Bylaws

THE BYLAWS OF THE CHURCH

CONTENTS

Part Ⅰ. The Kyodan General Assembly and the Executive Council

Section Ⅰ.  The Kyodan General Assembly (Articles 1-29)

The Delegates and the Associate Delegates (1-6); The Moderator, the Vice-     Moderator and the Secretary (7-15); Convening the Kyodan General Assembly (16-17); Proceedings (18-23); Task Force Members and the Executive Council Members (24-29)

 

Section Ⅱ.  Executive Council (30-38)

 

Part Ⅱ.  Agencies for Church Business (39-55)

Supervisory Duties of the Moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly (39); Commissions and Special Commissions (40-49); The General Secretary (50); Administrative, Study, and Agencies (51-55)

 

Part Ⅲ.   Districts (59-84)

The District Assembly (61-68.2); District Executive Council (68.3-71); Commissions (72-76); District Office (77-78); Finance (79-84)

 

Part Ⅳ.   Churches and “Preaching Places” (fledgling churches) (85-122.2)

Section Ⅰ. Churches (85-119)

The Church Assembly (94-97); The Church board members and the Church Board (98-102); The Minister in Charge of the Church (103-114); Finance (115-119)

Section Ⅱ. “Preaching Places” (120-122.2)

 

Part Ⅴ. Clergy (123-133.2)

 

Part Ⅵ. Laity (134-140)

 

Part Ⅶ. Directors of Christian Education (140.2-140.3)

 

Part Ⅷ. Admonitions (141-146)

 

Part Ⅸ. Management of Assets (147-167)

Section Ⅰ.   Assets (147-151)

Section Ⅱ.   Expenses (152-155)

Section Ⅲ.   Budget and Annual Financial Statements (156-162)

Section Ⅳ.   Other Finances (163-167)

 

Part Ⅹ.  Supplementary Regulations (168-172)

 

October 16, 1946enacted

October 26, 1950revised

October 23, 1952revised

October 28, 1954revised

October 26, 1956revised

October 23, 1958revised

October 28, 1960revised

October 26, 1962revised

October 29, 1964revised

October 25, 1966revised

October 24, 1968revised

September 17, 1976revised

November 15, 1990revised

November 17, 1998revised

November 15, 2000revised

October 30, 2002revised

October 28, 2004revised

October 26, 2006revised

 

Part Ⅰ. THE KYODAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

SectionⅠ. The Kyodan General Assembly

(Delegates and Associate Delegates)

 

Article 1. The Kyodan General Assembly shall be made up of the following delegates:

  1.                                   0.          (1)            185 ministers elected by a district assembly of which they are delegates.
  2.                                   0.          (2)            185 local church board members elected by a district assembly of which they are delegates.
  3.                                   0.                (3)         30 ministers or layperson nominated by the Moderator of the General Assembly and elected by the Executive Council.

 

Article 2. The number of delegates to be allotted to each district following the provisions in above clauses 1) and 2) will be determined in the following way: There will be a basic number of three ministers and three layperson apportioned to each district.  The remaining numbers shall be apportioned according to the average of the three percentages of the total numbers of ministers, churches and delegates.

 

Article 3. 1) The term of delegates shall be two years.  They may be reelected.

2) The term may be extended by the decision of the Executive Council in case an election cannot be carried out because of a natural calamity or other unavoidable circumstance.

 

Article 4. The term of delegates shall begin on August 1 of the year when the election is carried out.

 

Article 5. 1) When a vacancy occurs among the delegates designated in Article 1, clauses 1 and 2, the vacancy shall be filled by the candidate with the next highest number of votes in the preceding election.

 

2) The term of a substitute delegate is the remaining period of his or her predecessor.

 

Article 6. The following people may attend speak in the Kyodan General Assembly as Associate Delegates but do not have voting privileges.

1) Special Committee members and Executive Council members appointed by the preceding General Assembly as may be recommended by the Executive Council.

2) Members of Commissions, Special Commissions and the Research Institute on theMissionof the Church whom the Executive Council may recommend.

3) Others approved by the Executive Council and recommended by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Kyodan.

 

(The Moderator, the Vice-Moderator and the Secretary)

Article 7. 1) The Kyodan General Assembly shall provide for a moderator, a vice-moderator and a secretary.

2) The moderator, the vice-moderator and the secretary shall be elected in the regular Kyodan General Assembly from among those delegates who are ministers in full standing.

 

Article 8. 1) The moderator and the vice-moderator shall be elected by ballot.

2) The balloting shall provide for one secret vote for each delegate.

 

Article 9. 1) The moderator and the vice-moderator shall be elected by a simple majority of the valid ballots cast.

2) When no candidate receives a majority vote by the above regulations, another vote shall be taken.  If still no candidate receives a majority vote, another vote shall be held between the two persons with the highest number of votes.  If there is a tie vote at this point, the election shall be decided by drawing lots.

 

Article 10. The terms of the moderator and the vice-moderator shall be the same as that of the delegates.  However, even after their terms are over, they shall continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors have been elected.

 

Article 11. 1) When a vacancy occurs in the office of moderator because of his or her death or some other reason, the vice-moderator shall become the Moderator.  Should a vacancy occur in the office of vice-moderator due to death or some other reason, another person shall be elected by the Executive Council.

2) Should a vacancy occur in the offices of both the moderator and the vice-moderator, an extraordinary Kyodan General Assembly shall be called in order to elect successors.  But if the Executive Council judges that an extraordinary General Assembly cannot be held, the Executive Council shall elect successors.

3) When a vacancy occurs in the office of secretary because of death or for some other reason, the Executive Council shall elect a successor.

Article 12. 1) If both the moderator and the vice-moderator are unable to function, the secretary shall assume the responsibility of chairperson and preside over the election of a Moderator pro tem.

2) The moderator pro tem shall be elected from among those delegates who are ministers in full standing.

 

Article 13. 1) The moderator shall maintain order at place of meeting, arrange the order of business and represent the Kyodan General Assembly.

2) The moderator shall be the official representative of the Kyodan, in accordance with the laws governing religious juridical persons.

Article 14. 1) The vice-moderator shall assist the moderator and take over responsibility on behalf of the moderator when the Moderator is not able to function.

2) When the moderator cannot perform the duties of official representative specified in the laws governing religious juridical persons for more than three months because of illness or for some other reason, the vice-moderator shall act in his or her stead upon the approval of the Executive Council.

 

Article 15. The Secretary shall take charge of the business and the records of meetings under the supervision of the Moderator.

 

(Convening the Kyodan General Assembly)

Article 16. 1) The Kyodan General Assembly shall consist of “Regular Assembly Meetings” and “Extraordinary Assembly Meetings.”

2) The moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly shall convene the Meetings.

3) The “Regular Assembly Meetings” shall be held once every two years in October.

4) An “Extraordinary Assembly Meetings” shall be held under any one of the following conditions:

(1) When the moderator deems it to be an urgent necessity.

(2) Upon the request of more than one fifth of the delegates of the General Assembly.

(3) Upon the request of a majority of the members of the Executive Council.

Article 17. Except in cases of extreme emergencies, the General Assembly shall be convened only after notification of the time, place, and duration has been given at least fourteen days before the scheduled date.

 

(Proceedings)

Article 18. 1) The matters that are to be dealt with by the Kyodan General Assembly are as follows (except for such matters provided for elsewhere):

  1.                                       0.          (1)          Church statistics and the ministry of the church.
    1.                                       0.            (2)         The election of members of the Executive Council and various other committees.
    2.                                       0.          (3)          The reports of the Executive Council and various other committees.
    3.                                       0.          (4)          The reports of each district.
    4.                                       0.          (5)          The annual report of income and expenditure.
      1.                                       0.            (6)         The reports of the Special Committee members and the Executive Council members of the General Assembly.
      2.                                       0.            (7)         The Confession of Faith and the interpretation of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Church.
    5.                                       0.          (8)          Modification of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Church.
      1.                                       0.            (9)         Various regulations of the Kyodan based on the Church Bylaws or the laws governing religious juridical persons.
    6.                                       0.          (10)        Ministerial qualifications.
      1.                                       0.            (11)       Important matters relating to its mission, public benefit projects and relations with other denominations.
    7.                                       0.          (12)        The budget for the upcoming fiscal year income and expenditures.
    8.                                       0.          (13)        The disposition and management of the assets of the Kyodan.
    9.                                       0.          (14)        Relationships with other organizations.

 

2) The above matters shall be dealt with by the Executive Council during the year when the regular Kyodan General Assembly is not convened.  But such actions must be approved by the next regular session of the Kyodan General Assembly.

3) The Kyodan General Assembly may also deal with matters that are assigned to the Executive Council if deemed necessary.

 

Article 19. The Kyodan General Assembly cannot be convened, nor can a vote be taken without more than one-third of all the delegates in attendance.  The procedure to follow if the number falls below the above mentioned quorum during the proceedings of a meeting is specified elsewhere.

 

Article 20. 1) Unless otherwise provided, issues will be decided by a simple majority vote of those present.  In the case of a tie vote, the issue will be decided by the vote cast by the chairperson.

2) The regulations concerning the proceedings of the General Assembly are specified elsewhere.

 

Article 21. 1) Those who may make a proposal are as follows:

  1.                                               0.    (1)         The Executive Council
    1.                                               0.    (2)         A delegate of the General Assembly when more than ten delegates support his or her proposal.
    2.                                               0.    (3)         A district assembly.
      1.                                               0.    (4)         A Kyodan Commission or a district Executive Council. In this case, the proposal to be voted on must first be approved by the Kyodan Executive Council.

2) A proposal that entails expenditures must include a budget plan for the necessary revenue and expenditure.

 

Article 21-2. Proposals must be presented to the Kyodan General Affairs Office at least forty days prior to the opening of the General Assembly, except in urgent and unavoidable cases.

 

Article 22. Both clergy and laity may present a proposal or a petition to the Kyodan General Assembly with the agreement of more than five delegates.  The proposal or petition must be presented to the Kyodan General Affairs Office twenty-one days before the opening of the General Assembly, except in urgent and unavoidable cases.

 

Article 23. The Kyodan General Assembly may delegate some of its business to the Executive Council.

 

(Special Committee members and Executive Council Members)

Article 24. 1) During the General Assembly, the following special committee members shall be appointed to serve during the session:

0. (1)         For the review of reports: 15 delegates

0. (2)         For reviewing proposals and petitions: 5 delegates

  1.                                                   0.          (3)     For parliamentary procedural matters: 5 delegates
  2.                                                   0.          (4)     For reviewing the records of the districts: 17 delegates

2) The General Assembly may change the number of members for the above Committees and may add special committee members if needed.

 

Article 25. 1) The Kyodan General Assembly shall appoint the following Executive Council members to work while the General Assembly in not in session.

For auditing the financial reports: 3 delegates

2) The Kyodan General Assembly may choose other General Assembly Executive Council members as necessary.

 

Article 26. 1) The term of Executive Council members shall be until new Executive Council members are elected at the next regular General Assembly.

2) The term of a substitute Executive Council member shall be for the remainder of the term of his or her predecessor.

 

Article 27. 1) The Auditing Committee members shall inspect the papers and financial ledgers, audit the receipts of money and materials, and review the management of assets and other business affairs.

2) The Auditing Committee members shall monitor the work of Kyodan employees.

3) The results of the audit, together with the related opinions of the auditors, shall be reported to the Kyodan General Assembly.

4) The Auditing Committee members must set a time and carry out an audit in accordance with the above clauses (1) and (2) at least once every year.

5) If any irregularities in either the finances or in the work of Kyodan employees is discovered, they are to be reported to the Moderator, General Secretary or Executive Council.

 

Article 28. Special Committee members and Executive Council members shall be elected from among the Delegates of the General Assembly.

 

Article 29. 1) Special Committee and Executive Council members shall organize their own Special Committee and Executive Council groups.

2) Each Special Committee Executive Council shall have a chairperson. He or she will be elected from among the committee members.

3) The chairperson of the committee shall chair the Committee meetings, arrange for the proceedings and act as the representative of the Committee.

 

Section Ⅱ The Executive Council

Article 30. 1) The Kyodan shall have an Executive Council.

2) The Executive Council shall be composed of the following members:

  1.                                               0.    (1)         The moderator, the vice-moderator and the secretary of the Kyodan General Assembly.

(2) 27 people elected by ballot from among the Delegates of the General Assembly.

  1.                                   0.            3)             The Members of the Executive Council mentioned in the above clause (2) shall consist of fourteen ministers in full standing and thirteen laypersons.  This number may be changed by the General Assembly.

Article 31. When the General Assembly elects the members of the Executive Council in accordance with the preceding article, (2), 2) it shall also vote for seven ministers and seven layperson as substitutes who will be called on as needed in order of their plurality of vote.

Article 32. 1) The term of the members of the Executive Council shall be the same as that of the delegates of the Kyodan General Assembly.

2) When there is a vacancy on the Executive Council among members chosen in accordance with Article 30, (2), 2) a substitute shall be asked to serve according to Article 31.

3) The members of the Executive Council shall continue their responsibilities until their successors have taken office, even if this is after their terms of office would normally be over.

Article 33. 1) There shall be a chairperson and a secretary in the Executive Council.

2) The chairperson shall be the moderator of the General Assembly.

3) If the moderator is unable to function, the vice-moderator of the General Assembly shall take over the reigns.

4) The secretary shall be the same as that of the General Assembly.

 

Article 34. 1) The Executive Council shall hold “regular meetings” and “extraordinary meetings”.

2) The “regular meetings” shall be held in February and October every year.

3) The moderator shall summon an “extraordinary meeting” when he or she sees the need or when more than five members of the Executive Council submit a request for such a meeting and state their reasons.

4) The following people may be asked to attend Executive Council meetings as ex officio members:

a. The moderators of the district assemblies.

b. The chairpersons of the commissions.

c. The chairperson of the Institute for Research on theMissionof the Church.

d. The director of the Board of Publication.

e. The president of the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, established by the Kyodan inJapan.

f. The chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions

g. The chairperson of the management committee of theBurakuLiberationCenter

5) Other people in addition to the above may attend as non-voting participants when the Executive Council recognizes the need for such attendance.

 

Article 35. The matters to be dealt with by the Executive Council are as follows:

  1.   0.        1)   Matters normally falling under the authority of the General Assembly while it is not in session.
    1.     0.          2) Matters normally falling under the authority of the General Assembly but which have been delegated to the Executive Council by the General Assembly.
    2.     0.          3) Matters to be presented to the General Assembly such as the amendment of the Constitution or Bylaws of the Kyodan, etc.
    3.     0.          4) Matters that should normally be brought to the General Assembly when the General Assembly is not in session, or when the moderator decides that the General Assembly cannot be summoned into session.
    4.     0.          5) Matters concerning the examination and evaluation of the annual reports on the mission and ministry of the Church and all business affairs related to the next year’s plans.
    5.     0.          6) Other matters which may be added.

 

Article 36. When the moderator judges that for urgent and unavoidable reasons a meeting of the Executive Council cannot be held, matters may be decided through correspondence and written votes taken by the members.

 

Article 37. 1) The Standing Executive Council shall be composed of the moderator, The vice-moderator and the secretary of the Kyodan General Assembly and seven members elected by ballot in the Executive Council meeting.

2) Among those matters that require the approval or agreement of the moderator, the Standing Executive Council will take up those matters that are of major importance; it will handle those matters delegated to it by the Executive Council; and it will handle urgent matters that require immediate action.

3) Matters dealt with by the Standing Executive Council must be submitted to and approved by the next Executive Council meeting.

4) Article 33 shall also apply to the Standing Executive Council.

 

Article 38. Matters dealt with by the Executive Council must be reported to the next General Assembly and must receive approval there.

Article 38-2. Articles19 and 20 shall also apply to the Executive Council.  However, “more than one-third” shall be changed to “a majority of more than one half.”

 

Part Ⅱ AGENCIES FOR CHURCH BUSINESS

(General Duties of the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly)

 

Article 39. The moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly shall direct the ecclesiastical functions and business of the Kyodan by the following means:

  1.                             0.          1)   Assign tasks to and receive reports from various committees and agencies of the Church, including summoning the chairpersons of the various committees for consultation as needed.
  2.                             0.          2)   Request reports from the districts and summon the moderators of the district assemblies for consultation as needed.
  3.                             0.          3)   Request reports from the General Secretary, examine and evaluate his or her executive functioning and give directions as needed.
  4.                             0.          4)   Seek the cooperation of the various agencies of the Church and make necessary arrangements to that end.
  5.                             0.          5)   Consult the Executive Council and propose plans of action.

 

(The Commissions and Special Commissions)

Article 40. 1) The Kyodan shall have the following commissions:

a) The Commission on theMissionof the Church.

b) The Commission on the Ministry.

c) The Commission on Faith and Order.

d) The Commission on Ministerial Qualifications.

e) The Commission for the Examination of Financial Reports.

f) The Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

2) The Commissions shall investigate, decide on, and supervise the carrying out of the plans adopted for accomplishing the tasks that are listed below.

 

Article 41. 1) The Commission on theMissionof the Church shall deal with the following matters:

  1.                                               0.    a)           The fundamental plan for mission.
  2.                                               0.    b)           Cooperative activities for mission.
  3.                                               0.    c)           Liaison with the district committees related to the mission of the Church.
  4.                                               0.    d)           Other important matters related to the mission of the Church.

2) A mission policy conference shall be held in order to carry out the above clauses a) and b).

3) The mission policy conference shall consist of members of the Commission on theMissionof the Church, representatives from the districts who are directly related to mission and others who may be designated by the Commission on theMissionof the Church.

4) An independent organization may be formed to support the activities of the Commission.

Article 42. 1) The Commission on theMissionof the Church shall have the following Standing Focus Committees:

  1.                                               0.    a)           The Committee on Evangelism
  2.                                               0.    b)           The Committee on Education
    1.                                               0.    c)           The Committee on Social Concerns

2) The Committee on Evangelism shall have charge of the following:

a) Research and planning for rural, urban, industrial and pioneer evangelism.

  1.                                               0.    b)   Assistance in and guidance on the building of churches, related buildings, and the purchase of land to carry forward the evangelism mentioned above.

c) Recommendation of appropriate members for related committees.

d) Other matters related to the carrying forward of evangelism.

3) The Committee on Education shall have charge of the following:

a) Investigation of and planning for Christian education in the churches and kindergartens.

b) Developing and training of directors of Christian education.

c) The leadership of youth.

d) Cooperative relation between the Church and schools.

e) Recommendation of appropriate members for related committees.

f) Other matters related to Christian education.

4) The Committee on Social Concerns shall take charge of the following:

a) Research and planning for social action and service.

b) Cooperative relations between the Church and social welfare organizations.

c) Other matters related to social concerns.

 

Article 43. The Commission on the Ministry shall have charge of the following:

1) Matters relating to institutions for ministerial training.

2) Matters relating to developing, training, and continuing study for ministers.

3) Consultation on personnel flow.

4) Matters relating to ministerial discipline.

 

Article 44. The Commission on Faith and Order shall have charge of the following:

1) Matters relating to the Confession of Faith of the United Church of Christ inJapan.

2) Matters relating to the interpretation of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Church.

3) Matters relating to worship services, sacraments and other ceremonies of the Church.

4) Matters relating to the faith, ministerial orders and ecclesiastical functions.

 

Article 45. 1) The Commission on Ministerial Qualifications shall take charge of ascertaining the qualifications of ministerial candidates.

2) The standards of qualifications for ministers are set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 46. The Commission for the Examination of Financial Reports shall take charge of the following:

1) Matters relating to the budget of revenues and expenditures and their implementation.

2) The examination and evaluation of financial reports.

3) Matters relating to the financial situation.

4) Other necessary financial affairs.

Article 46-2. The Commission on Ecumenical Ministries shall take charge of the following:

1) Matters related to mission cooperation through the sending and receiving of clergy and laypersons as missionaries.

2) Mission cooperation with churches that have cooperative agreements with the Kyodan.

3) Research and planning with regards to world mission cooperation.

4) In order to implement the above, the following subcommittees are to be established, the members of which are to be appointed by the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

a) Committee onMissionAgreement withKorea

b) Committee onMissionAgreement withTaiwan

c) Committee onMissionAgreement withSwitzerland

d) Committee on Ecumenical Relations

e) Committee onMissionPersonnel

f) Committee on Missionary Concerns

 

Article 47. 1) Members of the commissions and associated focus committees shall be designated by the General Assembly.

2) The number of members for these committees are stated elsewhere.

3) The chairperson of each committee shall be elected by ballot among the committee members, and shall represent the committee.

4) The term of the committee members shall be two years, but they may be reelected.

5) When there is a vacancy on a committee, a substitute member shall be designated by the Executive Council.

6) The term of a substitute member is for the remainder of the term of his or her predecessor.

 

Article 48. 1) The General Assembly or the Executive Council can establish a special commission, if needed.

2) Article 47, 3), 5) and 6) shall apply also to such a special commission.

 

Article 49. When a commission or a focus committee needs to establish a sub-committee under its supervision, the proposed sub-committee’s purpose, term, activity plan, budget and other necessary matters must first be approved by the Executive Council. If it needs to continue beyond the term of the General Assembly, this must be approved by the General Assembly.

 

(The General Secretary)

Article 50. 1) The Kyodan shall have a General Secretary.

2) The General Secretary shall carry out the decisions of the General Assembly and the Executive Council under the direction of the moderator.  He or she shall make necessary investigations for the General Assembly and the Executive Council and be responsible for the preparation of budgets, materials and proposed bills for their consideration.

3) The General Secretary shall manage the Kyodan General Affairs Office and The Institute for Research on theMissionof the Church, have jurisdiction over the Board of Publications, the Board of Pension and Buraku Liberation and shall thus seek to foster the carrying out of the ministry of the United Church of Christ inJapan.

4) The General Secretary shall arrange for cooperation with various overseas churches and other organizations.

5) The General Secretary shall be elected by the Kyodan General Assembly.  The term shall be four years.  He or she may be reelected.

6) When the General Secretary dies or his or her post becomes vacant because of some other reason, a successor shall be elected by the Executive Council and approval of this action will be sought at the next meeting of the General Assembly.

7) The term of the substitute General Secretary shall be the remainder of his or her predecessor.

8) The General Secretary shall attend the Kyodan General Assembly, the Executive Council and the Standing Executive Council ex officio.  He or she may attend any committee meeting as necessity requires.

9) The General Secretary shall summon regular and special meetings of the executive secretaries as requisite to carrying out the ministry of the Church.

 

(Administrative, Study Agencies and Business Agencies)

Article 51. 1) The Kyodan shall have a General Affairs Office

2) The regulations for the arrangement and management of the Kyodan General Affairs Office are set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 52. 1) The Kyodan shall have an Institute for Research on theMissionof the Church for the study of mission.

2) The regulations for the Institute for Research on theMissionof the Church shall be set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 53. 1) The Kyodan General Affairs Office and the Institute for Research on theMissionof the Church shall have executive secretaries.

2) Executive secretaries shall be recommended by the General Secretary, approved by the Executive Council, and appointed by the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly.

3) The term of the executive secretaries is four years.  They may be reappointed.

 

Article 54. 1) The executive secretaries shall help the General Secretary carry out his or her responsibilities for ministry and administration.

2) The executive secretaries shall submit appropriate project plans and budgets to the committees to which they are responsible.  They shall also carry out such investigations and prepare such materials as are needed by the agencies to which they are related.

3) The executive secretaries shall attend ex officio the Kyodan General Assembly, the Executive Council and the meetings of committees to which they are related.

 

Article 55. 1) The Kyodan shall have aBurakuLiberationCenter.

2) The regulations for theBurakuLiberationCenterare set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 56. 1) The Kyodan shall have a Board of Publication as its publication agency.

2) The regulations for the Board of Publication are set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 57. 1) The Kyodan shall have a Board of Pension as its pension agency.

2) The regulations for the Board of Pension are set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 58. Rescinded.

 

PART Ⅲ THE DISTRICTS

Article 59. 1) The Districts of the Kyodan are as follows:

  1.                                         0.          (1)         Hokkai District—Hokkaido
  2.                                         0.          (2)         Ou District—Aomori,Akita, Iwate
  3.                                         0.          (3)         Tohoku District—Miyagi,Fukushima, Yamagata
  4.                                         0.          (4)         Kanto District—Niigata, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaragi, Saitama
  5.                                         0.          (5)         Tokyo District—Tokyo(Except most of Nakano Ward, Suginami Ward, and Nishi Tama and all inland cities inTokyoPrefecture),Chiba
  6.                                         0.          (6)         Nishi Tokyo District—Nakano Ward (except Ehara Machi 3 Chome) Suginami Ward, Nishi Tama and all inland cities inTokyoPrefecture
  7.                                         0.          (7)         Kanagawa District—Kanagawa
  8.                                         0.          (8)         Tokai District—Nagano, Yamanashi, Shizuoka
  9.                                         0.          (9)         Chubu District—Toyama, Ishikawa,Fukui, Aichi,Gifu, Mie

(10) Kyoto District—Kyoto, Shiga

(11) Osaka District—Osaka,Nara,Wakayama

(12) Hyogo District—Hyogo

(13) Higashi Chugoku District—Okayama, Tottori

(14) Nishi Chugoku District—Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane

(15) Shikoku District—Kagawa, Ehime,Tokushima,Kochi

(16) Kyushu District—Fukuoka, Saga,Nagasaki,Kumamoto,Oita,Miyazaki,Kagoshima

(17) Okinawa District—Okinawa

2) The districts may establish sub-districts to carry out their church business.

3) Tokyo District shall establish sub-districts to which a part of its church business will be entrusted.

 

Article 60. 1) The districts shall make bylaws for their operation following the pattern of this set of Bylaws of the Kyodan.

2) The bylaws of each district must be approved by the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly.

 

Article 60-2 In the case of the Tokyo District, the matters to be delegated to sub-districts must be designated in the District Bylaws.

 

(The District Assembly)

Article 61. 1) The district assemblies shall be composed of the following delegates.  (However, in the case of the Okinawa District, the delegates provided for in clauses 1) through 4) may be altered according to the provisions of the Okinawa District):

a) The minister in charge of each church and preaching place or interim pastor.  In addition each class-one church having 200 or more active communicant members may appoint a second ordained clergy delegate, and for every additional 200 members, they may add one more ordained clergy delegate.

b) The ministers-at-large and ministers under special appointment in a district who are fully ordained shall elect from among themselves a number of delegates equal to one-third of their total number.

c) Half of the full-time theological teachers of the theological schools in the district who are regular ministers may be elected as delegates.

d) One lay church board member from each church.  In addition, each class-one church having 200 or more active communicant members may appoint a second lay delegate.  For each additional 200 members, a church may add one more lay delegate.

e) Additional clergy or lay delegates may be recommended by the moderator of the district assembly with the agreement of the district executive committee. However, the total number of such delegates must not exceed eight percent of the total number of regular delegates.

2) The term of the delegates mentioned in the above clauses, number 2), 3), and 5) is two years.  They may be reelected.

3) In the case of ministerial delegates mentioned in the above clauses number 1), 2), 3) and 5), they must be ministers who are registered in the list of ministers of the district in question.

 

Article 62. 1) The following people may attend and speak in a district assembly as associate delegates with no vote:

a) Ministers in full standing of the district that are not regular delegates.

b) Licensed preachers of the district who are not regular delegates.

c) People recommended by the district assembly.

d) Directors of Christian education.

2) The associate delegates mentioned in clauses 1) and 2) above must be ministers registered in the list of ministers of the district in question.  In this case, retired ministers will be treated as active ministers.

Article 63. 1) Each district assembly shall have a moderator, a vice-moderator and secretary.  However, if it is deemed necessary, two vice-moderators and two secretaries may be elected with the agreement of the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly.

2) The moderator and the vice-moderator shall be elected form among the delegates who are ministers in full standing and the secretary shall be elected from among all the delegates in the regular district assembly.

3) The term of the moderator, the vice-moderator and the secretary shall be two years.  They may be reelected.

4) The term of a substitute moderator, vice-moderator or secretary is for the remaining period of his or her predecessor’s term.

 

Article 64. Article 8, 9 and 12 above shall apply to the moderator and the vice-moderator of a district assembly as well.

 

Article 65. 1) District assemblies shall have regular assembly meetings and may also have extraordinary assembly meetings.

2) A district assembly meeting shall be convened by the moderator of the district assembly.

3) The regular assembly meeting shall be held every year at a predetermined time.

4) Regarding the calling of special meetings, Article 16, (4) shall apply to the district as well, with “members of executive council” be replaced by “members of executive committee.”

 

Article 66. Matters to be dealt with by a district assembly are as follows:

1) Church statistics and the ministry of the district.

2) Budgeted revenue and expenditures, as well as financial reports.

3) The ordination of ministers and receiving of licensed preachers.

4) The calling and the retirement of ministers and evangelists, and other ministerial changes.

5) The establishment, merger, admission or dissolution of churches, as well as matters related to any change in the class of churches.

5-2) The establishment or dissolution of “preaching places” (fledgling churches).

6) Communications with and guidance of local churches and preaching places.

7) Promotion of the mission and the public service of the church.

8) Examination of the official records of the local churches.

9) The election of delegates to the Kyodan General Assembly.

10) Petitions submitted to the district assembly.

11) Changes in the provision of the district bylaws.

12) Other important matters in the district.

 

Article 67. A district assembly may entrust part of its responsibilities to its executive committee.

 

Article 68. Articles 19, 20 and 22 shall also apply to the proceedings of a district assembly, and articles 24 to 29 shall also apply to the committees of the district assembly.  But the phrase “Kyodan General Assembly” in these articles shall be read “a district assembly,” and “records of the districts” (24-4) shall be read “records of the churches.”

 

Article 68-2. Those who may present a resolution and the conditions that apply are as follows:

1) The executive committee

2) The delegates.  The joint signature of ten supporting delegates shall be needed.

 

(The executive committee)

Article 68-3. Each district shall have an executive committee.

 

Article 69.  The executive committee shall be made up of the following:

1) The moderator, the vice-moderator and the secretary of the district assembly.

2) Several delegates elected by ballot from among the district assembly delegates.

 

Article 70. The quorum and term of the executive committee shall be in the bylaws of the district.

 

Article 71.  Matters to be dealt with by the executive committee are as follows:

1) Important matters normally falling under the authority of the district assembly when it is not in session.

2) Matters normally falling under the authority of the district assembly but which have been delegated to the executive council by the district assembly.

3) Matters to be presented to the district assembly such as the amendment of the rules, the annual reports of income and expenditure and other matters.

4) Matters that should normally be brought to the district assembly when the district assembly is not in session, or when the moderator decides that a general assembly cannot be called into session.

5) Other important matters in the district.

 

(Commissions)

Article 72. 1) Each district assembly shall have the following commissions:

a) Commission on Evangelism

b) Commission on Education

c) Commission on Social Concerns

d) Commission on Personnel

e) Commission on Finance

2) Regulations in the bylaws may provide for the adding or elimination of commissions according to the needs of each district.

Article 73. 1) The area of jurisdiction for each commission is as follows except as specified otherwise in the district bylaws:

a) The Commission of Evangelism shall have charge of planning for the general evangelism in a district.  It shall also have charge of rural, urban, industrial and pioneer evangelism, and shall try to assist and guide in matters related to the building of churches and attached buildings.

b) The Commission of Education shall direct the training and instruction of youth, layperson and women, seek to cultivate and commission church school teachers, keep in touch with and give guidance to kindergartens, maintain contact with schools, and carry out other necessary activities for the development of Christian education.

c) The Commission of Social Concerns shall have charge of matters having to do with social action, seek to cooperate with social welfare institutions, and seek to serve in times of disaster and suffering.

d) The Commission of Personnel shall offer its good offices to help ministers to find churches and churches to find suitable ministers.

2) Each commission shall carry out its activities on the basis of a majority vote of its members, except as specified otherwise in the district bylaws.

 

Article 74. 1) Each commission shall have a chairperson and several members.

2) The members shall be elected by the district assembly, and the chairperson shall be elected by ballot among the members.

3) The term of the committees shall be designated in the district bylaws.

 

Article 75. A district may provide in its bylaws for permanent committees as necessary.  Further, special committees may be established by the district assembly.

 

Article 76. 1) A district may have executive secretaries.

2) An executive secretary shall be elected by the district assembly.

3) The term, areas of duty, and other matters pertaining to an executive secretary shall be provided for in the district bylaws.

 

(District Offices)

Article 77. A district shall have a district office in a location designated by the district assembly.

 

Article 78. 1) The district office shall be under the direction of the moderator of the district assembly and shall deal with the following matters:

a) Communication with the Kyodan General Affairs Office.

b) Communication with the local churches and preaching places.

c) Negotiations with government officers and various other organizations.

d) Taking care of the statistics, records, and official documents of the district.

e) Taking care of the business related to the district general assembly and the executive council.

f) Taking care of business under the jurisdiction of each commission and committee.

g) Carrying out other matters as provided for in the bylaws of the Kyodan or the district.

2) Operation of the district office shall be provided for in the district bylaws.

 

(Finance)

Article 79. The expenses of the District shall be paid from the allotted assessments and offerings from the churches and preaching places, subsidies from the Kyodan and from other sources of income.

 

Article 80. 1) The amount that a church or preaching place shall be assessed is to be decided by the district assembly.

2) The above assessment shall be set on the basis of a percentage of the total amount of operating expenditures of a church or preaching place.  In the case of churches that are receiving subsidies, their assessments shall be reduced by an appropriate amount.

 

Article 81. The above assessments shall be paid to the district office in monthly installments.

 

Article 82. When a church or preaching place cannot pay its assessment because of a calamity or some unavoidable accident, payment of a part or all of the amount may be postponed or exempted by decision of the district executive council upon application by the church concerned.

 

Article 83. When there is a calamity or some unavoidable circumstance, the churches and the preaching places may be asked to pay an extraordinary assessment for this clearly indicated purpose upon the decision of the district assembly or the executive committee.

 

Article 84. Articles 156 to 162 and 163 shall also apply to the budget and finances of the districts.  But “Kyodan General Assembly” shall then read “district assembly,”  “Executive Council” shall then read “executive committee” and “Kyodan” shall then read “district.”

 

PART Ⅳ CHURCHES AND PREACHING PLACES

Section Ⅰ. Churches

Article 85. A church shall establish its regulations in accordance with Confession of Faith, Constitutions, Bylaws, and other regulations of the Kyodan, and must receive the approval of the moderator of the district assembly.

Article 85-2. A church, when seeking recognition as a religious juridical person in accordance with the laws governing religious juridical persons, shall designate “the United Church of Christ inJapan” as its parent body.

 

Article 86. The following matters shall be designated in the bylaws of a local church:

1) Name.

2) Location

3) Matters relating to services of worship, evangelistic activities, and various meetings.

4) Matters relating to the minister in charge of the church.

5) Matters relating to the director of Christian education.

6) The names and addresses of the laypersons that are to be members of the church.

7) Matters relating to the church board members (in case the church is a “religious juridical person,” the representative responsible and other such officers shall be included).

8) Matters relating to the administration of its assets and financial affairs.

9) Matters relating to the public service activities (kindergartens, etc.) of the church.

10) Matters relating to merger and dissolution.

 

Article 87. 1) Churches shall be divided into “class-one” and “class-two” churches.

2) A “class-one” church shall be one which has more than 50 resident communicant members, which pays for at least the minimum pastor’s salary established by the district, all other expenses of the church; and the assessment allotted to the church by the district; and which carries on the ecclesiastical functions of a church.

3) A “class-two” church shall be one which does not have the necessary conditions to qualify as a class-one church, but which has 20 or more resident communicant members and whose total amount of offerings reaches a standard set by the district.

 

Article 88. 1) When a church is to be established, the founders shall set forth the bylaws of the church, and shall make an application over the joint signatures of the founders, for the approval of the district moderator.

2) The following items shall be included in the application.

a) Name.

b) The class of the church.

c) The location.

d) A summary of the process that led to the establishment of the church.

e) The name of the minister who will be in charge of the church.

f) The name and addresses of the layperson that are to be members of the church.

g) A budget for the coming year.

3) After receiving approval (see part 1) above), the church shall hold a ceremony of establishment, in consultation with the district.

 

Article 89. To receive financial assistance, a “class-two” church may apply to the moderator of the district assembly after the matter has been discussed and decided on by the church assembly.

 

Article 90. 1) When a “class-two” church grows sufficiently to fulfill the prerequisite conditions of a “class-one” church, it shall apply, upon the decision of the church assembly, for recognition as a “class -one” church to the moderator of the district assembly supplying the following documented information:

a) Name.

b) The budget and financial statement for the previous year.

c) A roll of the resident communicant members of the church.

d) The relevant statistics of the church.

2) After receiving approval, the church shall hold a ceremony of establishment, in consultation with the district.

 

Article 91. 1) When two or more churches belonging to the Kyodan plan to merge, they shall apply for permission to do so to the moderator of the district assembly, supplying a record of the decision in favor of this action at the general meetings of the churches in question, a copy of the regulations for the merged church, a roll of church members and the following items of information:

a) Name.

b) History of the churches.

c) The proposed location.

d) The relevant statistics of the churches.

e) The assets and financial situation of the churches.

f) The public service activities of the churches.

2) After receiving approval, the churches shall hold a ceremony of merger, in consultation with the district.

 

Article 92. The provisions of Article 91 shall be applied also in the case of a church which does not belong to the Kyodan, but which seeks to join it.  In this case, however, “the ceremony of the merger of the church” shall read “the ceremony commemorating the entrance of a church.”

 

Article 92-2 Rescinded

 

Article 93. To be dissolved, a church must hold a general meeting of the church assembly, discuss and vote on the matter, and then apply to the moderator of the district for approval, supplying a record of the official decision of the church assembly.  The decision of the church assembly may be made only if more than two-thirds of the resident communicant members are present and the decision must be agreed to by more than two-thirds of those in attendance.  In this case, previsions for the future membership of layperson and the suitable disposal of church asset must be made and written record appended.

 

(The Church Assembly)

Article 94. The church assembly shall be composed of the ministers in charge of the church and its resident communicant members.

 

Article 95. 1) A general assembly shall be called by each church at a regular time at least once a year.  When the moderator of the district assembly, or the head minister in charge of a church sees the need, or when there is a request from more than two-thirds of the church board members, an extraordinary session of the church assembly shall be convened.

2) The quorum for a general assembly of a church shall be designated in the church bylaws.  However it must not be under one-fifth of the church’s resident communicant members.

 

Article 96. 1) The church assembly shall have a chairperson and a secretary.

2) The chairperson shall be the head minister in charge of the church or his or her substitute. If something should happen to both the head minister in charge of a church and his or her substitute, the chairperson shall be elected from among the ministers in charge or the layperson of the church.

3) The secretary shall be elected from among the church board members.

4) Even in the case of the inability of the head minister to be present at the meeting as provided in clause (2), the head minister in charge of the church or interim pastor shall be responsible for submitting a summary of the ecclesiastical functions and business of the church.

 

Article 97. The church assembly shall deal with the following matters:

1) Church statistics and the business report of the previous year and the plan of activities for the coming year.

2) The budget plan and financial report for revenue and expenditure.

3) Changes in church bylaws.

4) Changes of pastors and evangelists.

5) Matters relating to the director of Christian education.

6) Election of church board members

7) Management of church assets and other financial matters.

8) Election of delegates to the district assembly.

9) Other important matters.

 

(The Church Board and Its Membership)

Article 98. 1) The church shall have several church board members.

2) The church board members shall assist the ministers and participate in the ministry of the church.

 

Article 99. 1) The church board members shall be elected in the church assembly from among the resident communicant members of the church.  However, anyone who falls in one of the following categories may not be elected as a church board member:

1) One who is under twenty years of age.

2) Rescinded

3) One who has become bankrupt and is currently insolvent.

4) One who has been sentenced to imprisonment, except on a charge relating to the faith, or who has finished his or her sentence or been placed on probation within the preceding two years.

2) The length of term for church board members shall be stated in the bylaws of the church.

 

Article 100. 1) The church board members shall organize the church board.

2) The head minister in charge of the church or his or her substitute and other ministers in the church shall be ex officio members of the church board.  The head minister in charge of the church or interim pastor shall convene the church board.

3) The director of Christian education shall be an ex officio member of the church board.

 

Article 101. The head minister in charge of the church or interim pastor shall be the chairperson of the church board.  If something happens to both the head minister in charge of the church and interim pastor, the chairperson shall be elected from among the other ministers in charge of the church or from among the church board members.

 

Article 102. The church board shall deal with the following matters:

1) Matters relating to the holding of services of worship and the administering of the sacraments.

2) Matters relating to the evangelistic and the pastoral functions of the church.

3) Matters relating to the keeping the records of the church.

4) Matters relating to income and expenditure of money.

5) Matters relating to members who join the church, or transfer in or out of the church.

6) Matters relating to the admonition of laypersons.

7) Matters relating to the budget plan and final report of revenue and expenditure as well as other bills to be presented to the church assembly.

8) Matters relating to the pastors and evangelists.

9) Matters relating to the director of Christian education.

10) Matters relating to the management of the church assets and other financial matters.

11) Matters relating to the management of the business of the church.

12) Other important matters.

 

(The Minister in Charge of the Church)

Article 103. When the minister in charge of a church is ordained, he or she shall be called a pastor; when the minister in charge is a licensed preacher he or she shall be called an evangelist.

 

Article 104. The minister in charge of a church shall perform the following tasks (but an evangelist cannot perform number 2):

1) Conducting services of worship, evangelism, and nurturing members in their faith.

2) Administering the sacraments.

3) Conducting weddings, funerals and other ceremonies.

 

Article 105. 1) The head minister in charge of the church shall have charge of the following:

a) Keeping in touch with the Kyodan General Affairs Office and the District Office.

b) Relations with government offices and various other organizations.

c) Convening the church assembly and the church board.

d) Matters relating to church assets and finance.

2) When there is only one minister in charge of a church, he or she shall be the head minister.  If there are two or more, the head shall be designated and submitted to the moderator of the district assembly for his or her approval.

 

Article 106. 1) The church shall issue a call to a minister inviting him or her as a minister in charge of the church.

2) The invitation mentioned in the former clause must be decided by vote of the church assembly and submitted to the moderator of the district assembly for approval.

3) In order to establish a preaching place, or in other necessary cases, a minister in charge of a church can be invited under the sponsorship of the district.

 

Article 107. When a minister in charge accepts an appointment, the church shall hold a ceremony of installation in consultation with the district.

 

Article 108. When a minister in charge of a church plans to resign from a church, the church assembly must first accept his or her resignation. Then it must be submitted to the moderator of the district assembly for his or her approval.

 

Article 109. 1) In the event of either of the following exigencies, the minister in charge of the church or the church board must notify the moderator of the district assembly without delay.

a) In case he or she is unable to perform his or her duties for more than three months because of illness of some other reason.

b) In case of his or her death.

2) When the minister mentioned in the previous clause is the head minister, the church board must designate a substitute and receive the approval of the moderator of the district assembly without delay.

 

Article 110. When the position of head minister in charge of the church has been vacant for six months and no replacement has been called, the moderator of the district assembly may recommend someone to fill the vacancy.

 

Article 111. If a minister in charge of a church is asked to hold an additional post in another church, he or she must first receive permission from his or her church assembly and then submit the matter to the moderator of the district assembly for his or her approval.

 

Article 112. 1) If a church wished to dismiss a minister in charge, the church assembly must make such a decision, and submit it to the moderator of the district assembly for his or her approval.  (In such a case the church assembly must make its decision with the agreement of more than two-thirds of those in attendance.)

2) The chairperson of the aforementioned church assembly shall be the moderator of the district assembly or a person designated by him.

 

Article 113. When there is need relating to the inviting of a minister to a church, his or her installation, his or her dismissal or his or her resignation, a minister, a church, or others involved may apply to the district’s personnel committee for its help and advice.

 

Article 114. The head minister in charge of the church shall act as the legal representative of the church in accordance with the laws governing religious juridical persons.

 

(Finance)

Article 115. 1) The salary of the minister, the church assessments and other necessary expenses of the church shall be paid for by offerings and gifts from the members or from other assets or revenue that the church may have.

2) The salary of the minister shall be at least equal to the standard set by the district.

 

Article 116. 1) The church shall annually draw up a financial statement and a projected budget of income and expenditures and submit it to the church assembly.

2) The budget shall be divided into “running expenses” and “special accounts.”  Each account shall have appropriate sub-classifications.

3) The sub-classifications of the financial report shall be the same as those for the projected budget.

 

Article 117. 1) The church must make a statement of its “basic assets.”

2) The “basic assets” shall include the land, the buildings and other important assets.

3) Income occurring from the “basic assets” and other assets shall be considered “ordinary assets.”

 

Article 118. 1) “Basic assets” may not be disposed of or pledged as a security, except in cases of natural calamity or other such unavoidable reason.

2) In order to apply for the above exception, there must first be voted agreement by two-thirds of those attending a church assembly meeting and also the agreement of the “responsible officers” of the church, and then this action must receive the approval of the moderator of the district assembly.

 

Article 119. The fiscal year of the church shall be the same as that of the Kyodan.

 

Section Ⅱ Preaching Places

Article 120. 1) A district, a church, a minister or a layman may establish a preaching place.

2) A preaching place shall belong to the district and receive the supervision, leadership and assistance of the district, or the parent church.

 

Article 121. When a preaching place is to be established, the founder must prepare a document with the following information, and submit it to the moderator of the district assembly for his or her approval:

1) Name.

2) Location.

3) The reason for the proposed establishment.

4) The name of the head minister in charge.

5) The projected number of laypersons.

6) The projected expenses for a year and proposed means of payment.

7) A form stating the willingness of the local church to lead and help the proposed preaching place if such a church is in charge.

 

Article 122. 1) A preaching point that fulfills the conditions specified in Article 87 may become a “class-two” church.  It also may immediately be designated a “class-one” church if it meets the necessary conditions.

2) Article 88 shall apply in the case of the above Article 122 1).  But item 6 “the names and addresses of the laypersons who are to be members of the church” shall read “the roll of the resident communicant members of the church.”

 

Article 122-2. When a preaching place is to be discontinued, the head minister in charge or interim pastor must apply to the moderator of the district assembly for approval.  Further, if the preaching place has been receiving the leadership and help of a local church, a document indicating the agreement of the local church to this action must be appended.  The district executive committee shall provide for the disposition of the members and the assets of the preaching place.

 

PartⅤ:  MINISTERS

Article 123. 1) Ministers shall be classified as ministers in full standing and licensed preachers.

2) Ministers must be registered in the ministerial list of both the District and the United Church of Christ inJapan.

 

Article 124. 1) An ordained minister is one who has passed the examination for ministers in full standing and, following the decision of the district assembly, has been formally ordained.

2) The moderator of the district assembly shall administer the ordination ceremony.

 

Article 125. 1) A licensed preacher is one who has passed the examination for licensed preachers and, following the decision of the district assembly, has formally been licensed to preach.

2) The moderator of the district assembly shall take charge of the licensing ceremony.

 

Article 126.  Rescinded

 

Article 127. Persons who fall in any one of the following three categories may not become a pastor. (However in item 3, one who has finished his or her sentence or has been placed on probation for more than three years shall be exempted.):

1) Rescinded

2) One who has become bankrupt and is currently insolvent.

3) One who has been sentenced to imprisonment except on a charge relating to the faith.

 

Article 128. 1) Ministers shall be divided into the following classifications according to their work, but they may function in several ways simultaneously.

a) Minister in charge of a church: one who is assigned to a church or preaching place.

b) Minister-at-large: one who is assigned to evangelism-at-large or to visiting various churches.

c) Theological teacher: one who is regular member of the faculty of a Kyodan-established or Kyodan-related Theological school.

d) Minister under special appointment: one who fits category i) or ii) below:

i) A minister who is working in the Kyodan General Affairs Office, a district office, a school, or an institution connected with the Kyodan.

ii) A minister who has been specifically appointed or recommended by the Kyodan to work other than that specified in i) above.

e) Minister abroad: one who has been specifically appointed or recommended by the Kyodan to engage in mission abroad.

2) Any of the following persons can become “a minister on leave of absence” with the approval of his or her district moderator.

a) A minister who is studying abroad.

b) A minister who needs long-term medical treatment.

c) A minister who is deemed to have special reasons similar to the above two.

3) When the reason for the leave of absence no longer exists, the minister may return to his or her active status with the approval of the district moderator.

4) A minister who does not fit in the categories of either. 1) or 2) above and yet is not a retired minister, according to Article 132, shall be designated a “minister without assignment.”

5) One who has been a “minister without assignment” for more than three years shall be moved to a separate register.  If three more years pass without renewal of his or her ministerial function, his or her name may be removed from the register.

 

Article 129. In order to withdraw the ministry of the Kyodan, a minister must apply for approval to the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly after submitting an application citing the reasons through the moderator of the district assembly.

 

Article 130. 1) When a minister who has withdrawn from the ministry wishes to resume the office of a minister, he or she must make an application to the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly through the moderator of the district assembly to which he or she belongs, accompanied by recommendations from two ministers of the Kyodan.

2) When the moderator of a district assembly receives the aforementioned application, he or she shall submit it to the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly after receiving the approval of the executive committee.

3) The moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly may, on receiving this application, reappoint the minister after he or she has been examined by the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications.

 

Article 131. 1) When a minister of a church not belonging to the Kyodan wants to become a minister of the Kyodan, he or she must make an application to the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly through the procedure mentioned in the preceding article.

2) The moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly may, on receiving the application, make the applicant a minister of the Kyodan after he or she has been examined by the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications.

 

Article 132. 1) A minister who has served for more than ten years is over sixty years of age and who has retired from active duty shall be designated as a “retied minister.”  However, even one who is not over sixty years of age may, if he or she has served more than twenty years, be designated as a “retired minister” by a recommendation of the Commission on Ministry.

2) When a minister retires, he or she shall be given a monthly retirement allowance by the Kyodan.

3) The regulations regarding this monthly retirement allowance shall be set forth elsewhere.

 

Article 133. The training of ministers shall be carried out by the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, which has been established by the Kyodan, or at other theological schools which have been approved by the Kyodan.

 

Article 133-2. A missionary of the Kyodan who has been approved by the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly shall be considered to be a minister of the Kyodan.  The regulations for such missionaries shall be set forth elsewhere.

 

PART Ⅵ LAITY

Article 134. A layperson is a person who belongs to a church or a preaching place and whose name is registered on the membership roll.

 

Article 135. Laypersons must be registered separately as being on either the communicants’ roll or on the non-communicants’ roll.

 

Article 136. A communicant is one who has made a confession of faith and been baptized, or was a non-communicant member who then was confirmed or who made a confession of faith.

 

Article 137.  Rescinded

 

Article 138. 1) A non-communicant member is one who was baptized as an infant on the basis of the faith of his or her parents, but who may not yet partake of the Holy Communion.

2) The aforementioned people may become communicant members upon their confirmation or on their confession of faith.

 

Article 139. Laypersons wishing to change their membership to another church should request a letter of recommendation from their church and submit it for approval of the church to which they wish to transfer.

 

Article 140. A layperson in any of the following situations may be moved to a separate list for inactive members by the decision of the church board:

1) When the place of residence of the person has been unknown for more than three years.

2) When the person has been absent from the church for more than three years and has neglected to make any offering or carry out other duties without giving any reason for his or her failure to do so.

 

PART Ⅶ DIRECTORS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

Article 140-2. A director of Christian education is a layperson of the Kyodan who feels called to the task of education in the church, has completed certain specified subjects of study, passed the examination for directors of Christian education specified by the Kyodan, is called by a church and carries out the duties related to education in the church under the supervision of a minister in charge of the charge.

 

 

Article 140-3. The regulations for the examination of directors of Christian education shall be set for elsewhere.

 

PART Ⅷ   ADMONITIONS

Article 141. The following provisions for admonitions are made for the maintenance of purity and order and mutual edification of the Kyodan and its local churches.

 

Article 142. Admonitions to ministers shall consist of the following steps:

1) Warning.

2) Suspension from church duties.

3) Dismissal from service as pastor.

4) Rescission of ministerial qualifications.

 

Article 143. One who in under suspension or dismissed from service may not be elected a member of the Kyodan General Assembly or as a member of a district assembly, nor may that person serve in any official capacity in either the Kyodan or one of its districts.

 

Article 144. Admonitions to laypersons shall consist of the following three steps:

1) Warning.

2) Suspension from the privilege of being a communicant.

3) Expulsion from the church.

 

Article 145. One who is suspended as a communicant may not be elected to membership on a church board.

 

Article 146. The regulations pertaining to these admonitions shall be set forth separately.

 

PART Ⅸ MANAGEMENT OF ASSETS

Section Ⅰ The Assets

Article 147. The assets of the Kyodan shall consist of the following:

1) Assets recorded in the inventory of assets at the time of the establishment of the Kyodan.

2) Dividends, interest, etc. earned by these assets.

3) The assessments (apportionments) of the districts

4) Assets that have been donated to the church, and other revenue.

 

Article 148. 1) The assets shall be divided into “basic assets,” “special assets” and “ordinary assets.”

2) The “basic assets” shall be those which are recorded in the “inventory of assets” mentioned in the preceding article, item number. 1); the assets which are donated as “basic assets”; and the assets which are transferred into this category by the decision of the Kyodan General Assembly.

3) The “special assets” shall be the assets designated for the specific use of a church or some other organization.

4) The “ordinary assets” shall be all other assets and shall include the dividends, interest, etc. earned by the funds in the “basic assets” category.

 

Article 149. The “basic assets” that are public or private debentures, securities or bonds or similar investments are to be entrusted to a bank or deposited in a guaranteed safe.  Cash (money which is in the “basic assets” category) shall be invested in national bonds or other such reliable securities, or placed in postal savings accounts or in a reliable bank account.

 

Article 150. The “basic assets” may not be disposed of or given as security.  However, in the case of a calamity or for some other unavoidable circumstance, an exception may be made upon the decision of the Kyodan General Assembly.

 

Article 151. The “special assets” may be freely used by and given to churches or other organizations as designated by the donors of the gift.

 

Section Ⅱ The Expenses

Article 152. The costs of carrying on evangelism and other activities of the Kyodan shall be met by the apportionments of the districts, the offerings, the interest earned by the assets, and other revenue.

 

Article 153. The apportionments of the districts shall be set by the Kyodan General Assembly.  However, in those years that the Kyodan General Assembly is not held, they shall be set by the Executive Council.

 

Article 154. The assessment rate of the district apportionment shall be set according to a standard which takes into account the total operating costs of the churches, and the preaching places within the district or by some other appropriate means.  However, in the case of churches and preaching places that are receiving subsidies, the amount of the subsidies shall be excluded in the calculation of the operating costs.

 

Article 155. The apportionments of the districts shall be paid to the Kyodan General Affairs Office in monthly installments.

Section Ⅲ The Budget and Financial Statements

Article 156. 1) The budget shall be divided into “running expense” and “special accounts.”  The budget shall be subdivided into various sections.

2) The money in various sections may not be freely moved back and forth once the budget is established.

 

Article 157. In the case of unavoidable necessity, the budget can be supplemented or modified by decision of the Executive Council.

 

Article 158. In the case of extraordinary expenditures that will last for more than two years because of some special necessity, such a continued expenditure may be agreed on for a definite period of time by decision of the Kyodan General Assembly.

 

Article 159. In the case of special necessity, the Kyodan General Assembly may authorize special expenditures.

 

Article 160. The proposed budget must be submitted to the Kyodan General Assembly.  In the years when the Kyodan General Assembly is not held, it must be submitted to the Executive Council.

 

Article 161. If for some reason the budget is not considered and passed by the Kyodan General Assembly or the Executive Council, the budget of the preceding year shall be followed.

Article 162. The financial statement for a year shall follow the same outline of categories as the budget.  Within three months of the close of the fiscal year, the Auditing Committee must audit the inventory of current assets and the balance sheet and then submit their report to the Kyodan General Assembly.  In the years when the Kyodan General Assembly is not held, it must be presented to the Executive Council.

 

Section Ⅳ Other Financial Matters

Article 163. The fiscal year of the Kyodan is from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.

 

Article 164. The decision to borrow money is to be made by the Executive Council. However, if it is necessary to temporarily borrow money in order to meet the payments on budgeted expenditures, and if the money can be repaid within the year by revenues of the same year, permission of the Executive Council is not necessary.

 

Article 165. In order to enter into a contract that will place a financial or legal burden on the Kyodan, approval by the General Assembly must first be secured.

 

Article 166. If there are surpluses in the yearly financial account, they shall be either transferred into the “basic assets” account by decision of the General Assembly or carried forward to the next year’s budget.

 

Article 167. The “Special Representative” mentioned in Article 57 of the Civil Code shall be either the chairperson of the Finance Committee or someone appointed by the Executive Council.

 

PART Ⅹ SUPPLEMENTARY REGULATIONS

Article 168. Matters decided by the moderator of a district assembly must also receive the approval of the moderator of the Kyodan General Assembly.

 

Article 169. On matters related to the laws governing religious juridical persons, these Bylaws may not be at variance with rules and regulations decided on by the Religious Juridical Person “The United Church of Christ inJapan.” (Cf. Regulations set forth elsewhere)

 

Article 170. These bylaws cannot be amended without the consent of two-thirds or more of those presented at a Kyodan General Assembly.

 

Article 171. Provisions for carrying out the regulations in the Bylaws will be set forth elsewhere.

 

 

 

SUPPLIMENTAL RESOLUTIONS

1) The articles listed below that resulted from structural reform were implemented as ofApril 1, 1969:

Parts 1 and 2 of Article 1, Article 15, Sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part 1 of Article 18, Part 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Article 37, Article 39, Article 40, Article 41, Article 42, Article 43, Article 44, Article 45, Article 46, Article 47, Article 48, Article 49, Article 50, Article 51, Article 52, Article 53, Article 54, Article 55, Article 56, Article 57, Article 58, Part 7 of Article 66, Part 1 of Article 73, Article 76, Article 77, Article 78, Section 1 of Part 1 of Article 105, Part 3 of Article 106, Article 113, Article 126, Subsection a of Section 4 of Part 1 of Article 128, Part 1 of Article 132, Article 155, Article 167.

2) During the period that these bylaws are in effect, provided there is no good reason not to, these revised bylaws will be practiced according to their intent.

3) The establishment of regulations concerning the Kyodan General Affairs Office (Part 2 of Article 51 and Part 2 of Article 52 concerning the regulations for the Institute for Research on the Mission of the Church are delegated to the Executive Council.

4) Regulations related to these revisions are to be prepared by the Kyodan General Affairs Office and presented to the Executive Council for their approval.