Covenant

FORT GARRY MENNONITE FELLOWSHIP
-Incorporated under the Religious Societies Lands Act of Manitoba.
-Last revised in September 2008 – revised By-Laws? 4.16.3
FGMF COVENANT 2008.pdf

COVENANT

CHRISTIAN SALVATION


THIS WE BELIEVE
that God calls us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we have confessed our sin of unbelief and our sinning with heart and mind and body and that we have accepted God's gift of salvation which is extended to us through God's grace;

that we will continue to strive to live in holiness, not in our own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that we will continue to confess our sin and rely solely on God's mercy for salvation;

that we will share this faith and forgiveness with our children so that they too will come to know the nature and reality of Christ's love and that we will try to lead them to under- standing the human and the divine in the experience of salvation.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the new life in Christ removes hate and unforgiveness and brings us peace, love and forgiveness in our relationships with God and others.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we want to pray for grace to remove hatred and envy from our thoughts and actions, and for grace to enable us to forgive and to love.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that as Jesus reconciled persons to God by returning good for evil, so also are Jesus' followers to be reconcilers, to return good for evil, and to love their enemies as Christ loved persons.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will be peacemakers in our community and larger society so that the reconciliation and love we have experienced in Christ can also be experienced by others.

As taught by Jesus (Matthew 5:44-45 and Paul (Romans 12:17,21), in our peacemaking: we will seek to stand in visible ways with those who are victims of hatred, injustice and conflict; we will attempt to relate to those who oppress in a manner that encourages them to pursue an alternative way; we will strive to transform thought forms and institutions that serve to enslave persons.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that war is contrary to God's intent for everyone.

THIS WE COVENANT
that in case of war we will abstain from contributing to conflict on either side. Rather, we will work toward reconciliation where possible. In particular, we reject taking up arms against anyone because that would contradict our life in Christ and our mission as representatives of Christ's love. We covenant to encourage and help each other to live up to this commitment.

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP


THIS WE BELIEVE
that we have been called to follow Jesus and to be part of his living body, the Church.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we want to follow Jesus Christ together, bound in common faith, identified with the same call, and committed to the same task; to that end we accept each other as members of the local fellowship and commit ourselves to this Covenant as an expression of what it means for us to be the Church.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that Christians have been added to and are the body, the Church, of which Christ is the head.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we want to be in fellowship with all those who count themselves part of the body of Christ, the spiritual, universal Church, spanning the nations and the ages.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that even as Christ's life was limited by his physical being, so we, as the body of Christ, must begin our involvement in a physically limited local congregation.

THIS WE COVENANT
that as long as we live within driving distance of Fort Garry in the City of Winnipeg we consider ourselves to be part of the Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship, privileged and held responsible to be and to build the body of Christ, the Church, and the community;

that should a change of residence take place we will strive to assume similar responsibility to the body of Christ in the congregation of our new place of residence and do this within a year of relocation.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that to grow in spiritual stature we promise to do what the Word teaches concerning the will of God.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will strive to understand the Will of God and strive to live by it in the strength of the Spirit of Power. This will require reading the Word, listening to the Spirit and each other in the Fellowship, and being much in prayer where differences of opinion divide us. Christian discipline (discipleship) requires a holy life and to that end members will exhort and correct each other according to Matthew 18:15-18.

BAPTISM


THIS WE BELIEVE
that baptism is an act through which the Church proclaims Jesus' life, minis- try and teaching. Through baptism the Church also proclaims that Jesus promised to accept those who come to God in faith.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will continue to teach the importance of the act of baptism both as a means for re-calling the life, ministry and teaching of Jesus and as a means for laying specific claim to the promise of acceptance if we approach God in faith.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that in accepting baptism a commitment is made to join together with members of the Fellowship in order to do the will of Jesus who is the Saviour and Lord of this living body, the Church.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will join with those who enquire about baptism and membership in a study of the nature of the Church and the importance of baptism as an act of mutual commitment in our continuous quest to know more clearly and to do more obediently the will of God. On the basis of this study of the Bible, a baptismal service will be planned which expresses the faith and mutual commitment as stated in this Covenant.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that in the act of baptism a commitment is made by the Fellowship to enlarge its circle to include the one being baptised as an essential part of this living body, the Church.

THIS WE COVENANT
to strive continuously to build the community within which the will of God, that persons become whole, can be realised. We commit ourselves to encourage, uphold in prayer and support all those desiring to accept the responsibility of becoming a part of our Fellowship.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that baptism is an act of celebration drawing together the reality and joy of conversion with the power of the Holy Spirit which is made manifest through the body of Christ as it responds in obedience to the Spirit's leading.
THIS WE COVENANT
that with each celebration of baptism we renew our own joy in the Lord and commit ourselves to encourage each other to walk in the power of the resurrection.


COMMUNION


THIS WE BELIEVE
that communion is a common meal patterned on the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples. In the Lord’s supper Jesus broke bread and drank wine with his disciples. Jesus said, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Cor. 11:26). Communion points to Jesus Christ, whose body was given for all people and whose blood established the new covenant (I Cor. 11: 24 - 25). In communion the gathered body of believers recognises that its life is sustained by Christ, the bread of life (I Cor. 10:16)

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will celebrate communion a number of times each year. The Worship Committee will schedule communion services and ask Fellowship members to plan and lead them.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the communion meal is a sign of the unity of members within our Fellowship (I Cor. 10:17). As believers we are to come to the Lord’s table in a worthy manner, without divisions among us (I Cor. 11:18 - 22, 27 - 34; Matt. 5: 23, 24). Our covenant with one another includes the pledge of love for sisters and brothers. This love includes mutual accountability, the confession and forgiveness of sins, and the sharing of material and spiritual resources as there is need. Such love and sharing extend around the world as we recognise our unity with all believers everywhere.

THIS WE COVENANT
that in celebrating the communion meal together we will renew our covenant with God and with each other. Where relationships are broken, attempts will be made to bring about reconciliation to that the communion meal truly may be a celebration of the unity of Christ’s body.


THIS WE BELIEVE
that communion is a celebration where we remember the death of Jesus and God’s act of deliverance, we give thanks for all of God’s acts of deliverance and for the new covenant established by Jesus, and we recommit ourselves to know and to do God’s will. The invitation to the communion celebration is extended to all who worship in our Fellowship and have, through baptism, made a public confession of faith in Christ.

THIS WE COVENANT
that our communion celebrations are open to all in the community of faith who are living at peace with God and with their sisters and brothers in the faith. Some of the communion meals will be celebrated in the presence of our children where the celebration can serve as a means of communicating the meaning of faith and church membership.

MULTIPLE TEAM MINISTRY


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the Word calls some to be preachers, teachers, visitors, counsellors, and to other tasks (Ephesians 4:11-12).

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will build the local congregation by assigning tasks to each other. This will be known as the team ministry. All will be involved in one aspect or another of this team ministry. We will need to assist each other and to study how to work together in order to give leadership in the areas of worship, pastoral care, Christian education and outreach. Included in these ministries are the strengthening of the home, joining on Sunday morning in experiences of worship, conducting of a creative church school hour, building a church library, and preparing everyone for service.

CHRISTIAN WORSHIP


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the Word of God invites us to worship God, to speak to God, to hear God's voice; that worship is the most holy service creatures are privileged to perform before the Creator and Redeemer; that in worship we receive from God resources for our life in this world.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will meet in worship every week, praising God for all gifts of love;

that from time to time we will study together what it means to prepare and lead in worship services so that more and more can share in this ministry and all of us can enter into this experience before God more fully;

that we will periodically conduct special services of worship, such as communion, baptism, child dedication, funeral, wedding;

that in our private life we will be in prayer and worship.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the Bible is the Word of God, the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, the message of salvation through faith in Christ, and the message for our life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will study the Bible and meditate upon it in our homes as individuals and as families; that we will attend regularly the worship services where the Word is preached and taught; that we and our families will study the Word together on Sunday morning and in special small group meetings.

CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP


THIS WE BELIEVE
that the Word warns against greed and materialism, and teaches responsibility
to use time, gifts (talents) and money wisely for self and for others.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we agree the temptation to live for self and luxury is so great that of necessity we will encourage each other to give at least the minimum biblical tithe (10%) as an expression of devotion;

that we agree that each one of us have gifts to share and will be encouraged to share these gifts in service to the local congregation, the community, and society at large;
that in addition to devoting time to work, rest, leisure, and recreation, there will also be time dedicated to the work of the Church.

CHRISTIAN MISSION


THIS WE BELIEVE
that we have been called to continue Jesus' work of healing, witnessing, serving, sharing humbly and with great joy, unafraid and unashamed.

THIS WE COVENANT
that we will follow and obey Jesus, beginning our witness and service at home, in the neighbourhood and community, and through prayers and gifts across the lands;

that should the Spirit call us, we will be prepared to extend our service and witness into other communities or nations.

BY – LAWS

1.0 NAME

FORT GARRY MENNONITE FELLOWSHIP

2.0 AFFILIATION

We extend our service and witness as members of Mennonite Church Manitoba and Mennonite Church Canada.

3.0 RELATIONSHIPS


3.1 Fellowship Family
Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship recognizes as part of its larger family both non-baptized, e.g., our children, and baptized persons who regularly worship and study with us but who may not have become Covenant members. The Fellowship accepts responsibility to provide possibilities for study and worship, and to guide, counsel and support them in their quest for faithfulness to Jesus Christ. The Fellowship invites them, and others, to become Covenant members.

3.2 Covenant Fellowship
3.2.1 Every baptized person regularly attending Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship will be invited to join the Fellowship as a Covenant member by publicly expressing a commitment to Jesus Christ. With this commitment the individual goes beyond his or her private expression and relationship to Jesus and others, and joins with resident members of the body in common faith and common goals as suggested by the Covenant. Dual membership is possible for those who wish to become members for a limited period of time.

3.2.2 Non-baptized persons who wish to become Covenant members can receive membership:
1) through study of the Bible, and becoming familiar with the Covenant;
2) through public confession of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord, and commitment to the Covenant as it expresses our understanding of what it means to be a biblical congregation; and
3) through a baptismal service which expresses the faith and mutual commitment as stated in this Covenant.

4.0 FGMF COMMITTEE STRUCTURE


4.1 Planning Committee
The members of the Planning Committee are the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson?, Secretary, Treasurer, a Lay Minister, and one representative from each of the following committees: Worship, Children’s Ministries, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Adult Ministries, and Outreach and Orientation Ministries.

To free the Chairperson for the leadership role, the Vice-Chairperson? is designated the Fellowship Moderator. The duty of the Moderator is to chair all Fellowship meetings.

4.2 Executive Committee
The members of the Executive Committee are the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson?, Secretary and Treasurer.

4.3 Trustees
The Trustees of the Fellowship are the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.

4.4 Lay Ministers
The number of Lay Ministers shall be decided from time to time by the Fellowship.

4.5 Worship Committee
The Worship Committee shall have five members: four discerned by the Fellowship and one representative from the Music Committee. The Worship Committee shall have primary responsibility for the Sunday morning worship service.

4.6 Children’s Ministries
The Children’s Ministries Committee shall have six members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.7 Youth and Young Adult Ministries
The Youth and Young Adult Ministries Committee shall have five members: two discerned by the Fellowship, two elected by the Youth and Young Adults, plus one of the Lay Ministers. If youth sponsors are appointed, they shall also be members of this Committee.

4.8 Adult Ministries
The Adult Ministries Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.9 Outreach and Orientation Ministries
The Outreach and Orientation Ministries Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.10 Music Committee
The Music Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship plus the Choir Conductor.

4.11 Social Committee
The Social Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.12 Bursary Committee
The Bursary Committee shall have three members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.13 Food Committee
The Food Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.14 Facilities Committee
The Facilities Committee shall have four members discerned by the Fellowship.

4.15 Library Committee
The Library Committee shall have up to six members appointed by the Executive Committee for three-year terms.

4.16 Discernment, Appointments and Terms of Office
1)The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson? and Secretary shall be discerned for three-year terms. The discernment shall be staggered so that one office is filled each year. Upon completing a three-year term, a person is ineligible to serve in that position in the ensuing year. Candidates for these three offices shall be Covenant members.
2)Lay Ministers shall be discerned for a three-year term. Persons may serve up to two consecutive terms. Candidates for the office shall be Covenant members.
3)a) Members of the Worship, Music, Children’s Ministries, Adult Ministries, Outreach Orientation Ministries, Social, Food, Facilities and Bursary Committees shall be discerned for two-year terms. Upon completing a two-year term a person is ineligible to serve in that position in the ensuing year.
b) Members of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Committee shall be discerned for a two-year term. Persons may serve up to two consecutive terms.
4)Committee members, Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary shall be selected by Gift Discernment, the process of which is outlined under "Gift Discernment Selection of Committee and Office Positions."2
5)The Treasurer and members of the Library Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee. The term for the Treasurer shall be agreed to mutually by the Executive Committee and the candidate for this position.
6)Each committee, except the Executive and Planning Committees, shall organize internally, and elect a Chair, Secretary, and other officers as deemed appropriate by the committees. The Secretary of each committee shall keep minutes of all meetings, and at the end of the term of office, hand one set of minutes on to the succeeding Secretary, and one set to the Church Historian.

4.17 Reporting Lines
1)All committees listed here shall report annually to the Fellowship.
2)The Lay Ministers, and the Worship, Outreach and Orientation Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and Adult Ministries Committees shall report to and shall, through an appointed representative, participate in the Planning Committee.
3)The Music Committee shall report to and, through an appointed representative, participate in the Worship Committee.
4)The Bursary, Food, Social, Facilities and Library Committees shall report to the Executive Committee as their respective duties and responsibilities require.

5.0 QUORUM

The quorum for any Fellowship meeting be set at thirty per cent of the resident Covenant members, as per the most recent Membership Directory.

6.0 AMENDMENTS

to the Covenant and the By-Laws? can be suggested by any member at any time, and subsequently studied by the membership and approved by two-thirds of the resident Covenant membership.

7.0 NOTICE OF FELLOWSHIP MEETINGS

A minimum notice of one week shall be given for a Fellowship meeting. A minimum notice of one month shall be given for a meeting involving amendments to the Covenant or to the By-Laws?.

OUTLINE OF COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES

1.0 Planning Committee
The responsibilities of the Planning Committee are:
1)co-ordinate the ministries of the various program committees in the Fellowship;
2)take responsibility for longer-term planning in the Fellowship;
3)assure that insights gained or calls heard by members in small group meetings, Bible studies, prayer meetings, Sunday School, etc., are recognized and dealt with appropriately;
4)establish the agenda for Fellowship meetings. Normally, one Fellowship meeting a year shall be set aside to discuss issues of importance to the Fellowship at that time;
5)act as the Nominating Committee for all elected offices;
6)take responsibility for appointing persons, as recommended by the Outreach and Orientation Committee, to represent the Fellowship on the various organizations supported by the Fellowship; and
7)take responsibility for such Fellowship activities that are not the responsibility of any one committee, e.g., commissioning of Lay Ministers, and other special occasions of celebration.

2.0 Executive Committee
The responsibilities of the Executive Committee are:
1)ensure that systems are in place for handling the intake of mail, e-mail, and phone messages and maintaining a web site;
2)deal with matters relating to Mennonite Church Manitoba and Mennonite Church Canada, of which the Fellowship is a member;
3)receive the reports of the Bursary Committee, the Food Committee, Social Committee, Facilities Committee, and Library Committee, and provide direction on matters requiring consultation and decisions from the Fellowship;
4)appoint a Fellowship Historian who shall maintain the Fellowship records, e.g., minutes of congregational and committee meetings, bulletins, births, child dedication, baptism, membership, transfers, marriages, deaths and burials. The Fellowship Historian shall report to the Executive Committee;
5)take responsibility for appointing persons to offices as required in the Fellowship, e.g., Treasurer, Every Home Plan coordinator, usher coordinator, bulletin preparation and mailing, Newsletter editors, Library Committee, communion preparation, Memorial Tree facilitator;
6)take responsibility together with one Lay Minister for the administration of the Mutual Aid Fund on the basis of a recommendation of a Lay Minister or member of the Outreach and Orientation Committee; and
7)take responsibility together with a Lay Minister for the administration of the Short Term Service Fund on the basis of recommendation from a Lay Minister or the Outreach and Orientation Committee.

3.0 Trustees
The Trustees shall have signing authority on all legal matters relating to the operation of the Fellowship.

4.0 Lay Ministers
Recognizing a diversity of gifts among Lay Ministers, the Lay Ministers shall:
1)take responsibility for coordinating pastoral care in the Fellowship and assist members of the Fellowship in providing pastoral care to one another, being aware especially of those with special needs, and those not belonging to a K-Group?;
2)be available for pastoral visits;
3)provide nurture to K-Groups, together with Adult Ministries. K-Groups shall be coordinated by a sub-committee of one Lay Minister and one member of the Adult Ministries Committee;
4)assist participants of the Fellowship in accessing counseling services;
5)be available for preaching;
6)take responsibility for the discipling of Fellowship members where required (Matthew 18);
7)be available to perform baptisms, marriages and funerals or memorial services as required in the Fellowship;
8)ensure that marriage preparation courses are given or made available for Fellowship participants who have requested Lay Ministers to officiate;
9)be available as a resource to all Committees that request the participation of a Lay Minister in their Committee work as a pastoral presence;
10)take responsibility to plan and conduct membership classes for adults who request membership in our Fellowship, including as appropriate, services of baptism and acceptance of new members;
11)assist with mutual aid and short-term service funds by providing a Lay Minister as a representative at meetings where mutual aid and service decisions are made by the Executive Committee;
12)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee and one member to serve on the Youth and Young Adults Committee.

5.0 Worship Committee
The responsibilities of the Worship Committee are:
1)plan and conduct the Sunday morning program of worship;
2)plan and conduct Communion services at various times in the year;
3)conduct study sessions on worship and preaching from time to time;
4)with input from Children’s Ministries, take responsibility for the Advent series and the Christmas Eve worship service; and
5)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee.

6.0 Children’s Ministries
Children’s Ministries shall include all children from infants up to but not including junior high school.

The responsibilities of the Children’s Ministries Committee are:
1)plan and conduct the Sunday morning education and singing program for children;

2)take responsibility for the training of Sunday School teachers;
3)take responsibility to organize the Fellowship nursery;
4)take responsibility to organize and conduct girls and boys clubs;
5)plan and conduct special services and activities, e.g., child dedication program, Sunday School picnic; and
6)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee.

7.0 Youth and Young Adult Ministries
Youth and Young Adult Ministries shall include the age group junior high school, senior high school through university.

The responsibilities of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Committee are:
1)appoint a sponsor(s) and a mentor coordinator, if these are desired;
2)plan and conduct the Sunday morning education program for youth and young adults;
3)take responsibility for planning and conducting youth group activities;
4)promote Conference camps, promote Mennonite Central Committee and Conference service opportunities, and facilitate the participation of our youth and young adults in our camps and their service opportunities;
5)take responsibility for the orientation of the youth and young adults in the Fellowship for possible membership within the Fellowship;
6)conduct baptismal services as requested by the youth and young adults in our Fellowship;
7)take responsibility to assure that the Fellowship members involved in the membership study, jointly with the baptismal candidates, plan a baptismal service which expresses the faith and mutual commitment as stated in this Covenant; and
8)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee.

8.0 Adult Ministries
Adult Ministries shall include programming for all persons from post-university and older.

The responsibilities of the Adult Ministries Committee are:
1)plan and conduct the Sunday morning adult education program;
2)plan and conduct other adult programs in the Fellowship as deemed appropriate by the Adult Ministries Committee;
3)facilitate the development of our respective abilities to bring God's Word and God's blessings to persons within the Fellowship;
4)provide nurture to K-Groups, together with the Lay Ministers. K-Groups shall be coordinated by a sub-committee of one member of Adult Ministries Committee and one Lay Minister;
5)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee and one member to serve on the K-Group? sub-committee.

9.0 Outreach and Orientation Ministries
The responsibilities of the Outreach and Orientation Ministries Committee are:
1)co-ordinate and support all members of the Fellowship who represent the Fellowship or are otherwise active in outreach activities, e.g., camps, refugees, Bethel Place, Lindenwood Manor, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, Eden Mental Health Centre, and international students. Such support shall include a meeting, at least once per year, with our Fellowship representatives to these various service organizations;
2)ensure that the list of Fellowship representatives and contacts to various organizations is kept current annually;
3)take responsibility for recommending to Planning Committee for appointment persons who will serve as the representatives of the Fellowship on the various organizations supported by the Fellowship;
4)take responsibility for maintaining contact with all Fellowship members serving outside of the immediate community, educating the Fellowship with regard to such mission and service opportunities, and providing opportunities for returning workers to share of their experiences with the Fellowship;
5)increase awareness of peace, justice, evangelism, and other concerns developing in our immediate community as well as in the global community;
6)bring service needs, concerns and opportunities to the attention of the Fellowship, encourage appropriate responses and, where appropriate, organize participation;
7)co-ordinate a ministry of hospitality for visitors to our Fellowship;
8)plan and conduct means of orientation for persons who begin to attend our Fellowship or otherwise enquire about the nature of our Fellowship;
9)take responsibility for leading the Fellowship in discerning involvement in or support for inner city initiatives; and
10)appoint one of its members to serve on the Planning Committee.

10.0 Music Committee
The responsibilities of the Music Committee are:
1)plan and conduct the music program of the Fellowship, including choirs;
2)appoint one of its members to the Worship Committee, to assist in planning and conducting the worship program of the Fellowship; and
3)from time to time conduct music study sessions and/or music events within the Fellowship.

11.0 Social Committee
The responsibilities of the Social Committee are:
1)the planning and co-ordination of social events for the Fellowship; and
2)the planning and co-ordination of the annual Fellowship Retreat.

12.0 Bursary Committee
The responsibilities of the Bursary Committee are:
1)administer the Bursary Fund;
2)receive applications from Fellowship participants for bursary support to fund their education programs; and
3)make recommendations to the Executive Committee for bursary support to Fellowship participants.

13.0 Food Committee
The responsibilities of the Food Committee are:
1)organize Fellowship luncheons;
2)provide Sunday morning coffee and tea service and refreshments when requested for Fellowship meetings; and
3)take responsibility, in conversation with the Facilities Committee, for the stocking of kitchen supplies, including tableware.

14.0 Facilities Committee
The responsibilities of the Facilities Committee are:
1)maintain and develop the Fellowship building grounds and equipment;
2)take responsibility for the repair, as required, of the Fellowship facilities,
3)schedule the cleaning of the church building; and
4)take responsibility for the booking of the Fellowship facilities.

15.0 Library Committee
The responsibilities of the Library Committee are:
1)selection and acquisition of new library items;
2)cataloguing of new library items;
3)publicizing the acquisition of new library items;
4)maintain a card catalogue for the library collection;
5)organization and shelving of the library collection;
6)maintain the library collection, including repairs and weeding of the collection;
7)organize the circulation of the library collection including hours and procedures; and
8)staffing of the library as per circulation procedures.

GIFT DISCERNMENT

Selection of Committee and Office Positions

Believing that the Word “calls some to be preachers, teachers, visitors, counsellors and to other tasks,” (Eph. 4:11 - 12) we covenant “that we will build the local congregation by assigning tasks to each other.”

Our policy for assigning of tasks states: “Committee members, Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary shall be selected by Gift Discernment, the process of which is outlined under Gift Discernment Selection of Committee and Office Positions.” {By-laws 4.16 sub-section 4)}

PURPOSE
To define a process of gift discernment for assigning church tasks annually, to persons active in the Fellowship, tasks that provide leadership for and build the Fellowship as an expression of what it means for us to be the Church.

PROCESS
The Planning Committee is responsible for this process of discernment, including the setting of relevant dates, appointing leadership for the process, and presenting a completed discernment ballot, for approval by the Fellowship, to a semi-annual Fellowship meeting.

STAGE ONE: Discerning Gifts of Active Participants in the Fellowship
1)All active participants in the Fellowship are invited to participate in this first stage of the discernment process. Participation will be within discernment groups established annually. K-groups will form the core for such discernment groups. Active participants who are not in a K-group shall be assigned to K-groups and/or assigned to form additional discernment groups.

2)Planning Committee will ensure every household receives information that lists existing committee and office tasks and vacancies to be filled. Normally this information will be circulated on a timely basis in preparation for a Semi-Annual? Meeting at the end of May or early June.

3)The Planning Committee may encourage drawing in one or more worship services and adult Sunday school sessions to advance our understanding of gifts, to facilitate the process of discerning gifts, and to highlight the importance of assigning tasks to each other as our approach to building the Fellowship. We need to capture a sense of God’s delight in our discovery of our gifts together and how we choose to use the gifts we have been given.

4)The leader(s) of the discernment process will provide additional information and instructions to guide this process of discerning gifts of Fellowship participants. To foster continuity, the experience of previous years shall inform these instructions.

5)The discernment groups will prayerfully consider the gifts of Fellowship participants and identify vacancies in existing office positions and committee tasks in which the discerned gifts can best find expression. No group need feel obligated to discern someone for each of the vacancies listed on the ballot or to discern the gifts of someone they don’t know.

6)A completed discernment ballot shall be returned to the leader(s) of the discernment process by a date set by the Planning Committee. Where persons within a group have been discerned and these persons accept this affirmation of gifts, this should be noted on the ballot. Similarly for persons discerned for a specific task, who decline for this year, this should be noted on the ballot. Discernment groups should feel free to add comments about nominees that might aid the Planning Committee in a second stage of the discernment process.

STAGE TWO: Continue the Discernment Process by Assigning Tasks as Required
7)The members of the Planning Committee, the leader(s) of the discernment process, plus one additional representative from each of the discernment groups shall continue the process of discernment to assign the tasks as required to build the Fellowship.

8)The leader(s) shall provide for this group a list of persons obtained from discernment groups as discerned to fill specific positions. In addition, the leader(s) shall indicate the number of discernment groups – if more than one – that that have put forth a particular name for a specific task. Where persons have indicated a willingness to accept specific discernment this shall be noted. Where a person is discerned by one group but has declined this affirmation, that shall be identified also.

9)During this second stage the discernment and assigning of tasks may consider other factors in addition to the discerned “gifts” of the persons listed for each task:
other commitments of the persons discerned during stage one;
balance (of age, experience, newness in the Fellowship, gender, etc.) of the persons discerned during stage one.

STAGE THREE: Completing the Assigning of Tasks within the Fellowship
10)Two persons participating in this second stage will be designated to meet with persons discerned for a specific task to inform them of the discernment and to request that they allow their name to be submitted to the Fellowship to carry out this task for the term specified in the By-laws.

11)The process of discerning gifts and assigning tasks is completed with active members of the Fellowship, at a semi-annual meeting, affirming the persons discerned for specific tasks within our Fellowship.

January 2005

CIRCLES OF FELLOWSHIP WITHIN FGMF

The function of a church as a gathered community is described in the New Testament in terms of "binding and loosing" (Matthew 18) and a process of mutual admonition and discernment (I Corinthians 14). Carrying out this function assumes the kind of intimate personal involvement of its members with each other in a manner that is not readily possible in typical urban congregations, with a scattered membership meeting only about once a week in a somewhat formal context. Without such "church discipline" members can do little to help each other live faithful and obedient Christian lives, and covenants can become statements with decreasing applicability. A congregation concerned about this aspect of its corporate life frequently encourages small groups like collegia pietatis in German pietism, classes in English Methodism, prayer circles, Bible study groups, cell groups, K-groups, etc., to form within the congregation.

1. K-groups
K-groups are small groups within the Fellowship which are recognized by Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship as official "church bodies."

The FGMF Covenant statement on multiple team ministries, based on our belief in the priesthood of all believers, places all members under a commitment to serve each other. K-groups are one specific vehicle through which the Fellowship meets those needs not met through the ministry of the Lay Ministers, other individual members, or the existing Fellowship program of activities.

Some ways in which K-groups meet the needs of Fellowship participants and members of the surrounding community include:
1) Communication: K-groups provide a forum for informed discussion of issues which are important to the Fellowship. In order to address any issue further a K-group may communicate it to the Planning Committee or to the Lay Ministers.
2) Pastoral care: individuals may bring concerns to the K-group for its response. Alternatively, within the context of the K-group the needs of the individuals may be identified and addressed.
3) Spiritual nurture: the close relationships which may develop within the K-group permit the building and supporting of each member's personal faith.
4) Social needs: K-groups provide a context in which new members of the Fellowship get to know existing members.
5) Other: K-groups are free to define their own goals and activities.

The Adult Ministries Committee carries the responsibility for the organization and nurture of K-groups within the Fellowship (see Committee Responsibilities 8.4). To assist in the formation of K-groups, the Adult Ministries Committee will review annually the ministries of the existing K-groups. As part of this review individual K-groups will be assisted to expand their numbers, multiply into new K-groups, or to end their ministries, as their respective members desire. Also, new K-groups will be encouraged to form if there is need for additional ministries of this form.

To facilitate the formation and nurture of K-groups:
1) K-groups open to additional members are encouraged to invite others to join their K-group and to inform the Adult Ministries Committee that they have room for new members.
2) Persons desiring to belong to a K-group may ask a specific K-group for permission to join it, or they may indicate their wish to any member of the Adult Ministries Committee.
3) A contact person appointed by each K-group is listed in the Fellowship directory and may be approached for specific information about the K-group's meeting schedule, composition, type of activities, etc.
4) K-groups are encouraged to remain together for a period of years to permit relationships to develop. However, K-groups are not to be an excuse to limit friendships to a small circle. After a period of about five years K-groups are encouraged to dissolve, allowing its members to form close relationships with others in the Fellowship family by joining another K-group.

2. House Churches
The Mennonite tradition has held that the primary church community for its members is the local congregation. It was seen as the size of unit which could fulfil best the "binding and loosing" functions considered essential to the well-being of the church. The present felt need for smaller groups in urban churches suggests that these might well now become the primary church community for their members. Such a development cannot and should not be forced. On the other hand, to prevent members of a small group from developing serious and long-term relationships with each other during the process of seeking together to find and do God's will, can seriously limit its ability to do the things it was created for in the first place. Such groups ought therefore to be allowed to develop into house churches or primary church groups.

Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship has throughout its history sought to be flexible. Congregations with a more centralised ministry (building, liturgy, pastor, program) understandably find it difficult to conceive of small groups within it becoming the primary focus for some of their members. FGMF is seeking to continue a flexible, innovative policy in this area as well.

A house church need not (and probably would not, perhaps could not) see itself as fulfilling all of the functions of the church, just as a congregation is not fully independent, working with other congregations in conferences in many tasks. A house church in FGMF might well consider itself too small a group to handle adequately the nurture and teaching of its children and youth. Its members would then continue to participate in the Fellowship's Christian Education and youth programs. It would likely continue to want to worship and have fellowship with the larger body of the congregation. Its members would then continue to participate in Sunday services, family nights, Fellowship social events, etc. Considering itself a house church within FGMF, it would support its parent congregation in tangible ways. Its members would then continue to serve in teaching, preaching, planning, and other functions and to support financially the congregation's ministry to self and others.

A house church continuing to take itself seriously as part of the larger FGMF would frequently discuss congregational issues thoroughly within its smaller circle. Its members would then need to exercise care not to dominate the decision-making process on such issues in the congregation.
(July 1996)

At the May 16, 2004 meeting the Fellowship passed the following motion with the intent of encouraging and enabling groups to form within the Fellowship or separate from the Fellowship:

As a Fellowship we encourage members, within our Fellowship or with others beyond our Fellowship, to explore alternative forms of worship, study and nurture, so as to be a visible presence of God’s kingdom in Winnipeg and beyond. Where such creative ventures occur, we offer our blessing and we are open to providing support, as required, to advance such initiatives.


toolbox

Print

Contact Info

150 Bayridge Ave Winnipeg, MB R3T 5B5 Ph: (204) 269-5095

site navigation