SECTION 2. Congregations
ARTICLE 7. A congregation of the Reformed Church in the United States is a body of Christians accepting the Bible as the Word of God and the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession of Faith, and the Canons of Dort as its subordinate standards of faith and doctrine, and organized agreeably to the provisions of the Constitution of the Church.
ARTICLE 8. Whenever it is desired to organize a congregation, those persons who are willing to enter into such organization shall sign the following memorial and address the same to the Classis within whose bounds the congregation is to be organized: —
“We, whose names are hereunto affixed, desiring to be organized as a congregation, that we may have better facilities for enjoying the holy ordinances of the Christian Church, do hereby petition the Classis of to organize us under the name of congregation, in the township (town, or city) of , county of and State of and declare our readiness to be governed by the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States.”
If the Classis approves of the proposed organization, it shall appoint a committee to superintend the election of elders and deacons, and to induct them into office. After the acts thus authorized have been performed and have been sanctioned by the Classis, the organization shall be enrolled as a regular congregation of the Reformed Church in the United States. If, however, local conditions require it, a congregation may be duly organized by a missionary, or a minister doing missionary work, acting with the consent of the Classis under whose jurisdiction the congregation is to be received. Application for admission to Classis must be made as soon as possible after the organization is effected.
A congregation, whether independent or belonging to another denomination, which conforms to the requirements of the Reformed Church in the United States, may be admitted to membership.
ARTICLE 9. Whenever a congregation desires to become an incorporated body, a draft of the proposed Articles of Incorporation and Constitution of the congregation shall be submitted to the Classis for approval before the charter is presented to the civil authorities. A charter shall not be approved that does not bind the congregation to be an organic member of the Reformed Church in the United States, and to be governed by its Constitution and laws. In all cases, unless there are difficulties, the Consistory shall in the charter be constituted the trustees of the congregation.
ARTICLE 10. Each congregation shall adopt a Constitution and By-laws for its own government. Such Constitution and By-laws must be in accordance with its charter and with the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States; and must be approved by its Classis.
ARTICLE 11. Each congregation shall hold an annual meeting. The Consistory may call a special meeting of the congregation, and, at the written request of one-tenth of the communicant members, shall issue a call for such a meeting within two weeks after the request has been received. Two weeks previous public notice shall be given of the time, place, and the purpose of a special congregational meeting. A full and accurate record of the proceedings of all meetings shall be kept.
ARTICLE 12. To the trustees shall be committed the care and control of the property of the congregation, whether real or personal, and of all monies and legacies. They shall hold the property as a sacred trust for the congregation, keep the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation in proper repair, and prevent their use for improper purposes. In matters of a general nature, such as the purchasing or selling of property, the borrowing of money, and the remodeling or erection of buildings, the trustees can determine nothing finally without the consent of a majority of those voting members of the congregation assembled at a meeting called for the purpose, of which meeting at least two weeks previous public notice shall be given.
ARTICLE 13. The common interests of two or more congregations united in one pastoral charge shall be committed to a Joint Consistory, composed of the members of the Consistories of the congregations included in the charge. A congregation shall not withdraw from such a charge without the permission of Classis.
ARTICLE 14. On the dissolution of a congregation the Classis with which it was connected shall have jurisdiction over its members and transfer them to the congregation which they may select.