About us: Preamble
We, the members of Grace Community Church Leeds North, recognise we need to have a clear vision of what we, as part of the body of Christ on earth are, and what we should be doing in the community and the world. We will strive to be, “a Church without Walls”* removing as many barriers as we are able which may prevent people coming to know Jesus and His love, as we seek to share His love with believers and non-believers alike in word and deed.
At the heart of the idea of “a Church without Walls” is our desire to focus our mindset on what the body of Christ on earth should really be.
Our call is not so much to focus on ‘church’ but ‘Christ’. To follow Jesus to see what church forms round him. To recognise ‘church’ as a movement, going where people are rather than waiting for people to come to where the gathered church meet.
To move from a culture of guilt to a culture of grace! Seeking to free people to love and be loved while not counting the cost.
Our call is not so much to run a congregation, but rather to build a community.
We should see teamwork as essential to all ministry.
Our call is to move from perceiving faith as security to embracing faith as “RISK”,** and in so doing looking for new courage to break out of old routines.
* We are grateful to the Church of Scotland from whom we obtained the idea of “Church without Walls” and who have encouraged their churches to refocus as stated above.
* We are grateful to Rev W Bygroves who has inspired us and who has so often reminded us of the fact that faith is spelled ‘RISK’!
We accept and recognise the following Articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is our only sure and infallible guide in all matters of life and faith, and we intend this Constitution to be wholly and utterly subservient to Him.
We recognise that some rules of church order which are in this Constitution are not explicitly ordered by Christ Jesus nor prescribed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, but we believe they are consistent with our utmost attempt to administer the affairs of Christ’s body in a way pleasing to Him, and consistent with His grace and mercy.
ARTICLE I - NAME
The name of this church shall be Grace Community Church (Leeds North).
ARTICLE II - AFFILIATION
Section 1. Authority
We acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church (Ephesians 5.23) and who directs the affairs of the church through His ministers, being pastors, prophets (preachers), teachers, evangelists, elders and deacons, chosen, ordained and recognised according to the precepts of Holy Scripture by the gathered community of believers, to whom all officers of the church shall be accountable under Christ.
Section 2. Consultation
The church will cooperate with other like-minded churches in matters of mutual interest and concern. We may seek the assistance and counsel of other churches in matters of special concern to us, but the decision of no other church or group of churches shall at any time be acknowledged as binding on this church. While the decision of other churches is not binding on this church, the value of the counsel of other like-minded churches should be seriously considered and not easily or lightly ignored.
Section 3. Association
The church will try to build bridges with other churches in the same geographical area, who, whilst not sharing the same theological perspective, we recognise do have sincere believers in attendance and membership. Such bridges will be intended to enable fellowship and promote a spirit of grace and mutual understanding between us, enabling Grace Community Church to make a meaningful and positive contribution to our witness to, and the presence of, Christ Jesus in North Leeds.
ARTICLE III – OBJECTS (purpose)
The purpose of this church is to glorify our Heavenly Father and His Son Christ Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit, by sharing His love with all who come within the parameters of our life and ministry as a community of believers, as well as within our families and our individual lives. In addition we shall seek to glorify Him in our worship and in our proclaiming the glories of Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh, in our preaching and teaching, and in our daily living before the church and the world, (Col1:28). Moreover we shall seek to glorify our Saviour Jesus, in our proclaiming Him to the lost, (Matt 28:19-20). We are committed to the proclamation of God’s love for sinners and the glorious Gospel of His grace (John 3:16) throughout the world and to the defence of “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).
The objects of the church are as follows:
To advance the Christian faith for the benefit of the public, including members and attenders, potential attenders and the wider public, in accordance with the purpose and doctrines stated in this Constitution.
To provide opportunities for public worship for people of all ages, abilities, race and background.
To provide opportunities for small groups of members and attenders to meet together for study, spiritual, ethical and moral development, and outreach to people in poverty in their local community.
To care for members and attenders and also to undertake outreach to the local and wider community through providing practical care for those in poverty or in need of support, through the provision of food, clothing, social activities and compassionate pastoral support for the elderly, sick, bereaved, those with poor mental health or learning difficulties, families in distress, disabled persons and vulnerable adults.
To provide social, educational and spiritual activities for children and young people, to benefit the local and wider community both spiritually and morally, also promoting social cohesion.
ARTICLE IV - ARTICLES OF FAITH
The ultimate authority in all matters of Christian faith and practice is and must only ever be Christ Jesus alone, (Hebrews 1:1-3a), revealed in and through the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, (John 1:15-18). We recognise the Bible to be what it declares itself to be, namely “God breathed, and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”, (2 Tim 3v16).
Grace Community Church (Leeds North) adopts the confession of the ancient ‘Apostle’s Creed’ as the basis for membership, and confession of the ‘Nicene Creed’ as the basis for communicant membership.
The version of the Apostles' Creed used by Grace Community Church
We believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
And in Christ Jesus, his only Son, our Lord
Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried
And the third day rose from the dead
Who ascended into heaven
And sits on the right hand of the Father
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit
The holy world wide church
The forgiveness of sins
The resurrection of the body and
The life everlasting. Amen
The version of the Nicene Creed used by Grace Church
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and women and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried;
and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son];
who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy universal and Apostolic Church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
For greater understanding and detail of the faith we profess and of our distinctive beliefs, details are available in the Heidelberg Catechism, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 and the Savoy Declaration, which generally provide an acceptable expression of our faith. These historic documents provide a summary of “the things that have been fulfilled amongst us”, (Luke 1.1), and they can assist in controversy, be a confirmation of faith, and a means of edification. However we would not subscribe to any definition or statement contained within these or any other historic confession or creed, where they may be found to add to, or detract from God’s Word revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.