Basis of Union-The Uniting Church Assembly (May 25-27, 1948)

Article I-NAME
The name of this organization shall be: UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THE PHILIPPINES


Article II-CHRUCH PROPERTY

Church property may be held by individual congregation of other church bodies.  It is desirable that property be held in the name of the church. Transfer of property should be held in the name of the church. Transfer of property shall be voluntary.


Article III-HISTORIC FAITH AND MESSAGE

We do preserve all the heritage of faith brought into the Union by each of the constituent Churches and hereby declare as our common faith and message: Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, our Lord and Savior.


Article IV-CHURCH PRACTICES AND WORSHIP

Congregations may follow their customary practices and worship.


Article V-MEMBERSHIP

Membership in good and regular standing of each of the Uniting Churches shall be regarded as such by all the others in the Union.


Article VI-THE LOCAL CHURCH

1. a local church is a group of at least 25 baptized believers, 15 years of age or over, having officers and a regular time and place of worship.

2. Membership: Regular and affiliate members.

3. Government
The local church shall be governed by a church council composed of the Pastor, other church workers, officers, stewards and the heads of the various organization of the church.

4. Duties and powers of the local church

a. Subject to the general laws and regulations of the Church, every local church or congregation shall, with its Pastor, be responsible for watching over its members keeping its life pure, ordering and proclaiming the Gospel.

b. Call a Pastor

c. Recommend candidates for the ministry.

d. Elect delegates to the Annual Conference.


Article VII.THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE

1. Area

The geographical area of each Annual Conference shall be designated by the General Assembly.

2. Membership
a. Ordained ministers in good standing and one elected delegate for every 200 members or major fraction thereof in each church or pastoral charge provided that a pastoral charge shall have at least one and not more than three delegates.

b. Evangelists, Deaconesses and other Church Workers in active service in the area.

c. Missionaries from abroad who have been received as members of the Conference.

3. Government

a. The officers of the Annual Conference shall be a Moderator or Superintendent, who shall be the administrative officer of the Conference, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.  They shall be elected every two years.

b. Executive Committee

It shall be composed of the Moderator or Superintendent, the Secretary, the Treasurer and other members as may be desired by the Conference.

4. Meetings
a. The officer of the Annual Conference shall be a Moderator or Superintendent, who shall be the administrative officer of the Conference, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. They shall be elected every two years.

b. Missionaries from abroad who have been received as members of the Conference.

5. Duties
a. Care for pastoral charges within the Conference.

b. Receive and dispose of petitions from lower church bodies or councils.
c. Deal with matters sent down from higher church bodies.
d. Supervise study of ministerial students.
e. License lay preachers.
f. Ordination of ministers of the Gospel through the bishop of the area assisted by other ministers.
g. Install ministers in their respective churches through the Bishop of the area or the Moderator or the Superintendent of the Conference.
h. Elect delegates to the Assembly.
i. Propagates the faith and promote church expansion.
j. Promote the missionary program of the Church.
k. Promote evangelism and Christian Education.
l. Receive ministers from other communions subject to the regulations of the General Assembly.


Article VIII-THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  1. The General Assembly shall be the highest governing body of the Church.  It shall meet every two years and shall be presided over by the Bishops alternating among themselves.

the Church shall have for its administrative officer a General Secretary who shall be elected by the General Assembly.

2. Area

The entire Philippines.  it shall be divided into four jurisdictional areas:

Luzon                    two areas
Visayas                  one area
Mindanao             one area

3. Membership

a. The Bishops

b. One clergy and one layman for every 2,000 members or a major fraction thereof.

c. The General Secretary and other general officers designated by the General Assembly.

d. Annual Conference Moderators or Superintendents.

4. Executive Committee Membership

a. The Bishops

b. The General Secretary

c. One Moderator or Superintendent and one layman for each jurisdictional area.

5. The Bishops

a. They shall be the administrative officers of the respective areas.

b. They shall be elected by the General Assembly.

c. They shall serve for a term of four years and may be elected for not more than three consecutive terms.

d. They shall have joint general oversight over the entire Church; each one, more specifically, over a jurisdictional area to which he is assigned by the General Assembly.

e. The Bishops shall exercise such other powers and prerogatives as are delegated to them by the General Assembly.

f. They shall act alternately as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the General Assembly.

g. Together with the Executive Committee of the General Assembly, they shall initiate and carry out plans of work for the entire church.

h. Together with the General Secretary, they shall correlate phases of work which are inter-area in nature.

i. They shall be responsible for the promotion and execution of plans approved by the General Assembly.

6. Powers of the General Assembly

a. Set the number and boundaries of Annual Conferences and Jurisdictional Areas.

b. Prepare, approve and amend the Constitution. Any proposed change in the Constitution must be submitted:

1.  by a General Assembly

2.  to the Annual Conferences

3.  returned by the Annual Conferences to the General Assembly

4.  and declared approved or rejected by the General Assembly after a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly and a 3’/4 vote of the Annual Conferences.

c. Hold, own and dispose of property.

d. Prescribe courses of study for ministers and lay workers.

e. Set standards for the ministry.

f. Receive and dispose of petitions, overtures and memorials

g. Appoint general committees and set up boards to handle the business of the Church.

h. seek union with other Churches, promote cooperation and participate in the ecumenical movement.

i. Promote specific activities within the Church: Evangelism, Literature, Stewardship, Christian Education, etc.

j. Prepare a budget and provide ways and means of raising the same.

k. Provide a plan for ministers’ insurance, pension, and retirement.

l. Serve as Cour of Appeal in all matters affecting the life of the entire church or its constituents parts.

m. Propagate the Faith.


Article IX-ELECTION OF BISHOPS

The Bishops shall be elected by the members of the General Assembly in Session.  The election shall be by ballot without nomination or discussion and shall immediately follow a period of quiet meditation and prayer. A majority vote of the members present is required for election.  To be qualified for election as a Bishop, one must have been an ordained minister for at least 5 years but with at least 10 years in the ministry prior to his election.  He must be at least 35 years of age.