Monday, February 23, 2009

Constitution and Bylaws.


This Constitution and Bylaws are made to:
1. Preserve and secure the principles of our faith.
2. Preserve the liberties of each individual member of the church.
3. Ensure freedom of action of independence from any religious body or organization.
4. Provide for orderly conduct of internal affairs, in dealing with others, and of governing church members.
We do hereby adopt this constitution and solemnly pledge ourselves to be governed by its provisions. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Article I
Name and Location
The name of this church shall be Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church. The address of the church is presently located at 1232 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148. The Church shall have full power and authority to change its location.

Article II
Polity and Affiliation
The government of Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church is autonomous and maintains the right to govern its own affairs, independent of any denomination control. Recognizing, however, the benefits of cooperation with other churches in world mission, this Church voluntarily affiliates with the Philadelphia Baptist Association, American Baptist Churches U.S.A in its national, state, and local expressions.

Article III
The purpose of this Church is to glorify God by obeying the Great Commandment (Matthew 22: 36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20). The process is designed to produce disciples of Jesus Christ, which involves at least the following four categories.
1. Worship - (Celebrating) "To love God with all your heart..."(Matt. 22: 36-40)
§ To be inclusive and show equal concern to the other ethnic groups.
2. Ministry- (Caring) "Love your neighbor as yourself..."(Matt. 22: 36-40)
§ To help new migrant families and new comers from Myanmar meet their physical and spiritual needs.
§ To maintain our cultures: languages and customs.
3. Evangelism- (Cultivating) "Go... and make disciples..." (Matt. 28:18-20)
§ To introduce the Good News to all people.
§ To support the missions and ministries in Myanmar.
4. Discipleship- (Communicating) "Teach them to observe..."(Matt. 28:18-20)
§ To edify all church members to be apostles of Jesus Christ.

Article IV
Core Statements of Faith
1. The triune God of the Bible, who is eternally one God in three persons (Mathew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14). This one, triune God is most clearly revealed to us in the incarnate Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (john 1:18, Hebrews 1:1-2).
2. The Good News of the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and salvation from sin and death for fallen humanity by grace through faith in Him (Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9).
3. The Bible, composed of the Old and New Testaments, as the divinely inspired Word of God, the final written authority and trustworthy for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
4. The sovereignty of God realized in the Lordship of Christ over all creation, and the call to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations in the power of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the day of Christ’s return and the making of all things new (Matthew 28:118-20).
5. A common unity with believers in Christ everywhere as His one true Church, while celebrating our distinctive heritage as Baptists (Ephesians 4:4-6). These distinctives include an understanding of the local church as autonomous with regard to its government, and composed of believers who have been baptized by immersion upon credible confession of their faith.
6. The church gathers regularly to worship, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, to edify one another, and to reach out to the world around us (Acts 2:41-47).

Article V
Section 1. Admission of Members

Membership in the church may be attained by the following methods, upon the recommendation of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons and the majority vote of the church in any of its regular business meetings and in one of the following manners:
1. By scriptural baptism by immersion after profession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.
2. By transfer of church letter from another Baptist church.
3. By a statement of faith of their prior experience of conversion and scriptural baptism in another church.
4. By a personal interest in Christian faith by any person who is not baptized yet.
5. By reinstatement to the church membership after having been inactive members when they meet requirements of active membership.
6. By associate membership for those who hold membership in other congregations but desire to participate in the life and mission of this congregation. They have all the privileges and duties of membership.

Section 2. Rights of Membership
Every active/resident member shall have the right to participate in the following matters:
1. The annual budget of the Church,
2. The disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Church, the merger or dissolution of the Church,
3. Acquisition of property, and amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws of the Church.
4. Members in good standing shall have the right to a voice and vote in all church transactions and shall have the right and privileges to full participation in the life and work of the church.

Section 3. Termination
Members shall be removed from the Church roll for the following reasons:
1. Death.
2. Transfer of membership to another church.
3. By personal request of the member.
4. Being inactive to the church for 18 months but thirty days notice must be given. However, the board of deacons shall inquire with Christian concern of this person’s present relationship to the church first.

Section 4. Orientation of New Members
Candidates for membership and new members need to attend the Church Membership Class to learn and understand the privileges and responsibilities of members to God and the church. It shall be the duty of church members to uphold the Articles of Faith, Constitution and Bylaws, and Covenant of the Church.

Article VI.
Church Covenant
We, the members of this Church, through the grace of God, humbly and solemnly undertake with we said:
To attend the worship services of this Church regularly, using them for the edification of our souls.
To cultivate by prayer and meditation a life of devotion and conservation to God and consciences.
To contribute, according to our ability, to the financial support of the work of this Church and its various benefices.
To maintain, in all our relations with our fellow members, and attitude of spiritual integrity, sympathy, and love.
To aid and assist prayerfully, loyally, and affectionately the minister and those who work with him/her in the witness of this Church.
To order the life in our homes so that they may be truly Christian and dwelling places of God, and to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
To bear ourselves in our social and business inter-relationship in accordance with the principles of Jesus Christ.
Article VII
Nonprofit Status and Liquidation
This church is not organized for profit. Upon dissolution of the corporation, after all debts and expenses of the corporation have been paid, the officers of the Corporation should distribute the remaining assets of the corporation to another entity qualifying as a charitable organization under the provisions of the Board of Trustees of PBBC and by a majority of vote of the church members at a regular or specially called business meeting.

Bylaws of the Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church

Article VIII
Organizational Structure
Section 1. General Structure
The Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church shall be a congregational type of church government. The congregation, in a regular or special called business meeting, shall be the final authority in all matters. Church Officers, the Board of Deacons will oversee all the committees.
Section 2. Church Officers
All church officers must be members of the church in good standing. No officer shall hold more than one office at a time. The officers of the church include: Pastor(s), President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
A. The Pastor:
1. Qualification: the Pastor/s shall be a graduate of a recognized Biblical Seminary either in the United States or abroad. He shall be a Baptist minister whose credentials recognized by Baptist denomination.
2. Ordination: When a church of life, faith and order shall have called as its pastor a member of this church who possesses scriptural qualifications and as demonstrated by his/her skills and training for ordination to the work of the gospel ministry, and shall request in writing that he/she be ordained, or the Church Council recommends him/her for ordination, a special committee shall be elected to conduct the process of his/her ordination.
3. Pastor’s responsibilities:
(a) These generally fall into the following areas: Preaching, teaching, pastoral counseling, administration, planning, and guiding the church to grow and fulfill its purposes.
(b) Pastor shall lead the church, the organizations, and all leaders of the church in performing their tasks in worship, proclamation, education, and evangelism.
(c) The pastor shall be an ex officio member of all church standing committees, except the Pastor's Selection Committee.
(d) Pastor shall assist the deacons in securing pulpit supply for times in his absence.
4. Call:
(a) A pastor shall be chosen and called whenever a vacancy occurs.
(b) A Pastor's Selection Committee shall be appointed by the church to seek out a suitable pastor and this committee's recommendation will serve as a nomination.
(c) The Pastor's Selection Committee will recommend only one candidate at a time.
(d) The pastor's election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one-week notice shall be given to the members.
(e) An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those present is necessary for a choice.
5. Terms of Service:
(a) The chosen pastor shall serve until the relationship is terminated upon sixty days’ notice on the request of the pastor or of the church or unless otherwise mutually agreed. Termination of the office by the church may be voted at a regularly called business meeting. A vote by secret ballot of two-thirds vote of the congregation.
(b) There shall be a written mutual agreement made between the pastor and the church to terminate the call or the completion of a call for a specific term.
B. President:
The Church President shall preside meetings of both the General Meeting and the Board of Deacons. The President is a voting member of the board of Deacons.
C. Secretary
(a) The church clerk shall be elected and be responsible for keeping an accurate record of
(b) all business meeting transactions of the church and preparing the annual report to the Association.
(c) He or she shall keep a register of the names and addresses of the church members, with dates of admission, dedication of children, and deaths of members of the church family.
(d) He or she shall write letters of transfer of membership, prepare written reports of the church, and keep an accurate history of the church.
D. Church Treasurer
(a) The treasurer shall be custodian of all money contributed for the general expenses of the church, for benevolences and for the other purpose.
(b) The treasurer shall also submit a report in writing at the Annual and Quarterly Business Meetings of the Church.
(c) The treasurer's report shall be audited annually by an auditing committee.
E. Financial Secretary
(a) The church financial secretary shall be elected and shall be responsible for seeing that the offerings are properly received, counted, and deposited in the church's bank account and render a statement thereof to the treasurer.
(b) It shall be the duty of this officer to furnish each member of the church a pledge card and envelopes for contribution to church expense and benevolence.
(c) He or she shall properly credit each contributor and their offerings.
(d) He or she shall be responsible for preparing for mailing a quarterly or annual record of contribution to donors.
Section 3. Board of Deacons
PBBC shall practice the single board system of administration. This Church board shall be called the board of Deacons. This Board will also function as Trustees of PBBC.
1. Number and Term
There shall be at least seven members and some advisors for this board. Deacons shall be elected for a term of service of three years as voted upon by the church.
2. Qualification:
(a) A Deacon is to be a person of high morals, ideals, and practices.
(b) A deacon shall demonstrate an exemplary Christian testimony in private, family, and public life; a committed Christian leader and partner of the pastor; supporter and promoter of the church faith, practice, programs, and ministries.
3. Responsibilities and Functions of Deacons
(a) Hold in trust all church property and take all necessary measures for its protection, management, upkeep, and improvement.
(b) Deacons serve as a committee of counsel to assist the pastor concerning the progress and welfare of the church.
(c) Seek to solve any fellowship problem of the church.
(d) Assist the pastor in administering the church ordinances.
(e) Serve as advisory member to all organizations, departments, and committees of the church.
(f) When a Pastor is not in place, the Board of Deacons shall exercise authority for the smooth and efficient running of the Church.
Section 4. Church Council
a. The Church Council shall be composed of the pastor, board of deacons/trustees, chairpersons and secretaries of each church standing committee and two members-at-large from the congregation.
b. The Church Council shall be to recommend to the church objectives and goals; review the coordinated program plans recommended by the pastor, church officers, organizations, and committees; to recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities; and to evaluate program achievements in terms of church goals and objectives.
Section 5. Vacancies
In case of vacancy in any office, except that of the pastor and staff members, the vacancy shall be filled by the church at a regular or special meeting as soon as possible after such vacancy has occurred.

Article IX.
Church Committees
All church committee members shall be elected by the church from nominations presented by the Nominating Committee, and nominations from the floor with the consent of the nominee. There shall be a minimum of two (2) committee members with a chairperson. Each committee chairperson shall submit an annual budget request to the Budget and Finance Committee.

A. Nominating Committee:
The Nominating Committee shall be responsible throughout the year for nominating and presenting to the church people to serve in various positions of the church (unless provided for otherwise in these Bylaws) vacated by expiration of term of office, by death, by resignation, or by removal. Each person contacted shall be informed of his or her responsibilities.
B. Music Committee:
This committee will plan and evaluate the music program of the church, in the formation of choirs in the church and planning special musical programs throughout the year. It is responsible for recommending people for the positions of pianist and organist, song leader, and in assisting the pastor with special music in the regular and other services of the church. In the event that a music director is needed as a staff of the church, this committee will look for a qualified person to be recommended to this compensated position, which requires approval by the church.
C. Youth Committee:
This committee is responsible in planning and coordinating youth programs and activities inside and outside of the church. These activities are to be correlated with the activities of the church program organization in attaining objectives set forth by the church.
D. Christian Education Committee:
This committee shall lead the church in developing and implementing an effective education-training programs. Right now we have only Sunday School class for children.
The Sunday School shall be divided into classes and departments as it grows and conducted under the direction of a director for the study of God's Word. The tasks of the Sunday School shall be to teach the Bible; lead in reaching all prospects; lead all church members to worship, witness, learn, and minister daily; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
E. Women Committee:
This committee is responsible in planning and coordinating women programs and activities inside and outside of the church. These activities are to be correlated with the activities of the church program organization in attaining objectives set forth by the church.
F. Auditing Committee:
The Auditing Committee, elected at the annual meeting of the church, shall audit the financial records of the church at least once a year and shall make a written report of the same to the church at the time of the next annual church meeting.
G. Other committees may be formed as needed by the church.

Article X
The election of PBBC will be held every three years during the annual meeting of the church. Members are eligible to serve two consecutive terms before rotating off for a minimum of one year.

Article XI.
Church Meetings
There shall be one meeting of the whole members an annually which shall be called General Meeting.
There shall be at least one meeting of the Church Council every six months.
There shall be at least one meeting of the Board of Deacons each month.
For General Meeting one month advance notice for the meetings shall be given, for the Church Council meeting, two weeks, and for the Board of Deacons meeting the Chairman can call it with one week advance notice.
In the absence of the President, a temporary Chairperson shall be elected to preside the meeting.
Special business meetings may be called at any time by the pastor or the president.
7. The quorum: At least one-fourth of the members with a minimum of ten people shall constitute a quorum.
8. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
9. Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meetings of this congregation.
10. The following are to make annual written reports to the Annual Meeting each January: Ministers, Church Secretary, Treasurer, auditors, and Chairpersons of each committee.
Article XII.
Church Year

The fiscal year of the church shall be January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year.

Article XIII.

Amendments to this Constitution and Bylaws shall be by two-thirds vote of members of the church who are qualified to vote and are present in any regular the business meeting with a quorum to discuss and vote for this matter.

Ratified by action of the church in its business meeting on _March 2, 2008_ .

President: __Sd._ Saw Harold Cribb_

Church Secretary: _Sd._Emerald Cribb_
This Constitution is researched and drafted by Saya Sanno Thuan before it was rectified and confirmed by the EC Comiittee

Saw James Htay's First Birthday

The sky was overcast with slight drizzle and a steady wind made the day chilly but inside the small apartment on Jackson Street in South Philadelphia, on the morning of Sunday February 22nd 2009. where family and friends gathered to celebrate the first birthday of Saw James Htay (Saw Yah Ko), it was filled with warmth from friendship and love.

In fact, for the family of Saw Kyaw Htay and Naw Moo Ko Paw, celebrating the birthday of their child, with thanksgiving service and a birthday cake, was the first time ever even though they have two other older daughters, 13 and 10, who were unfortunate at their time not to have birthdays celebrated because the family was too poor when they were in the refugee camp. Moreover, James being the first boy in the family, the two elder sisters were elated with joy to have their brother’s first birthday celebrated with friends and elders of the Church. It was a pleasant sight to see the family, who never had the taste of freedom, hosting friends in celebration of the birthday of their first son born in the US.

Our God is an awesome God. We should praise His Holy Name for bringing families like Saw Kyaw Htay and Naw Moo Ko Paw to the land of freedom, like the US.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Worship Services and Contact Information

Sunday Regular Service:
St. John’s Baptist Church
1232 Tasker Street Philadelphia, PA 19148

Sunday School:
(For Children)
During Sunday Worship Service

Women’s Service:
1:00pm on Sundays
At different houses

Youth Meeting:
Every other Saturday
At different locations

Contact Information:
For various correspondence,
125 Forest Avenue, Apt. 10A
Ambler, PA 19002
Tel. 267-468-0591

For contributions,
Checks can be made out to:
Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church & mailed to-
414 Fitzgerald Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

PBBC Secretary's Report for 2008

Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church
Secretary's Report
January to December 2008

Our God is an awesome God; worthy of praise and adoration. He has blessed and guided PBBC through 2008 with His faithfulness. There have been changes and developments for the church to become stronger under the leadership of Pastor San No Thuan amid his studies and examinations. With God’s blessings he completed the Ph.D. comprehensive examination successfully in October, and is preparing to write his dissertation. We congratulate him for this achievement, and our gratitude to him for his efforts to make the church grow and to obtain the Employer Identification Number (EIN) that enable us to open an official bank account at the Beneficial Bank. There have been changes in office bearers within the Board of Deacons, Christian Education and Youth Committees due to members migrating to other cities. The position of Financial Secretary was also added, and we are grateful to Dim Sukte for accepting the responsibility. For the worship programs to run smoothly, a Program Committee was also formed. It was also a sad year for PBBC as our beloved patron and advisor Uncle Spencer Zan was called to his heavenly home on February 28th.

The pastor and members in Philadelphia ushered in the New Year of 2008 at the home of Saw Myat Oo with members and visitors from Lancaster sharing testimonies and making impromptu speeches, and concluding with the Watch Night service. A rededication service was held on the first Sunday of January with members from Trenton and Philadelphia and its vicinity participating.

We were blessed with guest preachers from Burma as well as from our region: Rev. Hsar Say Moo Gaw and Rev. Samson, Rev. Khin Maung Than, Thra Winnoe Din, Thramu Margaret Shwe from Burma, Thramu Htoo May from Omaha, Rev. Thang Lian Kaap from North Carolina, Rev. John Murrow, Rev. Florence Li, Rev. James, Rev. LerHtoo, and Thra Mu K’Baw from Allentown.

This year saw lay members giving messages and testimonies. Our thanks to Sayamagyi Daw Penelope Thetgyi, Thramu Heh Nay Moo for their inspiring messages and to Daw Mee Mee Chit and Nan Yin Aye for the testimonies they shared about God’s miracle, blessings and forgiveness. We hope for more participation among members to use their God given gifts to encourage and inspire other members young and old.

We were also happy to welcome new additions to three families: James Htay, son of Moo Kho Paw and Kyaw Htay, Michael, son of Nu Bawi and Kep Cung, and Rain, son of Tablu Htoo and Saw Oo. All the three babies were dedicated at the worship service by Pastor San No Thuan.

Special Sundays which are Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Judson Sunday, Bible Sunday, Christian Family Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day were observed by the church with special programs and fellowship dinners. Mothers and fathers sixty years and older were honored with gifts on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day respectively. Judson Sunday which falls on the Sunday nearest to July 13th, the day Dr. Adoniram Judson arrived in Burma, was held with the recounting of his mission work in Burma so that our young people would know the significance of the day, and give thanks for the “Light” in our lives.. To encourage our young children and youth to learn and memorize scripture verses, a scripture recitation competition in Burmese, Karen and English was held on Bible Sunday in August. In October, an impromptu speech competition was also held to promote participation and creativity in our young people. Each family of the congregation was asked to contribute items to celebrate Christian Family Sunday in November. We also celebrated Thanksgiving Sunday with worship service led by Rev. Florence Li followed by a dinner. Members from Trenton led the worship service on the first Sunday of December opening the Christmas season with carols and skits. On the Sunday of Christmas week we had worship through music program interspersed with sermonettes together with a Christmas pageant by the Sunday school children. Rev. Powles and his family as well as some member of St. John Baptist Church participated in the Christmas worship service and potluck dinner and gift exchange program. During the month of December, PBBC youth went caroling to members’ homes in Philadelphia center city, the suburbs, and Trenton. As an outreach ministry, on Christmas Day, we went to have worship services with the folks at Somerdale and Summers Point in New Jersey, which was warmly appreciated by these brothers and sisters.

From September, the Women’s Committee started their prayer meetings every Sunday at homes of members with a view to connect and have fellowship with one another. These meetings are not limited to only women as men are also welcomed.

PBBC choir was invited to sing at First Baptist Church of Lansdale in November and at Willow Grove Baptist Church on Christmas Eve worship service. These were opportunities for our members to have fellowship with members of other churches.

As 2008 has been an active and fruitful year for PBBC with all members young and old participating in the worship programs and undertaking responsibilities assigned to them with enthusiasm and commitment, let us continue to work together with understanding and unity using the talents and gifts God has blessed us to make our church grow more spiritually so that we may truly be witnesses in word and deed and let His light shine through us, and bring glory to His name. May we be His faithful children as He is our faithful Father. Amen.

In His faithful service,

Emerald Cribb
Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church

February 8, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Visit to NJ, Sunday Service and Program Committee meeting

PBBC regular Sunday service was held as usual at 3 pm on February 15th. Before that, Pastor San No Thuan and some members of PBBC went to Audubon, NJ to have a thanskgiving service at the residence of Pa Lian and Khu Ter. After the service members and hosts had fellowship. The hosts prepared various dishes for the guests and PBBC members also brought some food.

The hosts, young couple, were happy to have members of PBBC at their house for a worship service like this as they are far from a church and congregation that speak their language.

PBBC members left NJ at around 1:30pm for Sunday regular service at the Church. After the service the program committee had a meeting to draw up programs for the month of March 2009. The meeting came to a successful conclusion around 5 pm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009