LC: 14. RIGHTS OF THE CHARTER HOME
The Charter Home has the right to:
A. Determine, by a two-thirds majority, its basic nature, goals and operating procedures, providing it operates within the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights" and "Fundamental Family Rules," and endeavors to reach the goals of the Family and the agreed-upon goals of its area.
The Home is free to decide its main vision and thrust: What its main ministry or ministries will be, and specifically what goals it will attempt to reach. For example, Home members may decide their main ministry is primarily "Consider the Poor" or "youth outreach" or a "prison ministry" or "tool distribution," or perhaps a combination of different ministries. Such a decision is completely up to the Home.
Before implementing the directions of a prophecy received for your Home, the voting members, by a simple majority, must be convinced that it is the Lord's will, and should test the prophecy against the other ways to know God's will. If such a matter has brought about some confusion or conflict within the Home and it can't be sorted out by seeking further confirmation or clarification from the Lord, prayer and discussion together, the prophecy should be passed on to your area or continental office for their judgment, as outlined in the Prophecy Rules.
The Home members collectively choose the way the Home operates. They decide upon its procedures, and determine its Home regulations, providing they operate within the broad guidelines established in this Charter and the "Fundamental Family Rules," and they are endeavoring to reach the goals of the Family and/or the area. (The only Homes that will not have this and a few other specified Home rights are Service Homes, and Homes in sensitive countries.)
[The Home] must therefore be self-governing according to God's guidance! Your [Home] must learn to operate under its own leadership according to its own faith and by the ways and means that it feels led are best for its particular habitat, soil and surroundings. It must learn to let go of the farmers [shepherds] and let God lead, and "For God's sake, follow God!" under His personal guidance by His Word alone! (ML #315C:11.)
B. Choose by a two-thirds majority to move the Home to a new location in the same city, or in any city in the same country that has no Charter Family Home, providing it is not a "closed" city, and written notice of intent is sent to the continental office and appropriate area office 30 days prior to its move.
1. If the Home wishes to move to a city within its present country of residence that already has a Charter Family Home, Home members must follow the Procedures for Opening a Home in a City that Already Has a Charter Home.
Where a Home decides to live is up to its members. They can move anywhere within their present city, or to another city in the same country, simply by giving the continental office and appropriate area office a 30-day notice. Before informing the landlord of their intent to move, they may want to inform their area office, as they may know of others looking for a house. They should also inform the Family member who signed the contract if he or she is not presently in the Home, and fulfill their legal obligations to the landlord.
If your Home is moving within the same city and has found a house in or near a neighborhood that already has a Home situated there, it would be wise and loving to consult with the existing Home and/or city council as to whether or not it is agreeable to have two Homes in such close proximity, as it may not be the best for the local work.
If the city they want to move into already has a Charter Home, the Home will have to follow the proper procedure outlined in Procedures for Opening a Home in a City that Already Has a Charter Home.
Pioneer teams such as road teams and pioneering Colonies consisting of personnel pioneering a new Colony on their own in a new area do not necessarily have to be subject to prior clearance from the officers of the area involved as long as they cooperate with them as regular Member Colonies of the area and are subject to its administration, report faithfully and contribute to its support, if possible, and work together for the welfare of the whole in accordance with our general rules, including the distribution of our literature and the winning of new disciples (ML #334B:37).
C. Choose by a two-thirds majority to disband the Home, providing the Home's officers submit their intent to disband the Home in a written notice to their area and continental offices. The offices must receive this Closing Home Form 30 days prior to the Home's closure. At the time that it tenders its 30-day notice, a finance meeting must be convened with its voting members to disclose the Home's financial status, and determine the measures needed to pay the Home's debts and liabilities, if they have any, by any of the following means:
A Home may choose to close or disband. In doing so, they must notify their continental and area office. (See Closing Home Form in Appendix B. and/or the Closing Home E-mail Form in the HomeARC.) This is merely notification, not seeking approval to do so, as the decision to close belongs to the Home. The offices must receive this form 30 days prior to the Home's closure. Closing Homes failing to submit this form may be penalized.
As in the above situation, before informing the landlord of their intent to move they may want to inform their area office and/or their ABM, as they may know of others looking for a house. When deciding to close a Home, the Home members should fulfill their legal obligations to their landlord.
God's Word says, "Provide all things honestly for them that are without." In other words, pay your bills on time in order that there be no reproach on the cause of Christ. If any Homes close down and leave bills behind, it's a very poor testimony. (1Timothy 3:7.) Any family that closes down leaving bills behind ought to be named publicly, and they should not be able to join any other Homes! (ML #683:61,62.)
The Home must also hold a meeting to disclose the status of its finances. If they have debts or liabilities they must pay them, in accordance with the following guidelines:
1. By whatever legal means necessary.
If some members need to get a job to raise the funds to pay off their debts, liabilities or expenses, they may do so. The rules governing employment are covered in Home Life Rules, I.)
If God didn't send it in, I got myself a job and earned it! There's no excuse for anybody not having enough money to pay for their needs and their bills (ML #684:42).
2. Using as much as possible of the Home's financial assets above essential operating expenses toward the payment of its debts and liabilities.
Common sense would dictate that the Home would first of all use whatever finances it has available, above what it is going to cost for them to operate for the remaining time the Home is open, towards paying their bills and/or debts.
3. Liquidating communal assets to the extent necessary to pay any remaining debts and liabilities. (A two-thirds majority determines the liquidation of communal assets.)
If the Home doesn't have the cash assets available to pay its debts or liabilities, and/or is not able to generate income through any other means, they should liquidate--which means to convert into cash by selling--their communal assets. Communal assets are any assets that belong to the entire Home, such as furniture, video equipment, pots and pans, perhaps some vehicles, etc.
This doesn't mean that everyone's Walkman or guitar should necessarily be sold. Determination of which communal assets should be sold should be made through prayer, discussion and voting and with a great deal of consideration for and by all concerned. If your Home has a difficult time deciding such matters you may seek counsel from your area office.
Of course, some of the goods in your Home may not be communal assets of the Home. Some may belong to individuals in the Home. And some may be area assets, such as a vehicle that may have been purchased or provisioned by another Home or the area provisioners, and these goods must be returned or passed on to another Home for their continued use by the area.
a) HER funds must be returned to the continental office, in accordance with the Financial Rules, B. 2. d.
b) Tool funds should be distributed to each member, to take with them to their next Home.
c) Any other World Service-issued funds must be handled according to instructions given by WS for the particular funds involved.
The HER funds must be returned to the continental office, as these cannot be used to pay bills. Neither can Tool funds be used to pay bills, but each member must take their Tool funds (in cash or tools) with them to their next Home. Any other WS funds which may have been allotted to the Home must be handled according to the instructions given by WS.
4. If the Home has a financial surplus or other assets, it may decide, by a two-thirds majority, how to apportion it. If a decision cannot be reached, it must be equally apportioned to all voting members.
If the closing Home has a financial surplus, the Home should decide how to apportion it. When deciding this, they should take into account the financial needs of the Home members. A family with six children might have greater need than a single person. A single mom with children might be given more than a couple with children. It will need to be prayerfully decided upon with love and understanding. If a two-thirds majority can't reach an agreement, then the surplus must be equally divided among all voting members.
D. Disband, in extreme circumstances, before all of its debts and liabilities are paid. In such a case the Home must:
1. Apply for a Home loan from the continental office, if available, to pay any further outstanding debts or liabilities.
2. Assign to all voting members (18 years of age and older) their individual portion of any remaining liabilities, including the Home loan. Home members then must assume their portion as a personal liability, which must be paid within 90 days. In such a case, a listing of the Home's members and the amount of their personal liabilities must be sent to the continental office.
a) A member's failure to pay their portion of the Home loan within 90 days will result in the loss of their Charter membership until repayment is made. The continental office may extend the 90-day period when warranted.
3. Designate a member (or members) to take care of all the remaining business relating to the closure of the Home, and report on the progress of such to the area office.
4. Members are responsible to inform any Home that they intend to join of the amount of their personal debts and liabilities.
There may be situations where the Home is obligated to disband before all of its debts and liabilities are paid. For example, the owner of the house may give the Home 30 days notice because he is selling the house. This would mean that the Home would have to close even though some debts and liabilities are unpaid. In such a case, after the Home has attempted to pay off whatever debts and liabilities they are able to in the available time period, they must take out a Home loan from the CRO, if available, to pay off the rest. Hopefully, following all the steps in point C. will make it possible to pay off most of the debts and liabilities so the amount of the Home loan will be small. The amount available for the Home loan will depend on the amount of funds the CROs have in their Home loan funds, and the details and amounts will have to be worked out between the Home and the CRO. The amount applied for must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Home's voting members. (See the Home Loan Grant Form in Appendix B.)
The amount of the Home loan taken out for this purpose is then to be divided by the voting members (those 18 and over) as their personal liability, and to be paid back in accordance with the repayment plan established with their continental office.
If a member is moving into an existing Home, the Home can vote to assume the incoming member's liability in accordance with the Right of Mobility, D. 6. The Home would then work out a schedule for payment of the member's liability (home loan) with the continental office.
The Home must also designate a person (or persons) to take care of all of the old Home's business, so that all the loose ends get tied up, and they must report their progress to the appropriate VS. If it requires that someone actually stay behind to take care of such business, then two people should stay, in accordance with the two-by-two rule.
E. Determine, by a two-thirds majority, the personnel make-up of the Home.
1. New personnel cannot be invited to join the Home, or be received as Home members, without the agreement of a two-thirds majority.
a) The receiving Home's officers must verify the potential member's Charter Member status. They may also ask the incoming member or the appropriate officers for additional information.
The decision to accept new personnel into a Home is to be made by the Home's voting members. A Home can't be required to take in personnel that it doesn't want.
The Home teamwork of the receiving Home must verify the potential incoming member's Charter Member status. They can also seek information about the new member if they desire, either by informing the new member that they would like particular information about him and assigning him to ask his present shepherd to write the receiving Home, or asking the potential new member's shepherds directly. They can also ask the VS or CRO about the new person if they feel this is necessary to make their decision; but most important is that they ask the Lord. When trying to decide such an important matter as whether or not to accept a new member into the Home, it is recommended that the Home pray and ask the Lord for His direction and will through prophecy.
2. The Home may revoke, by a two-thirds majority, the Home membership of any person residing in it if:
a) At least two voting members unitedly propose to the Home's officers that a member should be asked to leave the Home. The matter should be discussed with the Home's officers to determine whether it should be brought up for discussion in a Home council meeting and voted on.
b) If after discussion with the Home officers the proposing members still feel it's necessary to ask the member to leave the Home, then the matter must be brought before the Home council. In such a case, the Home officers must privately inform the member in question that the matter is going before the Home council.
c) The Home officers notify all voting members that the matter will be discussed and voted upon in a Home council meeting.
d) In that Home council meeting, the member whose Home membership is in question is free to present the reasons why he feels he should retain his Home membership.
(1) The member is free to give his 30-day notice to leave the Home if he so desires.
[Concerning] some of those unwanted [Family members] we've been reading about,... [the Home] didn't want to offend them, they didn't know how to get rid of them or cause a stir with these [problem people]. ... (Maria: On the other hand, the people in charge of the household need to be sure that they're ruling it in love and wisdom and not just start kicking everybody out that doesn't come up to their rigid standards.) ... There's always got to be some kind of standard or criterion or rule, and of course it's right in the Bible. Now if you can bring your complaint to the person and they won't hear it, then the Bible says to go with two or three witnesses. ... If they won't hear them or receive them, then you're supposed to bring them before the whole congregation. ... It's not supposed to be just your little personal affair or matter, but it's a matter of the agreement of the church and the saints on it. If the whole congregation agrees that you're right and they're wrong and they refuse to repent, the Bible says you're to throw'm out (ML #980:58,65-67).
3. If, by a two-thirds majority, the Home decides to revoke a member's Home membership, the Home is responsible to:
Just as the Home has the right to accept new members into it, they have the right and authority to vote members out. Hopefully this scenario would be rare, but since it might happen, it is necessary to cover it in the Charter.
A person might be voted out of the Home if deemed incompatible by the Home's voting members, but the individual may still be fulfilling the Responsibilities of the Individual Member. This is different than recommending someone for Fellow Member status, covered later in point 4. If someone is simply voted out of a Home, he does not lose his Charter Member status.
To vote someone out, two members must first agree that the person should not be part of the Home and they then present it to the teamwork, who must inform the member and the Home that this suggestion will be brought up in a Home council meeting. During the Home council meeting the member is free to present his feelings on the matter. The voting members would then vote on the matter, probably by secret ballot.
At any time before the Home council meeting, the member may instead decide to give his 30-day notice. In such a case it would then be unnecessary to bring the matter up at the Home council meeting, since the member has already made the decision to leave.
The departing member is of course free to join another Charter Home or open their own Home once they leave their present Home.
If a member has been voted out of the Home, the Home must:
a) Give the member 30 days to leave the Home.
b) Notify the area and continental office of its decision within three days of the vote, specifying the reason for its decision.
c) Forgive the member his responsibility for any portion of the Home's debts or liabilities.
d) Allow sufficient time for the member to engage in fundraising activities on a regular basis for the purpose of raising a reasonable amount of finances to facilitate his move to another Home, or the setting up of his own Home. A two-thirds majority determines "reasonable amount."
(1) If the member is engaged in fundraising activities for the purpose of his departure from the Home, at least 50% of the net income he generates is to be used to facilitate his move to another Home or the setting up of a new Home.
e) Supply the member whose Home membership has been revoked with a reasonable amount of financial assistance to help towards his move to another Home, or towards the starting of a new Home. A two-thirds majority determines "reasonable amount."
So, in summary, if the Home does vote to withdraw someone's Home membership, the above stipulations must be met:
1.) A two-thirds majority must make the decision in a Home council meeting, during which the member must be able to present his side of the matter in question.
2.) If the decision is taken that the member should leave the Home, the person must be given 30 days to leave, during which time he can work on raising funds. The person is also released from any obligation to pay any portion of the Home's debts or liabilities.
3.) Within three days of giving the notice to the person concerning his departure, the Home must notify the VS and the CRO of the decision, giving the reasons why they're voting the person out.
If the CRO or VS feel that the decision by the Home is unfair or unloving, they can attempt to persuade them so from the Word. For example, if a Home votes out someone merely because they feel that person or family is a financial burden, the CRO or VS can talk to the Home and try to get them to reconsider. However, if the Home members still decide to stand by their decision to vote the person or family out, in spite of what the CRO or VS says, they have the right to do so.
Revoking someone's Home membership is quite a drastic step, especially for the person involved, so as compensation the outgoing member will be freed from his or her portion of the Home's debts and liabilities.
Also, during the 30 days the outgoing member(s) remains in the Home, the Home must allow the member(s) enough time for fundraising to facilitate his move to the next Home. If this member(s) has children, the Home is, of course, expected to help take care of the children while the member engages in these fundraising activities.
While the member is fundraising, at least 50% of the net income is to go towards facilitating his move, while the other portion of the funds would go to the Home. The Home can allow the member to keep more than 50%, but not less. Let's say that the outgoing member goes witnessing for the day to raise funds, and brings in $100 from distribution of Family tools. The seed corn for the tools that he or she distributed needs to be taken out and then the tithe paid on the remainder. If the seed corn is $20 and the tithe and FAF contribution is approximately $9, that leaves $71 net income. Of that $71, the Home may have requested 20%, or approximately $14, towards Home expenses, so the outgoing member would keep the remaining $57.
The Home can instead decide to supply the needed funds for the member's move if they wish, and/or supplement the funds raised. Or in a case where the Home would like to retain the person's help during the 30-day period and would rather have them stay at the Home instead of fund raising, they can reach a mutual agreement. For example, if the person happens to be a teacher and the Home wants to continue using their services for those 30 days, they can, providing the person agrees, and the Home gives them a reasonable amount of financial assistance to help with their move.
f) Recommend, by a two-thirds majority, that a member's Charter Member status be revoked, and that the member be placed on Fellow Member status. In such a case, the Procedures for Moving a Charter Member to Fellow Member Status, must be observed.
If two-thirds of a Home's voting members feel that one of its members deserves to be moved to Fellow Member status, it may make that recommendation. In such a case the Home must follow the Procedures for Moving a Charter Member to Fellow Member Status.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family