in the Conference year.
9. He shall from time to time on each charge emphasize the duties of members towards their minister.
10. He shall give a report of the work on his field to the General Conference.
11. The Chairman of the last Annual Conference in the General Conference term shall bring, or cause to be brought, a full summary statistical report of the four years of his Conference to the General Conference. This report shall be compiled by the statistical secretary of the last Annual Conference, audited and handed over to the Chairman.
12. At the last Local Conference of the year, the District Superintendent with the Local Conference shall determine the value of the church property on the various charges.
13. District Superintendents are accountable to the Annual Conference of their district for the performance of their official duties.
GENERAL CONFERENCE OFFICERS
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
1. The Executive Board of the Church shall consist of active ordained ministers, members of the General Conference, who are ministering under the direction of their Conference and our Discipline. We encourage the election of lay delegates if General Conference representatives of any Conference or Conferences should so desire. Each General Conference, from time to time, shall determine the number of members from the various Conferences according to the membership of the respective Conferences. The delegates at the General Conference from each Annual Conference shall nominate for their Conference the required number of members to which they are entitled, and the General Conference shall elect by ballot.
2. The Board shall elect its Chairman by ballot from among the ordained members.
3. Vacancies in the above Board, if any should occur for any reason, may be filled by the remaining members of the Board from among the members of the last General Conference.
1. The Executive Board shall examine the Editor in case any charges are preferred against him, and if he be found guilty, and he does not meet the requirements of the Board, they shall have power to suspend him from office until the next General Conference where he shall be dealt with.
2. In case there be no Editor for any reason, the Executive Board shall meet and elect an Editor who shall serve until the next General Conference.
3. The Executive Board shall constitute a court of appeal which shall, if necessary, hold a session once a year for the purpose of trying appeals that may be taken by any ministers from the decision of an Annual Conference. The Chairman shall preside at the trial of appeal cases. A majority of members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
4. The Executive Board shall meet whenever the Chairman, or any three members of the Board shall deem it necessary, and a majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for transacting business.
5. The Board shall have charge of the publishing interests, subject to the regulations adopted by the General Conference from time to time.
6. The Board shall settle all disputes or appeals on boundaries between Annual Conferences.
The Editor of the Gospel Banner shall be elected by the General Conference by ballot for a General Conference term.
1. To write or select articles for the Gospel Banner which are in harmony with our Discipline.
2. He may ignore or curtail any articles or testimonies of contributors in general which are unsound or detrimental to the general interest of the readers of the Banner to the best of his knowledge.
3. He is held responsible for the doctrines of all articles which appear in the Gospel Banner with the exception of such which are contributed by associate Editors or endorsed by any Annual Conference or Convention.
4. In case any associate Editor advocates, or Annual Conference endorses any doctrines, rules, or regulations that are unsound or not in harmony with our Discipline through the columns of the Gospel Banner, the Editor shall not be held responsible, but such an associate Editor or Annual Conference shall be denied their special rights by order of the Chairman and the majority of the executive committee.
5. Any member or preacher who in any way undermines the Editor may be reported by the Editor or any one else to the Chairman of the executive committee, who, with or through one or more of said committee will investigate the matter; and if such an one is found guilty of the same, and does not render satisfaction he shall be dealt with according to Discipline.
6. No Camp-Meeting report should cover more than one page; no District Superintendent’s report more than one column; no obituary or death notice more than three inches (ministers excepted), and no marriage notice more than one inch. A notice of a good book or periodical is accepted once only.
Our Conferences are Local, Annual, and General. Local Conferences shall be held on each pastoral charge not fewer than two times in the year, each Annual Conference to determine the exact number. Annual Conferences are to be held annually by each respective Annual Conference. General Conferences are to be held every four years for the whole Society.
All sessions are to be opened and closed with singing and prayer. Let all, upon conference occasions, consider themselves as in the presence of God and as laboring for Him. Let each be open-hearted and speak freely the convictions of his heart. Let the intermediate time be improved by private prayer for ourselves and one another, and especially that God may direct the business transactions of the Conference.
The Local Conference shall be responsible to the Annual Conference and the Annual Conference to the General Conference. In no case shall the lower body legislate outside the sphere of authority delegated to it by the higher body.
All accounts of the different Conferences, Local, Annual, and General, shall be audited annually, or as may be determined by the respective Conferences.
A quorum for any of our Conferences, Local, Annual, General, or Special, shall be those members who are present at a Conference which has been properly called.
"Robert's Rules of Order" shall be the recognized authority in parliamentary procedure in the conducting of all church business.
1. All members of the local charge in good standing and sixteen years of age and over shall be members of the Local Conference.
2. The District Superintendent shall appoint the time on each charge for sessions of the Local Conference, but the Local Conference shall appoint the place.
The District Superintendent shall be the Chairman of the Local Conference. If he cannot be present, he shall appoint a substitute.
4. The Conference is to choose the secretary for the occasion.
5. Special sessions of the Local Conference may be held at the call of the District Superintendent providing there is need for such sessions and they are properly announced.
The Sunday School superintendent, class leaders, stewards, deacons, helpers, ministers, and other officers shall be examined whether they have been faithful to the charge entrusted to their care and have been godly and unblamable in their demeanor.
Election of Officers
Trustees—Local trustees shall be elected annually at the last Local Conference in the Annual Conference year, by ballot, or open vote, as the Annual Conference may decide.
Annual Conference Delegate—One lay delegate shall be elected from each charge by ballot at the last Local Conference in the Conference year, or at a time determined by the Annual Conference.
Other Officers—Such other officers as the Local Conference may deem necessary may be elected or appointed.
Renewal of Licenses
Local Conference Licenses shall be renewed annually at the last Local Conference in the Annual Conference year provided the workers receive two-thirds of the votes of those present and that the vote be by ballot.
Such who have labored satisfactorily under a Local Conference License for at least six months may make application to the Local Conference for a recommendation to the Annual Conference which may be granted them after examination, by consent of two-
thirds of the Local Conference members present, where such may be received on a three-years' term of probation provided they pass an examination on Discipline satisfactorily.
Revision of Class Books
The membership record of each charge shall be revised annually at the last Local Conference in the Annual Conference year. Members who have moved away without reporting during the year may be dropped according to the discretion of the Local Conference, provided the minister in charge has done his duty towards them.
Valuation of Church Property
At the last Local Conference of the Annual Conference year, the value of the church property on the various charges shall be determined.
The following procedure is recommended:
That the Washing of the Saints' Feet be observed previous to Communion.
That at the time when the Communion is to be administered, there be a preparatory discourse or exhortation delivered to invite self-examination, according to the words of the Apostle, I Cor. 11:23-29.
That communicants gather around the altar, kneel, uniting in prayer led by the minister in giving thanks for the emblem representing the broken body of Christ: then partake. Then likewise give thanks for the cup representing the blood of Christ which was "Shed for many"; then partake.
All ordained ministers shall be members of the Annual Conference (except such as are mentioned as excepted in Chapter IV, Part II, Section III, par. 5, page 61) and all probationers who have charge of work assigned to them by the Annual Conference or by the District Superintendent, and one lay delegate from each charge, elected by ballot at the last Local Conference in the Conference year, or at a time determined by the Annual Conference.
If, in an emergency situation, the Executive Committee of the Annual Conference deems it advisable that a special session of the Annual Conference be held, they may call the same and determine the time and place. The membership of said special conference shall be the members of the previous Annual Conference. Annual Conference membership may include for the term of their office, lay members of the Executive Board, Board of Directors or Board of Trustees, and Conference Treasurer, at the discretion of the respective Annual Conferences.
Order of Procedure
1. Enrollment of members and organization.
2. Adoption of rules and regulations.
3. Appointment of committees.
4. Reports of ministers.
5. Each minister shall be examined with regard to his moral and official conduct and whether he employs as much time as practicable to promote the kingdom of God according to Titus 1:7-9, and II Tim. 2:15. If charges should be brought, the defendant shall be granted a hearing in the presence of the Conference, and he shall be admonished or advised as the case may require. But, should all admonitions or advice fail in any case, then the name of the delinquent person shall be erased from the Church connection.
6. Committee reports.
7. What are the statistics of the Conference?
In order to obtain these, each minister is requested to hand in the following schedule properly filled out for his field of labor:
MINISTERS AND OFFICERS
1. District Superintendents
2. City Mission Presidents or Missionary Presiding Elders
3. Ordained Ministers
4. Approved Ministering Sisters
6. Applicants for Annual Conference Licenses
7. Local Conference Licensed Preachers and Evangelists
9. Class Leaders
11. Building Fund, Parsonage, and Rent Collectors
13. Members not Baptized
14. Children Dedicated
15. Received into Church Fellowship
16. Received by Transfer
17. Total Increase
22. Moved to Other Conferences
24. Total Decrease
25. Net Increase
26. Net Decrease
27. Total Membership
29. New Appointments
30. Sermons Preached
31. Pastoral Visits
32. Prayer Meetings Visited
33. Sunday Schools Visited
34. Prayer Meeting Classes
35. New Classes Organized
36. U.M.C. Sunday Schools
37. New U.M.C. Sunday Schools
38. Officers and Teachers Enrolled
39. Scholars Enrolled
40. Total Enrollment
41. Total Average Attendance
42. Union Sunday Schools
43. Home Department Members
44. Cradle Roll Members
45. Subscribers to the Gospel Banner
48. Janitors' Homes
49. Increase of Church Property
50. Decrease of Church Property
51. Present Value of Church Property
52. Home Missions
53. Home Missions in Sunday Schools
54. Foreign Missions
55. Foreign Missions in Sunday Schools
56. For the Poor
57. Church Property Indebtedness & Building Fund
58. Repairing Church Property
59. Parsonage and Hall Rent
60. Sexton and Sundry Expenses
61. Sunday Schools
62. District Superintendents
63. District Superintendents' Rent
64. Missionary District Superintendents or City Mission Presidents
65. Ministers in Cash
66. Ministers in Other Contributions
67. Ministers' Retirement Fund
68. Beneficiary or Superannuation Fund
70. City Missions
71. Tabernacle or Evangelistic Work
72. Camp Meetings
73. Sunday School and Other Conventions
74. Annual Conference Fund
75. Annual Conference Delegate Fund
76. Annual Conference Entertainment Fund
77. Benevolent Society
78. Church Extension Fund
79. Relief and Rescue Work
80. U. M. C. Schools
81. Radio Work
82. Young People's Societies
83. Women's Missionary Societies
84. Other Purposes
85. Total Offerings
86. Subscriptions and Literature Sold
8. Appointment of Boundary, Stationing, and other necessary committees.
9. Submission to Conference.
10. Election of District Superintendents.
11. Enactment of rules and regulations governing the general program for the ensuing year.
12. Any unfinished business.
13. Location and time of next Annual Conference.
14. After the proceedings of this Conference have been correctly recorded and adopted by the members, as a testimony of acquiescence and obedience, as in the sight of God, let every one cheerfully and in peace attend to his charge.
15. Mission Conferences may be organized by any Annual Conference when deemed advisable. These shall receive financial support as mutually agreed upon. They shall be under the supervision of their respective Annual Conferences until they are recognized as independent Annual Conferences by the General Conference. We recommend that the Annual Conferences of the various Mission Conferences be presided over by the Chairman of their respective Annual Conferences. Minutes of Mission Conferences shall not be submitted to the General Conference, but shall be examined by their respective Annual Conferences. Mission Conferences shall also submit respectively a summary (statistical and financial) report to their respective Annual Conferences of the General Conference term or part of it, and their respective Annual Conferences shall incorporate it in their report to the General Conference, and shall also submit such appeals from the Mission Conferences as they deem advisable.
THE GENERAL CONFERENCE.
The members of the General Conference are the District Superintendents, Editor, Agent of Bethel Publishing Company, one delegate from every three hundred members, and an additional one in case the fraction of numbers is 200 or more, elected or ballot at the last Annual Conference of the General Conference term. The delegates from the ministry shall be such who are ministering according to the direction of their Conference and our Discipline. Delegates shall be elected in the order of one ministerial delegate and one lay delegate until the required number have been elected.
In no case shall more than one District Superintendent be a member of General Conference by virtue of his office except the membership of his respective Annual Conference numbers 800. If the membership exceeds 800, then an additional District Superintendent may be a member of the General Conference, after which an additional District Superintendent may be a member of the General Conference for each additional 600 members. No Missionary District Superintendent, City Mission President or District Superintendent of a Mission Conference shall be a member of a General Conference by virtue of his office.
The Chairman of the General Conference shall be elected from among the District Superintendent.
Order of Procedure.
1. Election of chairman and secretary.
2. Recognition of Delegates
3. Address of chairman.
4. Examination of the transactions of our Annual Conference Records.
5. Report of the Executive Board
6. Summary statistics of General Church.
7. Consideration of rules and regulations necessary to the spiritual welfare and temporal economy of the church.
8. Arrangements of Annual Conference boundaries.
9. Election of Editor of Gospel Banner.
10. Election of Executive Board and other officers.
11. Any other matters of business.
12. Location and time of next General Conference.
13. After the proceedings of this Conference have been correctly recorded and adopted by the members as a sign of acquiescence and obedience, as in the sight of God, let every member cheerfully, and in peace attend to his charge.
A call for a special General Conference may be made at any time providing an Annual Conference or any five members of the General Executive Board ask for it, and approval is given by the General Executive Board as a whole. The time and place is to be determined by the General Executive Board. The membership of said special General Conference shall be the duly elected members of the previous General Conference.
1. In our societies there shall be formed Sunday Schools, which shall, if possible, meet each Sunday in the year at an appropriate hour, for religious instruction according to the Word of God as expounded in the standard of the Discipline.
2. When it is deemed practicable to organize a school, the minister in charge shall make it known to the Local Conference, and if the Local Conference deem it necessary, then he shall proceed to organize a school by electing officers.
3. The Sunday School is to be re-organized annually at a meeting of the membership of the church called for this purpose, at which the pastor shall preside.
4. The management of the school is to be entrusted to the superintendent (who is to be a member of our church) and to have the approval of the minister in charge. (See Chapter IV, Part I. Section I, page 51).
5. The school shall be conducted in a manner acceptable to the Local Conference in which body final authority shall reside in any disputed matter.
Young People's Work
Since the future of the church depends upon the conversion of the rising generation and the enlisting and establishing of these young people in the work of the Lord and the service of the church, young people's work shall be promoted in every church and wherever practicable the work shall be organized.
Each Conference may draw up its own plan of organization and give proper supervision to the work.
Before He left His immediate disciples, the Lord gave to them the command to preach the Gospel in all the world. (Matt. 28:19, 20). To continue this work is incumbent upon His church today. We expect all of our pastors to aggressively promote our missionary interests. We urge all our members to be missionary-minded and to respond to this work in whatever ways the Lord may direct.
Each Annual Conference may direct its missionary program according to its own discretion.
For the purpose of stimulating the work. Women's Missionary Societies may be formed in as many local churches as is feasible. Each Conference may have its own central organization for the co-ordination of the work.
1. The titles of all Church property shall be secured and deeded, according to the laws of the State, to a Board of Trustees, or an Executive Board, or the Corporation, in trust, and their successors in office, as the property of the United Missionary Church (or Mennonite Brethren in Christ) of the Conference in which the property is located.
2. Each Local Conference shall elect for a term not to exceed three years, a judicious Board of Trustees of three or more members as may be legally required, from among its members, who shall be responsible for the care of the church property. (See Chapter IV, Part I, Section VI, page 55).
3. The Trustees shall be responsible to the Local Conference.
4. If it becomes desirable to purchase property, or to erect buildings, the Trustees shall not proceed with the same without the authorization of the Local Conference. All steps taken shall be in keeping with legal requirements. No building project shall be undertaken before funds are at hand, or sufficiently secured. When deemed advisable, a building committee may be appointed by the Local Conference. The work shall proceed according to the instruction of the Local Conference.
5. No Trustee Board shall permit any outside party, or parties, to use the church without permission from their pastor.
6 No Board of Trustees shall have authority to sell church property without consent of their Annual Conference.
Any persons, who from love to the work of the Lord, desire to bequeath anything to the United Missionary Church (or Mennonite Brethren in Christ), in their last will or testament, be it money or the worth of money, should devise it to the Annual Conference or to the Annual Conference Trustees, to be disposed of, according to the will of the donor, in the missionary cause, or support of the minister, etc., or it can be left to the Conference to be disposed of where most needed, for the advancement of the cause of Christ.
COURSE OF READING FOR
Systematic Theology "Handbook of Christian Theology", by Field, or "Great Doctrines of the Bible", by Evans.
Church History "Church History", by Newman, Vol. I, First Half.
Biblical Introduction "All About the Bible", by Collett.
The Deeper Life “ Holiness and Power” by Hills, or “Perfect Love by Wood, "Foundations of Doctrine", by Jessop, or "The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life" by Hopkins.
Homiletics "Divine Art of Preaching", by Pierson, or "The Making of a Sermon", by Pattison
Book for Reading M. B. C. History, editions to date.
Systematic Theology Texts as above.
Church History Texts as above, Vol. I, Second Half.
Christian Evidence "Nelson on Infidelity", or "System of Christian Evidence", by Keyser.
The Deeper Life "The Holy Spirit", by J. A. Huffman, Revised and Enlarged Edition.
Second Coming "Jesus is Coming", by Blackstone, or "The Messianic Hope in Both Testaments", by Huffman.
Book for Reading “Robert’s Rules of Order”
Systematic Theology Texts as above.
Church History Texts as above, Vol. II.
Pastoral Theology "Reformed Pastor", by Baxter, or "Pastoral Problems", by Riley.
Biblical Archaeology "Voices from Rocks and Dust Heaps of Bible Lands", Revised and Enlarged Edition, by Huffman. Revised and Enlarged Edition
Biblical Interpretation "Hermeneutics", by Dungan.
Special Study "Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation", by Walker.
Book for Reading "The Vocal and Literary Interpretation of the Bible", by Curry.
NOTE: Portions for study in Bible and Systematic Theology in each year shall be chosen by the individual Annual Conferences. Where options are given, the choice of books used shall be made by the individual Annual Conferences.
Probationers shall be examined by a written examination by a committee to be appointed by the Annual Conference. They shall make 50% of the marks given on each book, and an average of 70% on the whole in order to pass. No probationer shall be ordained until he has passed the Course of Reading for probationers, except foreign missionaries, who may be ordained without taking the Reading Course according to the discretion of the respective Annual Conferences. Credits may be given for above courses pursued in Bible Schools, Colleges or Seminaries at the option of the individual Annual Conferences.