THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MARA EVANGELCAL CHURCH
(Approved by The 27th General Assembly, 1-5 March 1995)
I. THE NAME
The name of the Church shall be the Mara Evangelical Church.
II. DOCTRINAL BASIS
The Mara Evangelical Church confesses the Holy Bible of the Old and New testaments to be the only Source of her doctrine, life and Ministry. The Scripture is the authoritative rule of faith and practice. The Church also confesses on The Apostle Creeds, Nicene Creeds and Athanatian Creeds. The Baptism and the Lord Supper are the only Sacrament of the Church. The Priest hood of the believer is recognized.
III. THE NATURE AND THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The Mara Evangelical Church is a communion of all believers and confesses the Triune God who is the only creator of all things. The proclamation of the word of God and service to humanity in her own capacity are the very purpose of the existence of the Church.
The Mara Evangelical Church confesses the oneness of believers and affirms to step to Church Unity with mutual love and acceptance.
1. The Purpose of the Church
a) To reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is Means of Salvation for soul and body of all human Beings.
b) To heal community with the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and promote peace and love to all creations.
c) To grow in the knowledge of God and Holy Scripture so that the members of the Church be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and good citizens of this globe
d) To seek Christian unity in diversity for common good
IV. MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCH
All human beings who accept Jesus Christ as his or her Savior can be a member of the Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) if he/she applies for membership. All members of the Church shall stay in the Constitution of the Church.
a) Dedicated Child to Triune God, baptized member who partake in the Lord’s Supper are considered as full member of the Church.
b) All members of the Church have to participate in proclamation of the Gospel and Service of the needy.
c) Both men and women are accepted for Church ministry.
V. CHURCH MINISTERS
Both men and women are ordained for the ministry of the Church. There are two kinds of ordained;
a) Theologically trained ordained
Theologically trained ordained minister is called pastor. He/she is responsible for two Sacraments; Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and other Church ordinances.
b) Lay ordained
Lay ordained leader is called deacon. She/he is responsible for Church ministry and to assist pastor in ministry but he or she is not supposed to responsible for Sacraments but they can only assist the pastor in Sacraments; preparation of elements.
Both men and women, trained and lay ministers and leaders shall participate in the ministry of the Church.
VI. CHURCH ORGANIZATION
The Mara Evangelical Church shall be an Official Church under the State. The Church shall be a registered Church under the State.
The ecclesiastical organizational Structure of the Mara Evangelical Church shall be constituted by her own members based on self governing, self propagating and self supporting principles of centralization.
To perform more effective ministry, there shall be working department and Fellowship Department for effective Christian ministry and unity of the Church. The Departments are two kinds; Executive Departments and Fellowship Departments.
1. The Executive Departments
- § Mission and Evangelism Department
- § Christian Theological Department
- § Communication and Cultural Department
2. The Fellowship Departments and Social Action Department
- Christian Women Department
- Christian Youth Department
- Children Fellowship Department
- Service and Development Department
Nurturing of children, youths, women and social action for the betterment of life shall be priority in the Church. Thus every local Church shall organize children branch, youth branch, women branch and Service and Development committee in local level to promote Christian spirituality, fellowship and the unity in the Church.
VII. THE OFFICER BEARERS
The Office Bearers are;
- The General Secretary
- Associate General Secretary
- The Executive Secretaries for Executive Departments
They shall be elected by the General Assembly for one term four years. A person is not permissible to continue more than two terms in the same position. He or she can only continue in different department after completion of two terms in the same position. The office bearers shall carry out the business and the decision of the Assembly.
1. The General Secretary
The General Secretary shall carry out the decisions of the Assembly and responsible to pastoral affairs. The General Secretary shall report the business of the Church to the Assembly and the Executive Committee.
2. The Associate General Secretary
The Associate General Secretary shall be the Finance Secretary and carry out the financial decisions of Assembly. The Associate General Secretary shall be acting of the General Secretary during the absence the General Secretary.
3. The Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary shall be the responsible person of Executive department. He or she shall carry out decisions of Assembly regarding the department.
4. The Moderator
The Moderator shall be the chairperson of the Church. He or she is elected by the Assembly for only one term, four years. Deputy moderator shall be appointed for one term, four years to assist moderator.
5. The Departmental Secretaries
The departmental Secretary shall be a pointed by the Assembly. They are selected in the Executive Committee for one term four years. They can be re-appointed for the next term. The secretaries are;
- The Secretary of Women Department
- The Secretary of Youths Department
- The Secretary of Children Fellowship
- The Secretary of the Service and Development Department
Departmental Secretary shall carry out the decision of Joint Conference of the Department. He or she shall report the decision of the Joint Conferences and forward it to the Executive Committee.
VIII. GENERAL ASSEMBLY / SYNOD
General Assembly shall be the highest decision making body of the Church. All resolutions of the Church are passed by Assembly. Under the Assembly there are Assembly Standing committees.
1) The Executive committee
2) The Pastoral committee
3) The Mission Committee
4) The Education Committee
5) The Finance Committee and Planning Committee
6) The Service and Development (Social Action) Committee
7) The Church Office Council Meeting
Nature of the Assembly
The Assembly of the Mara Evangelical Church is democratic and inclusive in nature
- Member from each Local Church shall represent in the Assembly
- The number of the representative shall be based on by-laws of the Church
- There is not gender discrimination in Assembly member
- Pastors, Deacons, Evangelist, Departmental leaders, Delegates and Special Invitees, shall be the member of Assembly. Special Invitees shall be invited as non-voters in Assembly.
- The Assembly shall be held every year
- Emergency Assembly can be held if necessary
- The General Assembly serves unity of the Local Churches.
Function of the Assembly
The Assembly of the Mara Evangelical Church shall;
- be responsible for the constitution
- give general direction to the work of the Mara Evangelical Church
- elect the Moderator and the office bearers of the Church
- appoint departmental secretaries
- bless resolutions of committees and Joint Conferences of the Church
- be amendment the constitution if necessity is found
- form commission or committee if it is needed
1. The Executive Committee (EC)
The Executive meeting is composed with Church officers and deacons with limited number.
Function of Executive Committee
- This committee scrutinizes all decisions of Assembly Standing meetings and Departmental Committees and forwards decisions to Assembly.
- The Executive Committee is also responsible to approve the Assembly members who are elected by presbyters’ Conference.
- It shall be held at least once in a year. If necessary there can be more Executive Committee.
- Executive meeting is also responsible to implement Assembly decisions.
- If there is any urgent matter, the Executive Meeting shall take the matter on behalf of Assembly and report to Assembly. This shall be in only emergency matter.
- Executive Committee shall take final decision in some matters under the mandate of the General Assembly. The decision shall be circulated to Local congregation according to the decision. However, no resolution of Assembly can be changed without the mandate of Assembly.
- Any fresh resolution of the Executive Committee shall be reported to Assembly.
2. The Pastoral Committee
The Pastoral Committee shall be responsible for all pastoral concerns. No lay participant shall be present in this Committee. All Pastors of the Mara Evangelical Church are members of the Pastoral Committee. The decision shall be reported to EC and Assembly.
- The pastoral committee is responsible to pastoral agendas; ordination, transfer & posting, pension and facilitation of Assembly workers.
- Sharing of pastoral experiences and exchange ministry experiences of pastors in their respective congregation.
- Formulate pastoral agendas and decide and forwarded to the Executive Meeting.
3. The Mission Committee
The committee is responsible for all mission affairs of the Church. The assigned Mission Board members’ from Area Local Church meeting called Bia and the Officer bearers shall be members of the committee. The Executive Secretary of Mission shall be the holder of the Committee. The responsibility of the committee is;
- Responsible for the Mission field
- Responsible for Project of mission field
- Responsible for workers in mission field
- To look after home evangelism
- Receive and discuss Area local mission board agendas
- Try to find new mission activities and movement.
The committee shall be the backbone of mission work. The Committee is to motivate local mission board and to convince every believer to participate in mission work of the Church.
4. The Education Committee
The committee is responsible for all theological concerns and faith and order of the Church. The officer bearers and the representative from Local Church who are assigned for two years are member of the Committee. The Executive Secretary of Theological Education shall hold the committee. The task of the committee is;
- To prepare the curriculum of Sunday School
- To seek the development of Sunday school
- To prepare Theological Seminar for the whole Church
- To prepare for leadership promotion of the Church
- To propose new theological agenda based on the Scripture.
- To reform theology of the Church in need.
The committee is responsible for the doctrine and faith and order. The committee shall form commission or any committee under the mandate of the Assembly regarding theological concern if it is needed. The Commission shall be reported to the General Assembly.
5. The Finance and Planning Committee
The financial system of the Church is centralization. 80% of offering, tithe and others shall be sent to the Assembly office and all mission funds to be sent to the Assembly office. The Finance and planning committee shall plan and manage the budget of the Church.
The committee shall take all financial matters of the Church. The committee shall plan the budget and the property of the Church. The officer bearers of the Church, elected finance committee members and special invitees who are non-voters shall be the member of the committee. The responsibility of the committee shall be the following.
- The prepared budget of each department of the Church shall be discussed and decided
- To think the management of the Church and plan for property of the Church
- The budget of projects shall be scrutinized and decided
- To plan the development of fund in the Church
- To plan for extension of the Church ministry
- To form financial commission when it is needed under the rules and by-laws of the Mara Evangelical Church.
- To maintain and develop the centralization of financial system
The finance committee shall be eligible to propose rules and regulations regarding finance for both the local congregation and all departments of the church. The proposal shall be forwarded to the General Assembly.
6. The Service and Development Committee
The committee shall be responsible for Social concern of the Church and society
As the Gospel stands for society the Church shall stand for society and creations. Thus the committee shall find the betterment of society. The committee members are the Church officer bears and limited number from society. The committee shall be responsible for;
- The development of life of the poor and the needy
- Seeking alternative ways of life for common good
- Responding the challenges of life in present time
- Promoting skills in life
The committee shall active in social concern and the resolution shall be reported to Executive Committee and to the Assembly. It shall be held at least once in a year.
7. Office Council Meeting
The Council shall be composed of the Moderators, Church office bearers and representatives of deacon who are invited by Assembly for one term, four years. The number of invited deacon shall be decided by the Assembly in election year.
1) The office council meeting will generally direct the business of the administrative secretaries
2) The Council shall plan Church unity and ecumenical relations to other Churches.
3) The Council also shall prepare to form new Local Church when it is necessary
4) The Council shall call committee to Local Churches in urgent matter
5) The Moderator shall be the Chairperson of the council.
The elected office bearers and the lay Church leaders shall share each experience and find out common good for ministry of the Church.
IX. THE PRESBYTERS CONVENTION
The Church believes lay participation in ministry of the Church. The ministry of deacons who are elected by the congregation of the Church is encouraged. It is the uniqueness of the tradition of the Church.
- The Presbyter Convention shall be the court of lay leaders and the meeting ground for sharing their ministry experiences.
- Area pastors and presbyters from local Churches shall be members of the Convention
- The Convention is responsible to scrutinize and decide the agenda of local Churches which are forwarded to the Executive Committee and to the Assembly.
- The convention shall decide to take new presbyter in local Church when local Church is needed
- The Convention shall elect member of the Assembly among presbyters.
- Chairperson and Secretary of the conference to be elected once in two years.
- The Convention shall be held before the General Assembly it shall be held once in a year.
- The representatives of Christian women and youths branch of local Churches shall meet and plan for their forth coming conference. Each group shall conduct different meeting.
X. DEPARTMENTAL JOINT CONFENENCE
Nurturing of children, youths and women of the Church shall be encouraged. Thus every local Church shall organize children branch, youth branch and women branch to promote Christian spirituality, fellowship and unity in the Church. All branches of women, youths and children in local Churches shall come together in Joint Conference.
- Christian Youth Joint Conference
- Christian Children Center Committee
- Christian Women Joint Conference
The departmental Joint Conference is held once in a year. The decision of the conference shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee and the General Assembly. The Conference shall be held before the General Assembly.
XI. LOCAL CHURCH
Each local Church has proper structure whether the number of member of the congregation is less or more. The Structure of all Local Churches of the Mara Evangelical Church shall be uniform. If the Local Church wishes to go beyond the existing order it shall be first submitted to the General Secretary Office.
1. Church member
The Mara Evangelical Church believes that any person who was baptized and a regular communicant person in the Church is the member of the Church. Children who are not yet baptized but dedicated to God according to the Church tradition are also accepted as members of the Church.
2. Local Church Member
A community of believers who worship together in one place, believers of one village who worship in one Church and believers of one block in city or town who worship together in the same place is called local Church member or congregation of the Church. Local Church member or local congregation is the backbone of the Church.
3. Local Church Leaders
Deacons (Awnano Macha) and assistant deacons (Khichho Macha) are leaders of local Church. Both men and women shall be ordained for deacons if they are accepted by the congregation. The number of deacon in one local Church shall be according to the bye-laws. All deacons are the assistance of pastors for the ministry of the Church. They are volunteer leaders of the Church. They shall be member of the General Assembly if he or she is proposed by the Presbyters’ Convention. This volunteer ministry can be continued up to 60 year.
Assistant Deacon (khichho Macha) is not ordained person. He or she can be promoted to deacon if he or she is trustworthy for the ministry of the Church. Assistant deacon shall be promoted to deacon if there is vacancy of deacon in the Church.
4. Christian Fellowship Leaders
For the effective ministry of the Church there shall be Christian women fellowship, Christian Youth Fellowship and Christian Children fellowship. Each fellowship group shall assign the leaders. It is for one term, four years if they are responsible they can continue another terms. They are volunteer leaders.
5. Pastor in Local Church
Pastor is Spiritual Father or Mother of the Church. A pastor shall look after more than one local Church. The role of Pastor in the Church is to perform the Sacraments, to preach the Gospel, to look after the Church and to bless the congregation
6. Local Standing Committee
Local Standing Committee is the backbone of Local Church. No activity of local Church is done without the decision of Local Standing Committee. Local Standing Committee is the highest committee for that local Church.
All deacons, Assistant deacons and Pastor are the members of the local Standing committee. Local Standing committee shall stay in the constitution of the Mara Evangelical Church. The committee shall be held once in every new month.
Local standing committee shall give general direction to fellowship branches; Christian women fellowship, Christian Youth Fellowship and Christian Children fellowship.
7. Local Mission Board Committee
Local Mission Board shall be active for mission work. The committee has liberty to decide and plan for mission work under the constitution and bye-laws of the Mara Evangelical Church. However the committee needs to take approval of local Church to implement the decision of the committee.
Local Congregation shall be the main source of finance for the Mara Evangelical Church. The local church members shall offer tithe, mission fund etc. to the Church. 80% of the offering shall go to the General Assembly office and 20% of offering shall be used for local Church as the decision of Local Standing Committee.
Pastor is Spiritual Father or Mother of the Church. Pastor shall be theologically trained and ordained. All pastors are equal in the Church. They are Assembly worker of the Church. There shall be no separation in pastors. All pastors shall get equal opportunity.
If pastor is trustworthy he or she shall work up to 60 years of the age as the Assembly worker. 60 years old pastor is to be given Full Pension.
XIII. CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT
Amendments to this constitution may be made by a two third majority of the vote cast at the Assembly. The amendments shall be first submitted to the General Secretary before two months of the Assembly. Amendment shall become active when it is approved by the Assembly.