Board of Deacons - Bylaws
BOARD OF DEACONS
Introduction and definitions
A. The board of deacons of each church shall consist of the priest or priests of the church and of deacons selected in accordance with the provisions of these by-laws
B. According to Biblical teaching and the Apostolic Canon laws, the bishop is the person who in charge of the affairs of all the churches in has diocese, whether they are spiritual, administrative or financial. No decisions are to be taken or executed by the board of deacons without his permission and approval. The bishop may charge the priests and deacons to assist him in carrying out some of his responsibilities within the common laws of the Coptic Orthodox Church
C. Each member of the Board of Deacons shall serve for a term of three years or until his successor is duly appointed. (See item J in chapter 9)
D. The Church Board of Deacons, by virtue of its member's ecclesiastical status, will work in such manner as to assist the bishop in carrying his responsibilities.
Selection of Board of Deacons
A. The bishop, or his duly appointed representative, attends the meetings at which the members of the
Board of beacons are selected. No layman is acclaimed to be a member of the Board of Deacons unless
he is ordained as a reader or a sub deacon. The congregation presents the acclamations to the bishop
as well as any objections to such acclimations. The bishop, or has duly appointed representative,
attends personally to the writing of the acclamations to ensure accuracy. The bishop selects the
members of the Board of Deacons from among those who obtain the consent of the majority of the
spiritual members of the church (see chapter 6 art. 1-D) and also from among those who do not have
valid objections against them.
The bishop selects six or more deacons to serve with him and/or with the Priest or priests as members
of the Board of Deacons of the church.
The board being responsible for financial and administrative aspects only while the spiritual services are entirely entrusted to the clergy
The trustees, if any are to be appointed by the bishop from among the members of the Board of Deacons as described chapter B articles 2.
B. the Manner of collecting the acclimations
A preliminary acclimation is prepared and must be signed by at least seven spiritual members of the church. The acclimation is then presented to the bishop for his approval. If approved the acclimation is circulated to the rest of the congregation to be signed by those who so desire.
C. Notec of Acclimation, An announcement of the date for acclimation shall be made after the delivery of the sermon the Sunday at least two weeks prior to the date of selecting the members of the Board of Deacons by the bishop.
The announcement is then repeated the following Sunday after delivery of the sermon. In addition, a written notice is to be a fixed in the announcement bulletin in the church at least two weeks prior to the date at which the members of the Board of Deacons will be acclaimed by the spiritual members of the church selected by the bishop.
D. Spiritual Membership, In order for a member of the church to be considered a spiritual member it is
participating in the Holy Communion at least once a month and having a Father of confession approved by the bishop together with other conditions mentioned below (item E), are conditions for that consideration. Accordingly, it is necessary to provide membership cards for each church to identify the spiritual members who desire to participate in the acclimation. The bishop has the right to approve the signatures of any spiritual members whether or not they have such cards
E. A member of the Board of deacon a member of any church committee and each spiritual member of the church who has the right to acclaim deacons, priests and bishops should be:
(1) A zealous Christian Coptic Orthodox over 21 years old
(2) Obeying Coptic Orthodox Church rules concerning dogmas, and free from ecclesiastical ex-communication
(3) A regular attendant of Church services and meetings;
(4) Observing confession and at least monthly communion in his church
(5) Known of his piety and services to the church and
(6) Should not be a member of any religious organization.
F. Each parson acclaimed and going to be selected by the bishop to membership on the Board of deacon has to sign the following vow:
I do solemnly vow that I will uphold the doctrines teaching, traditions, holy canons, worship and principles of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria as well as the Coptic Orthodox Diocese in North America and that I will fulfill faithfully and sincerely the duties and obligations required of a member of the church Board of Deacons, under the leadership of our honoured bishop. So help me God."
G. The members of the Board of Deacons must be respectable members of the community, free of hypocrisy, with good moral character and spiritual behavior. They must be observing Holy Communion and all other religious requirements. They must be over 21 years of age and must be attending the holy masses for at least one-half of the Sundays each year. The bishop will make the evaluation and approve the preliminary acclimations on that basis. Furthermore the bishop will evaluate any objections presented and determine their accuracy. In his absence his duly appointed representative will attend these affairs. The bishop may elect to appoint a committee examine and make recommendation to him concerning these affairs
M. It is prohibited that the Board of Deacons contain more than two persons who are related to each other up to the third degree. The bishop has the right to make an exception to this rule in the event he determines that the best interest the church so requires.
I. It is prohibited that a person be a member of the Board of Deacons of more than one church at the same time.
A.The Board of Deacons of each church shall meet regularly at least once a month. At the end of each meeting, the board shall set a date and a time for the succeeding meeting. Notice of each meeting shall he given at least seven days prior to the meeting date. The notice shall include an agenda of item to be discussed or requiring approval by the board.
B. A quorum for the transaction of all business is constituted by the presence of one-half of the number of members of the board. Decisions are to be made only by an absolute majority of the members present at the meeting.
C. In case a resolution is, adopted by the Board of Deacons and the presiding priest, or one of the priests of the church, feels that it is not in the best interest of the church he may, with notice to the Secretary of the board, refer the matter to the bishop with a request that he gives his decision in this respect. The approval of the bishop is necessary for the resolution to be valid.
D. In case of the absence of the president from a meeting, resolutions taken in such meeting should not be executed until the president is notified.
E. In case of the absence of any member of the board for three successive meetings without an excuse acceptable to the board, the board may consider his absence as an unwritten resignation and a substitute shall be appointed according to t rules provided in these by-laws.
F. The president priest shall open each meeting of board with prayer.
G. A list of all spiritual members of the church is to be prepared by the Board of Deacons and placed in the file of the Board of Deacons. A copy of this list is to be sent to the bishop who can adjust the list and approve it. The list can be changed at any time by a decision of the bishop. New spiritual member are added regularly to the list following the same rules,
H. A list of the entire membership of the church is to be prepared by the Board of Deacons following the same procedure set forth in the foregoing paragraph G.
A. The Board of deacon headed by its president shall establish as many committees of the church as it
determines to be in the best interest of the church and shall appoint the members of each committee
from among the spiritual members of the church.
B. The Board of Deacons shall be notified of the actions and decisions of each committee.
C. Decisions of committees will not be put into effect unless they are approved by the Board of
D. No committee may conduct any form of financial transactions or be permitted to establish bank
accounts unless authorized by a decision of the Board of Deacons.
E. The annual budget of each committee will be established by the Board of Deacons
F. In the event of the absence of any member of a committee for three consecutive meetings without
an excuse acceptable to the committee, a Substitute may be appointed by the Board of Deacons.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOARD OF DEACONS
The Board of Deacons shall consist of:
The Board of Deacons shall consist of the priest or priests of the church plus six deacons', and one additional deacon for each additional priest in the event more than one priest assigned to the church.
At its first meeting, the Board of Deacons of each church shall meet with a bishop or a person duly delegated by him in writing at which meeting the bishop or his delegate shall select the vice president, the secretary and the treasurer on the basis of acclimations made by the members of the Board of Deacons. In addition, he may choose to act as president of the Board of Deacons or may appoint as president the most senior priest of the church or any of the other priests of the church.
The bishop, after signing the structure of the new Board of Deacons, will call all present members of the board to sign after him to ensure their acceptance to carry the responsibilities assigned to them and their consideration of all what was performed and approved by the bishop concerning the board. Absent members should sign at the nearest next meeting of the board.
In states where trustees are required for the church according to the state's law, the bishop shall
appoint those trustees from among priest or priests and deacons who are members of the board and
were attending its first meeting presided by the bishop.
An auditor is to be appointed by the bishop. His rights and duties are to audit the financial accounts of the church.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSBILITIES OF THE BOARD OF DEACONS
A. The president shall preside over all board meetings. In case of the presence of the bishop, the later shall preside over the meeting. Either the bishop or the presiding priest can call for an emergency meeting if he determines a need therefore. The president holds the right to attend any committee meeting ex offices.
B. The secretary of the Board of Deacons shall send a letter of authorization approved and signed by the bishop, to a bank to open a dual signature account for the church with names of the members of board authorized to sign.
C. The president, as head of church and by virtue of the ecclesiastical authority vested in him, shall guide and oversee the total church program, and is ultimately responsible for the whole life and activities of his church.
D. The vice-president shall, in the absence of the president, perform the duties of the president.
E. The secretary shall keep record of all meetings of the board. He shall be the executive officer of the board in all matters which have been determined by the Board. He shall prepare with the president the agenda before each meeting. He along with the president represents the Board of Deacons of the church in the General Board of the diocese. If the president of the board is the bishop, the church can be represented by the vice-president and the secretary in the General Board.
F. The treasurer shall have charge of all income and expenditure of the church. Cash, money orders, or cheques are to be deposited in the church bank account. Separate accounts may be opened to cover different activities. All accounts should be operated under the signatures of the president and the treasurer In case of absence of any one of them for more than two weeks, the vice-president shall sign for the president (if absent) and the secretary shall sign for the treasurer (if absent).
G. The treasurer is to prepare the annual financial report within four weeks after the end of the fiscal year, which is from July first to June thirtieth.
H. The church Board of Deacons, is to attend regularly the Divine Liturgy and to participate in the sacramental life of the church thereby setting an example for the congregation,
I. Upon the expiration of its term, the Board of Deacons shall surrender to the succeeding Board all church records, including membership’s lists, minute books, bank books, cheques books, financial records and all other property of the church, such transfer shall be affected by an appropriate letter of transmittal.
J. In the event any member of the Board of Deacons or of any committee deviates from faith and Christian behaviors or violates his fiduciary obligation towards the church and his attendance to his duties as member of the Board of Deacons or a committee, complains may be addressed to the bishop for his investigation. The bishop has the right to remove a member at any time and select a successor to him in accordance with the regulations contained in these by-laws, Likewise, if the Board of Deacons deviate from the customs of the Holy Apostolic church, the bishop has the right to remove the Board and to select a new board.