Revised October 2006
ARTICLE 1: ORGANIZATION
1.01 Name: The name of this organization is Congregation Shema Yisrael.
1.02 Principal Office: The principal office of the corporation shall be in the County of Oakland, Michigan, or such other place within the state of Michigan as the Board of Elders may determine from time to time.
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE
- As a congregation of believers in Messiah Yeshua, to establish and maintain a place of
worship of the One True God according to the Scriptures.
- To be a congregation that fosters the spiritual growth of all Messianic Believers who have asked Messiah Yeshua into their hearts.
- To be a congregation that leads others, especially Jewish people, to God and His Messiah Yeshua.
- To be a congregation that demonstrates our unity with the Body of Messiah worldwide.
- To be a congregation that identifies with Israel and the Jewish people worldwide.
ARTICLE 3: STATEMENT OF FAITH
1. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
That the Bible consists of the Tenach (the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings) and the writings commonly known as the Brit Chadasha, the New Covenant. It is the only infallible, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. We recognize its divine inspiration and accept its teachings as our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
That the unity of God is taught in the Shema. God is one – echad: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness. He is a personal God who created us; and He exists forever in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
A. God the Father is the King of the Universe, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, without beginning and without end. He is Spirit. He sent His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and draws people to Him.
B. God the Son is Yeshua – Jesus, the Messiah. He possesses both Divine and human natures. He was born of a virgin. The Son is God and is worshiped as God. He has always existed. He is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. We believe in His sinless life and His perfect obedience to the Torah, His atoning death, burial, and bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and His personal return in power and glory to this earth in order to consummate the prophesied purposes concerning His kingdom.
C. God the Holy Spirit is a person, possessing all the attributes of Deity. He was active in the creation of the universe and continues to be active through His providence. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; He regenerates, sanctifies, immerses, indwells, seals, empowers, illumines, guides, teaches, and gives gifts to all believers.
That man was created in the image of God but through disobedience fell and became separated from God. All men are born with a sinful nature. Man’s only hope for redemption is by having faith in Messiah Yeshua. This results in salvation and regeneration by the Ruach HaKodesh, which is the new birth. We believe that Yeshua died for our sins; that all who believe in Him are made right with God, not by any of their own works of righteousness, but by Messiah’s perfect righteousness and atoning blood; and that there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Salvation has always been by faith; and that works of law, or righteous acts, have never saved anyone.
4. RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT
A. In His promised coming in the air to receive Messianic Believers to Himself.
B. In the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust: the just to everlasting life and the unjust to eternal death and separation from God.
That the election of Israel is irrevocable. We believe in the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel. A great miracle in our day has been the re-establishment of the state of Israel according to prophecy.
6. MESSIANIC JUDAISM
That Jewish people (physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, whether through patrilineal or matrilineal descent) who place their faith in Messiah Yeshua continue to be Jewish according to the Scriptures. Gentiles who place their faith in Yeshua are grafted into the Jewish Olive Tree of faith becoming spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham.
That all of God’s Word to Israel is still valid. We believe that “Biblical Judaism” is the faith of first-century believers, which we seek to practice. We believe that the Holy Days given by God to Israel with their fulfillment in the Messiah Yeshua are still valid and are worth observing.
We acknowledge that the New Covenant Messianic Community (the Church) is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have received Yeshua the Messiah as the promised Redeemer. The “middle wall of partition” has been broken down, and now we worship the God of Israel together.
ARTICLE 4: MEMBERSHIP
4.01 Reception into Membership: All Messianic believers may apply for membership. For reception into membership, applicants must:
A. Have repented of their sins, and asked Messiah Yeshua into their hearts.
B. Have followed Messiah Yeshua in tevilah (immersion).
C. Have completed the application process for membership. This may be waived partially or totally at the discretion of the elders.
D. Have given evidence of agreement with Congregation Shema Yisrael’s doctrinal statement.
E. Not hold membership in any other congregation.
F. Have met with and received the approval of the Elders.
G. Members who can vote must be 21 years old. If they are 18 years old, independent of their parents and supporting the congregation, they may likewise vote. A child under 18 may be a member of the congregation but will be unable to vote.
4.02 Termination of Membership, Removal: Membership terminates automatically upon the death of a member or upon resignation or withdrawal from the fellowship. Membership may be terminated by the Board of Elders in its sole discretion at any time for just cause including but not limited to active and unrepentant conduct either verbally or by lifestyle that is contrary to Biblical standards of conduct for a believer; conduct demonstrating departure from the Statement of Faith or the spirit, purposes, or activities of the ministry of Congregation Shema Yisrael; is disruptive of the harmony of the body; or discontinuance of faith in the Messiah and the Scriptures. Such removal shall be in accord with Biblical principles as reflected in the “Principles and Procedures of Congregational Discipline” and the authority of the Elders according to Matthew 18.
4.03 Voting Rights of Membership: Members may vote to ratify or reject a resolution of the Elders for the purchase or sale of real property, the nomination of a new Rabbi, dismissal of the current Rabbi, or other matters to be determined by the Elders.
4.04 Annual Meeting: The annual meeting of the members shall be held in either the month of January or February. If the annual meeting is not held at that time, the Board shall cause the meeting to be held as soon thereafter as is convenient. All members may attend and make recommendations to the Elders. Members shall consider and vote on such matters as set forth in Section 4.03 as may come before the meeting. Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the parliamentary procedure at all business meetings.
4.05 Special Meetings: Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by a majority of the Elders or the Rabbi of the Congregation.
4.06 Place of Meetings: All membership meetings shall be held at the Congregation’s principal place of meeting or at any other place determined by the Elders and stated in the notice of the meeting.
4.07 Notice of Meetings: Except as otherwise provided by statute, written notice of the time, place, and purposes of a membership meeting shall be given not fewer than 14 days nor more than 60 days before the date of the meeting. Notice shall be given either personally or by mail to each member of record entitled to vote at the meeting at his or her last address as it appears on the books of the corporation, or notice may be included by being prominently displayed in the Congregation’s newsletter or other periodical regularly published at least semiannually by or in behalf of the corporation and mailed at postage rates complying with the regulations of the United States postal service addressed to a member entitled to vote at the meeting not fewer than 14 nor more than 60 days before the meeting.
4.08 Record Dates: The Elders may fix in advance a record date for the purpose of determining members entitled to notice of and to vote at a membership meeting or an adjournment of the meeting, to express consent to or to dissent from a proposal without a meeting, or for the purpose of any other action. The date fixed shall not be more than 60 days nor fewer than 14 days before the date of the meeting nor more than 60 days before any other action.
4.09 List of Members: The Secretary of the corporation or the agent of the corporation having charge of the membership records of the corporation shall make and certify a complete list of the members entitled to vote at a membership meeting or any adjournment. The list shall be arranged alphabetically with the address of each member, be produced at the time and place of the membership meeting, be subject to inspection by any members during the whole time of the meeting, and be prima facie evidence of the members entitled to examine the list or vote at the meeting.
4.10 Quorum: Unless a greater or lesser quorum is required by statute, members present in person or by proxy who, as of the record date, represented fifty-one percent (51%) of the members entitled to vote at a membership meeting shall constitute a quorum at the meeting. Whether or not a quorum is present, the meeting may be adjourned by vote of the members present.
4.11 Voting: Each member is entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote. A vote may be cast either orally or in writing. When an action is to be taken by a vote of the members, it shall be authorized by a majority of the votes cast by the members entitled to vote unless a greater vote is required by statute.
4.12 Minutes: The Secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of all meetings of the Congregation.
ARTICLE 5: ELDERS
5.01 General Powers: The business, property, and affairs of the corporation shall be managed by the Board of Elders. The Elders shall oversee all the various areas of the Congregation’s life and shall have the authority to appoint chairmen of standing and special committees. As used in this Article, the term “Elder” means a member of the Board of Elders.
5.02 Number, Qualifications: There shall be not fewer than three nor more than five Elders on the Board as shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Elders. The Rabbi shall be a member of the Board of Elders and its presiding officer by reason of his office. Elders shall be comprised of members who are born-again, water-baptized believers in Messiah Yeshua fulfilling the criteria specified in Scripture including 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, demonstrating spiritual maturity, secular wisdom, and a call of God to serve in such capacity and to assist the Rabbi in ministering to the spiritual needs of the congregation as assigned by and under the direction of the Rabbi. In addition to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Congregation as herein described, the office of Elder is also an ecclesiastical office as set forth in Article 11, Section 11.11.
5.03 Selection, Board Vacancies; Interim Action: Vacancies on the Board of Elders shall be filled as soon as a qualified candidate is or candidates are determined in accordance with the following provisions. A vacancy on the Board may be filled with a person nominated by the Rabbi and affirmed by the remaining Elders of the Board. The Elders shall first present to the members those who they perceive as the choice of the Spirit of God. Members of the Congregation are encouraged to come to the Elders within two weeks after initial notification if they have reservations about the nomination (Acts 14:23), after which the Elders shall accept or reject the nominee as an Elder.
During any period in which there are four Elders, one of which is the Rabbi, the Rabbi’s vote shall be determinative in the event of a tie vote. If at any time there are fewer than three Elders on the Board, action by the remaining Elders or Elder, as the case may be, shall constitute the action of the Board until such time as any vacancy is or vacancies are filled provided, however, that, if there is only one Elder, he will consult with the Finance Committee or Council regarding any expenditures that are not usual and customary. During any period in which there are only two Elders, one of which is the Rabbi, the Rabbi’s vote shall be determinative in the event of a tie vote. In the event that there should be no Elders, those vacancies shall be filled by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a meeting duly called for that purpose at which there is a quorum.
5.04 Tenure: Elders shall serve until death, resignation, or removal.
5.05 Resignation: An Elder may resign at any time by providing written notice to the corporation. Notice of resignation will be effective on receipt or at a later time designated in the notice. A successor shall be appointed as provided in Section 5.06 of the bylaws.
5.06 Removal: An Elder other than the Rabbi may be removed at any time for violation of the criteria specified in Scripture including 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 or as outlined in Congregation Shema Yisrael’s “Principles and Procedures of Congregational Discipline” and by a vote of the majority of the remaining Elders. In the event of a tie vote, the Rabbi’s vote will be the determining one. The Rabbi may be removed only as set forth in Sections 6.03 and 11.04.
5.07 Annual Meeting: An annual meeting shall be held each year in either the month of January or February immediately before the annual membership meeting. If the annual meeting is not held at that time, the Board shall cause the meeting to be held as soon thereafter as is convenient.
5.08 Regular Meetings: Regular meetings of the Board may be held at the time and place as determined by a Board resolution without notice other than the resolution.
5.09 Special or Emergency Meetings: Special or emergency meetings of the Board may be called by the Rabbi or a two-thirds majority of the Elders at a time and place as determined by those persons authorized to call the meeting. Except for an emergency meeting, notice of the time and place of special meetings shall be given to each Elder in any manner at least three days before the meeting.
5.10 Statement of Purpose: Neither the business to be transacted at nor the purpose of any regular or special meeting of the Board need be specified in the notice for that meeting except in the case of removal of the Rabbi or an Elder, in which case notice of the time and place of such meeting shall be given to each Elder in any manner at least three days before the meeting.
5.11 Waiver of Notice: The attendance of an Elder at a Board meeting shall constitute a waiver of notice of the meeting except where an Elder attends a meeting for the express purpose of objecting to the transaction of any business because the meeting is not lawfully called or convened. In addition, the Elder may submit a signed waiver of notice that shall constitute a waiver of notice of the meeting.