Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58






1.1 Name. The name of this Church shall be “The New Church.”

1.2 Denomination. This Church shall not be affiliated with any existing denomination. This Congregation shall be completely autonomous, but it shall constantly and continually seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. It shall nevertheless govern itself by the will and opinions of the majority of its members. Hence its members are under obligation to study, pray, listen to each other, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit before voicing their opinions.

1.3 Preamble. We do not want anybody to be more welcome than anybody else. We are aware that some will disagree with many of our assumptions and stances. We will not pretend to be inclusive, politically correct, or acceptable to all other groups, religions, or political persuasions. That said, we will welcome all sincere seekers who wish to explore with us the Christian Faith and WAY of Life that Jesus invites us into.

We will welcome those of any race, gender, sexual orientation, or political orientation who wish to learn and grow with us in the WAY of Christ. We will study the Bible earnestly and continually, recognizing that this is one of the major ways in which God addresses his people, and by which God’s people respond back to God. Such study never runs dry, and it constantly inspires those who long to follow Jesus. Nevertheless, we do not take the written word to be the Living Word of God, but a source which points toward it. Jesus, and now His Holy Spirit, is the Living WORD OF GOD – as the Bible itself tries to teach us. So we do not worship the Book, nor consider it inerrant. As one of our Congregational saints said long ago: “There is yet more light and truth to break forth from his Holy Word.”

The birth narratives of Jesus, and the claims for His virgin birth, while full of meaningful metaphors, are neither historical nor factual, both demonstrably and from Biblical evidence itself. And since the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth leads into bad theology, leads to the denial of the full humanity of Jesus, and obscures the Path by which we are to follow Jesus, we deny allegiance to this doctrine in the open and up front. We also consider the traditional constructs of the “Second Coming of Christ” to be sincere but mistaken errors on the part of the early followers of Jesus. And since this is foundational for the many constructs of hellfire and a cruel and vicious God, we reject them as inconsistent and inappropriate to the God that Jesus came to reveal to us. It seems clear, after 2,000 years, that Jesus did not come to close out life on earth, but to form the Church – the faithful followers – who would carry His message and Life of grace and forgiveness to all who would receive it. Clearly, then, we are not a creedal church. Creeds seem to us to lock-in errors, and to make claims to more certainty than humble followers should pretend.

We will pray individually and together with a sincere desire to open our lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit each day, and all through the day. We will never claim a full or final success in this endeavor, but it will be our sincere desire to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ our Lord. We will listen to each other and, insofar as we are able, we will be honest with each other.

While we will often govern our church and make decisions in the democratic style of majority rule, democracy is not our first loyalty nor do we imagine that truth can be known by voting on it. Our top allegiance will ever be to the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, not to counting votes. And whenever possible, in committees or as a Congregation, we will seek a “common mind” through prayer, rather than by argument or voting.

We are a group of sinners who believe that God in Christ Jesus loves us. Therefore we are also a group that will make many blunders and mistakes – and we will try to learn and grow as we go, ever remembering the principles of repentance and forgiveness.

1.4 Purpose. The purpose of this Church shall be to call people into worship, study, and fellowship together, in the Name of Jesus the Christ. We will encourage every member to seek, find, and live out their vocatio under Christ. It is never our purpose to merely study, pray, or discuss faith issues and concepts. Always our intention will be to live-out our faith in real life and on a daily basis. To this end, we will constantly ponder the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

1.5 Polity. This Church acknowledges Jesus Christ as its head and finds its guidance in matters of faith and discipline in the Holy Scriptures, interpreted by the Holy Spirit through reason, faith and conscience. Nevertheless, the government of this Church is vested in its members, who exercise the right of control in all its affairs. This Church is organized as a nonprofit religious corporation under the laws of the State of Washington and in legal matters is subject to the Washington Business Corporation Act.

1.6 Our Mission. BE IT RESOLVED:






2.1 Our Heritage. This Church claims as its own heritage the history and light of Judaism from which we came, and the further revelation in Jesus Christ of a New Covenant which fulfills and surpasses the Covenant on Mt. Sinai. We look in hope toward the reconciliation between Jews and Christians, and indeed between all peoples and all faiths. We also admit that we have no notion how God will accomplish this, or when. In the meantime we honor those who have broken past the traditions and constructs they were raised with in order to be more faithful to God: Jesus, Paul, Origen, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, and hundreds of others too numerous to name here. We therefore affirm the responsibility of the Church in each generation to understand, express, and renew the Christian Faith and to make the Christian Faith its own.

2.2 The Bible. This Church recognizes the Bible as the written record of the most important stories, encounters, and revelations of the Covenant between God and us – that is, the written word pointing to the Living WORD behind and beyond it. And we believe that living in accordance with the teachings, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the true inspiration for our fellowship, our choices, and our hope. Each member shall have the undisputed right to follow the Word of God according to the dictates of his or her conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

2.3 Scripture: Our Beginnings. It is the responsibility of Christians, both as individuals and together, to study the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is the highest overt authority available in matters of faith, purpose, and lifestyle of the Church. The members of this Church are not concerned with literal, orthodox, or final interpretations of any passage. We seek the major themes of God’s message and revelation to us. We hunger to find and understand the living dialogue and confrontation that God wishes to have with us through the events, persons, and proclamations in the Bible. Most of all we seek the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as it is presented in the Scriptures and as it applies to us.

2.4 Theology: Our Response to God. We have no formal creed. No single set of words shall be used as a test of any person’s faith. Each person is responsible for his or her own beliefs, and the formation and shaping of a life to go with those beliefs. This is not to imply that we take our faith or our beliefs lightly. It is to state that we take them too seriously to limit any person’s spiritual path to any other person’s language or experience. We seek unanimity of spirit in matters of belief and purpose through the sharing of every member’s authentic search for and experience with the Holy Spirit.

2.5 The Holy Spirit and Prayer: Our Faith. We are of the conviction that God has a specific plan for each person’s life which can be found and followed, however haltingly and imperfectly, in obedience to the guidance and insights that come in prayer. We hold this conviction to be true of this Church as well as each of its members. Therefore it is our purpose to attempt to find and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading both individually and together. The Holy Spirit outranks Scripture, even as the Holy Spirit has always preceded and inspired it.

2.6 Government: Our Life Together. We mean to keep clearly in mind in all our meetings that the will of the Spirit of God is the thing we seek more than human opinion, worldly success, or the dominance of our own ideas or desires.

2.7 The World: Our Life With Others.

2.7.1 We will seek to express in actions the love God has shown for us.

2.7.2 We have no desire to claim now, or in the future, that we know the totality of God’s truth. We wish to be faithful to that which God reveals to us without conclusions one way or another about what God may be asking of or revealing to others.

2.7.3 We respect and affirm all other groups that profess and try to act in the light of the Christian Faith, and we will cooperate with them whenever that seems in accord with God’s guidance for us.

2.7.4 We further respect and affirm the convictions of those who sincerely believe in other religious faiths and who conscientiously search for and/or experience some portion of God’s truth. We will seek friendly dialogue, for mutual understanding and enrichment. We will share that which is true in our experience, and ask others to do the same for us as we seek to grow in love for all people, as God through Jesus asked us to do.

2.7.5 We seek to minister to, witness to, and convert all persons who are hungry for or open to the revelation, love, and salvation of God in Christ Jesus. We do not seek members already active in other churches. We do not seek to convert those who are convinced and content in other religions.

2.7.6 We will be obedient and responsible to the civil authorities of our country, and participate in its structures and processes according to the dictates of our Christian conscience. We recognize that the inherent rights of free people before God, and the granted rights and privileges of our citizenship, entail a responsibility for us as long as we live here. We will endeavor to relate our lives as Christians to our lives as citizens in our community and in our country.


3.1 Membership Qualifications.

3.1.1 The Congregation shall be comprised of persons who are 13 years of age or older, and who have expressed through a written Covenant a desire to join in the faith, work, or fellowship of this Church, and who share the understanding that it is the purpose of this Church to be a community of intentional, committed Christian seekers and believers, each of whom covenants in the way they believe is best for them and consistent with their relationship with God.

3.1.2 The process of submitting a Covenant shall be the only basis for membership in this Church.

3.1.3 All Covenants must be in writing. Email is an acceptable way to submit a written Covenant. If writing is a hardship, a person may dictate his or her Covenant to another member.

3.2 The Covenant.

3.2.1 Each member’s Covenant shall be a statement of their desire to be a member of this Church, expressed in written form. Each member, each year, shall prayerfully consider his or her part in the life of this Church, and renew or rewrite their Covenant. A Covenant may be as long or as short as a member desires. In their Covenant, a member may write declarations of intention concerning participation, service, financial contributions, exclusionary clauses, faith concerns, spiritual disciplines, areas of special interest, and anything else they wish to note and remember. No person need write in their Covenant anything they do not wish to write in their Covenant. Any member may revise or amend their Covenant at any time.

3.2.2 No person shall have the right to challenge or discredit another member’s Covenant. All persons submitting a Covenant shall instantly be members of this Church in full standing on the basis of their Covenant. Each person shall review, renew, or revise their Covenant in October or November of each year, to take effect at the following Annual Meeting.

3.2.3 Any person making a Covenant request to serve on any standing board or committee shall automatically become a member of that board or committee. They shall remain a member of that board or committee for as long as they wish to serve there. A person may additionally express in their Covenant a willingness to serve as chairperson of a board or committee or to serve as an officer of this Church, and the Nominating Committee shall give the request careful consideration.

3.2.4 If, through no fault of their own, any member shall become mentally or physically unable to write or dictate a Covenant, that member shall be considered an automatic lifetime member of this Church.

3.2.5 It is the intention of these bylaws to make it easy for our people to get to where they want to serve.

3.3 Submitting the Covenant. Members shall submit their Covenants on or before Stewardship Sunday in October or November of each year. Stewardship Sunday shall be designated by the Diaconate and announced no later than four weeks before such designated date. Covenants are “the life blood” of the Congregation and shall be celebrated and honored as such. Information from the Covenants shall be open to all members in gratitude, appreciation, and praise (and never for criticism). Knowing each other’s Covenants shall be part of our policy of openness and honesty with each other, that this shared information may enhance our love and effectiveness as Christ’s Church. No non member shall ever have access to any information from our Covenants. It shall be the responsibility of a designated Deacon to read all of the Covenants, and to share the appropriate information from the Covenants with the Treasurer (or Financial Secretary) and with the Nominating Committee.

3.4 Membership Rolls. All persons who have covenanted to be members for the coming year shall have their names placed on the membership roll as it is constituted on January 1 of each year.

3.5 New Members. Whenever a new member submits a Covenant, their name shall be added immediately to the membership roll of this Church.


4.1 The Congregation. The Congregation shall exercise the right of control in all Church affairs.

4.2 The Church Council.

4.2.1 Membership. The Church Council shall consist of (a) the Moderator, Clerk (Secretary), Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Seer, and Minister(s), and (b) the chairpersons of the Diaconate, Board of Trustees, Worship Committee, Board of Vocations, and Board of Disciple Bands. It is understood that some of these positions may be vacant at times and that the Church Council shall operate with whatever membership it has.

4.2.2 Responsibilities. The Church Council, when the Church is not assembled in a Congregational Meeting, shall be the policy-making body and shall transact the business of the Church. It shall have the full life of the Congregation as its concern, and shall implement decisions of the Congregation as well as provide leadership, coordination, and direction for the Church.

a. It shall hear proposals from the various boards and committees of the Church and then encourage or discourage these proposals, giving sound and prayerful reasons for its perspective. It shall then assist in implementing or in redirecting these proposals.

b. It may, at its discretion, review, rescind, or amend any decision of any board or committee of the Church.

c. It shall, after its regular or special meetings, report to the Church any items or decisions that may be of interest or concern to the welfare or detriment of the life of the Church.

d. It shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings, and be the custodian of Church records.

e. It shall, with the assistance of the Nominating Committee, fill any vacancies in elected positions, if desired, until the next regular election.

f. It shall submit a proposed operating budget to the Annual Meeting each year.

g. All acts and deliberations of the Church Council shall be subject to the will and revision of the Congregation.

4.2.3 Meetings and Notice of Meetings. Meetings shall be held as necessary at the call of the Moderator, the Minister(s), or any three members of the Church Council upon (a) seven days’ notice by first-class mail, or (b) forty-eight hours’ notice given personally, by telephone, or by email.

4.2.4 Quorum. A quorum shall be four of the total members of the Church Council. Meetings may be held via email or video conferencing. A meeting at which a quorum is initially present may continue to transact business notwithstanding the withdrawal of members, if any action taken is approved by at least a majority of the required quorum.

4.3 Church Officers and Chairpersons of Boards and Committees.

4.3.1 Elections. Elections shall be held at the Annual Meeting to fill some or all of the offices of Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Seer, and the chairpersons of each of the boards and committees. Candidates for these positions shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee, and an email to all members shall be sent at least two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. Election shall be by a majority vote cast by those in attendance at the phone or video conference scheduled for voting purposes. There shall be no voting by proxy.

4.3.3 Moderator. The Moderator shall:

a. Preside at all meetings of the Church Council and at all duly called meetings of the Congregation.

b. Be an ex officio member of all boards, committees, and task forces of the Church.

c. Coordinate the efforts of boards and committees.

d. Meet regularly with the Minister(s) to share common concerns.

e. By the December Church Council meeting, propose to the Church Council, for its approval, names of members to serve on a Nominating Committee. On approval, these names shall be submitted to the Congregation for election at the Annual Meeting.

f. In the Moderator’s absence, the chairperson of the Diaconate shall perform the responsibilities of Moderator.

4.3.4 Church Clerk (Secretary). The Church Clerk shall:

a. Keep a record of the proceedings of the Church and of the Church Council.

b. Keep on file all communications and written official reports.

c. Notify all persons elected to Church offices.

d. Give legal notices of all meetings when such notices are necessary.

e. Conduct all correspondence when such is not otherwise provided.

f. Summarize the decisions and activities of the Church Council for inclusion in the Church newsletter, if one exists.

g. Maintain the records of the Church, recording additions and deletions to the membership, baptisms, confirmations, and weddings.

4.3.5 Treasurer. The Treasurer shall:

a. Be responsible for all expenditures of the Church, including payment of bills on order of the Church Council or its properly appointed agents.

b. Maintain an accurate accounting system for all matters pertaining to Church income and disbursements.

c. Make a detailed financial report annually to the Church and at other times as deemed necessary.

d. Have custody of all records relating to the real and personal property of the Church.

e. Be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.

4.3.6 Financial Secretary. The Financial Secretary shall:

a. Receive and be responsible for all payments to the Church for whatever reason.

b. Maintain an accurate record of all pledges, and provide each pledgor with at least a twice-yearly statement of account.

c. Deposit all moneys received by the Church in a banking institution as designated by the Board of Trustees, recording all such deposits with the Treasurer.

d. Be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.

4.3.7 Seer. The Seer shall:

a. Be responsible for maintaining and adding to the Church archives.

b. Arrange for written, photographic, or taped records of special celebrations and significant events in the life of the Church, if appropriate.

4.4 Boards and Committees.

4.4.1 Administration and Program. The administration and program of the Church shall be carried out by the following standing boards and committees: the Diaconate, the Board of Trustees, the Board of Disciple Bands, the Board of Vocations, the Music Committee, and the Nominating Committee. Each shall be responsible to the Church Council, which may review, rescind, or amend its decisions.

4.4.2 Membership of Boards and Committees. All boards and committees shall be made up of members of the Church. Covenant requests shall determine the number of people serving on all boards and committees. These bylaws encourage all members to serve where they are most excited and feel most committed, and to remain at that task as long as this commitment stays strong and feels in tune with their prayers.

4.4.3 The Diaconate (Deacons). The Diaconate, in cooperation with the Minister(s), shall have responsibility for the spiritual life of the Church, and for the nurture of those within the Congregation. The Diaconate’s duties shall include:

a. Evangelism.

b. Devising and maintaining ways to enhance and increase caring and communication between the members of the Church.

c. Developing and maintaining ways of integrating new and existing members into the life and mission of the Church.

4.4.4 The Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall have the responsibility for the finances of the Church. It shall tend to all matters pertaining to insurance, liability, and legal issues that may arise. It shall have responsibility for web pages, video conferencing, and any other ways and means for keeping the Congregation in communication at worship services, classes, study groups, coffee hours, meetings, and any other connections deemed helpful or necessary. The Board of Trustees’ duties shall include:

a. Supervising the finances of the Church, including an annual review of the financial records.

b. Submitting a request budget to each member at least three weeks prior to the November meeting of the Church Council.

c. By early January of each year, preparing a proposed operating budget for the Church Council to review, modify if necessary, and present to the Annual Meeting.

d. Provision for insurance programs.

e. Provision for acquisition and maintenance of equipment for the total Church program.

f. Informing the Congregation, at least annually, of the financial condition of the Church.

g. Borrowing money on such terms, rates of interest, and conditions as seems prudent.

h. Administering any endowment and trust funds.

i. Encouraging and receiving bequests and determining their disposition.

j. Selecting depositories for funds and valuables of the Church.

4.4.5 Worship Committee. In cooperation with the Minister(s), the Worship Committee shall be responsible for the worship services of the Church. Its duties shall include:

a. Assisting the Minister(s) with planning and producing the worship services of the Church. This includes selecting hymns and other appropriate music for the worship services. It also includes designing any liturgical portions of the worship service when desired or inspired.

b. Being watchful for and helping to design special worship services for special occasions beyond Sunday morning.

c. Finding ways to enhance congregational singing and any other worshipful music in our services.

4.4.6 Board of Disciple Bands. The Board of Disciple Bands shall have responsibility for encouraging every member of the Church to participate in a small group with other members for the purpose of studying the Bible, sharing what is going on with each other, and caring for one another in Christian love.

4.4.7 Board of Vocations. The Board of Vocations shall be responsible for encouraging every member to find, train for, and live out their vocatio. Its duties shall include:

a. Coordinating the Congregation’s efforts to support one another in finding, training for, and/or implementing each member’s vocatio.

b. Finding ways to help finance and support a member’s move from a job into a vocatio.

c. Encouraging and awakening young people to seek a “calling” instead of just a job or way to make money. (Colossians 3:23-24)

4.4.8 Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall consist of three or more members of the Congregation proposed by the Moderator and approved by the Church Council. Its duties shall include the following:

a. Before the Annual Meeting, the Nominating Committee shall prepare a ballot nominating members of the Church to fill the offices, chairperson positions, and boards and committees of the Church. Nominees must have agreed to serve. This slate shall constitute the official ballot to be submitted to the Congregation at the Annual Meeting. As noted above, nominations shall include the proposed chairpersons of all boards and committees.

b. At the request of the Church Council, the Nominating Committee shall seek persons to fill important vacancies.

c. At certain times and seasons in the life of the Church, the membership may not support or fill all of the boards and committees and we will have a gap in our operations and programs. After reasonable diligence, the Nominating Committee shall just leave these as vacancies, and wait for the members to feel called to fill them.


5.1 The Annual Meeting.

5.1.1 The Annual Meeting of the Church shall take place no later than February 1 of each year. It may be held as early as the first Sunday in the new year. The Annual Meeting shall be held via phone or video conference. The date of the Annual Meeting shall be announced to the Congregation by email or telephone at least four weeks prior to the end of the preceding year.

5.1.2 The purpose of the Annual Meeting shall be to (a) adopt the proposed budget for the coming year; (b) elect officers, chairpersons, and members of all boards and committees; and (c) transact such other business as may come before the Congregation at the meeting.

5.2 Special Meetings.

5.2.1 Notification of a Congregational Meeting, other than an Annual Meeting, shall be made in at least three consecutive worship services as well as by email at least fifteen days before the meeting.

5.2.2 Notification of a Congregational Meeting to amend the constitution and/or bylaws of the Church shall be emailed to the members no less than fourteen calendar days prior to the meeting. A copy of the proposed changes shall be included in the mailing.

5.3 Place of Meeting. Unless otherwise designated in the notice of meeting, all regular or special meetings shall be held via phone or video conference. Voting shall take place by voice vote by those in attendance. There shall be no voting by proxy.

5.4 Quorum. A quorum for a Congregational Meeting shall be twenty percent (20%) of the membership. If a quorum is present, the affirmative vote of the majority of the voting members shall be the act of the members. Voting shall take place by voice vote by those in attendance. There shall be no voting by proxy.

5.5 Rules of Order. The latest version of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used to conduct the orderly transaction of business in both the Church Council and all Congregational Meetings.


6.1 Minister Responsibilities. The Minister(s) shall:

6.1.1 Preach the Word, with both freedom and responsibility for what comes from the pulpit.

6.1.2 Exercise the privileges of teacher and counselor.

6.1.3 Have primary responsibility for the Church’s worship services.

6.1.4 Administer the sacraments.

6.1.5 Be a member of the Church Council and an ex officio member of all boards, committees, and task forces of the Church.

6.1.6 Have supervisory and pastoral care over the general life and progress of the Church.

6.1.7 Disburse, without justification, contributions to the Pastor’s Fund. The Treasurer of the Church may at any time request and receive an account of moneys expended, being under obligation to keep all confidences of specific names, but being free to assure the Board of Trustees that the fund is or is not being properly administered.

6.2 Agreement with Minister(s). The Church, through the Church Council, shall enter into a written agreement with each Minister specifying the terms of the relationship between the Church and such Minister. This agreement shall include (a) the responsibilities and duties of the Minister, (b) provisions for resignation/termination, (c) the salary package, (d) vacation and study-leave agreements, and (e) such other terms as agreed to between the candidate and the Ministerial Search Committee. The Minister and the Church shall each be given a copy of this agreement.

6.3 Ministerial Vacancy.

6.3.1 Ministerial Search Committee. As soon as a vacancy occurs in the position of a Minister, it shall be reported to the Church Council. A Ministerial Search Committee, including the chairperson, shall be appointed by the Church Council and approved by the Congregation. This committee may recommend an Interim Minister whom the Church Council may approve and hire. After due consideration, the Ministerial Search Committee shall present to the Church the name of a candidate whom they recommend, together with a rationale supporting the selection, a general job description, and a recommendation of salary. They shall also announce the date of a worship service wherein the Congregation may hear the candidate. The Ministerial Search Committee shall have previously communicated with the Board of Trustees the basic terms of the contract they wish to offer to the candidate.

6.3.2 Ministerial Calling. A Congregational Meeting shall be called with the specific notice of purpose

6.4 Departure of Minister. While the term of a Minister shall be indefinite, the membership may at any time, by a majority vote at a meeting called for such purpose, request a Minister’s resignation effective within sixty days.


7.1 The Covenants will show what the members desire to give to the life and work of the Church, and the Church’s budget shall be made up accordingly. Fund-raising drives and member canvassing to support the general budget will not be allowed.

7.2 For required equipment or special needs that have not been funded by the general budget, the Board of Trustees may initiate fund-raising if approved by the Church Council.

7.3 If the Church Council agrees that there is an unusual or emergency need for special funds for the Church, they may call a Congregational Meeting to explain that need and, if the Congregation agrees, inform all the members by letter. However, the membership shall not be canvassed and fund-raisers shall not be hired.


8.1 The fiscal year shall be January 1 to December 31.

8.2 Terms of office shall begin at the close of the Annual Meeting each year.


Upon dissolution of the Church and satisfaction of all indebtedness, the Church’s assets and all property and interests that it then possesses (including any devise, bequest, gift, or grant contained in any will or other instrument, in trust or otherwise, made before or after such dissolution) shall be distributed to Community Church, Congregational, 611 Heliotrope Avenue, Corona del Mar, California 92625-2281.


A two-thirds vote of the members in attendance is required to amend the constitution and bylaws of the Church. Voting shall take place by voice vote by those in attendance. There shall be no voting by proxy.


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