COVENANT, CONSTITUTION, AND BY-LAWS.
HAVING been, as we trust, brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give ourselves wholly to Him, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other, to walk together in Him with brotherly love, to his glory as our common Lord: we do, therefore, in His strength engage:
That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, exhort, and admonish each other as occasion may require.
That we will not forsake the assembling ourselves together, but will uphold the public worship of God, and the ordinances of His house. That we will not omit closet and family worship at home, nor neglect the great duty of religiously training our children, and those under our care, for the service of Christ and the enjoyment of heaven.
That, as we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we will seek divine aid to enable us to deny ungodliness and every worldly lust, and to walk circumspectly in the world, that we may win the souls of men.
That we will cheerfully contribute of our property, according as God has prospered us, for the maintenance of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, for the support of the poor, and to spread the gospel over the earth.
That we will, in all conditions, even till death, strive to live to the glory of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.
And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight. Through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
This Church shall be called the FIRST BRYAN BAPTIST CHURCH of Savannah, Ga., and shall consist of such persons as have repented of their sins and have been baptized according to the faith of the Baptist denomination, and shall consist of a Pastor, two or more Deacons, a Secretary, and Treasurer as its officers.
ARTICLES OF FAITH.
We believe in one Triune God,--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,--in the inspiration of the Scriptures, in the depravity of man, in the electing love of God; that salvation is by grace, that believers are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; in the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment, in the eternal reward and punishment of man; that the immersion of the body in water is the only Christian baptism, and is a prerequisite to the Lord's Supper; that the foregoing principles are the true doctrines of the Bible.
RULES OF ORDER.
1st. It shall be the duty of the Pastor to preach the gospel, watch over the spiritual condition of the Church, and counsel the members in love, administer all the ordinances of the Church, preside at her conferences, meetings, and visit the sick; and it shall be his privilege to visit the members, inquiring into their spiritual condition, when he shall deem it proper or expedient.
2d. It shall be the duty of the Deacons to assist the Pastor, to watch over the members and counsel in love, to provide for the church and the wants of the poor of the Church, keep a correct account of all funds of the Church, and make quarterly returns of receipts and disbursements.
3d. The Clerk shall keep a correct record of the proceedings of the Church in a book kept for that purpose, and one also containing the names of the members with dates of their admittance, which at all times shall be subject to the inspection of the Church or any member; he shall collect all dues to the Church, paying the same over to the Treasurer, and taking his receipt for the same.
4th. The Treasurer shall take charge of all the funds of the Church, whether consisting of moneys, checks, drafts, property of the Church, and pay them out as directed by the Church, keep a correct account of his receipts and disbursements, and make annual returns to the Church, or oftener, if called upon to do so.
5th. All the members of the Church shall be subject to the rules of the Church, and partake of its temporal and spiritual benefits.
6th. The appointed services of this church shall be on each and every Sabbath, and as often during the week as may be found practical or beneficial to its members. But the ordinance of the Lord's Supper shall be administered on the afternoon of the fourth Sabbath in each and every month, meeting at three o'clock for the same, after which, before adjournment, each member will contribute twenty-five cents for defraying the expenses thereof, and providing for the poor or sick members of the Church, and public collections may be taken up at any of these meetings, when found necessary for the maintenance of the Church.
Article 1st. The regular Church discipline-meeting shall be held on the third Sunday morning in each and every month, at half-past ten o'clock, when the punctual attendance of every member shall be required. But a called or extra conference may be held at any time, when necessary, the Pastor and two or more Deacons consenting to the same, and giving due notice to the members, but, in the absence of the Pastor, the Deacons shall call or hold conferences.
Article 2d. All conference meetings shall be opened and closed with religious services.
Article 3d. All persons speaking in conference shall first arise and address the Moderator, and, in any that may be made, due regard shall be had for the feelings of the members.
Article 4th. No subject shall be legally before the body until a motion to that effect has been made and seconded; when the subject shall be open for calm, deliberate discussion, before the vote upon the same is taken.
Article 5th. No person shall rise to speak more than twice upon the same motion without especial permission from the Moderator, but a majority of the votes in the meeting may suspend any rule for the time being, if found necessary.
Article 6th. When a member is speaking, no one shall engage in audible conversation or otherwise interrupt the meeting; and if they do, the Moderator shall call them to order, and if persisted in, their names shall be taken, and they be cited to answer to the Church at some subsequent meeting for such disorder; and if they refuse to give the Church satisfaction, such member or members shall be expelled from the fellowship of the Church.
Article 7th. If two members arise at the same time, preference shall be given to the one farthest off from the Moderator, but he may decide upon the privilege, and any decision of the chair may be subject to appeal.
Article 8th. All questions, excepting Church fellowship, shall be decided by a majority of the members present at the meeting; and where the question involves Church fellowship it should be so considered as to strive to make the vote unanimous upon so sacred a subject.
Article 9th. Any member or members that shall neglect or refuse to commune with the Church shall be called upon to give the reason of such refusal or neglect, and they should be labored with to bring them back to their duties; but if they still refuse or neglect their duties, they shall be expelled from the fellowship of the Church.
Article 10th. Any member reported being in disorder shall be waited on by the deacons or a committee appointed for that purpose, and labored with to bring them back to their duties in the spirit of meekness and love; but if they are incorrigible they shall be expelled from the Church.
Article 11th. No one shall be called or elected to the office of a Deacon that cannot read the Holy Bible.
Article 12th. In cases of delinquent, refractory, or disorderly members, suitable committees shall be appointed, whose duty it shall be to inquire into the cases of such members, obtaining all the facts that can be legally had, and report the same to the Church at the discipline meetings.
Article 13th. All the foregoing Rules and By-Laws may be added to, altered, or amended by a two-third vote of the members present, at two consecutive meetings of the Church.
ORDER OF BUSINESS.
1st. The members having assembled and religious services held, the first business in order shall be to call the meeting to order and read the Rules.
2d. Read and confirm the minutes of the last or previous meetings.
3d. Open the door of the Church for the reception of members by letters or experience or recommendation.
4th. Call for the report of committees appointed at the last or previous meetings, or general committees of the Church.
5th. Call for new business, when it shall be in order for any member to make known any grievance, or report anything coming under their notice against the discipline of the Church, or any subject of interest or utility.
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