Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2017 - 34th Anniversary.  Our 35th Year in Ministry.

ARTICLE 3 MEMBERSHIP

3.01 Membership. 

Any Christian may become a Member of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ upon the completion of a course of instruction that covers the following four topics and such others as the Council may designate. They are

(1) The Statement of Faith and the Statement of Purpose of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ (an explanation of the Christian faith and the purpose of life in Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ); 

(2) Worship and Common Threads (an explanation of liturgy and the sacraments); 

(3) Polity and Practice (an explanation of the By-laws and operational procedures to govern Church administration); and 

(4) Human Sexuality and the Bible (an review of Holy Scripture and its meaning to the person in this topical area).

 

3.02 Inquiries Class. 

Any person interested in learning more about Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ may enroll in the Inquiries Class for instruction concerning the topics identified above. Upon registering for this instruction, the applicant will complete a short resume to include name, address, telephone number and a listing of his or her previous religious denominational heritage. An Appointed Pastor and a member of the Council shall teach the Inquiries Class. 

3.03 Procedures Prior to Admission as a Member. 

Upon completion of the Inquiries Class, the person may request to become a Member of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ by completing a detailed questionnaire that updates the information provided on the initial questionnaire and identifies areas of service within Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ that are of particular interest to him or her. The Council shall admit such prospective member to Membership only upon the favorable recommendation of the class instructor or instructors to the Council and concurrence in that recommendation. The instructor or instructors shall certify to the Council that applicant for Membership has completed the course of study and signed the Statement of Purpose, whereupon such persons shall be presented for acceptance of the Members at a regularly scheduled worship service of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

3.04 Requests of Former Members for Membership. 

A person who has been a Member or Ray Of Hope Church and who resigned that membership or allowed it to lapse or whose membership has been revoked by action of the Council may apply to the Council for membership reinstatement. This request must be in writing and may be granted upon such terms as are set by the Council. 

3.05 Declination of Membership Request. 

If the Council declines to grant membership, the person will be advised of that decision and the reason or reasons for it. No one shall be refused Member status if the person is at least 17 years of age, has completed the required instruction and has given satisfactory evidence that he or she has understood it and is willing to publicly affirm his or her agreement with the Statement of Purpose of this Church and comply with the provisions of these By-laws and all Policies of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

3.06 Voting Rights of Members.

Every Member of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ has the right to vote at all general and specially called Membership Meetings. Voting by proxy is not allowed at such meetings.

3.07 Attendance by Persons Not Members. 

All persons are welcome to attend services and functions of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ without becoming Members, except as otherwise provided in the By-laws; however, all persons are encouraged to attend the Inquiries Class to further understand the mission of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of its Members.

3.08 Friend of Ray Of Hope Church Status.

Any person may become a Friend of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ who, for one reason or another, feel that they cannot become Members but who support the goals of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ and want to be part of the work of the Church. Friends may serve on appointed committees and may participate in all activities of the Church. Friends may not serve on the Council and may not vote at Congregational Meetings. This status may be obtained by requesting it in writing addressed to the Church Council. The person making that request shall complete the same initial questionnaire required of persons attending the Inquiries Class instruction to become Members before "Friend of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ" status may be conferred by the Council. No announcement of or ceremony conferring such status will be made to or held at any worship service of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ without first obtaining permission to do so from the person upon whom such status has been bestowed by the Council.

3.09 Effect of Concurrent Membership in Other Churches.

Any person may become a Member or a Friend of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ and remain a member of any other church.

3.10 Expectations of Members.

It is expected that Members attend regularly and specially called meetings of the Church membership and regularly attend worship services and other functions as health permits; further, each is expected to provide financial and volunteer help in support of the work of the Church and to be committed to growth in understanding and application of the Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ "Statement of Faith: and Statement of Purpose."

3.11 Policy of Courteous Behavior. 

A Policy of Courteous Behavior has been adopted by the Members of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the terms of which are incorporated herein by reference. Persons who attend any activity at Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ or any activity sponsored by it with others are expected to comply with the terms of that Policy. This Policy includes a procedure to enforce compliance and avoid violations of it that may include discipline as therein specified. This Policy may be changed by action of the Members at any general Membership Meeting or at any Special Membership Meeting called specifically for that purpose. 

3.12 Membership Termination. 

Membership in Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Friend of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ status may be terminated by the Member or Friend through a letter of resignation. Both may be terminated by action of the Council for unbecoming conduct, disloyalty or dereliction of duty. 

3.13 Membership List. 

The Council shall review the membership list maintained by the Clerk on a regular basis to determine if a member's status should be changed to "Friend" or be totally removed from official association with Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Clerk will give written notice of all such actions to the affected person, providing recourse for reconsideration within one month of notice being given at the written request of that person.

3.14 Unbecoming Conduct for Church Leadership. 

A person in a leadership position is guilty of unbecoming conduct who engages in a pattern of public drunkenness or substance abuse; misappropriates church funds or property; misuses the powers of any pastoral or other Church office for personal or sexual gain; engages in any sexual relations with persons who have not attained the age of consent or violates the Policy Concerning Minors at Events; engages in non-consensual physical abuse or violence; engages in sexual relations as a supervisor or counselor with any person he or she supervises or counsels; engages in a pattern of deceit or dishonesty; creates a person-centered ministry rather than a Christ Jesus-centered ministry (i.e. creating emotional dependency on a pastor, abuse of authority or divisiveness); knowingly violates the sanctity of another's relationship covenant; engages in an inappropriate violation of confidentiality; or engages in sexual harassment (i.e. any sexually related behavior that is unwelcome, offensive, and that fails to respect the rights of others).

3.15 Perceived Power.

It is inappropriate, and in some Jurisdictions illegal, for Pastors and others in church leadership to engage in sexual contact and/or establish a love relationship with those with whom they have entered into a relationship of guide, instructor and/or advisor (i.e. counseling) or with others who find them attractive because of the perceived power of their leadership position. 

3.16 Definitions.

"Sexual Contact" is the touching of an intimate part (sexual organs, anus, buttocks, groin or breast) of another person and can include sexual intercourse, fondling and any other kind of sexual touching, nudity, kissing, spanking and sexual suggestions or innuendoes. 

"Touching" is physical contact with another person either through the person's clothes or directly with the person's skin. 

A "person in a leadership position" is one who is a Teacher, Committee Member, Member of the Council, Officer of the corporation, Pastor, Appointed Pastor, or Worship Leader (which may include Facilitator, Member of the House of Communion Ministries, Choir Director and all leaders of music)all Clergy who are ordained, licensed, or appointed, all Deacons, Deaconnesses, and Religious of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

3.17 Policy Permitting Conduct of a Sexual Nature Between a Church Leader and Another. 

The "Procedure to Notify Council Of Intent That A Church Leader And Another Plan to Engage In Conduct Of A Sexual Nature" written form previously adopted by the Council is hereby incorporated into these By-laws by reference. It is subject to change in accordance with the procedures delineated elsewhere in these By-laws.

3.18 Unbecoming Conduct for Members and Friends. 

It shall be considered unbecoming conduct for all Members and Friends of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ to violate the Policy of Courtesy, Policy Concerning Minors at Events, and other policies that have been approved by the Council.

3.19 Disloyalty. 

A person is guilty of disloyalty who engages in a pattern of deliberate or malicious acts that damage or bring harm to a person, a congregation, or other church body; initiates or performs a ministry that is unauthorized by and is not accountable to Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ while giving the appearance of endorsement of such action by Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ; or undermines the authority and ministry of a pastor of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

3.20 Dereliction of Duty.

A person is guilty of dereliction of duty who engages in a pattern of deliberate non-attendance at Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ for other than health reasons without offering an explanation that is deemed acceptable by the Council; engages in a pattern of conduct in elected or appointed office or ministry that leaves Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ weakened, rather than strengthened; leads the Church into unreasonable indebtedness or into some other breach of fiduciary duties; engages in negligent supervision; or fails to report acts of misconduct that have come to his or her attention.

 

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