West Swindon and The Lydiards Church Partnership

Constitution

5. Baptism and Membership.

5.1 Baptism in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit shall be administered according to the rites and practice of any of the Denominations, or according to a rite authorised by the Sponsoring Body. In normal circumstances Baptism shall be set within an act of congregational worship.


5.2 Since Baptism is an important step, any persons involved (candidates or parents of infants) should proceed with the full knowledge of the options which are available to them. Infant Dedication and Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child shall be among such options, as shall be a service for the re-affirmation of baptismal faith.


5.3 For those who have already received baptism in terms that the non-Baptist churches recognise, and who wish to receive Believer's Baptism, the procedure shall be as follows:

Where a person requesting Believer’s Baptism has previously made a personal or public profession of faith in Confirmation, the request shall not be granted.


5.4 The legal requirement to keep a Register of Baptisms in each of the Local Churches shall be met, and this shall be regarded as a joint register. A Register of Infant Dedications and Thanksgivings shall similarly be kept, also as a joint register.


5.5 A joint service of Confirmation and/or Believers' Baptism shall be the accepted rites of adult public profession of faith, according to rites authorised by the Sponsoring Body. Representatives of all four Parent Bodies shall take part in the Confirmation.

During the joint preparation of candidates for Confirmation or Baptism, attention shall be given to teaching about the shared and distinctive beliefs of the Denominations.

Those received into membership in either of these ways shall normally become members of all the four Denominations and multiple members of the Partnership.


5.6 Membership of the Partnership shall be open to all those over the age of 16 years

Membership is exercised primarily in one of the local churches.


5.7 Arrangements for transfer of membership into the Partnership shall reflect the member’s previous church affiliation as follows :

We encourage all transferring members to worship with one of the Local Churches; to love and seek to follow Christ; and to confess this publicly. Each transfer shall be recognized in a public act of worship.


5.8 There shall be a common Register of Members, including those on Denomination rolls, multiple members by virtue of joint confirmation, and those members of the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, or United Reformed Churches who have sought Extended Membership. A separate list of members shall also be kept for each Denomination, multiple members and extended members being indicated on each list.


5.9 There shall be a separate Electoral Roll for the purpose of Church of England pastoral provision, for example where needed as qualification for Marriage in one of the churches of the Partnership. Any lay person shall be entitled to have his/her name entered on the Electoral Roll of the Partnership if he or she:


5.10 Membership Discipline shall be a matter for each denomination following its own procedures. In any particular case, multiple members shall be subject to any denomination's discipline as agreed by the Sponsoring Body and the appropriate authorities in each Denomination, on the proposal of the Partnership Council. The standing of any multiple member with each Denomination shall be reviewed in the light of the outcome of any disciplinary process initiated under this provision.



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