These Terms and Conditions (this “Agreement”), set forth the terms and conditions governing your participation as a volunteer (a “Church Volunteer”), and/or member (a “Church Member”), for/of Central Church of God, having a principal address of 5301 Sardis Rd, Charlotte, NC 28270 (including any related or affiliate organizations, collectively, the “Church”), and the activities you may engage in as a Church Volunteer and/or Church Member (collectively, the “Church Activities”). Please read each section of this Agreement carefully. By performing any Church Activities (of any kind or nature, by being on the Church premises, and/or by participating in any part of any activities related to the Church), you indicate that you agree with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement. This Agreement is the complete agreement between you and the Church, superseding and replacing all prior agreements or communications.
In consideration of (a) being permitted to enter a Church facility and utilize Church equipment, facilities, and/or other Church resources; (b) being given the opportunity to assist as a volunteer or to be a Church Member; (c) receiving any charitable, social, educational, religious, and/or other benefits as a result of performing the Church Activities, and (d) recognizing the not-for-profit status of Church, the collective sufficiency of such consideration which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby covenant and agree as follows (on behalf of myself and any family members or related parties participating, whether directly or indirectly, in the Church Activities, or interacting with Church staff, facilities, related parties, other Church Members or Volunteers, and/or programs of any kind):
1. Policies and Rules. I acknowledge that certain policies, theology, principles, instructions, rules, guidelines, volunteer standards, and/or other procedures established by the Church from time to time (whether in writing or conveyed orally) related to my role as a Church Volunteer and/or Church Member and the Church Activities are applicable and binding, including, without limitation, the obligations of members, participants or volunteers of the Church as set forth in any written documents of the Church, Minutes of the Church of God, etc. (collectively, the “Governing Documents”), as well as the obligations of members, participants or volunteers of the Church as set forth in handbooks, positions statements, articles, emails or memos, etc., released by the Church of the Church of God denomination from time to time (any of which may be amended from time to time, and each of which are incorporated herein by reference thereto) (collectively including the Governing Documents, the “Policies and Procedures”). I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to read and understand all of the Policies and Procedures and covenant and agree with the Church that I will comply with all responsibilities and obligations of a Church Member or Church Volunteer (as applicable). I further acknowledge that the Policies and Procedures may change from time to time and that any changes will autonomically be binding upon enactment. For my safety and the safety of others, I agree to comply fully and strictly with all applicable laws and regulations at all times. Without limiting the foregoing, if I am a Church Member, I agree to fulfill the following duties (as set forth more fully in the Governing Documents): (a) to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life, including regular participation in regular Church activities, (b) to give regularly of my time, talents and financial gifts for the support of the Church and its causes, and (c) to share in the work of the Church’s ministries. As a Church Member, I acknowledge that I will be subject to, and submit myself to, discipline by the Church, including, without limitation, in accordance with the Governing Documents. I acknowledge that at all times my involvement in Church Activities is subject to the approval of the Church and its leadership, and that Church leadership may prohibit my involvement at any time, in the sole discretion of the Church.
2. Church Values. The purpose of the Church is described in the Governing Documents (collectively, the “Church Values”). I acknowledge and agree that by serving as a Church Volunteer and/or Church Member, that I am a brand ambassador of the Church and accordingly I agree to conduct myself in accordance with the Church Values at all times in my role as a Church Volunteer and/or Church Member. This means that I will, without limitation, always provide the Church with true and complete information and have an “others first” mentality. I understand that Church does and will rely on the information that I provide to it in order to ensure that the Church Activities are appropriate and in order to provide the Church’s services with the safety and comfort of myself and others in mind. I acknowledge and agree that the Church, in its sole discretion, can at any time remove me from any Church Activities.
3. ASSUMPTION OF RISK/WAIVER. I UNDERSTAND THAT MY PARTICIPATION IN THE CHURCH ACTIVITIES OR PRESENCE AT CHURCH FACILITIES HAS INHERENT RISKS THAT MAY ARISE FROM MANY FACTORS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, MY OWN ACTIONS AND/OR INACTIONS, THE ACTIONS AND/OR INACTIONS OF THE CHURCH OR ITS AFFILIATES, OR THEIR RESPECTIVE REPRESENTATIVES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, MEMBERS, DEACONS, PASTORS, STAFF, SUPERVISORS, EMPLOYEES, CONSULTANTS, ADVISORS, VOLUNTEERS OR AGENTS (ACTUAL OR APPARENT), OR ANY PERSONS ACTING BY, THROUGH, UNDER OR IN CONCERT WITH ANY OF THEM (COLLECTIVELY, “CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES”), AS WELL AS THE INDIVIDUALS WHOM THE CHURCH SERVES (“CHURCH PARTICIPANTS”). I UNDERSTAND THAT I MAY ALSO BE AROUND THE CHILDREN OF OTHER CHURCH VOLUNTEERS, CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES, AND/OR CHURCH PARTICIPANTS, WHO CAN BEHAVE UNPREDICTABLY. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT OF INDIVIDUALS AND CANNOT PROVIDE A FULLY SUPERVISED ENVIRONMENT, MEANING THAT I, OTHER CHURCH VOLUNTEERS, CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES, CHURCH PARTICIPANTS, AND/OR THEIR CHILDREN SOMETIMES FUNCTION INDEPENDENTLY AND/OR INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER DIRECTLY. ADDITIONALLY, I UNDERSTAND THAT CERTAIN CHURCH ACTIVITIES MAY INCLUDE TRANSPORTATION AND THAT I MAY BE A DRIVER OR PASSENGER IN A BUS, CAR, OR OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE. I ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY AND ALL RISKS OF BODILY INJURY, DEATH, EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, THEFT, PROPERTY DAMAGE, AND/OR OTHER DAMAGE AND/OR LIABILITIES OF ANY KIND CAUSED BY AND/OR ARISING FROM, WHETHER DIRECTLY AND/OR INDIRECTLY, MY ROLE AS A CHURCH VOLUNTEER OR CHURCH MEMBER, PARTICIPATION IN THE CHURCH ACTIVITIES, AND/OR ANY ACTIVITES RELATED TO THE CHURCH, PRESENCE AT A CHURCH FACILITY, AND/OR INTERACTION WITH ANY INDIVIDUALS WHILE ON CHURCH PREMISES, AND/OR BY PARTICIPATING IN ANY PART OF ANY ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE CHURCH, REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE. I EXPRESSLY AGREE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE FOREGOING ASSUMPTION OF RISK/WAIVER IS INTENDED TO BE AS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE AS PERMITTED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
4. WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS. I KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY WAIVE AND RELEASE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS I MAY NOW HAVE OR WHICH MIGHT ARISE IN THE FUTURE (INCLUDING ANY POTENTIAL CLAIMS BY MY ESTATE) AGAINST THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES AND THE CHURCH PARTICIPANTS, AND THEIR RESPECTIVE SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, AND/OR AFFILIATES, AND ANY AND ALL OTHER PERSONS, FIRMS OR CORPORATIONS (COLLECTIVELY, THE “CHURCH PARTIES”), RELATED TO ANY LIABILITY, LOSS, DAMAGES, INJURY, CLAIMS, EXPENSES, AND/OR ATTORNEYS’ FEES OF ANY KIND THAT MAY BE SUFFERED BY ME, MY FAMILY MEMBERS, OR ANY INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS THAT I INVITE INTO CHURCH FACILITIES OR TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY PART OF ANY ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE CHURCH, WHICH MAY ARISE, WHETHER DIRECTLY AND/OR INDIRECTLY, FROM MY ROLE AS A CHURCH VOLUNTEER OR CHURCH MEMBER, MY PERFORMANCE OF THE CHURCH ACTIVITIES, AND/OR FROM ANY OTHER ACTIVITIES CONTEMPLATED BY THIS AGREEMENT (WHETHER NEGLIGENT AND/OR OTHERWISE ON THE PART OF THE CHURCH, A CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE, A CHURCH PARTICIPANT AND/OR ANY THIRD PARTY). IN NO EVENT WILL THE CHURCH BE LIABLE TO ME OR MY FAMILY MEMBERS, UNDER, IN CONNECTION WITH, AND/OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, AND/OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, WHETHER BASED ON BREACH OF CONTRACT, WARRANTY, TORT, PRODUCT LIABILITY, AND/OR OTHERWISE, AND WHETHER OR NOT CHURCH HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. I EXPRESSLY AGREE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE FOREGOING WAIVER AND RELEASE IS INTENDED TO BE AS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE AS PERMITTED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
5. INDEMNIFICATION. I AGREE TO DEFEND, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS THE CHURCH PARTIES, FROM AND/OR AGAINST ALL CLAIMS, LIABILITIES, LOSSES, DAMAGES, EXPENSES, AND/OR ATTORNEYS’ FEES OF ANY KIND ARISING FROM, WHETHER DIRECTLY AND/OR INDIRECTLY, (A) THE CHURCH ACTIVITIES, (B) ANY ACTION, INACTION, AND/OR OMISSION WHILE ON CHURCH PREMISES, (C) MY PARTICIPATION IN ANY PART OF ANY ACTIVITIES RELATED TO CHURCH, (D) MY NON-COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS, AND/OR (E) MY BREACH OF THIS AGREEMENT AND/OR FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES OF CHURCH. THESE INDEMNIFICATION PROVISIONS WILL SURVIVE THE TERMINATION AND/OR EXPIRATION OF THIS AGREEMENT.
6. COVID-19. I agree to cooperate and comply with all COVID-19 protocols established by the Church from time to time, as well as any protocols established by Church with respect to one or more other and/or additional diseases, whether viral, bacterial, or otherwise, and/or whether currently known or unknown (“Other Illnesses”). Such protocols may include, but are not limited to, submitting to COVID-19 tests, testing for Other Illnesses, wearing personal protective equipment, providing personal information relevant for contact tracing procedures, and striving to maintain appropriate distance between myself, Church Participants, other Church volunteers, and Church Representatives (collectively, the “Protocols”). DESPITE THE PROTOCOLS DESCRIBED ABOVE, I UNDERSTAND THAT THE CHURCH CANNOT PREVENT ME OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL FROM BECOMING EXPOSED TO, CONTRACTING, AND/OR SPREADING COVID-19 AND/OR ANY OTHER ILLNESSES. BY ENGAGING IN THE CHURCH ACTIVITIES, I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I MAY BE EXPOSED TO AND/OR BE SUBJECT TO AN INCREASED RISK OF CONTRACTING AND/OR SPREADING COVID-19 AND/OR OTHER ILLNESSES. I KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY WAIVE AND RELEASE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS I MAY HAVE AGAINST ANY OF THE CHURCH PARTIES, RELATED TO ANY LIABILITY, LOSS, DAMAGES, INJURY, CLAIMS, EXPENSES, AND/OR ATTORNEYS’ FEES OF ANY KIND THAT MAY BE SUFFERED BY ME, MY FAMILY MEMBERS, AND/OR ANYONE ELSE IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXPOSURE, INFECTION, AND/OR SPREAD OF COVID-19 OR ANY OTHER ILLNESES. I EXPRESSLY AGREE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE CHURCH’S ENTITLEMENT TO ENFORCE THE FOREGOING PROTOCOLS IS INTENDED TO BE AS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE AS PERMITTED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND/OR THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, WHICHEVER IS MORE PERMISSIVE.
7. Health and Safety. I agree that I will not perform Church Activities or otherwise enter Church facilities in the event I have, or am showing symptoms of, COVID-19, a communicable illness, fever, nausea, and/or Other Illnesses. I also understand that the Church Activities may involve a variety of different tasks. I certify that I have the appropriate experience, expertise, training, and valid license (as applicable) required to safely and legally perform any Church Activities that I undertake. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, if the Church Activities involve driving a vehicle or operating machinery, I certify that I have a valid driver’s and/or operator license, as well as the requisite insurance, as required by law. I understand that Church does not provide car insurance or any other type of insurance coverage for my personal vehicle or equipment. I hereby warrant and represent that I have fully disclosed to the Church if I have ever been engaged in, accused of, charged with or convicted of any violent, hostile or abusive (whether sexual or otherwise), actions in the past. If I should be accused of, charged with or convicted of any such actions subsequent to entering into this Agreement, I will promptly bring those matters to the attention of Church leadership and agree that I will not participate in any Church Activities unless and until the Church advises me that I may resume participation. I acknowledge that the Church Activities may involve intermittent fasting from food, beverage and other items. I acknowledge and agree that any fasting is purely voluntary and that I will only participate in such activities to the extent that I believe that such activities will not adversely impact my health. I hereby full release the Church and any Church Parties from any liability whatsoever related to fasting activities.
8. Confidentiality. I understand that in my role as a Church Volunteer and/or Church Member I may learn certain information about the Church, Church Participants, other Church volunteers, or Church Representatives. Such information may include, but is not limited to, names, addresses, contact information, health information, education, financial history, and any other information of a personal or confidential nature. I agree that I will protect the safety and privacy of the Church Participants, Church volunteers, Church Representatives and the Church, and that I will not disclose any confidential information relating to such Church Participants, Church volunteers, Church Representatives or the Church to third parties unless such disclosure is required by applicable law, regulation, or valid order by a court or other governmental or regulatory body (such obligation to survive the termination and/or expiration of this Agreement). I understand and acknowledge that the Church may be legally required to disclose my information to law enforcement, government authorities, and/or other third parties or entities in certain circumstances. The Church may also freely use personal information about me and my family provided to the Church for Church purposes, in the discretion of the Church. The Church may freely share information provided by myself to other ministers or Church Representatives in connection with ministry or prayer efforts, in the discretion of the Church (and I hereby waive any clergy privilege that may be attached to such information). The Church may, in its discretion, share information about me with third parties when the Church believes it is advisable to do so (i.e., safety issues, advancement of the mission of the Church across other organizations, risk management issues, etc.). The Church may require you to utilize an on-line portal from time to time related to Church Activities. The Church will take reasonable precautions related to the foregoing, however, your personal information is never fully protected from data breach, cyber-attacks or otherwise nefarious actors, and you hereby release, to the fullest extent allowable by applicable law, any of the Church Parties from any responsibility related to same.
9. Consents/Acknowledgements. I acknowledge and agree that if I bring cash or valuables to Church facilities or during Church Activities, I do so at my own risk. I acknowledge that the Church is a drug and alcohol-free organization. I also understand that my participation in certain Church Activities may be dependent on the results of any background check, or any drug/alcohol test, and that the results may affect my eligibility to begin or continue participation in any Church Activities at the Church’s sole discretion. I give the Church consent to receive and access the results of any drug/alcohol test performed. I further acknowledge and agree that the Church has the right, through third party agencies or otherwise, to perform criminal background checks, including sex offender registry searches, prior to or during my role as a Church Volunteer. I authorize any third-party agency engaged by the Church (or the Church directly) to obtain the information necessary to perform these background checks and searches regardless of whether such information is private or public and include information that may be deemed to be confidential or privileged in nature. I give the Church consent to receive, analyze and access the results of any background check or search performed. I acknowledge and understand that the Church is not a healthcare provider and that its staff is not trained to respond to or treat medical issues. If a medical emergency arises, I authorize the Church to provide me with first aid and to obtain medical assistance, transportation, and emergency medical services through third party personnel. I also understand and agree that this consent does not place an obligation on the Church to provide medical assistance, transportation, and/or emergency medical services. I also acknowledge that I will be financially responsible for any medical or related bills by any third-parties who provide me with assistance, transportation and/or emergency medical services. I KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY WAIVE AND RELEASE ANY CLAIMS I MAY HAVE AGAINST ANY OF THE CHURCH PARTIES, AND ANY THIRD PARTY ENGAGED BY CHURCH, ARISING FROM ANY FIRST AID, MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, TRANSPORTATION AND/OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PROVIDED IN CONNECTION WITH MY ROLE AS A CHURCH VOLUNTEER OR PARTICIPATION IN CHURCH ACTIVITIES (AND/OR THE TIMING AND/OR LACK THEREOF). I acknowledge and agree that the Church Activities shall be donated and that I am not entitled to nor do I expect any present or future salary, wages, or other benefits for such Church Activities. I acknowledge and agree that the Church does not generally accept designated gifts and that all monetary gifts, regardless of designation by the donor, shall be allocated to the general operating fund of the Church unless otherwise authorized or directed by the Church. Any use of Church facilities or equipment, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, buildings, personal property, etc. is solely at my own risk.
10. Termination of my Status as a Volunteer or Church Member. I understand that the Church reserves the right to terminate my status as a Church Volunteer at any time, for any reason or no reason, including, but not limited to, my failure to follow the Policies and Procedures, or reflect the Church Values. I further acknowledge and agree that the Church has the right to terminate my status as a Church Member, including, without limitation, in accordance with the Governing Documents. I also acknowledge and agree that the Church will not be responsible or liable for any liabilities, losses, damages, and/or expenses as a result of the termination of my status as a Church Volunteer or Church Member.
11. Publicity Release; Intellectual Property. I acknowledge that the Church may take photos, videos, and/or other recordings of my image and/or voice during my participation in Church Activities or while at a Church facility, or otherwise. I understand that the use of these images and recordings is important and allows Church to share the successes and availability of its services with our community. I consent to the use of my image, voice, name, and/or story in any media outreach and/or other publication made by the Church, including on the Church’s website or via social media. I grant to the Church any and all copyrights and/or other rights I may have in any media outreach and/or publication. The Church retains all intellectual property rights related to its programs, services, and/or ministries provided by the Church, including, without limitation, rights related to designs, logos, copyrights, materials, manuals, data, software, trade secrets, know-how, and/or other materials or technology developed by the Church and/or any Church volunteers or Church Representatives, including myself. I hereby assign to the Church, without further consideration and free and clear of any lien and/or encumbrance, my entire right, title, and interest to and in any and all designs, logos, copyrights, materials, manuals, data, software, trade secrets, know-how, and/or other materials and/or technology that I create, conceive, develop and/or reduce to practice as a result of the Church Activities and/or through the use of any of the Church’s materials, facilities, equipment or other intellectual property. The foregoing provisions will survive the termination or expiration of this Agreement.
12. Dispute Resolution.
I agree that I will immediately report any dispute or conflict that arises in connection with my role as a Church Volunteer or Church Member to an appropriate Church staff member. If I have a dispute or conflict with any of the Church Parties, I will report the dispute or conflict to the director of the program that I am participating in, if applicable, and an appropriate Church staff member. If the dispute or conflict is not resolved, I agree to escalate such issue in a reasonable fashion through the appropriate corporate governance committee or board, as appropriate. The Church is committed to transparency in connection with any dispute, conflict or allegation. I understand that I may be asked to submit a written summary of the conflict or dispute. I agree to cooperate with Church staff and to make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute or conflict before formal action is taken (including going through Biblical dispute resolution action steps as set forth in the Bible). I understand and agree that any dispute or cause of action that may arise under this Agreement will be governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina without regard to its conflict of laws principles. All claims and disputes (excluding claims for injunctive or other equitable relief as set forth below) in connection with my performance of the Church Activities that cannot be resolved informally shall be settled by Biblically-based meditation and, if necessary, legally binding arbitration in accordance with the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation of the Institute for Christian Conciliation (complete text of the Rules is available at iccpeace.com/rules or by contacting ICC PEACE at [email protected]
or calling 844-707-3233). Judgment upon an arbitration decision may be entered in any court otherwise having jurisdiction. The parties understand that these methods shall be the sole remedy for any controversy or claim arising out of the Agreement (excluding claims for injunctive or other equitable relief as set forth below) and expressly waive their right to file a lawsuit in any civil court against one another for such disputes, except to enforce an arbitration decision. All aspects of the mediation/arbitration proceeding, including but not limited to the award of the arbitrator and compliance therewith, shall be strictly confidential. This paragraph shall not prevent a party from submitting to a court of law any information necessary to enforce this arbitration provision, to enforce an arbitration award, or to seek injunctive or equitable relief. Any such action related to this Agreement shall be exclusively brought in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and the parties hereto submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts for such actions.
13. General Provisions. The term of this Agreement will begin upon the earlier of the (a) date of my signature/authorization/click-through, (b) date I become a Church Volunteer or Member, or (c) date I begin performing or participating in any Church Activities. This Agreement will continue to apply in the future until I am no longer a Church Member or otherwise engaging in any Church Activities, except for the provisions of this Agreement which by their terms survive the expiration or termination of this Agreement, which provisions shall continue in full force and effect. I acknowledge that I will not be deemed an employee, agent, subcontractor, or independent contractor of the Church and that I have no expectation of future employment or any other future dealings with the Church. I further acknowledge that I will not receive compensation, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, worker’s compensation, and/or any other employment benefit as part of my role as a Church Volunteer or Church Member. I acknowledge that a decision by the Church to not take action or enforce a provision of this Agreement does not waive the Church’s right to do so in the future. The Church reserves all remedies available to it, either in law or equity; and any rights available to the Church under this Agreement are in addition to all rights and remedies available under applicable law. This Agreement may only be amended or modified by a writing specifically referencing this Agreement which has been signed by an authorized representative of the Church. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be illegal, invalid, or unenforceable, that provision shall be severed or reformed to be enforceable, and the remaining provisions hereof and thereof shall remain in full force. I acknowledge that I have no authority to act, to enter into any contract, or to incur any liability on behalf of the Church. The Church shall not be in default by reason of any failure in performance of this Agreement, if such failure arises, directly and/or indirectly, out of causes reasonably beyond the direct control or foreseeability of the Church, including but not limited to, default by subcontractors and/or suppliers, actions or omissions by another Church Volunteer or Church Participant, inclement weather, acts of God or of a public enemy, health pandemics (including, but not limited to, COVID-19 and/or Other Illnesses), government responses to pandemics, acts of terrorism, United States or foreign governmental acts in either a sovereign and/or contractual capacity, labor, fire, road icing and/or inclement conditions, flood, epidemic, restrictions, strikes and/or freight embargoes, etc. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which together shall constitute one and the same instrument. PDF, click through, or electronic signature pages shall serve as original, effective signature pages.
By my authorization (and/or click through) below, I certify that I have carefully read this Agreement and agree to abide by its terms. I also represent that I understand the terms of this Agreement and that the Church has answered any questions I may have had regarding any of the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.
ADDITIONAL CONSENT AND RELEASE FOR MINORS
If I am accepting this Agreement on behalf of a child under the age of 18, I acknowledge that my child is a legal minor and has voluntarily applied to assist the Church. I acknowledge and agree on my child’s behalf to abide by all terms of this Agreement and I certify that I have carefully read this Agreement. I hereby consent and authorize my child to act as a volunteer for the Church.