LC: 13. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHARTER HOME: REGARDING THE WELFARE OF ITS MEMBERS
The Charter Home:
A. Provides for the spiritual, physical and material necessities of all of its members to the best of its ability by:
1. Allotting sufficient time on a regular basis (not less than four times per week), during which the greatest possible number of voting Home members can assemble for united prayer and reading of God's Word and other World Service publications.
a) The assembly may be subdivided into groups.
Our Homes must faithfully allot time for united reading, prayer and praise. Each Home should organize its schedule so the adults and teens can gather together and have a feeding meeting, based around prayer and reading the Word together. Time and length of these devotional meetings may be determined by the Home, but must occur at least four times per week. These meetings might be morning devotions, vespers, or evening united reading times in which new MLs are read.
The Home may decide that it's better for different age groups to have all or some of their united Word time together. For example, if there are a number of teens in the Home, it may be decided that the teens should have a separate devotional time geared toward their needs. There may be times when devotional meetings might include almost everyone in the Home; others might just be for voting members. It is up to the Home and the teamwork to decide on these matters.
It is not mandatory that all-new WS publications, including GNs, be read unitedly unless stated on the publication. The teamworkers may decide that it would be beneficial for a new pub to be read unitedly, and in such a case the united reading should occur within three or four days of receipt of the mailing.
Four times per week is not the recommended amount, it's only the minimum amount. If your Home gathers together less than this, you are violating the Charter and your Home is in jeopardy of being put on Probationary Notice.
I believe the church of God needs a session together of assembly and fellowship and inspiration and studying God's Word and praising the Lord! So by all means please get together for a little fellowship and inspiration and prayer and a little feeding on the Word together--united devotions! Just keep everyone together, and before you let them go, read a MO Letter or Bible or Word of some kind.--If there's a new MO Letter out, you can read that. As Paul said, "Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together." We need to get our hearts together and our minds together and our spirits together and our bodies together--we need to get together! (ML #1384:10-12.)
2. Allot a minimum of 1 hour daily (or 10 hours weekly) for Home members to commune with the Lord through the reading of His Word and other WS publications (privately or unitedly), prayer or hearing from the Lord in prophecy.
Beside the need for the Home's members to gather together for united reading, every member also needs personal Word time. The Home must allot time for its members to have this private reading and prayer and prophecy time. Of course, it is up to the individual to use this time wisely. The 10 hours per week of personal Word time (united devotions may be counted as personal Word time) is not the recommended amount, it is the minimum. (See Word Rules.)
a) New disciples under one year in the Family must be allocated an additional 7 hours per week, or 17 hours total, in order to complete their study of the full foundation course for new disciples, as well as to complete their basic memory work.
New disciples need to get their grounding in the Word before they get embroiled full-time in other ministries. In order to make it possible for them to complete the study of the foundation Letters, listed in Appendix F: Babes Basic Course, and Appendix H: Priority Reading for New Disciples' First Year in the Family, an additional 7 hours per week must be allotted by the Home for this specific purpose. It's preferable that this additional Word time be on a daily basis, or at least spread throughout several time slots during the week, but not less than 7 additional hours of Word time per week. It is estimated that these reading courses can be completed within one year of a new disciple joining if this minimum time is allotted for it.
An exception to this rule would be for live-outs, catacombers or Fellow Members changing to CM who may already have this foundation from years of reading the Word before joining the Family, who may not need a full year to finish the course. But they should be given this additional time for up to one year to complete this course according to what the Home teamwork deems to be necessary.
When asking the Lord concerning how much time new disciples should have in His Word, He said, "With this decision you are being wise investors, for you are taking the one talent that these new young ones have, the seed of faith which I have implanted within them, and you are watering it and causing it to grow. For faith comes from My Word, and any investment of time, of a quiet peaceful place to read and learn, of support and encouragement as they grow in Me, will be an investment that will be well rewarded.
"Upon the weaker members you must bestow the greater honor and this honor you must give in the way of the time needed to feast on My Words, to do the extra duties for them, which will enable them to have this time. This will be an act of love--these will be many acts of love. It will be as the illustration that your Father gave of the farmer kneeling beside the cow & serving her. So must you elder ones do for these young; to give and to serve, that they in due time and season will be able to stand straight and tall beside you."
And this reminds me that you, my dear children, have an appointment with me every day, and you'd better not miss it, or you're going to be sorry! (ML #155:30.)
In order to be able to teach His Word to others, we read and study it ourselves daily. ... So in order to have the strength and stamina to do our important job, we have to spend time getting filled with His Word. As the old saying goes, "In order to do the Master's work, you need to have the Master's power, and to get it you must spend time with the Master (Jesus)" (Maria #76:13).
3. Supplying and maintaining a well organized Home library of Family publications.
a) All publications in the Home must have portions deleted or modified if necessary, in accordance with the WS purge advisories.
An well organized Home library is a vital part of the Home. If the library is either non-existent or is so disorganized that it's almost impossible to find the reading material that you're looking for, then the Home members will be discouraged from getting into the Word, and will suffer spiritually.
It is the Home's responsibility to attempt to gather the Family publications necessary for as complete a set of pubs as available, both in English, and where needed and available, in their local language, for their Home library, and to keep them available and in order. As much as possible, the CROs and area shepherds should assist the Homes in this endeavor. Also, all pub purges must be complied with.
Having more than one library per Home for larger Homes is advisable, allowing easier access to reading material. Also, if the Home should ever divide into two Homes, each Home would have a library available.
So that's what I'm advocating, the Home library!--One copy of each, and if you happen to have more copies than that, you assemble everybody's copies of everything someplace where everybody can have access to them (ML #1282:10).
4. Immediately posting a list of the contents of new WS mailings, and making them available to Home members, in accordance with the Classifications of Family Membership and Literature.
When a WS mailing arrives in the Home, the list of titles must be posted for all to see. The contents of the mailing should be immediately made available to the Home members, appropriate to the age of the members and in accordance with the Classifications of Family membership and Literature in the "Fundamental Family Rules," which outlines who is permitted to read what literature. For example, new members are not permitted to read the CM publications until they have completed their first three months in the Family and finished the Babes Basic Course.
Contents of the mailing that the teamwork intends to read unitedly with the Home do not need to be made immediately available, but they should be read unitedly with the Home within three or four days of the arrival of the mailing, and made available thereafter.
If you've ever had a hard time keeping track of your weekly mailings of GNs, FSMs, WNDs, etc., you'll appreciate the new "Mailing Contents Form" from your NPC or LIM--a concise list of exactly what each mailing contains, which should be posted on your Home bulletin board for all to see as soon as your mailing arrives! (LNF 131:5.)
5. Allotting each member of voting age a regular day off from Home duties (preferably weekly, but at least one day in every 14-day period).
Each voting member is entitled to a regular day off from his or her Home duties. The ideal is one day off each week. If this is not always possible, then they must have at least one day off within every 14-day period. It will be a united Home decision of how often, which days, whether they get a full 24 hours, or just during working hours, whether Family day will count (since taking care of a number of children for a full day may not be considered much of a day off), etc.
In order to do their best, it is imperative that our hard-working Family members have sufficient time for rest and refilling.
a) 14- and 15-year-olds that are actively involved in Home ministries should have a day off the same as voting members.
All work and no play makes a very dull student, and an even worse witness, and lack of consideration for our human weaknesses and the needs of the body does not encourage loyalty or faithfulness (ML #58:17).
None of us can stand these constant pressures of continuous demands on our time, strength, body, soul, and spirit to which we are so often forced to submit, without relief, by the press of time, necessity, need, and one emergency after another so prevalent in such a fast-moving and rapidly expanding work such as ours where the laborers are so few, the Harvest so big, and there's so much to be done to gather it in before the Storm! Even the Lord Himself could not bear the continual strain and virtue drain of a constant ministry to the multitudes, which is what your ministry really is, so He frequently had to get away from it all and take His disciples up into the mountains or out to sea or on a private visit to friends for a spiritual retreat, rest, and recuperation and inspiration--sometimes even all alone! (ML #169:5,2.)
6. Maintaining a clean, safe and healthy environment, and a physical standard of living that is in harmony and conformity with the Family's goals, and the "Fundamental Family Rules."
Our Homes need to maintain a good physical standard. If a Home is in harmony with, and conforms to the goals and rules of the Family, they should be able to maintain a good standard. Homes that do not maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment, as with any of the other responsibilities of a Charter Home, are in jeopardy of being placed on Probationary Notice by their area office.
Cleanliness isn't next to Godliness, it is Godliness, it's part of being Godly! So keep it clean! Keep your hands clean, your body clean, your food clean, the air clean, the yard clean and the carpets as clean as you can. ... It's only God that ever keeps you, but for God's sake, give Him a little cooperation! (ML #1031:69.)
Another important way that our Family can give the Lord some cooperation ... is to simply obey the many health, cleanliness and safety rules Dad has given us in the Letters. ... So for God's sake, our Family's sake, our children's sake and your own sake, obey the Lord's Letters and keep a clean, safe house!--Maria. (ML #2572:39,41.)
7. Supplying sufficient healthy food to eat, in accordance with the Food and Drink Rules.
Eat good food in a well-balanced diet! (ML #190:23.)
The Lord's servant is worth more than his money: Don't be penny-wise and flesh-foolish! ... Take care of your health, get plenty of rest and eat well, so you'll have plenty of strength for God's service (ML #209:11).
8. Supplying needed prayer, care, support and medical attention to those who are sick or physically ill, impaired, pregnant, or in need. The decision on medical care is determined by the member himself, or in the case of a child, by their parent(s) or guardian(s).
If a Home member is sick, it is the Home's responsibility to support them physically and spiritually and supply the needed prayer and care. If they need medical attention, it should be made available. If they're in the hospital, Home members should visit regularly.
If a member is physically weaker, impaired, pregnant or has special physical needs, which would include nursing mothers and elderly members, the Home should not only meet their medical needs, but endeavor to meet their dietary and therapeutic needs, and be understanding of their need for extra rest and/or a lighter workload.
The Home is also responsible to help meet its members' needs for prenatal, dental and eye check-ups, and any resultant dental work or eyeglasses needed, by provisioning or whatever means necessary. Children should have initial dental and eye check-ups no later than age four, and annually after that whenever possible. (See Responsibilities of Parents, G.)
In the case of emergency medical needs, some of the Home's HER fund may be used in accordance with the Financial Rules, B. 2.) However, since there is plenty of advance notice for births, the Home should set aside funds in advance to cover the cost, as well as any other predetermined medical expenses.
I was never in a Colony, but what I didn't concern myself with every little detail of that Colony, as servant of all ... checking to see if they all were tucked in, feeling their covers to see how many they've got, checking the windows to see if they have proper ventilation, checking the heater to see if it was safe. I used to do that every night in any Colony I was ever in. When you hear somebody in your Colony is sick, what do you do about it? (ML #213:21-22.)
We must not overburden these weaker brethren, and we must take it easier on them that are weak ... and we must not expect more of them than they are able to bear! The Lord never gives us more than we are able to bear, and we must not overload others (ML #161:24).
Just like the laying on of hands or the anointing of oil or the calling for the elders of the church, having a public prayer for somebody who is sick, all of these are testimonies and witnesses of your faith, and they're also in obedience to the commandments of the Lord, as well as the partaking of the bread and wine at Communion (ML #1409:26).
9. Ensuring that its members have sufficient exercise and fresh air, in accordance with the Get-Out Rules.
Get out in the fresh air and sunshine daily, even if it's only "cloudshine"! We all need a little get-out time, exercise, recreation and happy, playful, just plain fun in the beautiful Creation of God in the garden of God outside where we can get lots of good exercise and fresh air and sunshine to refresh us! (ML #1362:206.)
10. Allotting sufficient time for its members to engage in evangelism, in accordance with the Outreach Rules.
11. Creating the conditions in which its members can carry out their responsibilities, exercise their rights and govern themselves in accordance with the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights" and the "Fundamental Family Rules."
The Home is responsible to operate in such a way that its members can abide by the Charter and the "Fundamental Family Rules."
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family