Policy Regarding Church Records, Members and/or Related Information

With regard to official governmental requests for information or assistance, it is the intention of Community Mennonite Church both to submit to the authority of the state, on the one hand, while protecting the confidences and interests of this organization and our members, on the other.

I. Official requests for information; subpoenas

Any official request for information or records regarding CMC or its staff, members, or related extension programs (such as men’s groups, youth or young adults, women’s groups, Community Preschool, Patchwork Pantry, etc.) must be made in writing and CMC will respond as follows:

LEVEL ONE: The Church

CMC responses to official requests for information or records (such as a subpoena duces tecum) will be made by the pastoral team leader. If the pastoral team leader is not available, responses will be made by the chair of church council. If the chair of church council is not available, responses will be made by the chair of the Administration Commission. The Pastoral Church Relations Committee will be notified of the request and will usually provide counsel to the person making the response. If records are being reviewed or collected by a government official, at least two persons representing the interests of CMC must be present.

LEVEL TWO: Related Programs

If the request for information or records is directed toward one of the related extension programs, the response on behalf of that program will be made by the Executive Director or Leader of that program. If the Executive Director or Leader of the program is not available, the response will be made by the chair of the board of the program or by a designee of the Executive Director, Leader, or board of the program.

II. Search warrants

In the event that a government official arrives on the premises of CMC with a search warrant, CMC staff persons should comply with the search warrant after confirming:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Proof of authority
  3. Copy of the search warrant

Further, the CMC staff persons must immediately contact the pastoral team leader and the executive director of the affected programs, if any, or their any alternatively designated persons as outlined above. If records are being reviewed or collected by a government official, at least two persons representing the interests of CMC should be present; the CMC staff persons should request that the government official delay the search until the designated persons are present.

III. Emergency requests for information

In the event that a government official arrives on the premises of CMC without a search warrant but requesting certain information or records due to an emergency, CMC staff persons should not provide the information or records, but should request:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Proof of authority
  3. Details of the emergency
  4. Details of the request

The CMC staff person must immediately contact the pastoral team leader and the executive director of the affected programs, if any, or the alternatively designated persons as outlined above. Only the pastoral team leader and the executive director (or the alternatively designated persons as outlined above) may give permission to release information or records, even in an emergency.

Approved by Church Council, April 20, 2006