THE CONSTITUTION OF TUFTS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP INTERVARSITY
(Submitted October, 17th 2012)
Article I: Name and Purpose
Section 1. Name
The name of this organization is Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF), a chapter at Tufts University of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the United States of America.
Section 2. Mission
The purpose of the Tufts Christian Fellowship is: To be a dynamic, Christ-centered community, which strengthens its members and reaches out to the entire Tufts campus. The Tufts Christian Fellowship is a non-denominational (i.e. not affiliated with any religious denomination), evangelical group of Tufts students who are discovering the joy and satisfaction of following Jesus Christ. While membership and activities are open to all members of the Tufts community, TCF is founded on traditional evangelical Christian beliefs as stated in our Basis of Faith (see Article I, Section 3). We believe that true life is found in Jesus and in his words, and our vision is to live out this faith in the context of the Tufts community, while inviting others to join us.
Section 3. Basis of Faith
TCF is dedicated to understanding and celebrating the basic Biblical truths of Christianity. We believe in:
a. The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–full of love and glory.
b. The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible.
c. The value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath.
d. Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord.
e. Justification by God’s grace to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
f. The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service.
g. The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.
h. The victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.
TCF welcomes individuals of all religious backgrounds. Questions regarding the interpretation and application of the Basis of Faith will be addressed by the Vision and Planning Team (see Article IV).
Section 4. Characteristics of a Leader
Leaders of TCF (1) should support and advocate for the letter and spirit of TCF’s Basis of Faith and (2) in response to God’s Love, Grace and Truth should seek to exemplify Christ-like characteristics such as humility, honesty, racial reconciliation, concern for the poor and oppressed of society, sacrificial love, sexual chastity, respect for lawful authority, respect for biblical authority, and integrity, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Leaders should strive to exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit in all aspects of their lives (Galatians 5:22-26).
Article II: Membership
Membership is open to all Tufts students. For formal purposes, a “member” of TCF is a Tufts student who attends at least one half of TCF’s weekly small or large group meetings. TCF does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or an individual’s previous affiliations in criteria for membership, assignment of voting privileges, or rank.
Section 2. Advisors
Affiliate Chaplains or InterVarsity-employed Staff Workers or volunteers are not members of TCF. Although they may attend TCF meetings and counsel TCF members and/or leaders, they do not have a vote in any TCF decisions and cannot, under any circumstances, officially speak for TCF or enter into binding agreements on behalf of TCF. Affiliated Chaplains and InterVarsity-employed Staff Workers’ involvement and interaction with the membership of TCF is subject to supervision and/or termination by the Vision and Planning Team of TCF in consultation with the Chaplaincy. In conformance with Tufts University Policy, TCF pledges to adhere to all University regulations.
Article III: Fellowship Life
Fellowship structures include:
a. Weekly Large Group meetings, usually with a speaker and worship.
b. Weekly Small Group Bible Studies, times of focused scripture study, prayer, and intimate fellowship.
c. Capen Bible Study, specified as a ministry to students of color.
d. Off-campus spiritual retreats, usually 3 per year.
e. Campus-wide events, intended to serve the wider Tufts community.
Article IV: Leadership
Each year TCF shall select an executive leadership team (the “Vision and Planning Team”). To be eligible for Vision and Planning Team of TCF an individual must be (1) a member of TCF; (2) for no less than one full academic year. Any student who meets these requirements is eligible to apply for the Vision and Planning team.
It is the duty of the Vision and Planning Team members to demonstrate support for the Purpose of TCF (see Article I) and set the direction of the fellowship in accordance with the Mission of TCF. The Vision and Planning Team members of TCF are the official “voice” of the Fellowship, and only the Vision and Planning Team members can enter into binding agreements with Tufts, members of the Tufts community, or outside parties. At the discretion of the Vision and Planning Team members, TCF may create subcommittees responsible for various aspects of fellowship life, including small group Bible studies, outreach, and worship. Additionally, the Vision and Planning Team members shall select one of the members of TCF to act as the fellowship’s Treasurer. The Treasurer shall work with the Senate and Treasury Office to keep track of all funds used by TCF during the year, and to establish a budget for the following year.
Vision and Planning Team members shall be selected to serve for two semesters. The next year’s Vision and Planning Team members are selected by the current Vision and Planning Team of TCF and a Selection Committee (SC) consisting of one freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one member of the Capen Bible Study (CBS). A senior will serve to chair meetings with the VPT and SC and to provide counsel, but will not vote on the next year’s VPT. The SC will be selected as follows: (1) All TCF members will be encouraged to nominate someone representing their class: freshmen nominate a freshman, sophomores nominate a sophomore, juniors nominate a junior, and seniors nominate a senior. Members who attend CBS will nominate someone to represent CBS and their class. (2) The person from each class and CBS with the most nominations will be asked by the VPT to serve on the SC. If they decline, the person with the next highest number of nominations will be asked, and so on. (3) SC members should demonstrate support for the Purpose of TCF (see Article I).
Once the SC and VPT are nominated, they will both read over leadership applications and conduct interviews of applicants in pairs (one VPT with one SC member, if possible). The VPT and SC will then convene to discuss applicants and come up with a proposal for the next year’s VPT. The next year’s Vision and Planning Team proposal will be put to a vote. Two thirds of the current VPT and two thirds of the SC must agree for the proposed team to move forward. Following the initial selection of new Vision and Planning Team by the current Vision and Planning Team and the Selection Committee, the new Vision and Planning Team shall be placed before the TCF membership for a ratification vote. At least fifty percent of the TCF membership must vote to ratify the proposed slate of the Vision and Planning Team. If not, then the selection process will be repeated until a majority of the membership ratifies the proposed Vision and Planning Team.
Once the next year’s Vision and Planning Team has been selected, the new Vision and Planning Team shall meet and determine whether subcommittees will be required for the following academic year. If the new Vision and Planning Team decides that subcommittees will be required, then the new Vision and Planning Team, in consultation with the outgoing Vision and Planning Team, TCF’s affiliate chaplains, and TCF’s membership, shall select subcommittee members. Prospective subcommittee members may be recommended by TCF members, by the affiliate chaplains, or by the current Vision and Planning Team. While all members of the chapter and the affiliate chaplains may provide counsel and advice during the subcommittee selection process, final decisions shall be made by two-thirds agreement of the new Vision and Planning Team. No student may serve as a subcommittee member without receiving the endorsement of at least two-thirds of the new Vision and Planning Team. Any student who is a member of TCF is eligible to apply for positions on the subcommittees.
If, during the leadership selection process or during a leaders’ term in office, disputes arise regarding the meaning of the Basis of Faith and Purpose of the organization – specifically, disputes regarding the precise meaning of biblical authority, member eligibility for leadership, and leader adherence to traditional evangelical Christian norms of moral behavior – then such disputes shall be resolved by at least two-thirds agreement of the Vision and Planning Team. The Vision and Planning Team’s decision shall be final.
Leaders (whether Vision and Planning Team members, the Treasurer, or subcommittee members) may be impeached upon at least two-thirds agreement of the Vision and Planning Team. Any member of TCF may make a complaint against any member of the TCF leadership team. Following the complaint, the Vision and Planning Team shall meet (with affiliate chaplains present for advice and counsel) with both the complaining individual and the accused. No leader may be impeached without first receiving a full and fair hearing from the Vision and Planning Team. In the event that a complaint is made against a Vision and Planning Team member, then that Leader may only be impeached by at least two-thirds agreement of the remaining Vision and Planning Team members.
Article V: Funding & Recognition
The Tufts Christian Fellowship is a recognized Tufts student group and is funded through the Tufts Senate. It is affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, but receives no funding from IVCF. No fees (other than the general Student Activities Fee) are required of the members. The Tufts Christian Fellowship goes through the re-recognition process required every semester by the Office of Student Activities and the Judiciary’s re-recognition process in alternate years. A current copy of the Tufts Christian Fellowship’s constitution will be kept in the TCF Treasurer’s file, and passed on to the new Treasurer each year.
Article VI: Amendments
The Constitution may only be amended through at least two-thirds agreement of the Vision and Planning Team members. Any member of the TCF and any affiliate chaplain may propose constitutional amendments. Any proposed amendments to the constitution must also be approved by the Tufts Community Union Judiciary.