THE COURTS OF THE CHURCH
St Michael and All Angels Church
The rule of the Church shall be exercised through its courts: Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods and General Assemblies. Each congregation has a Session (lowest and private Court of the Church).
The Presbytery is the Court of the Church which has generall oversight of all Congregations within its bounds.
The Synod is the highest court of the Church. Its decisions are final and binding and are not subject to review by any other court or body except for the right of appeal to the General Assembly. The Synod has jurisdiction over all Presbyteries and through Presbyteries to Congregations.
The trustees of the Synod are the Moderator, Vice Moderator, the General Secretary, the Deputy GS and the Treasurer as appointed by the Synod, and two Church Elders.
PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT
The basic and fundamental principles of the Church Government and discipline are that the several different Congregations of believers taken collectively constitute one Church; that a larger part of the Church or a representative group of the Church should govern, or determine matters of controversy which arise therin....a majority shall govern and always in agreement with the word of God.....For these principles and the procedure, the example of the Apostles is considered as authority.
JESUS CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH
The Church, as part of the Universal Church, wherin the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed a Government in the hands of Church office-bearers, receives from Him, its divine King and Head, and from Him alone, the right and power subject to no civil authority to legislate, and to adjudicate finally, in all matters of doctrine, worship, government, and discipline in the Church, including the right to determine all questions concerning membership of its Courts, and the mode of election of its office bearers.
All power in heaven and earth is given to Jesus Christ by Almighty God, who raised Christ from the dead and set Him above all rule and authority, all power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. God has put all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and has made Christ Head of the Church, which is his body.
THE CHURCH AND OTHER CHURCHES
The Church believing it to be the will of Christ that His diciples should be all one in the Father and in Him, that the world may believe that the Father has sent Him, recognises the obligation to seek and promote unity with other Churches in which it finds the Word to be accurately preached, the Sacrements administered according to Christ's ordinance, and discipline properly exercised. It has the right to unite with any such Church without loss of its identity on terms, which it finds to be consistent with these Articles and always in agreement with the word of God.
We believe that our Lord means us to be one; that we must promote unity and co-operation between all Christians with the same compassionate love that was shown in Jesus. This does not mean that we must all be exactly the same (the body has many organs); it does mean that we must all love one another.
THE CHURCH AND ITS HOLISTIC MINISTRY
We believe in the open fellowship. We believe that the church exists for others, not for its members alone; that it is entrusted with a divine ministry to all people in body, mind and spirit. We believe it to be a basic part of our ministry to promote the physical, moral and spiritual welfare of the whole community.
THE CHURCH IS PRESBYTERIAN
By "Presbyterian" we refer primarily to our form of Church government, which is by democratic Courts composed of ordained Ministers and elders. These Courts are so formed that Ministers (or "Teaching Elders") are never in a majority.....we recognise no hierarchy of priests or bishops. The Moderator of the Synod is the "first amoung equals", being for that time, recognised as the Chairman.
BELIEF IN THE OPEN BOOK
We believe that God speaks directly to us through the words of Scripture which must, therefore, be made available to the people in a language they understand; and must be regularly read; and must be reverently expounded and "opened up" in preaching so that God's word for our time may be heard.
It is the privilege, right and duty of everyone to examine the Scriptures personally, and each individual is bound to submit to their authority.
OPEN TABLE OF THE HOLY COMMUNION
We believe that the Table of the Lord in Holy Communion is open to all believers and therefore we welcome to the table with us members of any branch of Christ's Church.