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Calvary Church GR

Proposed Constitutional Updates

Thank you to everyone who came to the June 9 congregational meeting. All proposed amendments passed. 82% voted in favor of women serving as deacons, 98% in favor of marriage defined, and 99% in favor of moving the Annual Meeting.

We greatly appreciate your prayer and participation throughout this process. Praise be to God. 

Bill Azkoul
Elder Chair

Town Hall Meeting | May 5, 2019

The below is intended to be a summary of the requested changes to the Constitution as approved by the elders. A full black-lined constitution is available here.

Marriage Defined
This change is found in Article III, Section C of the Constitution.

We believe that all who are reborn and adopted into the family of God are called to be holy as God is holy, and are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This means that our lives should reflect the fruit of the Spirit (e.g., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), and that we should turn away from the sinful patterns of the “world” and the evil desires of our hearts including shameful lusts, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, and sexual immorality, which includes sexual behavior outside of marriage which the Bible reserves exclusively for unions of one male and one female.

Women Serving as Deacons
Calvary Church has been discussing the possibility of women serving in the role of deacon since 1990. During the Romans sermon series in 2016, Jim Samra preached on Romans 16:1 stating that Phoebe was recognized by Paul as a deacon. The Elder Board at that time brought this topic back onto the agenda to pray, fast and seek God’s leading. Eighteen months later the elders voted unanimously to continue this conversation with the congregation along with the recommendation of revising the Constitution to allow women to serve in the role of deacon. Calvary’s website offers several helpful resources including a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). These resources can be used to help members study and pray through this important issue, which requires a change to the Constitution prior to implementation. Visit for this information.

This change is found in Article V, Sections C, D and E of the Constitution.

Moving the Annual Meeting to October
and the start of the Elder & Deacon terms to January
This change is a ripple effect of moving the church’s fiscal year, to start September 1 (which was done in the 2014/2015 fiscal year). As a result, the Treasurer’s Report during the Annual Meeting is currently providing only estimated year-end financials because the books for the year just ended are still several weeks from being finalized. Moving the Annual Meeting one month later, to the last half of October each year, will allow the Treasurer to present finalized numbers. This solution does create another ripple effect, however, in that there would only be six weeks before the incoming Elders and Deacons begin their terms. Moving the start of their terms (along with the selection of officers (i.e. Elder Chair), etc.) from December to January allows for this transition and related cross-training to happen more smoothly.

This change is found in Article V, Sections A, C, E and G of the Constitution.

Deacon Reorganization Update
Over the past few years, our church has been prayerfully considering ways to evolve how Deacons operate at Calvary and what it would look like for women to serve in this role. The elders have discussed, studied and prayed over this topic for many years. Two years ago, we asked Pastor Jim to teach our congregation about the role of women serving as deacons and invited you to participate in the journey the elders have walked. In an effort to be true to God's Word and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have taken our time on this process.

Last fall, God led us to slow down our implementation of women deacons and spend further time developing the function and role of deacons at Calvary. Since that time, we've had a team of elders, deacons, staff and volunteers working on this new direction for the deacons overall at Calvary, and the role of women as a part of that future structure. We are humbled by God's patience and grace in slowing us down so we could get to this place.

Our new direction is a continuation of the journey we've been on from being a board-led church (with both Elder and Deacon Boards overseeing the work of the church) to being an elder-led church, with both deacons and staff in serving functions, operating under the leadership of the elders. In this new structure deacons would be: 

  • more of a body as opposed to a board - a group of commissioned servants
  • more oriented around doing the work of ministry both alongside and in partnership with staff as opposed to administering and overseeing

The deacons would be a group of men and women serving underneath the elders, appointed and commissioned to serve in specific serving roles where we don’t have or don’t anticipate having staff. Our elders are united in their enthusiasm and support for this new direction. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.

Voting on the constitutional updates will take place on June 9 at 12:15pm in the Sanctuary.