Members shall comply with the guidelines set forth in the sections on Reporting and Criticism and Commitment to Reconciliation, above. The following procedures will govern the treatment of complaints regarding the violation of these guidelines by an EMNR member.
(1) The Committee on Membership. Complaints shall be addressed in writing via U.S. mail to the Committee on Membership, EMNR, at its national office. The Committee on Membership shall be a permanent, standing committee for EMNR, consisting of three members, at least one of whom must be a member of the Board of Directors. A letter of acknowledgment must be returned by a member of the Committee on Membership, postmarked no later than 5 working days from the date the complaint was received.
In the event of illness, vacation, or other unavoidable absence of one member of the Committee on Membership during an urgent time when the Committee’s work is needed, the other two members of the Committee are authorized to appoint a replacement member until the absent regular member is able to return. There must be at least one member of the Board of Directors on the Committee at any time.
(2) Interpretation. Complaints shall be addressed and resolved by the Committee on Membership, using this Manual and general biblical principles. The Committee on Membership has the authority to summon the Committee on Ethics to clarify ambiguous statements in the Manual of Ethical and Doctrinal Standards which may apply to a case before it. The Committee on Ethics must reply within 14 days of the receipt of the question. These clarifications automatically are incorporated into the text of the next published version of the Manual of Ethical and Doctrinal Standards, unless the Board of Directors votes to reword, amend, or delete the proposed statements.
(3) Nature of proof. The importance of clear and convincing proof in resolving accusations against members cannot be overstated. We will follow the words of Richard Baxter (writing in 1656), “No accusation, not even from the most respectable and best people in the church, shall be accepted without clear proof. And this must not be rashly received, nor should the minister make himself a party until he has sufficient evidence in the case. It is better to let many vicious persons go unpunished or uncensored if we lack evidence, then to censure one unjustly. And this we may easily do if we go upon presumptions. These, in turn, will be sure to bring on the pastors the scandal of partiality and of unrighteous and injurious dealing. Then all their reproofs and censures will become contemptible in the eyes of others.”
(4) Date of resolution. Complaints brought to the Committee on Membership must be resolved in writing within 100 days from the date postmarked on the letter mailed to the Committee. All questions, interviews, fact-gathering, and other investigations shall be accomplished by this time. The resolution must be succinctly written, and addressed to both the complainant(s) and the accused member(s). If litigation is involved which would impair the finding of fact, the Committee on Membership may issue a temporary declaration, stipulating that the matter may be reviewed and possibly reopened after the litigation has ended.
(5) Consensus. The determination of the Committee on Membership must be agreed upon by unanimous consensus; a majority vote will not be sufficient. In the event that the Committee on Membership is deadlocked, an emergency session of the Board of Directors will be called and all three members will be replaced, and the evidence they have collected thus far will be turned over to the new Committee. The Board member(s) on the first Committee will abstain from nominating or voting for their replacements.
If a Committee member is the subject of a duly-registered complaint, that member will be replaced by a vote of the Board until such time as the complaint is resolved, after which the member will resume his or her former position with the Committee.
(6) Funding. If the Committee on Membership incurs expenses during the course of its investigation, the entire membership body of EMNR will be subject to an ad hoc dues increase, sufficient to offset up to 90 percent of the cost of investigation. The remaining 10 percent will come out of the pocket of the Committee on Membership as their contribution to EMNR. The Committee on Membership will keep receipts of all its expenses, which will be kept to a minimum.
The general membership of EMNR must be informed annually of the possibility of ad hoc dues increases, which may be imposed without warning to pay for investigations of members.