Hopefully most church choirs won't run into discipline issues, but the reality is that people make mistakes, and discipline sometimes has to be administered. Having a discipline committee for a church choir helps to ensure that members abide by set rules and standards and promotes healthy functioning for the choir as a whole. Although the specific responsibilities of discipline committee members may vary slightly from church to church, there are some basic functions and duties that are relatively common.
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Construction of Choir Code of Conduct
One of the primary functions of a church choir's discipline committees is to establish a set of rules and standards if none are already in place. These rules usually pertain to attendance of practices and performances, interactions between choir members and between members and other church staff and members, and personal behaviour of choir members in and outside of the church. The committee should decide how many absences are allowed, which circumstances constitute excused absences, and how many incidences of tardiness are allowed. Committee members also must construct rules regarding positive interactions between choir members and others within the choir and the church. Churches may or may not have policies concerning members' behaviour outside of church. Committee members may be required to develop policies concerning members who acquire legal violations that result in arrest.
A church choir disciplinary committee must have a system of appropriating disciplinary actions to members who violate the choir's code of conduct. Each violation needs to have a correlating consequence based on the frequency and severity of the offence. For instance, three absences might constitute a fine, whereas seven absences may bring about expulsion. Most offences probably will warrant a warning stage, an intervention stage (such as fines or volunteer service) and a final expulsion stage. Some offences, such as criminal activities may constitute an immediate expulsion from the choir. The committee also needs to decide if a member who has been expelled may be reinstated at a later date, as well as the criteria that must be met for reinstatement (such as a written request or completion of some form of counselling).
Interpretation and Administration of the Code
Once the rules, expectations and disciplinary procedures have been established, a disciplinary committee may be called upon periodically to interpret the established code and to enact any necessary consequences. For instance, a choir director may bring an issue to the committee's attention and call for a meeting concerning a choir member. The committee will then be expected to review the member's violations and enact an appropriate consequence based on the established code. The committee also may be a part of meetings in which a member may want to protest an alleged violation or ask for leniency concerning the application of consequences. The disciplinary committee should be accessible to both church leaders and choir members so that the best possible decisions can be made and church unity will be promoted.
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