Continued from: Tenets and Mode of Worship
108. The Pastor as the ultimate Spiritual Head of the Celestial Church of Christ world wide shall be vested with the sole ultimate and unchallengeable authority on all matters affecting Church life, be it planning, organisation, doctrinal standards and the spread of Doctrines, Education, Legislation or Discipline, the provisions of this Constitution notwithstanding.
109. The Celestial Church of Christ world-wide shall have one Head who shall be known and called “The Pastor”. (John 10.14-16).
110. In the History of the Celestial Church of Christ, there can be only one Founder. The use of the title “Pastor and Founder” or “Pastor/Founder” is exclusive to the very first Head of the Church, the one and only one Founder of the Church, Rev. Pastor Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. Any future head of the Church shall be called simply “The Pastor”.
SUCCESSION INTO THE OFFICE OF THE PASTOR
111. Whereas the Pastor and Founder of Celestial Church of Christ has proclaimed publicly that, by divine inspiration, it has been revealed unto him concerning the mode for the appointment or selection of a Successor to the post of Pastor and Spiritual Head of the Church, it is here firmly established that:-
(i) The successor to the office of Pastor can be from any rank in the hierarchy of the Church and shall, at a time chosen by God to reveal this unto the erstwhile incumbent of the post of Pastor, be named and proclaimed the successor;
(ii) On succeeding after the transition of his predecessor in off-ice, the new Pastor shall occupy the Pastor’s Chair in the inner altar.
CHURCH ADMINISTRATION / CHURCH FUNCTIONARIES
112. There shall be a Representative of the Pastor in each Parish, i.e. an Elder or Leader or other rank in charge, who would perform all the duties of the Spiritual Leader in the Parish subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
113. Pastor’s Representatives shall have all privileges to report direct to the Pastor on all matters.
114. In the absence of the Pastor, a Pastor’s Representative may however, report to the Head of the Diocese who will, in turn, report back to the Pastor.
Appointment of Pastor’s Representatives
115. The appointment of Pastor’s Representative to a Parish shall be made by the Pastor in consultation with the Head of the Diocese. The Pastor may, however, make a direct appointment of his Representative to any Parish and inform the Head of the Diocese accordingly.
116. The Pastor’s Representative when appointed in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, shall, in the presence of the Pastor and the Congregation of selected Anointees of the Church, take an
Oath of Allegiance:
(a) to the service of Christ and Christ alone,
(b) to the total commitment to impart the teachings of Christ based on the Holy Bible;
(c) to the strict observance of the Rules and Tenets of the Church;
(a). to perform his duties free of any charge whatsoever (Matthew 10:8).
117. He shall obtain from the Pastor a letter of credence as a testimony to his appointment.
118. Whenever a Pastor’s Representative changes his Parish, he shall surrender his previous letter of credence for a new one, which shall be valid for the Parish into which he moves.
119. Any person who holds himself out as a Pastor’s Representative , and who serves in any Parish without obtaining the letter of credence valid for that particular Parish has no authority over the Parish in which he is officiating and will in consequence render himself liable for appropriate disciplinary action.
120. Procedures for the appointment of Pastor’s Representative and amendments to such procedures as may from time to time become necessary shall be the subject of a Church Proclamation which may be referred to as Pastoral Order.
121. The Parochial Committee constitutes the local government of the Parish Church and is empowered to deliberate for the progress of the Parish Church. It comes under the General Committee. This in turn is subordinate to the Supreme Committee with Headquarters in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin.
122. The Parochial Committee of each Parish shall have the power to apply disciplinary measures in minor cases affecting its Parish Church. Parochial Committees shall have no power to suspend or expel and must not, under any circumstances whatever suspend or expel any of its members from the Church. Parochial Committees may, in circumstances requiring such stem disciplinary action, make recommendation to the General Committee whose function it is to investigate, arbitrate, conciliate and take appropriate action.
123. Notwithstanding the provisions in Clause 122 above, the Pastor may, on his own or, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, take such action as he considers appropriate.
124. The full provisions of this Constitution in relation to DISCIPLINE are dealt with in Clauses 169 and 170 below.
125. Every Parish Church must have a Parochial Committee drawn from within its members and which will be responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Parish. The composition of the Parochial Committee shall be thirty-three made up as follows:
(i) Chairman and two deputies
(ii) Honorary Secretary and two deputies
(iii) Honorary Treasurer and two deputies
(iv) Six ex-officio male spiritual elders
(v) Six ex-officio female spiritual elders
(vi) Six other male co-opted members
(vii) Six other female co-opted members
However, the Pastor, at his sole discretion, may approve a smaller number and composition of the Committee.
126. Where the Pastor is of the opinion that a Parochial Committee is not functioning for the best interests of the Church, he shall dissolve such Committee and order a re-election.
127. The General Committee shall be the first governing body to which all Parochial Committees shall report. It shall perform its functions under the superior authority of the Supreme Committee to which it reports and the ultimate authority of the Pastor.
128. The General Committee shall deliberate on all matters referred to it from the Parochial Committees and generally on all matters affecting progress of the Church within the Diocese including the maintenance and interpretation of the doctrinal standard of the Church, the making and custodianship of the Church’s Law, the ordering of the total life of the Church and the maintenance of discipline.
Constitution of General Committee:
129. The General Committee in Representative Session shall consist of:
The Pastor (who shall be permanent Chairman)
The Head of the Diocese and his Deputy
Members of the Board of Trustees
All Evangelists of all grades/ranks within the Diocese Members of the Parochial Committee of the National or Diocesan Headquarters Church.
Parish Representatives consisting of’:
(i) Pastor’s Representative in the Branch;
(ii) Chairman of the Parochial Committee;
(iii) Secretary of the Parochial Committee;
(iv) Treasurer of the Parochial Committee;
(v) Two other members appointed by the Parish, one
male, one female;
(vi) Such other members as the Pastor may nominate from time to time.
OFFICERS OF GENERAL COMMITTEE
130. Officers of the General Committee shall consist of:
Chairman (Pastor or his appointee)
Hon. Secretary to the Committee
Hon. Assistant Secretaries to the Committee (2)
Hon. Treasurer to the Committee
Hon. Assistant Treasurers to the Committee (2)
and such other officers as the Committee may from time to time designate.
Secretary to General Committee:
131. The Secretary of General Committee shall normally be elected from among members by popular vote.
132. He shall be elected at the first session of the General Committee at which he is to take off-ice.
133. He shall hold office for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election thereafter for further period of two years.
134. He shall be responsible for the proper recording of the notes of the meetings and also monitoring the implementation of all decisions of the General Committee.
135. Subject to the provision of clause 131 the General Committee may appoint a member to act as Secretary for any of its meetings where the Secretary and his assistants are absent.
136. Treasurer of General Committee
(i) The Honorary Treasurer of the General Committee shall be elected by the General Committee by popular vote.
(ii) The Honorary Treasurer shall hold office for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election and shall:
(a) collect and administer such funds of the General Committee as directed by the General Committee;
(b) carry out such other functions concerning finance as may be directed by the General Committee from time to time.
137. Other Officers of General Committee
(i) The General Committee may designate and co-opt such other officers as may be required for proper and due execution of its business from time to time.
MEETINGS OF GENERAL COMMITTEE
138. The General Committee shall meet at such time and place as fixed at the preceding meeting or as may be provided for by the Regulative Procedures, provided that:-
(i) If the last General Committee meeting has omitted to fix such time and place or for any other reason it becomes impracticable to meet at the time or place so fixed, the Pastor shall fix a time and place for the meeting of the General Committee. But, in the absence of the Pastor, the Head of the Diocese shall fix a time and place for the meeting of tile General Committee.
(ii) Furthermore, if on account of emergency the Pastor considers it necessary, he may summon an extraordinary meeting of the General Committee at such time and place and at such reasonable notice as he shall think fit.
139.The Pastor shall preside at all meetings of the General Committee provided that:
(a) If the Pastor is absent from a meeting of the Representative Session, the Head of the Diocese shall preside or, in his absence, any member nominated by the Pastor or Pastor-in-Council.
(b). In all such meetings of the General Committee, where the Pastor is not present, the decisions taken shall always be subject to ratification by the Pastor.
Defect in Qualification or other Irregularity
140. Any defect subsequently discovered in the qualification or appointment of a person who purports to act as a member of the General Committee or the absence from the meeting of the Committee of any person or class of persons or any vacancy among the membership or the omission to give due notice to any person or any other similar irregularity shall not affect the validity of any vote or proceeding taken at a meeting of the General Committee and the same shall be valid as if the meeting had been duly constituted and all persons purporting to act as members had been fully qualified, subject always to the ratification of such proceeding or decision by the Pastor.
141. Notices, Agenda and Minutes:
(i) Notice of the matters to be considered at a meeting of the General Committee shall be given to such persons and in such manner as Regulative Procedures shall provide.
(ii) The Agenda for the meetings of’ the General Committee shall be prepared in such form as Regulative Procedures may provide.
(iii) Minutes Book shall be kept, into which shall be recorded all minutes of all business transacted at General Committee meetings and copies of such documents as the Committee may by resolution or by Regulative Procedures require to be recorded therein.
(iv) Entries in the Minutes Book shall be read or laid before the General Committee during its session and shall be verified in such manner as Regulative Procedures shall provide and such verified entry shall be conclusive proof for the proceedings of the meeting of the General Committee to which it relates.
(v) The proceedings of the General Committee shall be published to such an extent and in such manner as the General Committee shall by Regulative Procedures or resolution provide.
(vi) Any defect in the procedures stated in 141 (i) to 141 (iv) above shall not by itself invalidate the proceedings and decisions reached at such meetings provided that such decisions receive the ratification of the Pastor.
142. Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the Pastor or the Pastor-in-Council may provide by Regulative Procedures for any matter relating to the Church and its functions. Such Procedures shall take immediate effect and be obeyed by all members and all Parishes in the entire Diocese.