THE CONSTITUTION

(Official Translation under consideration April 4, 1968)

God, summoning from every land and people those whom, in Christ, it pleases Him to call, consecrates these people and reveals to them His grace and truth, bestowing upon them the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  This, then, is the holy catholic Church.
This Church, visible as well as invisible, established on the foundation of the prophets and apostles with the Lord throughout all generations, is committed to carrying out the will of God, by preaching the gospel, administering the sacraments, and awaiting in hope the return of the Lord.
On June 24, 1941, evangelical churches of over thirty formerly existing, independent denominations, as well as churches of other traditions in our country, through a unity given in the Holy Spirit under the wondrous providence of God, and having respect for one another’s unique historical characteristics, entered into the fellowship of the holy catholic Church.  The Church thus formed is the United Church of Christ in Japan.
Article 1.    This United Church, being one with the catholic Church that honors Jesus Christ as its head, embracing the Confession of Faith established by this United Church and in conformity with the provisions of its Constitution and By-Laws, understands its true purpose to be the carrying out of the functions of the catholic Church, the Body of the Lord, the accomplishment of which is the mission for which it exists.
Article 2.    The Confession of Faith of this United Church, grounded in the Old and New Testaments and conformed to the Ecumenical Creeds and to the evangelical Confessions of Faith, was enacted at the Eighth General Assembly of the United Church on October 26,1954.
Article 3.    Rescinded.
Article 4.    This United Church, in accordance with the provisions of its Constitution and By-Laws, shall conduct the administration of its affairs by means of an assembly system.
Article 5.    The highest administrative organ of this United Church shall be the United Church General Assembly.
The ecclesiastical functions and business of this United Church, to be conducted in accordance with the decisions of the United Church General Assembly and within the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws, shall be under the supervision of the Moderator of the United Church General Assembly.
Article 6.    This United Church, for the carrying out of its ecclesiastical functions and business, shall set up districts.
The district is a regional group of churches belonging to this United Church General Assembly.
The ecclesiastical functions and business mentioned in the first paragraph of this Article (6), to be conducted in accordance with the decisions of the District Assembly and within the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws, shall be under the supervision of the Moderator of the District Assembly.
Article 7.    A local church belonging to this United Church, being an organized body of people who embrace the Confession of Faith of this United Church, shall have as its highest administrative organ the local church congregational meeting.
The ecclesiastical functions and business of the local church, to be conducted in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws, shall be under the supervision of the moderator of the local church congregational meeting.
The moderator of the local church congregational meeting shall be the minister in charge of the local church.
Article 8.    Local churches shall hold services of worship at the times they decide on every Lord’s Day and observe the sacraments.
The service of worship shall consist of hymns, readings from Scripture, a sermon, prayers, an offering, etc.
The sacraments consist of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which are to be administered by ministers in full standing.
Article 9.    Ministers of this United Church are persons who have been called of God and, having gone through the regular procedures established by this United Church, dedicate themselves to its service.
Ministers are classified as ministers in full standing and licensed preachers.
A minister in full standing is one who has received ordination; a licensed preacher is one who has been authorized to preach.
Article 10.    Lay members of this United Church are persons who have received baptism and who are members of a local church.
Article 10, Part 2.    The officers of the local churches of this United Church are persons chosen at the respective local church congregational meeting.
Article 11.    Regulations necessary for the execution of this Constitution shall be provided in the By-Laws.
The aforementioned By-Laws shall be adopted at the United Church General Assembly with the approval of at least two-thirds of the delegates present.
Supplementary Rule.
Article 12.    This Constitution shall not be amended unless, three months prior to the opening of a United Church General Assembly, the proposed amendment shall have been publicly announced.   General Assembly must be attended by at least two-thirds of the total delegates, and at least two-thirds of those in attendance must give their approval.

Enacted at the Fourth United Church General Assembly, October 16, 1946
Revised at the Fifth United Church General Assembly, October 28, 1948
Amended at the Ninth United Church General Assembly, October 24, 1956
Amended at the Twelfth United Church General Assembly, October 25,1962
Amended at the Twenty-ninth United Church General Assembly, November 17,1994