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Annual Council 2018

Our annual business meeting will be held on Thursday evening, January 25th at 7:00pm in the Auditorium. Here is some of the business that will take place (or begin) that night:
1.  The Constitution of the Brethren in Christ
Every Brethren in Christ congregation in the United States is being asked to vote to:  Approve the resolution to repeal the Constitution that is contained in the Bylaws of the Manual of Doctrine and Government.
Because the Constitution can now be found in the Bylaws, the need for a separate (redundant) Constitution is no longer necessary.  With the approval of at least two-thirds majority of all BEC congregations in the U.S., the petition to repeal the Constitution will be brought to the 2018 General Conference/Assembly for confirmation.
The Brethren in Christ U.S. have provided a 4 minute video where National Director Alan Robinson provides information as to why every BIC congregation is being asked to vote to repeal the Constitution. In order to view this video, go to
A vote on this recommendation will held on the night of our business meeting, and the results will be sent to the denominational office.
2.  The 2018 Spending Plan
 The Finance Committee submitted a Spending Plan figure of $1,118,102 to the Church Board earlier this month. The Board is recommending that this figure be approved on the night of our Council meeting.
This is an increase of $15,124 over the 2017 Spending Plan.  Note: Due to the fact that contributions in 2017 were $20,000 higher than projected,  the 2018 Spending Plan figure is actually $5,000 less than what was contributed in 2017.
3.  Confirmations
We will be looking for the confirmation of the following names on the night of our Council meeting.
Deacon Board: Ken & Melanie Arendt, Darwin & Bernice Chamberlin, Ed & Karen Herald
Grounds & Maintenance Committee: Bobby Bingaman, Mike Hawbecker, John Lehman
Finance Committee: Dave Martin, Rhetta Martin
4.  Pastoral Vote
 Pastor Brian’s 5-year term expires at the end of January and the Church Board is asking the congregation to vote on an additional 5-year term for Brian. Ballots will be placed in all church mailboxes and voting will begin at the conclusion of the Council meeting and continue until 12:30pm on Sunday, February 4th.  As has been done in the past, this will be a “yes” or “no” vote with the opportunity to write comments on the back of the ballot. These comments will be passed on to Brian and must be signed. (80% approval is needed in order for any Pastor to be retained when the current term expires.)
5.  Church Board Election
This year we will be electing 4 Congregational Representatives to the Board. Here is the slate of 7: Peggy Dawson, Sandy Gray, Ed Herald, Steve Mitchell, Angie Petersheim, John Stoner, Lin Yoder
3 of the 4 will be serving 3-year terms; the other will be serving a 2-year term in order to maintain balance in the rotation of the terms.  The individual serving the 2-year term will be determined at the February Church Board meeting.
Ballots will be placed in all church mailboxes and voting will begin at the conclusion of the Council meeting and continue until 12:30pm on Sunday, February 4th.
6.  Recommendation for the retaining of Directors
Recommendation: The Church Board will assume the final responsibility of retaining, for another term (or not), those in the position of Director at the conclusion of the Director’s term.
Current Practice: The congregation has the responsibility of deciding whether or not to retain a Director via a voting period of approximately 10 days. Note: The Church Board assumes responsibility for the initial hiring of a Director.
Rationale: As the church has grown larger our congregation has come to recognize strengths and weaknesses in some of our practices. For instance there was a time when the congregation assumed responsibility not just for additional terms but for the initial hire as well.   Our congregation recognized the difficulty in making a well-informed hiring decision by a church of our size and turned this responsibility over to the Church Board.
A similar challenge exists when it comes to the retaining a Director.   Many in the congregation will be familiar with the Director. Some will have worked closely with the Director and will have that experience to draw from when they vote. But only a few would have direct knowledge of the Director’s overall job performance, which may be quite different than the general perception of the congregation at large.
As Five Forks has evolved from a small church to a large church, the Board (and certainly some in the congregation) are aware of helpful changes that could be made in the decision making process. After much discussion, the Board is bringing this recommendation before the congregation for your approval.
Questions and Answers:
Q: What percentage is needed for this recommendation to pass?
A: We will be seeking a 2/3 majority of votes cast in order for this recommendation to pass.
Q: What if this recommendation doesn’t pass?
A: Then our current practice will continue. The congregation will continue to vote on whether to retain a Director just as they do for the Pastors over a 10-day period.
Q: I have always appreciated the way that we do things at Five Forks. I’m not sure I like taking this responsibility out of the hands of the many and putting it into the hands of a few.
A: As a Board we understand this completely. However Five Forks is rather unique when it comes to some of our practices, including the way we hire and retain staff.
In most Brethren in Christ churches the local Church Board in consultation with the Bishop of the Conference hires the Senior Pastor. The norm is for the Senior Pastor to then hire any additional staff (who share similar values/vision) in consultation with the local Church Board.   In other words in most BIC churches there is little or no input from the congregation when it comes to hiring and retaining staff.
There are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to how we operate.
At Five Forks we understand the value of everyone’s voice being heard and see this as an advantage. We do not want to lose this.  If this recommendation is approved we will be developing a feedback form that will serve as a performance evaluation of the Director. This will allow the congregation to provide broad levels of input that the Board will carefully review and weigh before a final decision is made.
The disadvantage of our current practice – as spelled out earlier – comes with the understanding that it is difficult for a congregation of our size to have direct knowledge of a Director’s job performance.
Q: Why is the Board looking to implement this with Directors and not the Pastoral Staff?
A: While the congregation may adopt this practice with Pastors at some point in the future, there are several reasons why the Board is limiting this recommendation to Directors at this point. Because both of our current Directors are early in their terms we are hopeful that the congregation can vote for or against this recommendation based on its own merits and not based on a name.   This will be more difficult to do in the case of the pastoral staff at this time, as at least one pastor comes up for a vote every year between 2018 and 2021.
Ballots will be placed in all church mailboxes and voting will begin at the conclusion of the Council meeting and continue until 12:30pm on Sunday, February 4th.
Note: Ballot boxes for the Pastoral Vote (Item 4), the Church Board Elections (Item 5) and the Church Board Recommendation (Item 6) will be placed in key locations throughout the church on the two Sunday mornings and the one Wednesday evening during the voting period. Ballots may also be dropped off at the church office throughout the week during normal business hours.
If you have any other questions than the ones addressed here, please email your question(s) to Pastor Bill: