E. (05) Church Polity
*Item 05-01 On Amending G-12.0101, Synod Membership, to Make It Possible for a Synod to Enroll Specified Persons as Members of the Synod—From the Presbytery of Lake Huron.
[In response to Item 05-01, the assembly approved an alternate resolution. See p. 38.]
The Presbytery of Lake Huron respectfully overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-12.0101 be amended by inserting an “a.” at the beginning of the current paragraph and adding a new paragraph “b.” to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
a.   Synod is the unit of the church’s life and mission which consists of not fewer than three presbyteries within a specific geographic region. ... [The rest of the paragraph remains the same.]
b.   Each person elected an officer of the synod (other than moderator), a member of the council of the synod, a chairperson of a synod unit (committee, cabinet, trustees, etc.), the moderator of Presbyterian Women of the Synod and Presbyterian Men of the Synod, may be enrolled as a member of the synod for the term of office.
In response to Item 05-01, the 217th General Assembly (2006) approved the following resolution:
Direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-12.0101 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“G-12.0101
“Synod is the unit of the church’s life and mission which consists of not fewer than three presbyteries within a specific geographic region.
a.   When a synod meets it shall be composed of commissioners elected by the presbyteries. The synod shall determine, with the consent of a majority of its presbyteries, the basis of election and the ratio of commissioners to members represented in the presbyteries, as well as its method to fulfill the principles of participation and representation found in G-9.0104 and G-9.0105. The commissioners from each presbytery shall be divided equally between elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament. Each person elected moderator shall be enrolled as a member of the synod until a successor is elected and installed, and then shall be enrolled as a corresponding member of the synod.
b.   When a synod meets, in addition to commissioners elected by the presbyteries, the officers of the synod and other individuals as determined by the governing documents of the synod may be enrolled during their respective terms of office so long as the balance of elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament is maintained in the voting members of the body.
Rationale
The Book of Order permits presbyteries to enroll officers, committee chairpersons, and council members as members of the presbytery for the term of office. The Council of the Synod of the Covenant believes that the same privilege should be granted to synods. This would allow persons in the specified positions to have both voice and vote at meetings of the synod assembly, a privilege currently denied to persons in key and responsible positions. It would allow those persons and the groups they represent to have participation and representation in actions taken by the assembly.
The Presbytery of Lake Huron, a member presbytery of the Synod of the Covenant, concurs with the synod council. The synod council does not have the authority to submit an overture to the General Assembly and the synod assembly will not meet until after the meeting of the 217th General Assembly (2006). Therefore the Presbytery of Lake Huron submits this overture on its own behalf and with the concurrence of the synod council.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-01
Advice on Item 05-01—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) that it concurs with the intent of the overture, to permit the governing body to determine who will be enrolled for meetings of that body, but offers different language for the Stated Clerk to send to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative vote.
Shall G-12.0101 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“G-12.0101
"Synod is the unit of the church’s life and mission which consists of not fewer than three presbyteries within a specific geographic region.
   “a.   When a synod meets it shall be composed of commissioners elected by the presbyteries. The synod shall determine, with the consent of a majority of its presbyteries, the basis of election and the ratio of commissioners to members, represented in the presbyteries, as well as its method to fulfill the principles of participation and representation found in G-9.0104 and G-9.0105. The commissioners from each presbytery shall be divided equally between elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament. Each person elected moderator shall be enrolled as a member of the synod until a successor is elected and installed, and then shall be enrolled as a corresponding member.
   “b.   When a synod meets, in addition to commissioners elected by the presbyteries, the officers of the synod and other individuals as determined by the governing documents of the synod may be enrolled during their respective terms of office so long as the balance of elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament is maintained in the voting members of the body.
Rationale
There is a lack of consistency in the language used in the Book of Order to refer to membership in the four governing bodies.
•   Section G-10.0101 states “The session of a particular church consists of the pastor ... and the elders in active service. ...”
•   Section G-11.0101 states “Presbytery is a corporate expression of the church consisting of all the churches and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within a certain district. When a presbytery meets, each church shall be represented by an elder commissioned by the session ... .”
•   Section G-12.0101 states “Synod ... consists of not fewer than three presbyteries within a specific geographic region. When a synod meets it shall be composed of commissioners elected by the presbyteries. ...”
•   Section G-13.0101 states “The General Assembly is the highest governing body of this church .... When the General Assembly meets ... it shall consist of equal number of elders and ministers in the following proportions. ...”
Individual Presbyterians are members either of a particular church, or in the case of ministers of the Word and Sacrament, of a presbytery. The two upper governing bodies are not viewed as having individual members, but of receiving commissioners from the presbyteries to meetings of the synod or General Assembly.
Section G-12.0101, which this overture seeks to amend, was amended in 1985 to add the sentence that is now the last sentence in that section. “Each person elected moderator shall be enrolled as a member of the synod until a successor is elected and installed, and then shall be enrolled as a corresponding member of the synod.” The Advisory Committee on the Constitution believes that the proposed new sub-paragraph a. retains that option as well as broadening those whom a synod may choose to enroll in meetings. The governing documents may specify that one who has served as moderator as a corresponding member. The governing documents may specify whether those enrolled under sub-paragraph a. serve with or without vote.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises that if the General Assembly wishes to concur with the intent of the overture, that language which is more consistent with the language of G-13.0101 be approved to be submitted to the presbyteries.
The paragraph would have a sub-paragraph a., which consists of the balance of the current G-12.0101, except that the last sentence would be deleted. A new sub-paragraph b. would be added.
The advisory committee would also note that while the role of synods is delineated in Chapter Twelve, there is great diversity in how the sixteen synods have chosen to structure themselves. It is appropriate that each synod determine who may be enrolled in its meetings so long as it adheres to the principle that the presbyteries elect the commissioners on the basis set forth in paragraph a.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution believes that the wording proposed in this advisory opinion will permit more latitude to the synods in determining who participates in meetings of the synods.
*Item 05-02 On Amending the Book of Order by Adding a Reverse Concordance of Scriptural Allusions to the Index—From the Presbytery of Redstone.
[The assembly approved Item 05-02 with amendment. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of Redstone overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to [amend the Book of Order by adding [instruct the Office of the General Assembly to add] the following reverse concordance of Scriptural allusions (in the order of Scripture) to the Indexes in the Book of Order[, consulting with the appropriate General Assembly entities as necessary in the preparation of such concordance].
Reverse Concordance of Scriptural Allusions for the Form of Government
 
Psalm 2:6
G-1.0100a
Psalm 2:8
G-4.0203
Psalm 68:18
G-1.0100a
Jeremiah 3:15
G-6.0202a
Ezekiel 34:4
G-10.0102b
Ezekiel 43:11-12
G-4.0304
Ezekiel 43:11-12
G-15.0103
Daniel 7:14
G-1.0100a
Matthew 18:15-18
G-1.0308
Matthew 19:13-14
G-4.0103
Mark 4:24
G-14.0510e
Mark 10:14
G-4.0103
Luke 12:13-14
G-9.0102a
Luke 12:42
G-6.0202a
Luke 18:15-16
G-4.0103
John 18:36
G-9.0102a
Acts 1:25
G-14.0510d
Acts 2:39
G-4.0101
Acts 2:39, 41, 47
G-4.0103
Acts 2:41, 47
G-7.0102
Acts 2:41, 46-47
G-11.0101
Acts 2:46-47
G-5.0101a
Acts 4:4
G-11.0101
Acts 6
G-17.0101
Acts 6:12
G-6.0402
Acts 6:17
G-11.0101
Acts 6:2
G-9.0503a(4)
Acts 6:3, 5-6
G-6.0402
Acts 6:5-6
G-14.0208a
Acts 9:31
G-11.0101
Acts 11:18
G-11.0202
Acts 11:22, 30
G-11.0101
Acts 13:23
G-11.0103l
Acts 13:23
G-14.0510b
Acts 14:26-27
G-11.0202
Acts 15:1-32
G-1.0307
Acts 15:1-29
G-1.0400
Acts 15:25
G-6.0302
Acts 15:1-29
G-8.0101
Acts 15:22-24
G-9.0409a(2)
Acts 15:30
G-9.0503a(4)
Acts 15:2, 6
G-10.0102p(1)
Acts 15:4
G-11.0101
Acts 15:1-6
G-11.0101
Acts 15:28
G-11.0103n
Acts 15:10
G-11.0103t(3)
Acts 15:1-29
G-13.0101
Acts 15:5-6
G-16.0101
Acts 15:2-3, 4, 6
G-17.0101
Acts 16:4
G-1.0400
Acts 16:4
G-8.0101
Acts 16:4
G-13.0101
Acts 18:19, 24, 26
G-11.0101
Acts 19:18-20
G-11.0101
Acts 20:17
G-9.0503a(4)
Acts 20:17
G-10.0201
Acts 20:17-18
G-11.0101
Acts 20:25, 28-30, 36-37
G-11.0101
Acts 20:38
G-6.0202a
Acts 21:17-18, 20
G-11.0101
Acts 21:17-18
G-17.0101
Romans 12:7-8
G-6.0302
1 Corinthians 1:18
G-3.0200c
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
G-6.0202a
1 Corinthians 4:1
G-6.0202a
1 Corinthians 5:4-5
G-1.0308
1 Corinthians 5:4
G-10.0101
1 Corinthians 5:3
G-11.0103n
1 Corinthians 7:14
G-4.0103
1 Corinthians 9:7-15
G-14.0510a(3)
1 Corinthians 11:27-33
G-10.0102r
1 Corinthians 12:28
G-6.0301
1 Corinthians 14:26, 33, 40
G-11.0101
1 Corinthians 14:40
G-9.0301b
1 Corinthians 16:8-9, 19
G-11.0101
2 Corinthians 3:6
G-6.0202a
2 Corinthians 5:20
G-6.0202a
Galatians 1:21-22
G-4.0102
Galatians 2:4-5
G-11.0103t(3)
Galatians 2:9
G-14.0510d
Galatians 6:16
G-5.0202
Ephesians 1:20-21
G-1.0100a
Ephesians 1:22-23
G-1.0100a
Ephesians 2:20
G-14.0405b(2)
Ephesians 4:11-12
G-6.0103
Ephesians 4:16
G-3.0200c
Ephesians 6:18
G-11.0103g
Ephesians 6:20
G-6.0202a
Philippians 1:1
G-6.0103
Philippians 1:1
G-6.0401
Philippians 4:6
G-11.0103g
Colossians 1:18
G-3.0200c
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
G-10.0102
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
G-10.0102r
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
G-14.0510a(3)
2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15
G-10.0102r
1 Timothy 3:1
G-6.0103
1 Timothy 3:8-15
G-6.0401
1 Timothy 4:14
G-11.0103l
1 Timothy 4:14
G-14.0510b
1 Timothy 5:1, 17-19
G-6.0202a
1 Timothy 5:17
G-6.0103
1 Timothy 5:17
G-6.0302
1 Timothy 5:17
G-10.0102
2 Timothy 1:13
G-14.0405b(3)
2 Timothy 3:16
G-14.0405b(2)
2 Timothy 4:1-2
G-14.0510c
Titus 1:5
G-6.0202a
Hebrews 2:1
G-14.0510e
Hebrews 8:5
G-4.0103
Hebrews 8:5
G-5.0202
Hebrews 13:17
G-10.0102
Hebrews 13:17
G-14.0510a(2)
James 1:21
G-14.0510a(2)
1 Peter 5:1
G-6.0202a
1 Peter 5:5
G-14.0405b(5)
Revelation 2:1
G-4.0102
Revelation 2:16
G-11.0101
Revelation 5:9
G-4.0101
Revelation 7:9
G-4.0203
Rationale
The Book of Order currently contains a Scriptural Allusion Index for the Form of Government. This index lists Scripture references for various sections of the Form of Government and sequences the references according to the Form of Government chapters and sections within each chapter.
The proposed reverse concordance does not replace the Scriptural Allusion Index currently in the Book of Order. Rather, it complements this index by ordering it according to Scripture and cross-linking the Scripture references to the Book of Order section references. This reverse concordance will be helpful to pastors and others when they are preaching or teaching on a particular text and want to refer to related material in the Book of Order.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-02
Advice on Item 05-02—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-02 with the following amendment: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
"The Presbytery of Redstone overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to amend the Book of Order by adding instruct the Office of the General Assembly to add the following reverse concordance of Scriptural allusions (in the order of Scripture) to the Indexes of the Book of Order, consulting with the appropriate General Assembly entities as necessary in the preparation of such concordance:"
[Include listing of scriptural allusions.]
Rationale
The overture proposes to expand the Scriptural Allusion Index of the Book of Order by the addition of a reverse concordance of scriptural allusions. The index would make it possible to identify citations of Scripture in the Book of Order beginning with a particular passage of Scripture.
Neither the Index nor the Scriptural Allusion Index is a part of the Book of Order. Therefore, the proposed action would not require an amendment to the Constitution and would not require the assent of the presbyteries.
The language of the overture is clear, and the form of the proposed Reverse Concordance of Scriptural Allusions is consistent with the Scriptural Allusions Index already existing in the Book of Order; indeed, it is simply the reverse of that index.
*Item 05-03 On Amending G-13.0103r Regarding Authoritative Interpretations-- From the Presbytery of Mississippi.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-03. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of Mississippi overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the Book of Order to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-13.0103r be amended as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“r.   to provide authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order which shall be binding on the governing bodies of the church when rendered in accord with G-13.0112 and with the consent of a majority of all the presbyteries, or when rendered through a decision of the Permanent Judicial Commission in a remedial or disciplinary case. The most recent interpretation of a provision of the Book of Order shall be binding;”
Rationale
Interpretations of the Book of Order can easily have the effect of altering the meaning of the Constitution even while leaving its words unchanged. Although the proposed amendment would undoubtedly increase the number of General Assembly actions the presbyteries would be asked to approve, the amendment would nevertheless preserve the presbyteries’ constitutional right to have direct input into important changes to the way that they relate to one another. Any changes that are binding on the governing bodies of the church should have the approval of the presbyteries.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-03
Advice on Item 05-03—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to disapprove Item 05-03.
Rationale
General Assemblies have provided what we now call “authoritative interpretation” throughout most of our history since 1786. J. Aspinwll Hodge, in What Is Presbyterian Law as Defined by the Church Courts (Philadelphia, Pa.: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work, 1907), responding to the question, “What authority have the decisions of the Assembly?” answered citing the Presbyterian Digest, “Its replies to overtures are authoritative interpretations of the constitution [sic]” (p. 271).
There are three sources of constitutional authority for the PC(USA):
1.   The Constitution itself and amendments to it,
2.   General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission decisions interpreting the Constitution,
3.   Deliberate General Assembly interpretations adopted pursuant to process described in G-13.0112. Decisions by the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission and General Assembly interpretations under G-13.0112 together are referred to as “authoritative interpretations” (G-13.0103r).
Accordingly, the current processes of constitutional authority reflect a theology and polity that provide Presbyterians with a variety of opportunities to change the Constitution.
The effect of Item 05-03 would be to dramatically restrain and restrict the General Assembly from making responses in a timely manner to emerging questions and issues in the church. This is especially true in light of biennial General Assemblies. Moreover, the presbytery ratification process would further exacerbate the matter.
Item 05-03 is an awkward attempt to micromanage Presbyterian law and is an unwise approach to furthering the peace, unity, and purity of the church.
Item 05-04 was reassigned to Assembly Committee on Church Growth and Christian Education (12). It became Item 12-18. See pp. 1094.
Item 05-05 On Amending G-11.0503, Open Communication, to Include Elders Who Are Commissioned as Lay Pastors—From the Presbytery of the Western Reserve.
[The assembly approved Item 05-05. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of the Western Reserve respectfully overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-11.0503 be amended as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“The committee shall be open to communication at all times with the ministers, elders who are commissioned as lay pastors, elders who are members of sessions, sessions of the presbytery, and Certified Christian Educators within the bounds of the presbytery.”
Rationale
Elders who are commissioned as lay pastors act as the pastor of a congregation, with the responsibilities given by the presbytery. Churches and their pastors fall under the care and guidance of the committee on ministry. An elder serving on the session of a particular church served by a commissioned lay pastor has constitutional access to the committee on ministry. An elder who has been commissioned to serve as the pastor, but who is most likely not a member of the church, may or may not have been named moderator of the session, and may not be recognized as named under G-10.0101 as being included in the membership of the session, should be able to have the same access to the committee on ministry as a minister who serves similar functions in the particular church.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-05
Advice on Item 05-05—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-05.
Rationale
The overture seeks to add “elders who are commissioned as lay pastors” to the list of persons with whom a presbytery’s committee on ministry shall engage in open communication.
A committee on ministry is open to communication with ministers, elders, and certified Christian educators so that it can assist in providing congregations with good pastoral care and in seeing that those providing that pastoral care are properly treated by congregations. A commissioned lay pastor is granted a commission to “... lead worship and preach the gospel, watch over the people, and provide for their nurture and service ...” (Book of Order, G-14.0801a). Because these functions are akin to the services provided by pastors, it would be appropriate for the committee on ministry to be in a similar relationship to both pastors and commissioned lay pastors. In practice many committees on ministry are already overseeing the work of commissioned lay pastors. It would be appropriate to amend the Book of Order to give formal recognition to this practice.
*Item 05-06 On Amending G-10.0302a(2)(c), “When Active Members Move” to Include Provision for College Students and Military Personnel—From the Presbytery of San Francisco.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-06 with comment. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of San Francisco overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to do the following:
Direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-10.0302a(2)(c) be amended as follows? [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“(c)   When a member moves or is temporarily relocated for an extended period of time and can no longer be active in the work and worship of the church of membership, it shall be that person’s duty to become an active member of a church in the community where that person is living. The session of the church of membership shall inform the person of this duty as soon as practicable and shall notify a church in the new community and request it to provide pastoral care with a view to membership. In addition, notice shall be sent to either the presbytery office or to the stated clerk of the presbytery, or both. In the case of an extended temporary residence, such as for military personnel or college students, the member shall be encouraged to affiliate with a congregation, military chapel, or campus ministry, and notification of their arrival shall be sent to the area congregations, military chapels, and/or campus ministries or college chaplains.
Comment: Pastors and clerks of session are reminded of the provisions in G-10.0302a(2)(c) and are strongly encouraged to communicate with campus ministers and military chaplains when college students and military personnel from their congregations relocate for an extended period of time.
Rationale
The Worship Leader: “Do you, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, promise to guide and nurture, N. and N., by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging this person to know and follow Christ and to be a faithful member of his church.”
The People respond: “We do.” (From The Sacrament of Baptism, Book of Common Worship, Westminster/John Knox Press)
For young adult members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations, going away to college or to service in the nation’s military is the first leg of a journey that will, almost certainly, lead them farther and farther away from their “home” church in more directions than just geographic. Unfortunately this departure is the point where the church loses its connection with persons it has guided and nurtured, educated and loved though their childhood and adolescence. It is, for all practical and relational purposes, the end of the illustrative words and good deeds, even loving and prayerful encouragement of the military and college bound young adult members of the congregation.
The means to notify military chaplaincies and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) collegiate ministries are readily available to congregations. The Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel (http://www.pccmp.org/) and the General Assembly Collegiate Ministries Office (http://www.pcusa.org/collegiate/) are both capable of receiving and redirecting this information. Our denomination has related ministries serving on more than 1,150 colleges and universities in all fifty states. For most of these ministries, their staff have no way of knowing that a member of a PC(USA) congregation is on campus. The best way they can know this is if a referral notice arrives in their email box. Our military chaplains, although serving often in more mobile and complex settings than a college campus, welcome the notification of a church member’s presence on their base of operations.
This overture will go a long way to keeping touch with the youth of our church as they make that critical transition into the academic and career world of the young adult.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-06
Advice on Item 05-06—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to disapprove Item 05-06, on the grounds that the actions envisioned by the overture are already permitted by the existing provisions of G-10.0302a(2)(b) and (c).
Item 05-07 On Amending G-8.0201, “Property Is Held in Trust”—From the Presbytery of Stockton.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-07. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of Stockton overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendments to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
1.   Shall G-8.0201 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“All property held by or for a particular church, a presbytery, a synod, the General Assembly, or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), whether legal title is lodged in a corporation, a trustee or trustees, or an unincorporated association, and whether the property is used in programs of a particular church or of a more inclusive governing body or retained for the production of income, is held in trust nevertheless for the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) no matter how title is held or by whom, is the sole property of that church, except that the amount of any financial assistance provided by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to that church to purchase, improve, or repair that property, is a lien on that property for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
2.   Shall G-8.0300 and G-8.0301 be deleted and “G-8.0400-.0701” be re-numbered as “G-8.0300-.0601:
G-8.0300 3. Property Used Contrary to Constitution
G-8.0301 Property Used Contrary to Constitution
Whenever property of, or held for, a particular church of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ceases to be used by that church as a particular church of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in accordance with this Constitution, such property shall be held, used, applied, transferred, or sold as provided by the presbytery.
3.   Shall current G-8.0401 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“Whenever a particular church is formally dissolved by the presbytery, or has become extinct by reason of the dispersal of its members, the abandonment of its work, or other cause and no longer exists as a church body, such property as it may have shall be held, used, and applied for such uses, purposes, and trusts as the presbytery may direct, limit, and appoint, or such property may be sold or disposed of as the presbytery may direct, in conformity with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
4.   Shall current G-8.0501 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
So long as a particular church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), it shall not sell, mortgage, or otherwise encumber any of its real property and it shall not acquire real property subject to an encumbrance or condition without the written permission of the presbytery transmitted through the session of the particular church.”
5.   Shall current G-8.0502 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
So long as a particular church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), it shall not lease its real property used for purposes of worship, or lease for more than five years any of its other real property, without the written permission of the presbytery transmitted through the session of the particular church.”
6.   Shall current G-8.0601 be amended to read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“The relationship to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of a particular church can be severed only by either constitutiona1 action on the part of the presbytery. (G-11.0103i), or by the vote of sixty (60) percent of the active membership of that particular church. If there is a schism within the membership of a particular church and the presbytery is unable to effect a reconciliation or a division into separate churches within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the presbytery shall determine if one of the factions is entitled to the property because it is identified by the presbytery as the true church within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This determination does not depend upon which faction received the majority vote within the particular church at the time of the schism the sixty (60) percent vote of the active membership within that particular church shall determine what shall be done with that church’s property not withstanding the provisions of G-11.O1O3i or any other provision in the Book of Order.”
Rationale
As Chapter VIII of the Book of Order now reads, if a congregation has any irreconcilable theological differences with the actions of the leadership of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [PC(USA)], or to any future amendments to the Book of Order, that congregation has only two options: it can stay in the PC(USA) in spite of those irreconcilable differences, or it can separate from the PC(USA) and forfeit all of its assets to the PC(USA).
There is no biblical or moral basis why a congregation’s property should be controlled by or forfeited to the PC(USA) upon severance by that congregation from the PC(USA), except only to the extent the PC(USA) has expended funds in behalf of such church to acquire, improve, or repair such property. Then PC(USA) should have the limited right to reimbursement for those funds.
No church should have to forfeit its assets to uphold its biblical beliefs. Amending Chapter VIII will eliminate these forfeiture clauses in the Book of Order and protect the assets of each congregation: the body of Christ that paid for those assets.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-07
Advice on Item 05-07—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to disapprove Item 05-07.
Rationale
This overture would change the specific character of Chapter VIII of the Form of Government, and represents a Congregationalist rather than Presbyterian understanding of the nature of church property.
The current provision of Chapter VIII of the Form of Government codifies a Presbyterian understanding of property ownership that prior to its adoption was settled in Presbyterian polity. Section G-8.0201 was only added as a constitutional provision to avoid confusion in the civil courts as to the status of church property.
The origins of Chapter VIII of the Form of Government are found in both the Presbyterian Church in the United States (1981, pp. 224-25, 229-43) and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1980, pp. 99-105). Both denominations shared a long and common history of understanding a congregation’s property to be held in trust for the whole church. This history is reflected in a number of judicial decisions, all the way to the United States Supreme Court, most notable in an 1872 case, Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. (13 Wall) 679 (1872). However, for the protection of Presbyterian principles it became clear that it was necessary for the denominations to put in place a provision in its constitutional documents that which was implied in the earlier precedents, that is, that property is indeed held in trust for the benefit of the whole church. Both predecessor denominations engaged in long and careful studies of the history of these judicial decisions in the context of historic Presbyterian principles in adopting the antecedents to G-8.0201.
This necessity for adoption of G-8.0201 arose from court decisions that changed the permissible role of courts in determining disputes as to church property. Until a few years before the adoption of G-8.0201, courts determining property disputes sought to determine from the doctrinal documents of a denomination whether the property of local congregations was held in trust for the larger church (this was referred to as the “implied trust” analysis). However, in 1979, the United States Supreme Court found that this type of inquiry into the doctrine of a denomination was an improper intrusion into the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Accordingly, the courts were required to determine property disputes without seeking to interpret a denomination’s doctrine (the so-called neutral principles of law analysis). For Presbyterians, this change in the legal framework the civil courts applied suggested specific reference in property matters in a denomination’s constitutional documents was prudent. Section G-8.0201 provides that explicit understanding of the long held Presbyterian understanding. As such, it was not a change in our Presbyterian polity, but rather an attempt to protect the denomination’s polity against changes in the permissible framework of legal analysis applied by the civil courts.
Chapter VIII gives broad discretion to the presbytery in the resolution of property disputes. These provisions, which allow the presbytery to exercise its discretion in a property dispute in light of the mission of the Gospel within its bounds, provide a sound foundation for resolution of property disputes and should not be abandoned.
COGA COMMENT ON ITEM 05-07
Comment on Item 05-07—From the Office of the General Assembly.
Item 05-07 seeks to change the Book or Order regarding ownership of church property. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) supports the comment and advice of the Advisory Committee on the Constitution to disapprove this overture.
The COGA is a committee of fifteen persons, elected by the General Assembly from across the church, made up of elders and ministers who supervise the work of the Office of the General Assembly.
*Item 05-08 On Amending G-13.0103p and q, Responsibilities of the General Assembly—From the Presbytery of Nevada.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-08. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of Nevada overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendments to the Book of Order to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
1.   Shall G-13.0103p be amended as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“p.   to warn or bear witness against error in doctrine or immorality in practice in or outside the church; these warnings of or witnessing against errors in doctrine or immorality in practice in or outside the church must be supported by and referenced from the Bible and/or the church’s Constitution;”
2.   Shall G-13.0103q be amended as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“q.   to decide controversies brought before it and to give advice and instruction in cases submitted to it, in conformity with the Constitution; all decisions made to resolve controversies and the advice and instruction given in cases submitted to it shall not only conform to the Constitution, but shall be based upon and referenced from the Bible and/or the Constitution;”
Rationale
When any General Assembly passes a resolution or policy statement, that action legally represents that specific General Assembly, and not the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a whole. The perception of the media and many congregations in our faith, however, is that these actions and statements are the “official” stance of all Presbyterians. It is critical therefore, that the General Assembly and their advisory committees reference appropriate Scripture and/or constitutional statements of faith (which form the foundation of our members’ common beliefs) to justify their positions before taking any actions or considering any resolutions that will be perceived as representing our denomination. “. . . Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak” (Ex. 4:11-12).
As human beings, it is very easy to become caught up in the emotions of a given issue without properly reviewing that issue against the foundations of our Faith, the Holy Bible, and our Constitution. Thus, a General Assembly may be unduly influenced by political ideology if the foundations of our faith are not considered.
The 216th General Assembly (2004) is a specific case in point. In developing the rationale for condemning the war in Iraq as “illegal and immoral,” politicians and the United Nations were citied as sources supporting the resolution. “Should the wise answer with windy knowledge ... Should they argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which they can do no good? ... and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you” (Job 15:26). In no instance did the written material refer to the Holy Bible, the Book of Order or The Book of Confessions. This is not only wrong, but it is an unhealthy precedent to rely on secular language and politics to guide how a religious denomination sees an issue instead of using the very foundations of our belief system as our moral guide. “. . . Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21).
Our great country was modeled in its form of government with similarities to the Presbyterian church’s government, but there are significant differences. Our nation’s government is a republic in which elected legislators represent the will of their constituents, and laws passed are subject to the review and judgment of the courts as to their compliance with our nation’s constitution. However, in our PC(USA) governmental structure, church members do not elect the General Assembly commissioners, the commissioners are not bound to make decisions based on the will of church members, and there is no “judicial system” in place to judge the compliance of any General Assembly decision, action, or policy statement with the foundations of our common faith.
Our governmental system provides that a majority of commissioners at a General Assembly (325 in 2004, less than 1 percent of our total membership that is in excess of 2 million) can pass resolutions that the media perceive as “the church,” when in fact the majority of congregational members do not agree.
The 216th General Assembly (2004), for example, declared that the war in Iraq was “illegal and immoral.” A survey conducted shortly thereafter found that 65 percent of pastors and 72 percent of lay members did not agree with the resolution.
We understand that commissioners are not bound by the desires of the congregations, but are to pray and listen for the “mind of Christ” to direct them. If the actions of the General Assembly reflect the “mind of Christ,” it should be evident in the language used in the statements and resolutions issued by the General Assembly. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient; equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Congregations have no way to respond to General Assembly resolutions or actions, and without reference to the foundations of our faith, they don’t even have a way to relate these decisions to our common faith. By requiring the Bible, and/or The Book of Confessions, and/or the Book of Order to be cited as the basis for General Assembly decisions and statements, negative impact and disagreement in our congregations would be minimized. Debates and contradictions will never be eliminated because of the different interpretations of the books of our faith, but the focus of our denomination’s positions on controversial national and international issues is now based on our own moral ground, reducing the secular political influences in the debates, and promoting more peace and harmony in this body of Christ. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? ... For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor. 1:19-20, 25).
Christ is in all aspects of the world and is in all events. We understand that it is appropriate to research all types of data, opinions, and related material as resolutions are considered. The conclusion however must be based on all three of the most important books to our denomination: the Holy Bible, the Book of Order, and The Book of Confessions. Political opinions, unless supported by one or more of these books, should not be considered in any rationale for a resolution or recommendation.
Applicability
This overture applies to all matters brought before the General Assembly from all sources, including but not limited to
--advisory committees, such as the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns;
--General Assembly Council committees;
--General Assembly committees, such as the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee;
--task forces;
--any office of PC(USA), such as the Washington Office and the Presbyterian United Nations Office;
--officers of the General Assembly, such as the Moderator of the General Assembly and the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly;
--any other source of matters to be considered by the General Assembly.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-08
Advice on Item 05-08—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises that 217th General Assembly (2006) disapprove Item 05-08.
Rationale
This overture would add a requirement that all General Assembly actions under G-13.0103p and q contain explicit reference to biblical texts or constitutional provisions. The amendment would be unique to two of the numerous responsibilities of the General Assembly, and would apply solely to the General Assembly, and not to other governing bodies.
All General Assembly and other governing body actions are judged by their faithfulness to Scripture and the confessions. However, to make the changes suggested would not ensure greater adherence to Scripture and the Constitution, but rather would simply elevate form above substance in the discussion of General Assembly actions under G-13.0103p and q.1
ACSWP ADVICE AND COUNSEL ON ITEM 05-08
Advice and Counsel on Item 05-08From the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)
Item 05-08 from the Presbytery of Nevada concerns amending Form of Government G-13.0103 to require biblical texts for all warnings against immorality.
The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) advises that Item 05-08 be disapproved with comment:
“The 205th General Assembly has already adopted a policy in 1993 entitled Why and How the Church Makes A Social Policy Witness that specifically requires all policy-making task groups and committees to:
“listen to the voices of the biblical text;
"the wisdom of theological discourse;
“the guidance of the Reformed confessions;
and further requires that policy-making task forces shall cause statements to be written that:
“a.    Explicates its recommended social witness policy based upon biblical scholarship;
“b.    Defines its recommended social witness policy in light of theological reflection;
“c.    Is consistent with the confessions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). [See Why and How The Church Makes A Social Policy Witness, 1993, page 4.]”
The church is faithfully served by seeking to understand and internalize the major focus of Scripture on the Living Word—Jesus Christ—and the witness of God through Christ for the life of discipleship in the church and society, in keeping with the Reformed tradition as expressed especially in the twentieth century confessions, the Theological Declaration of Barmen, and the Confession of 1967. Christ calls us to reconciliation, discipleship and witness in the world.
The Bible is to be interpreted in light of its witness to God’s work of reconciliation in Christ. The Scriptures, given under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are nevertheless the words of men, conditioned by the language, thought forms, and literary fashions of the places and times at which they were written. They reflect views of life, history, and the cosmos which were then current. The church, therefore, has an obligation to approach the Scriptures with literary and historical understanding. ... (The Book of Confessions, Section C., 2. The Bible, 9.29)
Sessions are encouraged to study the General Assembly policy document, Why and How the Church Makes a Social Policy Witness, which outlines the fidelity of the church to Scripture as the base for social policy. The biblical sections are found near the beginning in most resolutions and policy documents of the assembly; in some cases biblical themes are already included in the titles of reports, such as “Lazarus at the Gate,” “Far from the Song of Songs,” “Turn Mourning into Dancing,” etc. Also recommended for use by sessions is the book by former General Assembly Moderator, Jack Rogers, Presbyterian Understanding and the Use of Holy Scripture, and Using the Bible: Presbyterian Statements on Biblical Authority and Interpretation from the Office of Theology and Worship.
Endnote
1.   The example given by the overturethe action of the 216th General Assembly (2004) regarding the United States war in Iraqis a case in point of the difficulty of applying the proposed amendments. Proponents of the report could well point to the following language from the Confession of 1967 to support the report: “God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ is the ground of the peace, justice, and freedom among nations which all powers of government are called to serve and defend. The church, in its own life, is called to practice the forgiveness of enemies and to commend to the nations as practical politics the search for cooperation and peace. This search requires that the nations pursue fresh and responsible relations across every line of conflict, even at risk to national security, to reduce areas of strife and to broaden international understanding. ...” (The Book of Confessions, 9.45). Alternatively, the report could point to W-7.4003 or to Matthew 5:9 to support its position. Those who disagree with the report may dispute the applicability of any these references to the report, but this disagreement is one of interpretation of the scriptural or constitutional reference and the current facts, not of the existence of the scriptural or constitutional reference.
*Item 05-09 On Amending G-14.0605 Regarding Commissioned Lay Pastor Emeritus or Emerita—From the Presbytery of the Noroeste.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-09. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of the Noroeste respectfully overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall the first sentence of G-14.0605 be amended as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with a strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
When any pastor or associate pastor or any commissioned lay pastor retires, and the congregation is moved by affection and gratitude to continue an association in an honorary relationship, it may, at a regularly called congregational meeting, elect him or her the pastor or associate pastor as pastor emeritus or emerita, and the commissioned lay pastor emeritus or emerita, with or without honorarium, but with no pastoral authority or duty. ...”
Rationale
There are commissioned lay pastors who for many years have faithfully served small congregations.
There is provision in the Book of Order for honoring a pastor or associate pastor as pastor emeritus or emerita but no such provision for a commissioned lay pastor.
This creates a seeming distinction between large congregations with greater resources and small congregations with lesser resources and which seemingly disenfranchises the latter from bestowing an honor that is reserved to the former all of which is not consistent with the principles of justice and inclusiveness enshrined in the Book of Order.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution established a principle that what is not prohibited in the Book of Order is permitted, by opining in its response to Overture 89-17 “that nothing in the Book of Order prevents a congregation moved by affection and gratitude from electing officers that it wishes to honor emeritus or emerita. Such title would have no effect on the ability of those elected to represent the church in higher courts and would not deprive them of their perpetual office.”
The Presbytery of the Noroeste has interpreted G-14.0605 as not forbidding a commissioned lay pastor from being honored as a lay pastor emeritus or emerita and has authorized the Iglesia Presbiteriana Corrales in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to honor, upon his retirement, its commissioned lay pastor of eleven years with the title of pastor laico emérito (lay pastor emeritus).
The Presbytery of the Noroeste believes there is a substantial distinction between a lay pastor emeritus or emerita and an elder officer emeritus or emerita and that presbytery must still be consulted “concerning the wisdom of this relationship.”
The Presbytery of the Noroeste has noted (1) that an associate pastor may be honored as pastor emeritus or emerita, (2) that the title “commissioned lay pastor emeritus or emerita” is too long and there is no longer commission in effect, and (3) that the church may want to maintain the distinction between ministers and elders, although for the congregation the commissioned lay pastor is its pastor.
The Presbytery of the Noroeste wishes all small congregations and all presbyteries to be aware that faithful commissioned lay pastors may be honored with an emeritus or emerita status.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-09
Advice on Item 05-09—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to disapprove Item 05-09.
Rationale
The Presbytery of the Noroeste has overtured the 217th General Assembly (2006) to amend the first sentence of G-14.0605 by adding “commissioned lay pastor,” so that it reads: “When any pastor or associate pastor or any commissioned lay pastor retires, and the congregation is moved by affection and gratitude to continue an association in an honorary relationship, it may, at a regularly called congregational meeting, elect him or her the pastor or associate pastor as pastor emeritus or emerita, and the commissioned lay pastor emeritus or emerita, with or without honorarium, but with no pastoral authority or duty.”
The status of pastor emeritus or emerita was created as a way for a congregation, moved by affection, to honor a retired pastor who has served that congregation. The status is never to be conferred until after the dissolution of the pastoral relationship. The decision to elect one as pastor emeritus or emerita is made by the congregation and approved by the presbytery.
In 1989 the General Assembly was asked to amend the Book of Order to recognize a status of elder emeritus or emerita. Upon the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Constitution, the General Assembly declined to propose such an amendment. (Minutes, 1989, Part I, p. 594). The General Assembly went on to say that there was nothing in the Book of Order to prevent a congregation from recognizing and honoring an elder, but that it was inadvisable to amend the Book of Order for that purpose.
A commissioned lay pastor is not installed in a call to a congregation. He or she is an elder who is commissioned to serve a particular congregation for a specific time period. Once that service is ended the commission ends and the authority to perform pastoral functions ceases. The commissioned lay pastor, unlike the pastor or associate pastor, has no continuing membership within presbytery. The termination of the commission is not necessarily a retirement from active service in the church. Once the commission terminates, the person is simply an elder who is available for further commissioning whenever the need arises.
It would be inadvisable to amend the Book of Order as requested by the Presbytery of the Noroeste because (1) the section that the overture proposes to amend is the wrong section. Matters relating to commissioned lay pastors are set forth in G-14.0800; (2) the status of a pastor or associate pastor emeritus or emerita is limited to those who have been granted the status of Honorably Retired. A commissioned lay pastor is an elder who is granted a local commission by the presbytery to serve a particular church for a specified period of time. When the commission of a commissioned lay pastor ends that person is not retiring, but is returning to the status of an elder who is available to be commissioned by the presbytery to serve another particular church. As with the situation of elders, there is nothing in the Book of Order that would prevent a congregation from recognizing and honoring an elder who had served as a commissioned lay pastor, but it would be inadvisable to amend the Book of Order to attempt to create an equivalency with retired pastors and associate pastors, which does not in fact exist.
*Item 05-10 On Amending G-14.0502a Regarding Election of a Pastor—From the Presbytery of Cimarron.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-10. See pp. 38-39.]
The Presbytery of Cimarron respectfully overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall the first sentence of G-14.0502a be amended as follows: [Text to be inserted is shown as italic.]
“a.   When a church is without a pastor, or after the effective date of the dissolution of the pastoral relationship is announced, the congregation shall, with the guidance and permission of the committee on ministry, G-11.0502d, proceed to elect a pastor in the following manner.”
Rationale
Our current call process is broken in as much as it only allows congregations to begin the call process after the effective date of dissolution has passed. Presbyteries are skirting this portion of the Book of Order in various ways, the most common of which is by allowing churches to begin the search for a co-pastor when in fact there is no intention of establishing or maintaining a co-pastor model of ministry.
When taken to the extreme, the incoming co-pastor may only serve in that capacity for one day, becoming pastor upon the almost immediate exit or retirement of the current pastor. This is not only deceptive, but also cheapens the true co-pastor model.
This amendment would accomplish several things. It would level the playing field for all sizes of congregations. It would prevent churches from losing momentum resulting from long vacancies. This amendment would render unnecessary the “technical duplicity” of current practice.
It should be noted and highlighted that this would not bind a particular presbytery. A particular congregation could only proceed with the guidance and permission of the committee on ministry of that presbytery (G-14.0502 and G-11.0502d). It would not shortcut or bypass a particular presbytery’s requirements for mission studies and other work prior to allowing the congregation to proceed with a search.
For these reasons we urge prayerful consideration of this overture.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-10
Advice on Item 05-10—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to disapprove Item 05-10.
Rationale
Item 05-10 from the Presbytery of Cimarron would amend G-14.0502 to provide for an additional starting point for the process of congregational election of a pastor. The overture would allow for that process to begin “after the effective date of the dissolution of the pastoral relationship is announced.”
The matter of when a pastoral search process may begin has been addressed most recently by the 207th General Assembly (1995) and before that by the 202nd General Assembly (1990). The current language was adopted in 1990.
At that time, the assembly responded to concerns that the difficulty of the committee on ministry to work effectively with a congregation from the outset of the search process was heightened when the retiring or departing pastor remained a presence in the congregation. It further responded to concerns that the presence of the retiring or departing pastor during any portion of the search process created awkwardness for the departing pastor, the pastor nominating committee, and the congregation. Accordingly, the General Assembly proposed amendments, which the presbyteries ratified, to establish the current language, which clearly set the beginning of the search process to follow the effective date of the dissolution of the pastoral relationship with the departing or retiring pastor (Minutes, 1990, Part I, p. 231).
Item 05-10, if approved, would reintroduce the elements of difficulty and awkwardness that the 202nd General Assembly (1990) and the presbyteries sought to remove when they adopted the current language.
If the overture were to be approved, it still would not be proper to elect a pastor nominating committee until the presbytery has approved the dissolution of the existing pastoral relationship.
$Item 05-11 Revision to Chapter XIV of the Form of Government--Office of the General Assembly
[The assembly approved Item 05-11 as amended. See pp. 38-39.]
The Office of the General Assembly recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) answer Item 04-12 (from the 216th General Assembly (2004)) by approval of the following actions:
1.   That, in consultation with the General Assembly Nominating Committee, the Moderators of the 215th, the 216th, and the 217th General Assemblies (2003, 2004, 2006) appoint a Form of Government Task Force (hereafter FOG Task Force) composed of nine members including at least one clerk of session, one session moderator, one new immigrant pastor, one executive/general presbyter, one stated clerk, one committee on preparation for ministry member/staff, one committee on ministry member/staff, and one member of the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
a.   That the 217th General Assembly (2006) instruct the FOG Task Force to undertake a revision of the Form of Government in light of the foci and priorities described in (1)–(5) below and bring it back to the 218th General Assembly (2008).
(1)   The new Form of Government shall preserve our foundational polity (perhaps most concisely laid out in the first four chapters of the current Form of Government).
(2)   The focus of the Form of Government shall be on providing leadership for local congregations as missional communities.
(3)   The presbytery shall continue as the central governmental unit, as it has been throughout most of our history. The Form of Government shall provide sufficient authority and flexibility to allow the presbytery to assist congregations in addressing the changing cultural, economic, and societal challenges in our new millennial world. The FOG Task Force shall take notice of and address the institutional and structural impediments that currently cripple so very many of our presbyteries.
(4)   The new Form of Government shall provide flexibility at all levels, granting authority while permitting governing bodies to develop the structures to carry out their respective missions.
(5)   The FOG Task Force shall be guided by the principles proposed by Recommendations 14 from the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church, using those principles as a guide for its own processes and deliberations. They shall incorporate this new Presbyterian ethos into the Form of Government so that it truly functions as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s guidebook for mission.1
[(6)   The Form of Government Task Force will release the proposed revision of the Form of Government, including advisory handbooks, by September 1, 2007.]
b.   As the FOG Task Force considers its proposals of the Form of Government, G-6.0106b and G-8.0201 shall be excluded from this process. The 217th General Assembly (2006) has overtures proposing changes in both provisions; such proposals should be considered on their own merits outside of this constitutional renewal project. Both provisions have the capacity to obfuscate the constitutional renewal efforts.
[Financial Implications: (2006): ($15,200; (2007): $22,950; (2008): $0 (Designated OGA)]
2.   That the 217th General Assembly (2006) direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed revision of Chapter 14 of the Form of Government (Amendments A) to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes. If the revision is approved, the Stated Clerk shall be authorized to make editorial changes as may be needed to conform other sections of the Book of Order (including internal cross-references) to the changes and report such changes to the 218th General Assembly (2008).
3.   That the 217th General Assembly (2006) direct the Stated Clerk to send the following six additional separate amendment possibilities (Amendments B) to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes, and that the Stated Clerk be authorized, for any of these amendments that may be approved, to make editorial changes as may be needed to conform other sections of the Book of Order (including internal cross-references) to the changes and report such changes to the 218th General Assembly (2008).
Summary for Response to Referral of Item 04-12
These recommendations are in response to the following: 2004 Referral: Item 04-12 On Undertaking a Cycle of Consultation Regarding the Form of GovernmentOffice of the General Assembly (Minutes, 2004, Part I, p. 86).
A.   This is the response of the Office of the General Assembly to a referral from the 216th General Assembly (2004), which directed consultation across the denomination regarding interest in a revised Form of Government. This comes after more than fifteen years of requests to substantively revise this part of the Book of Order (see Appendix A). The OGA has widely consulted with many groups in the church and offers this response:
1.   A request that a task force be appointed to draft a proposal for a new simplified Form of Government to be brought to the 218th General Assembly (2008).
2.   A proposal for immediate simplification of current Chapter 14 of our Form of Government to provide more flexibility to presbyteries in candidacy and minister placements.
3.   A proposal for six other amendments to Chapter 14 to be sent, each to be voted upon separately, in response to requests from around the denomination.
B.   The parts that make up the response are the following:
1.   Proposed Action for the 217th General Assembly (2006) which includes:
a.   Recommendation to create the FOG Task Force
b.   Recommendation for changes to Chapter 14 gives the recommendations Office of the General Assembly (OGA) makes to the General Assembly to be acted on and the rationale for those recommendations; and includes:
2.   Amendments A, contains
a.   Amendment A.1. - the changed wording of Chapter 14, (this revision includes a reordering and a simplifying of the current Chapter 14 that does not intend to introduce new or different provisions or practice), and
b.   Amendments A.2. - the accompanying amendments to other chapters.
3.   Amendments B.1. - 6. are individual amendments that will be voted on separately; each contains a short rationale explaining why it is included. They reflect strong desires of many Presbyterians with whom OGA consulted in preparing this response.
4.   Table of Contents and Cross-Reference document in new Chapter 14 order, to aid in finding the location of all Chapter 14 paragraphs.
5.   Cross-Reference document in current Chapter 14 order, to aid in finding the location of all Chapter 14 paragraphs.
6.   Rationale for this response, including Appendix A, which gives the background of fifteen years of requests for change to the Form of Government
C.   What is different in the revised Chapter 14?
1.   Slightly different numbering of paragraphs.
2.   Creation of advisory handbooks; some material will be moved into such handbooks.
3.   Condenses inquiry and candidacy processes and moves most details to a handbook.
4.   Collapses pastoral positionsinstalled (permanent or designated) and temporary.
5.   Combines certified Christian educators and other certified persons into one section.
6.   Moves sections on dissolution of relationship for elders and deacons and release from ordained office to Chapter 6.
7.   Moves paragraph on validated ministry to Chapter 11 with similar subject matter.
Rationale
The 216th General Assembly (2004) directed the Office of the General Assembly “[t]o undertake an extensive cycle of consultation with various groups and constituencies within the PC(USA), including but not limited to: governing bodies (sessions, presbyteries, synods), governing body staff, the Advisory Committee on the Constitution, racial ethnic caucuses, youth, women, pastors, new immigrant leaders, and other person or groups interested in the role of the Form of Government in the mission and ministry of the PC(USA)” and “[t]o bring recommendations to the 217th General Assembly (2006)” (Minutes, 2004, Part I, p. 86). This report is the response of the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) to that referral.
The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has always been a fluid document, being the living reminder of “‘Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda,’ that is, ‘The church reformed, always reforming,’ according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit.”2 Virtually every twenty-five years since Presbyterianism came to this continent, the church has “reformed” its Form of Government, the last substantive reformation of it occurring at Reunion in 1983. Over this past decade, the church has consistently called for a new or different Form of Government.3
In 1993, the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church and the Practice of Governance recommended to the 205th General Assembly (1993) that the Book of Order be revised. This resulted in the amendment of G-9.0103 granting powers not mentioned in the Constitution to be reserved to the presbyteries. The assembly also referred further discussion and review to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (ACC).
Every year from 1993 to 2002, the General Assembly has dealt with business that asked for, referred for more study, or reported on major proposed changes in the Form of Government (for details see Appendix A). The 213th General Assembly (2001) sent to the presbyteries as Amendment 01-H a recommended revision of Chapter 14 in its entirety. Many people maintain that the amendment was defeated because of two details, one which moved the ordination questions into the Directory for Worship, and one which allowed interim pastors to be called to installed positions in limited circumstances.
The Presbytery of St. Augustine overtured the 214th General Assembly (2002) (Overture 02-29) to send a second version of the Chapter 14 revision back to the presbyteries, but without the two offending substantive changes. This recommendation was sent to the OGA for revision, to be reported back to the 217th General Assembly (2006). The OGA presented an interim report to the 216th General Assembly (2004).
During the time since the 216th General Assembly (2004), the OGA, with the able guidance of the Office of Research Services, has undertaken an extensive cycle of information gathering. We have hosted more than thirty focus groups that have been made up of a wide range of participants. More than half of the governing body staff (executive presbyters, stated clerks, associate executives) have participated. A diverse group of Presbyterians involved in new immigrant and racial ethnic ministries (pastors, elders, staff members) took part as well. We spoke with members of a variety of presbytery committees (COMs, CPMs, councils) and the elected members of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly. In addition, we utilized research survey instruments.
In conducting these consultations, we found an almost universal desire for change in our Form of Government. The great majority of responders hoped that a revision would provide more flexibility in favor of governing bodies and of presbyteries in particular. There was not universal agreement on what else ought to be changed, but two clearly identifiable preferences emerged.
1.   There was great interest in an immediate “fix,” namely revising Chapter 14 of the Form of Government to make it shorter and more flexible in favor of presbyteries. Our second proposal is an attempt to do what Overture 02-29 asked in 2002; we have updated Chapter 14.4 We propose that the 217th General Assembly (2006) recommend that a whole new Chapter 14 replace the current Chapter 14. We propose that the 217th General Assembly (2006) offer the church as separate options the possibility of moving the ordination questions and allowing some temporary pastors to become installed. In our focus groups, interviews, and surveys the OGA also heard suggestions for a number of substantive changes to Chapter 14, which we suggest the 217th General Assembly (2006) propose as separate amendments. (See Amendments A and B.1.6. of this report.)
Our consultations described above lead us to believe that the church needs the flexibility that such a revision would provide to presbyteries as soon as possible. Presbyteries are currently, and regularly, facing circumstances where they lack the flexibility to provide the pastoral leadership that is required by their member congregations. We heard great urgency in our consultations for some immediate relief from the regulatory approach currently manifested in Chapter 14, especially in relation to new immigrant fellowships, new church developments, and congregations. We see no inherent conflict in the 217th General Assembly (2006) permitting the presbyteries to vote on this reasonable revision while awaiting the report of a more dramatic revision proposal in 2008. We heard the presbyteries crying for some modest relief during the intervening three years between now and the possible implementation of a dramatically different Form of Government.
2.   Approximately two-thirds of the people giving the OGA feedback on this referral wanted much more dramatic changes in the Form of Government.
a.   Some advised that the church should divide the current text of the Form of Government into three distinct levels:
•   Foundational Principles (which could be changed by a 2/3 vote of a General Assembly and of the presbyteries),
•   Binding Policy (which could be changed as our current Book of Order is, with a simple majority of the General Assembly and the presbyteries), and
•   Advisory Practice (which could be changed by a simple majority vote by any General Assembly).
Foundational Principle and Binding Policy material would be binding upon all Presbyterians, as is the current Form of Government.5
b.   Others advised that the church’s future requires an even more dramatic change. They would hope for a document that provides a framework within which governing bodies can make decisions that will allow them to move forward in mission. This group longs for a Form of Government that is written “in English,” one that would fit in one’s pocket (along the lines of the United States Constitution), and one that will cover the essential elements of our governance. They want a polity that is “permission giving” as opposed to regulatory (which is how they describe our current Form of Government.)
3.   In reviewing the data from these two groups, the Office of the General Assembly has come to understand both perspectives as asking for an entirely different kind of Form of Government. They call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to live out its understanding that God is still in the process of reforming us. With each new challenge in our history, the church has always felt free to change its specific governance. The Office of the General Assembly has learned through this consultation process that a very large percentage of the church believes we have come to such a time.
Endnotes
1.   Excerpt from the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church final report:
1.   The Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) strongly encourage:
a.   every member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to witness to the church’s visible oneness, to avoid division into separate denominations that obscure our community in Christ, and to live in harmony with other members of this denomination, so that we may with one voice together glorify God in Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit; and
b.   all sessions, congregations, presbyteries, and synods to renew and strengthen their covenanted partnership with one another and with the General Assembly.
2.   The Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) urge governing bodies, congregations, and other groups of Presbyterians to follow the example of the task force and other groups that, in the face of difficult issues, have engaged in processes of intensive discernment through worship, community building, study, and collaborative work.
3.    The Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) commend for study the Theological Reflection that heads the task force report.
4.   The Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) direct the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, and urge those who plan and moderate meetings of other governing bodies, to explore the use of alternative forms of discernment and decision-making as a complement to parliamentary procedure, especially in dealing with potentially divisive issues.
2.   Book of Order, G-2.0200
3.   See Appendix A of this report for details since 1993.
4.   We have included the relevant changes to Chapter 14 adopted since 2001, when this chapter was last sent to the presbyteries.
5.   The Advisory Committee on the Constitution proposed this format and recommended these levels of authority when it reported to the 211th General Assembly in 1999 (paragraph 16.026ff).
Appendix A
History of the Proposal to Revise the Form of Government
Excepted from a writing by Paul K. Hooker
October 2005
Presented to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution
The present proposal to revise the Form of Government (FOG) has a lengthy history, beginning with the report of the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church and the Practice of Governance to the 205th General Assembly (1993).1 As background to the proposal to change G-9.0103 by inserting the word ecclesiastical before the word acts in the penultimate sentence of the section as it stood at the time, the special committee argued for a degree of freedom and diversity among the various governing bodies of the church. It defended the idea that there were some functionssuch as the process and standards for ordinationthat are and should remain acts and requirements of the whole church. However, in other, less essential matters such as programs and mission initiatives, the special committee argued that a greater degree of freedom and diversity can and should be tolerated. The assembly saw fit to modify the recommended amendment to G-9.0103 by inserting an additional phrase reserving powers unmentioned in the language of the Book of Order to the presbyteries, and the amendment was adopted, providing us the current language of G-9.0103. The assembly also recognized that the discussion of freedom and diversity regarding programs, mission initiatives, etc., might well carry implications for the Form of Government (FOG) that went well beyond the decision to amend G-9.0103, and so it referred this discussion to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
After hearings and a progress report to the 207th General Assembly (1995),2 the ACC recommended to the 206th General Assembly (1996) that the ACC
…prepare proposals for revisions of the Form of Government that will take into consideration the possible division into foundational, policy, and advisory components….3
and that it report to the 213th General Assembly (2001) its recommendations.
In the meantime, Overture 97-54 (209th General Assembly (1997)) from the Presbytery of West Virginia requested the General Assembly to “form a committee with the task of rewriting the Form of Government,” the committee was to be instructed to create a Form of Government (FOG)
•   that is true to the historic principles of polity in the PCUSA;
•   that will serve as a constitutional reference, “encouraging creativity with broad strokes of wisdom;” and
•   that will “empower governing bodies… and celebrate the diversity of the church.”4
The assembly referred the overture to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (ACC) with instructions to pursue the existing review process.
The ACC reported back to the 211th General Assembly (1999) on its review process, presenting the assembly with three alternatives for the future direction of its work in revising the FOG.5
1.   A sample revision of Chapters X and XI (The Session and The Presbytery) that divided material in the current FOG into “Foundational Principles,” “Binding Policy,” and “Advisory Practice.” Foundational Principles could be amended only by supermajority vote of presbyteries. Binding Policies require the “voluntary submission of church officers. Advisory Practices are binding on the General Assembly but voluntary for other governing bodies.6
2.   A sample revision of Chapter XI that stated broad “Foundational Principles” and then offered a section entitled “Policies and Procedures” voluntary submission to which would be required of all officers and members.7
3.   A revision of the entire FOG that reduced the current document to broadly stated Foundational Principles without providing either policies or advisory practices.8
The ACC proposed that Alternative Three, if approved, be circulated as a study document to the entire church; the assembly amended the recommendation to refer revision three back to the ACC for additional study, with a report to the 212th General Assembly (2000).
In 2000, the ACC reported to the 212th General Assembly (2000) the results of its research into revisions of the FOG, including a draft revision of G-14.0100.0800. The revision contemplated the removal of much of the process-oriented material contained in the present Chapter XIV to the status of a handbook. The assembly approved the document for study and comment.9
The following year, after a year of comment, the 213th General Assembly (2001) sent to the presbyteries as Amendment 01-H a recommended revision of Chapter XIV drafted along the lines of the previous year’s study document. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 29-141-2.
In February of 2002, the Presbytery of St. Augustine overtured the 214th GA (2002) to send a second version of the Chapter XIV revision back to the presbyteries, but with two changes: (1) to make it impossible for interim pastors immediately to succeed as pastor in those congregation where they have served as interims, and (2) to restore to Chapter XIV the ordination vows for elders, deacons, and ministers of Word and Sacrament that had been removed to the Directory for Worship. Overture 02-29 was debated by the Assembly Committee on Church Polity, which recommended that the overture be referred to the Office of the General Assembly to “pursue this matter with vigor and urgency,” and to report back to the 217th General Assembly (2006) regarding its progress.10
In its progress report to the 216th GA (2004), the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) recommended to the assembly that it be assigned the task to “undertake an extensive cycle of consultations with various groups within the PC(USA)…interested in the role of the Form of Government in the ministry and mission of the PC(USA)” and that it report on those consultations to the 217th General Assembly (2006).11
Endnotes for Appendix A
1.   205th General Assembly (1993) Minutes, 1993, Part I, 26.001-.437, pp. 355-402. The paragraphs of particular interest here are 26.228-.232.
2.   207th General Assembly (1995) Minutes, 1995, Part I, p. 283.
3.   208th General Assembly (1996) Minutes, 1996, Part I, p. 265
4.   209th General Assembly (1997) Minutes, 1997, Part I, p. 710.
5.   211th General Assembly (1999) Minutes, Part I, 1999, pp. 109-66. Action of General Assembly on p. 64.
6.   Ibid. p. 110 and Appendix One, pp. 113-47.
7.   Ibid. p. 111 and Appendix Two, pp. 147-51.
8.   Ibid., p. 111 and Appendix Three, pp. 152-66.
9.   212th General Assembly (2000) Minutes, 2000, Part I, pp. 61, 84-98.
10.   214th General Assembly (2002) Minutes, 2002, Part I. The overture and rationale are found on pp. 355-70. The assembly referral action is found on pp. 61-62.
11.   216th General Assembly (2004) Minutes, 2004, Part I. p. 86.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11
Advice on Item 05-11—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
1.   Recommendation 1
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Recommendation 1.
Rationale
The recommendation proposes the creation of a nine-member Task Force on the Revision of the Form of Government (FOG), to be named by the Moderators of the current and two most recent General Assemblies, and to be charged with the responsibility of undertaking a revision of the Form of Government. The work of the FOG Task Force would be guided by five principles outlined in the text of the recommendation, including recommendations 14 of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church. Specifically exempted from the revision would be G-6.0106b (the “fidelity and chastity” provision governing ordination and installation) and G-8.0201 (the “implied trust” clause providing that churches hold their property in trust for the benefit of the whole church).
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the General Assembly that there is a continuing need for the kind of revisions contemplated in this recommendation. The committee has on several occasions noted with concern the tendency in recent years for the Book of Order to accrue material that is less appropriate to a constitutional document than to a manual of operations.
2.   Recommendation 2
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Recommendation 2.
Rationale
The recommendation is an omnibus action that would enable the Stated Clerk to send to presbyteries a package of amendments that, taken together, would strike the present contents of Chapter XIV of the Book of Order and replace it with a revised text. The amendments are divided into two groups: Amendments A.1 and A.2, and Amendments B.1 through B.6. Amendment A.1 consists of the strike-and-replace revision of the contents of Chapter XIV; in this revision, considerable process-oriented material would be removed to the status of a handbook and rendered optional. The remaining text would be reorganized and renumbered. Amendment A.2, which consists of five subparts, A.2.a.e., consists of insertions in the text of Chapter 14. Amendment A.2.a.e. is dependent on the approval of A.1. If Amendment A.1 is approved and transmitted to presbyteries, Amendment A.2.a.e. is also approved; conversely, if A.1. is defeated, A.2.a.e. is also defeated. The two are thus to be voted as a package rather than serially.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution has examined the work of the Office of the General Assembly in revising the contents of Chapter XIV. The committee believes that OGA has faithfully executed its charge to revise and restructure the contents of the chapter without changing the polity.
The effort to revise the Form of Government has a lengthy history. The 206th General Assembly (1996) charged the Advisory Committee on the Constitution to prepare proposals for revision of the Form of Government “that will take into consideration the possible division into foundational, policy, and advisory components…” (Minutes, 1996, Part I, p.285). The outcome of that work was presented to the 212th General Assembly (2000) in the form of a revision of Chapter 14 that contemplated the removal of considerable process-oriented material in the chapter to handbooks that made such processes optional rather than mandatory. After a year of study and comment, the 213th General Assembly (2001) approved the proposal as Amendment 01-H. Included in the proposed 01-H was an amendment approved on the floor permitting interim ministers to succeed as the next installed pastor of a congregation they have served as interim. Research indicates that the inclusion of this late-developing change was part of the reason for the failure of the amendment at the presbytery level. In 2002, the Presbytery of St. Augustine overtured the 214th General Assembly (2002) to return the substance of 01-H to the presbyteries for vote, but without the provision concerning interim pastors. The assembly referred the overture to the Office of the General Assembly for study as part of a study process to examine the wisdom of revising not Chapter 14 only, but the entire Form of Government.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the committee and the assembly that, since these amendments are of a piece and flow together, the assembly would be well served by considering amendment A as a package, rather than to seek to amend various particular provisions in the revised text. Changes to the text of Amendment A will be considered if presented in appropriate form and in a manner consistent with the policies and practices of the assembly. However, the Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises that, if the committee or commissioners desire to amend particular elements of the revised text of Chapter XIV, this end is best accomplished by adding particular amendments to Amendment B.
3.   Recommendation 3
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Recommendation 3.
Rationale
Amendments B.1. through B.6. are free-standing amendments. Each may be approved for transmittal to the presbyteries or defeated independently of the approval or defeat of Amendment A, or of the other items in Amendment B.
Advice and comments on Amendments B.1 through B.6 will be provided separately for each amendment.
Amendments A
[The assembly approved Item 05-11, Recommendations A.1. and A.2. See pp. 38-39.]
The Office of the General Assembly recommends that the 217th General Assembly (2006) direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendments (revision of Chapter XIV, and amendments to the Preface and in Chapters VI, IX, and XI to facilitate some of the revisions) to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
1.   Amendment A.1.
Shall Chapter XIV be amended by striking the existing text and inserting the following in its place: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
CHAPTER XIV. ORDINATION, CERTIFICATION, AND COMMISSIONING
G-14.0100    Leadership in the Church
G-14.0110    Servant Style
The purpose and pattern of leadership in the church in all its forms of ministry shall be understood not in terms of power but of service, after the manner of the servant ministry of Jesus Christ.
G-14.0120    Ordained Ministry
Ordination is the act by which the church sets apart persons to be presbyters (ministers of the Word and Sacrament or elders) or deacons, and is accompanied with prayer and the laying on of hands. Ordination to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament is an act of the presbytery. Ordination to the offices of elder and deacon is an act of the session, except that when a new church is organized, the presbytery may examine, ordain, and install the officers. (G-7.0202)
G-14.0130    Certified Ministry
Persons called to particular service in the church may be certified by recognized agencies affiliated with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as having achieved proficiency in their field of expertise. The congregation and presbytery, in appropriate services, may recognize such certification. (See G-14.0700.)
G-14.0140    Commissioned Ministry
In the life of the Christian community God calls people to particular acts of discipleship to use their personal gifts for service in the Church and in the world. These specific acts may be strengthened and confirmed by formal recognition and commissioning in worship. (W-4.3000)
G-14.0200    Preparation for the Office of Elder and Deacon
G-14.0210    The Office of Elder or Deacon
The office of elder or deacon is perpetual and no one can lay it aside at pleasure or be divested of it except as provided in this Form of Government or the Rules of Discipline. Elders or deacons are not divested of office when rotating out of active service on the session or board of deacons, or by ceasing to be a member of that church. Elders shall be entitled to be commissioners to presbytery from the particular church of which they are members if appointed by its session and to serve as a commissioner to the synod or the General Assembly when duly elected, whether or not they are in active service on the session.
G-14.0220    Election Provisions
G-14.0221    Fair Representation
Every congregation shall elect men and women from among its active members, giving fair representation to persons of all ages and of all racial ethnic backgrounds and to persons with disabilities who are members of that congregation, to the office of elder and to the office of deacon (if used in the congregation).
G-14.0222    Terms
An elder serving on session, or a deacon on a board of deacons, shall be elected for a term of no more than three years, and service in consecutive terms, either full or partial, shall be limited to six years. An elder or deacon having served a total of six years shall be ineligible for reelection to the same board for a period of at least one year. A particular church may provide for a period of ineligibility after one full term. Elders or deacons shall be elected in two or three classes as nearly equal in number as possible, of which only one shall expire each year. Terms of elders or deacons shall expire when their successors have been ordained and installed.
G-14.0223    Nominating Committee
Nominations shall be made by a representative nominating committee of active members of the church. The committee shall itself include both women and men, giving fair representation to persons of all age groups, of all racial ethnic members, and of persons with disabilities who are members of that congregation. At least two members of this committee shall be elders designated by the session, one of whom shall be currently on the session and serve as moderator of the committee. At least one member of this committee shall be designated by and from the board of deacons, if the church has deacons. Other members of the committee, in sufficient number to constitute a majority thereof (exclusive of the pastor), shall be chosen by the congregation or by such organizations within the church as the congregation may designate, none of whom may be in active service on the session or in active service on the board of deacons. The pastor shall be a member of this committee, serving ex officio and without vote.
G-14.0224    Elected Annually
The nominating committee shall be elected by the congregation annually and no member of the committee shall serve more than three years consecutively.
G-14.0225    Nominating Procedures
All nominating procedures shall be subject to the principles of participation and representation as stated in G-4.0403 and G-9.0104.
G-14.0226    Exemptions for Certain Congregations
The presbytery may approve requests by congregations for exemption from certain of these rules, subject to review periodically by the presbytery, which may grant or revoke its approval:
a.   When a particular church is unable to conform to the provisions of G-14.0221, it shall request of presbytery a waiver, stating the reasons for noncompliance and shall outline a plan for steps to compliance. Presbytery may grant the waiver of G-14.0221 by three-fourths vote and for not more than three years, subject to renewal by a three-fourths vote and to revocation by a majority vote.
b.   Any congregation of fewer than seventy members, at a regular congregational meeting, may request approval from the presbytery to elect a small church nominating committee, which shall consist of one member of the session, appointed by the session to be the moderator, and at least two members of the congregation not in active service on the session. The pastor shall be a member ex officio and without vote. Other provisions of fair representation and length of service continue to apply.
c.   If in any church it is impossible because of limited membership to provide for the rotation of terms, the congregation may request a waiver of the limitations on reelection after six years. The presbytery may grant the exemption by majority vote for three years at a time, subject to renewal or revocation at any time by majority vote.
G-14.0230    Congregational Meeting
The election of elders and deacons shall take place at a meeting of the congregation called for that purpose by the session (G-7.0302).
G-14.0231    Purpose of the Meeting
The moderator shall explain the purpose of the meeting.
G-14.0232    Nominations from the Floor
Full opportunity shall always be given to the congregation for nominations by any active member of the church present at the meeting. Persons to be nominated from the floor shall have given prior permission to be nominated and declared assent to serve if elected, or, if present, shall be asked to declare willingness to serve.
G-14.0233    Ballots
When the number of nominees equals the number of elders and deacons to be elected, the congregation may vote by voice vote or show of hands. When the number of nominees is greater than the number of elders and deacons to be elected, the congregation shall vote by secret ballot. A majority of all the voters present and voting shall be required to elect.
G-14.0240    Preparation and Examination for Office
When persons have been elected to the office of elder or deacon, the session shall confer with them as to their willingness to undertake the office. The session shall provide for a period of study and preparation, after which the session shall examine the officers-elect as to their personal faith; knowledge of the doctrine, government, and discipline contained in the Constitution of the church; and the duties of the office. If the examination is approved, the session shall appoint a day for the service of ordination and installation (see G-14.0300). If the examination is not approved for one or more elected officers, the session shall report its action to the congregation’s nominating committee, which shall bring nomination(s) to a meeting of the congregation for any office(s) not filled.
“G-14.0300    Ordination as Officers of the Church
“G-14.0310    Service of Ordination, Installation, and Commissioning
The service of ordination and installation for elders, deacons, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament, and for the commissioning of certified Christian educators, certified persons and commissioned lay pastors, shall focus upon Christ and the joy and responsibility of serving him through the mission and ministry of the church, and shall include a sermon appropriate to the occasion. The minister presiding shall state briefly the nature of the office.
“G-14.0320    Setting of the Service
The service of ordination and installation, or commissioning, may take place during the Service for the Lord’s Day as a response to the proclamation of the Word. (W-3.3503) Ordination and installation, or commissioning, may also take place in a special service that focuses upon Jesus Christ and the mission and ministry of the church and which includes the proclamation of the Word. The service of installation of a pastor or associate pastor shall be conducted at a convenient time to enable the substantial participation of the presbytery.
“G-14.0330    Constitutional Questions to Officers and Commissioned Persons
The moderator of the governing body of those to be ordained, installed, or commissioned shall ask them to stand before the body of membership and to answer the following questions:
a.   Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
b.   Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to you?
c.   Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
d.   Will you fulfill your office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
e.   Will you be governed by our church’s polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?
f.   Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
g.   Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?
h.   Will you seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
i.   (1)   (For elder) Will you be a faithful elder, watching over the people, providing for their worship, nurture, and service? Will you share in government and discipline, serving in governing bodies of the church, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
   “(2)   (For deacon) Will you be a faithful deacon, teaching charity, urging concern, and directing the people’s help to the friendless and those in need, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
(3)   (For minister of the Word and Sacrament) Will you be a faithful minister, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the governing bodies of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
"(4)   (For commissioned lay pastor) Will you be a faithful commissioned lay pastor, serving the people by proclaiming the good news, teaching faith and caring for the people, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
(5)   (For certified Christian educator) Will you be a faithful certified Christian educator, teaching faith and caring for people, and will you in your ministry try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
G-14.0340    Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
At the service of ordination or installation of elders and deacons
G-14.0341    Questions to Congregation
The elders-and deacons-elect having answered in the affirmative, an elder shall stand with them before the congregation and shall ask the congregation to answer the following questions:
a.   Do we, the members of the church, accept (names) ____________ as elders or deacons, chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to lead us in the way of Jesus Christ?
b.   Do we agree to encourage them, to respect their decisions, and to follow as they guide us, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is Head of the Church?
G-14.0342    Prayer and Laying on of Hands
The members of the church having answered these questions in the affirmative, those to be ordained shall kneel, if able, for prayer and the laying on of hands by the session. Those previously ordained ordinarily shall stand, along with the congregation, if able, for the prayer of installation. The session may invite other elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament to participate in the laying on of hands.
“G-14.0343    Statement
The moderator shall say to those who have thus been ordained and installed:
You are now elders and deacons in the Church of Jesus Christ and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
G-14.0344    Session Welcomes
Then the members of the session, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the newly ordained and installed, or newly installed, elders and deacons into their fellowship in ministry.
G-14.0345    Congregation Greets
After the service, it is appropriate for the members of the congregation to greet their new elders and deacons, showing affection and support.
G-14.0400    Preparation for the Office of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0401    Presbytery Responsibility for Inquiry and Candidacy
It is important that those who are to be ordained as ministers of the Word and Sacrament receive full preparation for their task under the direction of the committee on preparation for ministry. (G-9.0902) For this purpose, presbyteries shall enter into covenant relationship with those preparing to become ministers of the Word and Sacrament. This relationship shall be divided into the two phases of inquiry and candidacy.
G-14.0402    Advisory Handbook
The process and requirements for the inquiry and the candidacy phases shall be provided in an advisory handbook developed and updated as needed by the appropriate General Assembly agencies in consultation with the Office of the General Assembly, which the presbytery may adopt or modify to establish its own mandatory procedures. (G-9.0405)
G-14.0403    Time Requirements
An inquirer shall have been a member of the sponsoring congregation for at least six months prior to the inquirer phase. The inquirer and candidacy phases shall continue for a period of no less than two years, including at least one year as a candidate.
G-14.0404    Inquiry Phase
"The purpose of the inquiry phase is to provide an opportunity for the church and those who believe themselves called to ministry of the Word and Sacrament to explore that call together in such a way that the decision regarding the inquirer’s suitability for ministry of the Word and Sacrament will be based on knowledge and experience of one another.
G-14.0405    Candidacy Phase
The purpose of the candidacy phase is to provide for the full preparation of persons to serve the church as ministers of the Word and Sacrament. This shall be accomplished through the guidance and evaluation of candidates, using learning contacts within the context of supportive relationships.
G-14.0410    Duties of Presbytery and Session
The presbytery, through a committee on preparation for ministry, shall seek to instruct sessions on their role in the inquiry and candidacy process. Particular direction shall be given a session that has endorsed an inquirer or candidate.
G-14.0411    Oversight
During the phases of inquiry and candidacy, the individual continues to be an active member of his or her particular church and subject to the concern and discipline of the session. In matters relating to preparation for ministry, the individual is under the oversight of the presbytery through the committee on preparation for ministry.
G-14.0412    Presbytery Responsibility
The presbytery shall exercise responsibility for the spiritual growth of inquirers and candidates, to support them with an understanding and sympathetic interest, and to give guidance in regard to courses of study, familiarity with the Bible and with the confessions, practical training and plans for education including the choice of institutions, field education, and the inquirer’s or candidate’s financial need. The presbytery shall also seek to give guidance and instruction to the inquirer or candidate in the faith and polity of the church (G-6.0108).
G-14.0413    Session Responsibility
The session shall function in a supportive role during the phases of inquiry and candidacy to ensure that care is provided on a continuous basis. The session shall appoint an elder from the church to be a liaison with the inquirer or candidate and the appropriate presbytery committee. The session should consider the provision of financial support for the inquirer or candidate.
G-14.0420    Service in Covenant Relationship
The committee on preparation for ministry shall monitor the covenant among presbytery and inquirers and candidates and the session. Inquirers and candidates shall be encouraged to engage in some form of supervised service to the church. The advisory handbook for committees on preparation for ministry shall provide guidance for supervision, evaluation, and reports on the service and preparation for ministry of inquirers and candidates. No inquirer or candidate who has not been previously ordained as an elder may serve as moderator of a session, administer the Sacraments, or perform a marriage service. An inquirer or candidate previously ordained as an elder may be authorized to administer the Lord’s Supper. (See G-6.0304, G-7.0306, G-10.0103, G-11.0103z, and G-14.0562.)
G-14.0421    Annual Reports
The presbytery shall require the inquirer or candidate to submit an annual written report on progress in studies and service to the church. The seminary or institution of theological education shall make an annual report on the progress of the inquirer or candidate toward preparation for ministry. The presbytery shall conduct an annual consultation for the evaluation and nurture of the inquirer or candidate. In no case shall an inquirer or candidate be excused from these annual consultations.
G-14.0430    Examinations
G-14.0431    Five Ordination Exams
Inquirers or candidates are encouraged to take the Bible Content Examination in their first year of seminary. The other four examinations may be taken by inquirers or candidates after completion of two full years of theological education. These four examinations shall only be taken upon approval by the committee on preparation for ministry of the inquirer’s or candidate’s presbytery. The areas of examinations are:
a.   Bible Content.
b.   Open Book Bible Exegesis.
c.   Theological Competence.
d.   Worship and Sacraments.
e.   Church Polity.
G-14.0432    Grading the Exams
The examinations required in the five specified areas shall be graded by representatives of the presbyteries under the supervision of the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates as provided in G-11.0103m. Descriptions of the examinations, the subjects, the schedule, and the procedures for their administration shall be prepared by the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee and approved by the General Assembly.
G-14.0440    Negotiation for Service
A candidate who has completed two full years of theological education or its equivalent, who has had an annual consultation within the previous year, and who has successfully completed all ordination examinations or has received presbytery’s certification of readiness according to G-14.0472 may, with approval of the committee on preparation for ministry (CPM) and the appropriate committee on ministry, enter into negotiation for his or her ministerial service. For candidates who have not yet completed the two years of theological education or successfully completed all ordination examinations, the presbytery of care may, by three-fourths vote, permit a candidate to proceed to negotiate for service prior to certification of readiness to receive a call.
G-14.0450    Final Assessment of Readiness to Begin Ordained Ministry
In the final year of theological education or when a candidate has satisfied all of the requirements of this section, and before the candidate has received a call, the committee on preparation for ministry of the candidate’s presbytery shall conduct a final assessment of the candidate’s readiness to begin ordained ministry. A summary of this assessment shall be reported to the presbytery and shall be transmitted to a calling presbytery when requested. The committee on preparation for ministry shall report to the presbytery when it has certified a candidate ready for examination for ordination, pending a call. This consultation shall focus on the outcomes of inquiry and candidacy and shall include each of the following requirements of certification:
a.   demonstration of readiness to begin ministry of the Word and Sacrament as required to fulfill the candidacy phase of preparation.
b.   presentation of a transcript showing satisfactory grades at a regionally accredited college or university, together with a diploma;
c.   presentation of a transcript from a theological institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools acceptable to the presbytery, the transcript showing satisfactory grades, and presentation of a plan to complete the theological degree including Hebrew and Greek and exegesis of the Old and New Testaments using Hebrew and Greek texts;
d.   presentation of satisfactory grades together with the examination papers in the five areas covered by the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates.
G-14.0460    Transfer of or Removal from Covenant Relationship
G-14.0461    Transfer of Relationship
A presbytery may transfer the covenant relationship of an inquirer or candidate to another presbytery, but only with the approval of the receiving presbytery and the inquirer or candidate. An inquirer or candidate shall not transfer her or his membership to a particular church under the jurisdiction of another presbytery without the approval of the presbytery responsible for the person’s preparation for ministry. Whenever a presbytery approves such a transfer, it shall send to the other presbytery a certificate of its approval, its records concerning the individual, and the reasons for the request for transfer. Failure of an inquirer or candidate to follow this procedure shall result in the forfeiture of standing as an inquirer or candidate. No presbytery may restore the candidate’s status except by beginning again at the inquiry phase.
G-14.0462    Another Reformed Body
When a candidate is called to work under the jurisdiction of some other Reformed body, he or she may be dismissed as a candidate by certification. Likewise, candidates may be received for this purpose from other Reformed bodies by transfer of certificate.
G-14.0463    Removal from Relationship
An inquirer or candidate may, after consultation with the session and the committee on preparation for ministry, withdraw from covenant relationship. A presbytery may also, for sufficient reasons, remove an individual’s name from the roll of inquirers or candidates, reporting this action and the reasons to the session, to the individual, and, if appropriate, to the educational institution in which the individual is enrolled. In both instances, prior to final action, the committee on preparation for ministry shall make a reasonable attempt to give the inquirer or candidate and other parties of interest an opportunity to be heard by that committee.
G-14.0470    Extraordinary Circumstances
All of the requirements for final assessment shall be met except in the following extraordinary circumstances:
G-14.0471    Educational Requirements
If the inquirer’s or candidate’s presbytery judges that there are good and sufficient reasons why certain of the educational requirements should not be met by an inquirer or candidate, it shall make an exception only by three-fourths vote of the members of presbytery present. A full account of the reasons for such an exception shall be included in the minutes of presbytery and shall be communicated to the presbytery to which the inquirer or candidate may be transferred. The successful completion of the course of study specified in such an exception shall fulfill the requirements for the final assessment of readiness to begin ministry.
G-14.0472    Examination Requirements
The examination requirements of G-14.0431 shall not be waived until an inquirer or candidate has failed on two attempts to receive a satisfactory grade, unless the inquirer or candidate has a disability, documented by a person or persons of the presbytery’s choice, which disability affects the individual’s test-taking ability. If the presbytery believes that the person should be certified as ready for examination for ordination, pending a call, it shall authorize an exception only by a three-fourths vote of the members of the presbytery present, and must determine an alternate means whereby it will satisfy itself of competence in the area(s) of difficulty. When the individual successfully completes the alternate pattern, the presbytery may certify readiness in the usual manner. The minutes of presbytery shall contain a full record of the reasons for the exception and the alternate pattern for determining competence. Presbyteries shall submit to the synod the process by which a candidate, who has failed one or more examinations twice, or who has such a documented disability, would be examined. Once that process has been approved, presbyteries may proceed with particular candidates, and note such exemptions in their minutes on each occasion. Such processes will be reviewed every three years.
G-14.0473    Time Requirements
The time requirements of the inquiry phase shall not be waived unless the presbytery judges that there are good and sufficient reasons why the time requirement should not be met by an inquirer or candidate. It shall make an exception only by three-fourths vote of the members of the presbytery present. A full account of the reasons for such an exception shall be included in the minutes of presbytery and shall be communicated to the presbytery to which the inquirer or candidate may be transferred. Under no circumstances shall the time requirement be less than one year.
G-14.0474    If Transferred
The foregoing exceptions shall hold if the presbytery has received the inquirer or candidate from another presbytery that approved the exemption of any of these requirements, the reception of the candidate having confirmed the action of the dismissing presbytery.
G-14.0480    Ordination an Act of the Whole Church
Ordination for the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament is an act of the whole church carried out by the presbytery, setting apart a person to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.
G-14.0481    Place of Examination and Ordination
The presbytery placing the call to a candidate for ministry shall ordinarily examine and, contingent upon the candidate’s successful completion of that examination and all requirements in G-14.0450, the presbytery responsible for the candidate’s preparation for ministry shall ordinarily ordain the candidate.
G-14.0482    Examination for Ordination
The candidate shall appear before the presbytery and shall make a brief statement of personal faith and of commitment to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. The presbytery shall receive the report of its appropriate committee that the candidate has completed all requirements, and has been certified ready for ordination pending approval of the call. The report shall include a summary of waivers and exceptions of requirements granted. The presbytery may conduct further examination of the candidate’s Christian faith and views in theology, the Bible, the Sacraments, and the government of the church as it deems necessary. If the presbytery is fully satisfied of the candidate’s qualifications, it shall approve the call and vote to proceed to his or her ordination and installation.
G-14.0483    Presbytery of Call
The presbytery of call shall certify to the presbytery responsible for the candidate’s preparation for ministry that the candidate has been approved for ordination and installation. Ordinarily, the presbytery responsible for the candidate’s preparation for ministry shall ordain the candidate. (See G-14.0300.) Following the ordination, the stated clerk of the ordaining presbytery shall record the action, notify the session of the particular church of which the candidate has been a member so that the session may record the fact that the candidate is now ordained and has been transferred to the roll of the presbytery, and issue a letter of dismissal to the calling presbytery, which shall enroll the minister and proceed to install the minister.
G-14.0484    Agreement on Place of Ordination
The presbyteries and the candidate may agree that the ordination take place in the calling presbytery, in which case the presbytery may ordain and install the candidate at the same time at a service of worship in the presence of the calling congregation.
G-14.0485    Recording the Ordination
The presbytery shall record the ordination and installation as a part of its official records along with the acceptance and subscription of the new minister to the obligations undertaken in the ordination vows. It shall also be the duty of the stated clerk of the presbytery to enroll the newly ordained minister as a member of the presbytery and to report these actions to the Office of the General Assembly.
G-14.0490    Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament 
At the service of ordination to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0491    Ordination Questions
The presbytery shall utilize the ordination questions laid out at G-14.0300, using these words for Question i: Will you be a faithful minister, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the governing bodies of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
G-14.0492    Prayer and Laying on of Hands
The candidate, having answered the questions in the affirmative, shall kneel, if able, and the presbytery, or presbytery commission, shall, with prayer and the laying on of hands, ordain the candidate to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament. The member presiding shall then say:
(Name)____________________, you are now ordained a minister of the Word and Sacrament in the church of Jesus Christ. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
G-14.0493    Presbytery Welcomes
Then the members of the presbytery, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the new minister into the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. At the conclusion of the ordination service, the new minister may make a brief statement and shall pronounce the benediction.
G-14.0500    Pastoral Relations
G-14.0501    Installed or Temporary Relations
Every church should have the pastoral services of a minister of the Word and Sacrament. The pastoral relations that may exist between a particular church and a minister of the Word and Sacrament are installed (permanent or designated) or temporary relations (see G-14.0550).
G-14.0510    Installed Pastoral Relations
G-14.0511    Permanent Pastoral Relations
“A permanent pastoral relationship of pastor or associate pastor, full or part-time, is established by vote of the presbytery or its committee on ministry to approve the call to a minister of the Word and Sacrament elected by vote of the congregation. A pastor or associate pastor is installed by the presbytery and is a member of the session. The call approved by the presbytery cannot be changed or dissolved except by consent of the presbytery, at the request of the pastor or associate pastor, at the request of the church by action of the congregation, or when the presbytery, after consultation with the minister and the congregation, finds that the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it.
G-14.0512    Co-Pastors
A congregation may call more than one minister to serve as pastor or associate pastor, sharing duties within the congregation as agreed upon by the session and approved by the presbytery, using co-pastor or co-associate pastor or other suitable titles. When there are co-pastors, the presbytery, the ministers, and the session shall agree on a schedule for sharing the times each will moderate. When a particular church has two pastors serving as co-pastors and the relationship of one of them is dissolved, the other remains as pastor of the church.
G-14.0513    Succession and Extraordinary Circumstances
The official relationship of an associate pastor to a church is not dependent upon that of a pastor, but an associate pastor is not eligible to be the next installed pastor in a church that they have served together, or to be called as pastor to serve as co-pastor of that church, except in churches that currently have a co-pastor model in place which has been in effect for at least three years and the congregation desires to continue such a model. An associate pastor shall be directed in his or her work by the pastor in consultation with the session.
G-14.0520    Designated Pastoral Relations
G-14.0521    Calling a Designated Pastor
A designated pastoral relationship, full or part-time, is a call to a minister of the Word and Sacrament established by the presbytery for a term of not less than two nor more than four years. The congregation and the minister must both have agreed to be considered for a designated relationship. The congregation’s pastoral nominating committee shall nominate to the congregation for its consideration and vote, only from among those ministers designated to it by the presbytery’s committee on ministry. The minister is installed by the presbytery and is a member of the session.
G-14.0522    Renewing or Ending the Call
"The call approved by the presbytery is renewable anytime during the last six months of the term, and cannot be changed or dissolved except by consent of the presbytery, at the request of the pastor, or at the request of the church by action of the congregation, when the presbytery, after consultation with the minister and the congregation finds that the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it, or when the term specified in the call expires without action having been taken to renew the call. The presbytery may designate and the congregation may call more than one minister to serve as designated pastor, sharing duties within the congregation as agreed upon by the session and approved by the presbytery. When there is more than one pastor, the ministers and the session shall agree on a schedule for sharing the times each will moderate.
G-14.0523    Designated Pastor to Pastor
If there has been an open search process conducted by the committee on ministry and after at least two years of the designated pastor relationship, upon the concurrence of the committee on ministry, the designated pastor, and the session, acting in place of the pastor nominating committee for the single purpose of calling the designated pastor as pastor, a congregational meeting may be held to call the designated pastor as pastor. The session, with the concurrence of the committee on ministry, may call a congregational meeting to elect a pastor nominating committee to conduct a full pastoral search or to prosecute the call to the designated pastor to become pastor. The action of the congregation shall be reported to the presbytery. If the congregational action is affirmative, the presbytery, after voting to approve the new pastoral relationship, shall install the designated pastor as pastor.
G-14.0530    Election of a Pastor or Associate Pastor
When a church is without a pastor, or has a vacancy in an associate pastor position, or after the effective date of the dissolution of the pastoral relationship, the congregation shall, with the guidance and permission of the committee on ministry (G-11.0502d), proceed to elect a pastor or associate pastor in the following manner.
G-14.0531    Pastor Nominating Committee
The session shall call a congregational meeting to elect a pastor nominating committee, which shall be representative of the whole congregation. This committee’s duty shall be to nominate a minister to the congregation for election as pastor or associate pastor. Public notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting to elect the pastor nominating committee shall be given in accord with G-7.0303b.
G-14.0532    Confer with Committee on Ministry
"The pastor nominating committee shall confer with the committee on ministry as provided in G-11.0502d. When the committee is ready to report to the congregation, it shall notify the session, which shall call a congregational meeting in accord with G-7.0303b. The action of the congregation, if favorable, shall be presented to the presbytery for its concurrence.
G-14.0533    Signing the Call
Persons shall be elected by the vote of the congregation to sign the call and to present and prosecute the call before the presbytery. The moderator of the meeting shall certify to the presbytery that those signing the call were properly elected and that the call was in all other respects prepared as constitutionally required.
G-14.0534    Terms of the Call
The presbytery shall ensure that the call meets the requirements of federal and state tax laws and fully discloses the compensation of the minister. If the minister is obligated to fulfill military commitments during a period of pastoral service, an agreement should be added to the terms of call for that obligation and potential mobilization. If the call is for less than full time, the precise terms of the contract should be indicated. The terms of call shall always provide for compensation that meets or exceeds any minimum requirements of the presbytery in effect when the call is made, and the congregation’s obligation to review the adequacy of the minister’s compensation and adjust the compensation to meet changes in the presbytery’s requirements as amended from time to time. The call shall include participation in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including both pension and medical coverage, or any successor plan approved by the General Assembly.
“G-14.0540    Installation of Minister
Every Christian is called by God to serve the church; however, God calls some persons to serve the church in particular and specific ways in congregations. When the congregation, the presbytery, and the minister (or candidate) have all concurred in a call to a permanent or designated pastoral position, the presbytery shall complete the call process by organizing and conducting the service of installation. Installation is an act of the presbytery establishing the pastoral relationship. A commission may be appointed to act for the presbytery.
“G-14.0541    Installation Service
On the day designated for the installation, the presbytery or commission appointed for this purpose shall convene and shall call the congregation gathered to worship. The service shall have the same focus and form as the service of ordination and the person being installed shall be asked to answer the questions asked at the time of ordination. (G-14.0300)
G-14.0542    Questions for Congregation
Following the affirmative answers to the questions asked of the person being installed, an elder shall face the congregation along with the pastor-elect (associate pastor-elect) and shall ask them to answer the following questions:
a.   Do we, the members of the church, accept (Name) ___________ as our pastor (associate pastor), chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to guide us in the way of Jesus Christ?
b.   Do we agree to encourage him (her), to respect his (her) decisions, and to follow as he (she) guides us, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is Head of the Church?
c.   Do we promise to pay him (her) fairly and provide for his (her) welfare as he (she) works among us; to stand by him (her) in trouble and share his (her) joys? Will we listen to the word he (she) preaches, welcome his (her) pastoral care, and honor his (her) authority as he (she) seeks to honor and obey Jesus Christ our Lord?
G-14.0543    Installation of Minister
The members of the congregation having answered these questions in the affirmative,
“a.   a candidate being ordained and installed shall kneel, if able, and the presbytery shall, with prayer and the laying on of hands, ordain the candidate to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament and install him or her in the particular pastoral responsibility.
“b.   a minister, previously ordained, who is being installed ordinarily shall stand, if able, for the laying on of hands and the prayer of installation.
G-14.0544    Statement to Minister
The member presiding shall then say:
a.    (For one being ordained and installed) (Name) ______________________, you are now a minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Church of Jesus Christ and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
b.    (For a minister previously ordained) (Name) ________________, you are now a minister of the Word and Sacrament in and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
G-14.0545    Welcome
Then the members of the presbytery, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the newly ordained and installed or newly installed minister into their fellowship in the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.
G-14.0546    Charge
Persons invited by the presbytery may then give brief charges to the pastor (associate pastor) and to the congregation to be faithful in their relationship and in their reciprocal responsibilities.
G-14.0547    Benediction
At the conclusion of the service, the newly installed minister may make a brief statement and shall pronounce the benediction.
G-14.0550    Temporary Pastoral Relations
“All temporary relationships of a minister of the Word and Sacrament, full-time or part-time, are established by the session or commission of the presbytery with the approval of the presbytery through its committee on ministry. These temporary relationships have titles appropriate to the ministerial tasks to which the minister is called, such as stated supply, temporary supply, organizing pastor, interim pastor, and others. A minister serving in a temporary pastoral relationship is called for a specified period not to exceed twelve months in length, which is renewable with the approval of the committee on ministry. A written agreement, covenant, or terms of call signed by the minister, the clerk of session or presbytery commission, and a representative of the committee on ministry shall specify the pastoral functions, compensation, and any special skills or training required for the ministry. A temporary pastor is not installed and is not a member of the session. The presbytery shall appoint a moderator of the session who may be the temporary pastor.
G-14.0551     May Not Become Next Installed Pastor
“A minister serving in a temporary pastoral relationship other than organizing pastor is not eligible to serve that church in the next permanent or designated pastoral relationship. A presbytery may choose to allow a temporary supply to become the next installed pastor by a two-thirds vote of the presbytery.
G-14.0552    Organizing Pastors
An organizing pastor is a minister or commissioned lay pastor appointed by the presbytery to serve as pastor to a group of people who are in the process of organizing a new Presbyterian church. This relationship as organizing pastor shall terminate when the new church is formally organized by the presbytery. At that time the new church may, with the approval of the committee on ministry and the presbytery, call the organizing pastor to be its pastor without being required to elect a pastor nominating committee and conduct a pastoral search, or it may choose to elect a pastor nominating committee and conduct a full pastoral search as provided in the Form of Government.
“G-14.0553    Interim Pastoral Relations
When a presbytery and session determine that an interim pastor, interim co-pastor, or interim associate pastor is necessary and helpful, the session may consult the committee on ministry and seek an interim minister as soon as a date certain for departure has been announced by a pastor or associate pastor planning to leave. An interim pastor, interim co-pastor, or interim associate pastor is not eligible to serve that church as the next permanent or designated pastor.
G-14.0560    Commissioned Lay Pastor
The commissioned lay pastor is an elder of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who is granted a local commission by the presbytery to lead worship and preach the gospel, watch over the people, and provide for their nurture and service. This commission is valid only in one or more congregations, new church development, or other validated ministries of the presbytery designated by the presbytery. Such an elder is selected by and receives training approved by the presbytery. The elder shall be instructed in Bible, Reformed Theology and Sacraments, Presbyterian Polity, preaching, leading worship, pastoral care, and teaching. The elder shall be examined by the appropriate committee of presbytery as to personal faith, motives for seeking the commission, and the areas of instruction mentioned previously. An elder who has been commissioned and later ceases to serve in a particular congregation may continue to be listed as available to serve, but is not authorized to perform the functions of a commissioned lay pastor again until appointed to a particular congregation by the presbytery.
G-14.0561    Period Valid
The commission shall be valid for a period up to three years as determined by the presbytery. It may be renewed at expiration or terminated at any time at the discretion of the presbytery. Presbytery shall regularly provide resources for the person’s spiritual and intellectual development. A review of the work of the commissioned lay pastor shall be conducted annually. Presbytery shall revoke the commission of any lay pastor who does not abide by these provisions or whose work is evaluated as not adequate to meet the needs of the particular congregation or the presbytery.
G-14.0562    Authorization to Perform Functions
When a presbytery, in consultation with the session or other responsible committee, determines that its strategy for mission in a local church requires it, and after additional instruction deemed necessary by the presbytery has been provided, a presbytery may authorize a commissioned lay pastor to perform any or all of the following functions described in a.– e. below.
a.   Administer the Lord’s Supper.
b.   Administer the Sacrament of Baptism.
c.   Moderate the session of the congregation under the supervision of and when invited by the moderator of the session appointed by the presbytery, or when appointed by presbytery as moderator.
d.   Perform a service of Christian marriage when invited by the session or other responsible committee, and when allowed by the state.
e.   Have a voice and vote in meetings of the presbytery (such vote to be counted as an elder commissioner for purposes of parity).
G-14.0563    Pastoral Care and Confidentiality
Those serving as commissioned lay pastors shall be bound by the same standards of trust and confidentiality as ministers of the Word and Sacrament (G-6.0204).
G-14.0564    Supervision
The commissioned lay pastor shall work under the supervision of the presbytery through the moderator of the session of the church being served or through the committee on ministry. A minister of the Word and Sacrament shall be assigned as a mentor and supervisor.
G-14.0565    Questions Asked
When the presbytery is satisfied with the qualifications of an applicant, it shall ask the applicant the constitutional questions in G-14.0300, using these words for Question i: Will you be a faithful commissioned lay pastor, serving the people by proclaiming the good news, teaching faith and caring for the people, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
G-14.0570    Parish Associate Relationship
A parish associate is a minister who serves in some validated ministry other than the local parish, or is a member-at-large, or is retired, but who wishes to maintain a relationship with a particular church or churches in keeping with ordination to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. Such persons, already qualified as continuing members of presbytery, may serve as parish associates. The relation shall be established, upon nomination by the pastor, between the parish associate, the session, and the presbytery. The parish associate shall be responsible to the pastor, as head of staff, on an ‘as needed, as available’ basis and with or without remuneration.
G-14.0571    May Not Be Next Installed Pastor
A parish associate may not be called to be the next installed pastor or associate pastor of a church served as parish associate, unless at least six months have elapsed since the end of the parish associate relationship.
G-14.0572    Presbytery Oversight
The presbytery shall adopt policies and procedures for oversight by the committee on ministry of the parish associate relationships of its minister members and the churches under its care, including annual review.
G-14.0573    Termination of the Relationship
The agreement between the session, the parish associate, and the presbytery shall terminate when the call to the installed pastor is dissolved. The presbytery may dissolve the relationship with the parish associate upon the recommendation of the committee on ministry.
G-14.0600    Dissolution of Installed Pastoral Relationships
G-14.0610    Dissolved by Presbytery
The pastoral relationship between a pastor, associate pastor, and a church may be dissolved only by presbytery. Whether the minister or the church or the presbytery initiates proceedings for a dissolution of the relationship, there shall always be a meeting of the congregation to consider the matter and to request, or consent, or decline to consent to dissolution, as provided in G-7.0304a(3).
G-14.0611    Minister Requests
The minister may request the presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relationship. The minister must also state her or his intention to the session. The session shall call a congregational meeting to act upon the request and to make recommendations to presbytery. The presbytery may grant authority to its committee on ministry to dissolve the pastoral relationship and to inform the presbytery in cases in which the congregation and the pastor concur. If the congregation does not concur, the presbytery shall hear from the church, through the congregation’s elected commissioners, the reasons why the presbytery should not dissolve the pastoral relationship. If the church fails to appear, or if its reasons for retaining the relationship are judged insufficient, the request of the minister may be granted and the pastoral relationship dissolved.
G-14.0612    Congregation Requests
If any church desires the pastoral relationship to be dissolved, a similar procedure shall be observed. A congregation, after a duly called congregational meeting, may request presbytery to dissolve its relationship with its pastor. The pastor shall moderate the congregational meeting (in accordance with G-7.0306) unless he or she deems it to be impractical. The presbytery may grant authority to its committee on ministry to dissolve the relationship and to inform the presbytery in cases in which the pastor and the congregation concur. If the pastor does not concur, the presbytery shall hear from him or her the reasons why the presbytery should not dissolve the relationship. If the pastor fails to appear, or if the reasons for maintaining the relationship are judged insufficient, the relationship may be dissolved.
G-14.0613    Presbytery Action
The presbytery, through its committee on ministry or an administrative commission, may inquire into reported difficulties in a congregation and may dissolve the pastoral relationship if, after consultation with the minister, the session, and the congregation (G-7.0304a(3)), it finds the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it.
G-14.0620    Pastor Emeritus, Emerita
When any pastor or associate pastor retires, and the congregation is moved by affection and gratitude to continue an association in an honorary relationship, it may, at a regularly called congregational meeting, elect him or her as pastor emeritus or emerita, with or without honorarium, but with no pastoral authority or duty. This action shall be taken only after consultation with the committee on ministry of the presbytery concerning the wisdom of this relationship for the peace of the church. This action shall be subject to the approval of presbytery, and may take effect upon the formal dissolution of the pastoral or associate pastoral relationship or anytime thereafter.
G-14.0630    Officiate by Invitation Only
Former pastors, associate pastors, assistant pastors, and ministers who do not have a pastoral relationship with the particular church as defined in this chapter may officiate at services for members of the church, or at services within its properties, only upon invitation from the moderator of the session or, in case of the inability to contact the moderator, from the clerk of session.
G-14.0700    Persons Called to Certified Ministry
G-14.0710    Christian Educators
Christian educators are persons called by God to a ministry of education who demonstrate their faith in and love for Jesus Christ, are dedicated to the life of faith and are serious in purpose, honest in character, and joyful in service. Christian educators serving particular congregations are accountable to the session and under the supervision of the pastor, sharing with them the responsibility of providing for the spiritual growth of members for their ministry, teaching the Bible, recommending curriculum materials and resources, training and supporting lay workers, planning and administering the educational program of their congregations, and other tasks.
G-14.0711    Training
It is expected that Christian educators be persons with skills and training in biblical interpretation, Reformed theology, human development, religious educational theory and practice, and the polity, programs, and mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They should be encouraged by their session and presbytery to meet, or prepare to meet, the accrediting requirements defined in this section.
G-14.0720    Certification for Christian Educators
In order to provide effective guidance for educational ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Assembly shall offer a handbook containing the training and continuing education process for Christian Educators, which shall be administered and certification granted by the Educator Certification Council on behalf of the General Assembly Council. The handbook shall also provide suggested models for support and accountability that synods and presbyteries may adopt for their own use or modify to fit local circumstances.
G-14.0721    Accrediting Process
The handbook shall provide an accrediting process that evaluates the educator’s academic preparation and work experience and examines competency in the following knowledge and skill areas:
"Biblical Interpretation
Reformed Theology
Human Development
Religious Education Theory and Practice
Polity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Program and Mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Worship and Sacraments
G-14.0722    Educator Certification Council
The Educator Certification Council shall establish certification standards, designate Educator Certification Advisors in consultation with presbyteries, evaluate certification examinations, and grant certificates and report to the General Assembly Council.
G-14.0730    Presbytery and Certified Christian Educators
The presbytery shall
a.   support the certification process by encouraging educators to seek certification, providing guidance through the Educator Certification Advisor, and encouraging sessions to make continuing education funds and time available to educators seeking certification;
b.   provide the following support to the certified Christian educators: service of recognition that shall include the constitutional questions at G-14.0300 (G-11.0103n); establish minimum requirements for compensation and benefits (G-11.0103n); and access to the committee on ministry (G-11.0503); and
c.   grant the privilege of the floor to the certified Christian educator at all its meetings with voice only, and, in the case of certified Christian educators who are ordained elders, voice and vote under the provisions of G-11.0101b. (G-11.0407)
G-14.0731    Service of Recognition
When the presbytery is satisfied with the qualifications of an applicant for a certified education position in ministry in the church, a service of recognition shall be provided that shall include the constitutional questions (G-14.0300), using these words for Question I: Will you be a faithful certified Christian educator, teaching faith and caring for people, and will you in your ministry try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
G-14.0740    Other Certified Persons
Other certified persons have been called to service within particular churches, governing bodies, and church-related entities. These individuals endeavor to reflect their faith through their work and to strengthen the church through their dedication.
G-14.0741    Organized Associations
To that end, groups of professionals have organized for community, support, and professional development. Several of these associations have entered into formal liaison relationships with General Assembly entities. These groups include the Administrative Personnel Association, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Presbyterian Church Business Administrators Association and others.
G-14.0742    Certification
Certification is overseen and granted by the individual associations; the requirements for certification are reported to the appropriate body of the General Assembly Council.
a.   Members of the Administrative Personnel Association (APA) include secretaries, administrative assistants, bookkeepers, and support staff in church-related settings.
b.   Members of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM) include choir directors, organists, ministers, and other persons interested in the quality and integrity of music in the worship experience.
c.   Members of the Presbyterian Church Business Administrators Association include pastors and lay persons serving primarily as administrators in particular churches and church-related entities.
G-14.0743    Notification of Status
Names of those who have earned certification through these associations shall be transmitted to the appropriate body of the General Assembly Council, which will forward them to the Office of the General Assembly and to the stated clerk of the presbyteries in which those persons labor.
G-14.0744    Recognition by Presbytery
a.   The presbytery shall affirm the skill and dedication of these certified persons by providing for recognition at presbytery at the time of their certification, asking them the constitutional questions in G-14.0300, and by inviting these employees to presbytery meetings, granting them the privilege of the floor.
b.   When the presbytery is satisfied with the qualifications of an applicant for a certified position in ministry in the church, a service of recognition shall be provided that shall include the constitutional questions (G-14.0300), using these words for Question I: Will you be a faithful Certified ___________, teaching faith and caring for people, and will you in your ministry try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
Amendments A.2.
2.   Amendment A.2.a. (1) [Changes shown in Amendment A.2.a. deal with advisory handbooks.]
The Preface to the Book of Order shall be amended by adding a new item “(5)” to read as follows: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italics.]
(5)   Advisory handbook signifies a handbook produced by agencies of the General Assembly to guide synods and presbyteries in procedures related to the oversight of ministry. Such handbooks suggest procedures that are commended, but not required.
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
3.   Amendment A.2.a. (2)
Section G-9.0405 shall be amended to read as follows: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italics.]
“Each governing body above the session shall, in consultation with the governing body above and below it, develop a manual of administrative operations. In order to provide effective guidance in the ordination, certification, commissioning, and oversight of the work of ministry, the General Assembly shall offer, through its appropriate agencies, advisory handbooks containing suggested models for procedure that synods and presbyteries may adopt for their own use or modify to fit local circumstances. These handbooks shall be developed and updated as needed by the appropriate General Assembly agencies, in consultation with the Office of the General Assembly and middle governing bodies, to ensure conformity with the Book of Order and practicality of use.
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
4.   Amendment A.2.a. (3)
Section G-11.0504 shall be amended by making the current wording paragraph a. and adding a new paragraph b. so that it shall read as follows: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
a.   The presbytery’s committee on ministry may look to synod and the General Assembly for information and assistance in the matter of ministers and pastoral relations. Synods shall create the necessary agency to coordinate the work of presbytery committees. The General Assembly shall create the necessary agency to facilitate and support the work of the presbyteries and the synods in this matter.
b.   The advisory handbook for committees on ministry developed by the appropriate General Assembly entity, in consultation with the Office of the General Assembly and middle governing bodies, shall provide guidance in the ordination, certification, commissioning, and oversight of the work of ministry through suggested models for procedures that synods and presbyteries may adopt for their own use or modify to establish their own requirements to fit local circumstances.
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
5.   Amendment A.2.b. [Note: Changes shown in Amendment A.2.b. deal with elders and deacons dissolving their relationship in the local church.]
Section G-14.0210 shall be deleted, G-6.0500 shall become G-6.0700, and the wording at G-14.0210 shall be moved to G-6.0500 so that the new G-6.0500 shall read as follows:
G-6.0500   Dissolution of Relationship
An elder or deacon may resign from the session or board of deacons for good cause, with the session’s consent. On ceasing to be an active member of a particular church, an elder or deacon ceases to be a member of its session or board. When an elder or deacon, because of change of residence or disability, is unable to perform the duties of the office for a period of one year, the active relationship shall be dissolved by the session unless there is good reason not to do so, which reason shall be recorded.
[Note: G-6.0600 is dealt with in Amendment A.2.c. below.]
G-6.0700   Renunciation of Jurisdiction
G-6.0701   Renunciation of Jurisdiction
“When a church officer, whether a minister of the Word and Sacrament, elder, or deacon, renounces the jurisdiction of this church in writing to the clerk or stated clerk of the governing body of jurisdiction, the renunciation shall be effective upon receipt. Renunciation of jurisdiction shall remove the officer from membership and ordained office and shall terminate the exercise of office.
G-6.0702   Persistence in Disapproved Work
“When a church officer, after consultation and notice, persists in a work disapproved by the governing body having jurisdiction, the governing body may presume that the officer has renounced the jurisdiction of this church.
G-6.0703   Effect of Renunciation
“The renunciation shall be reported by the clerk or stated clerk at the next meeting of the governing body, which shall record the renunciation, delete the officer's name from the appropriate roll, and take such other actions of an administrative character as may be required by the Constitution.”
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
6.   Amendment A.2.c. [Note: Changes shown in Amendment A.2.c. deal with officers being released from ordained office.]
Section G-11.0414a-c and G-14.0211 shall be stricken and the following wording shall become new G-6.0600, so that it shall read:
G-6.0600   Release from the Exercise of Ordained Office
a.   If a minister, elder, or deacon against whom no inquiry has been initiated pursuant to D-10.0101 and D-10.0201, against whom no charges have been filed, and who otherwise is in good standing, shall make application to the governing body in which he or she holds membership to be released from the exercise of the ordained office, the governing body, upon granting the release, shall delete that person’s name from the appropriate roll. No judgment or failure on the part of the officer is implied in this action.
b.   Release from the exercise of the ordained office of minister, elder, or deacon requires a discontinuance of all functions of that office. The designation of minister, elder, or deacon shall not be used. The status of a minister, elder, or deacon so released shall be the same as any church member.
c.   A person released under this section who desires to be restored to the ordained office shall make application to the governing body that granted the release, or to the presbytery if the church has been dissolved, and upon approval of that governing body, the person shall be restored to the exercise of the ordained office without reordination.
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
7.   Amendment A.2.d. [Note: Changes shown in Amendment A.2.d. deal with the ability of a session to employ a minister of another denomination in a temporary relationship.]
Section G-14.0514 shall be stricken and the wording shall be inserted to become G-11.0405c so that G-11.0405c shall read:
G-11.0405   Ministers of Other Churches
c.   Ordained ministers of other Christian churches may be employed by the session of a particular church in a temporary pastoral relationship, provided that such ministers present to the presbytery credentials of good standing in the ecclesiastical body to which they belong, and provided that presbytery gives its approval to the temporary pastoral relationship.
[Note: If Amendment A.1. is approved, the following amendments shall also be approved.]
8.   Amendment A.2.e. [Note: Changes shown in Amendment A.2.e. deal with the call, installation and recognition of validated ministry.]
Section G-14.0517 shall be stricken and the wording at G-11.0408 shall become G-11.0408a; and the current wording at G-14.0517a and b shall become new G-11.0408b and c, so that G-11.0408 shall read:
“G-11.0408    Validated Ministry
a.   A minister of the Word and Sacrament who is an active member of presbytery may be engaged (1) in a validated ministry within congregations of this church, (2) in a validated ministry in other service of this church, (3) in a validated ministry in service beyond the jurisdiction of this church, or may be (4) honorably retired.
b.   A call to a validated ministry in other service of this church (G-11.0410) or in service beyond the jurisdiction of the church (G-11.0411) shall ordinarily be in a form which includes a description of the goals and working relationships, financial terms, and the signatures of the minister, a representative of the presbytery, and where possible, a representative of the employing agency.
c.   It is appropriate for presbytery to conduct a service of installation similar to that found in G-14.0540, or a service of recognition, at the inauguration of this ministry.
[Note: Each of these B Amendments will be considered individually. The Office of the General Assembly makes no recommendation about whether they should be approved or not.]
Amendments B
[The assembly approved Item 05-11, Recommendations B.1 - B.3. See pp. 38-39.]
1.   Amendment B.1. [Note: These B amendments are written in terms of changes to the revised Chapter XIV being proposed in amendments A. See the cross-reference for 2005 Book of Order placement.]
a.   Shall the language at G-14.0310 be deleted and shall “Ordination, installation, and commissioning questions and service information are found at W-4.4000.” be inserted so that G-14.0310 shall read:
“G-14.0310    Service of Ordination, Installation, and Commissioning
Ordination, installation, and commissioning questions and service information are found at W-4.4000.
b.   Shall G-14.0320 and G-14.0330 be deleted.
c.   Shall the language at G-14.0340–G-14.0345 be deleted and shall “Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.” be inserted at G-14.0340 so that it shall read:
“G-14.0340    Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.
d.   Shall the language at G-14.0490–G-14.0493 be deleted and shall “Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.” be inserted at G-14.0490 so that it shall read:
“G-14.0490    Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.
e.   Shall the language at G-14.0540–G-14.0547 be deleted and shall “Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.” be inserted at G-14.0540 so that it shall read:
“G-14.0540   Installation of Minister
Ordination questions and installation service information may be found at W-4.4000.
f.   Shall the language at W-4.4000 be deleted and shall the following language be inserted so that W-4.4000 shall read :
W-4.4000      Ordination, Installation and Commissioning
W-4.4001a   Ordination and Installation
“a.   In ordination the church sets apart with prayer and the laying on of hands those who have been called through election by the church to serve as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament. (W-2.1005) In installation the church sets apart with prayer those previously ordained to the office of deacon, elder, or minister of the Word and Sacrament, and called anew to service in that office.
W-4.4001b    Service of Ordination, Installation, and Commissioning
“b.   The service of ordination and installation for elders, deacons, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament, and for the commissioning of certified Christian educators, certified persons and commissioned lay pastors, shall focus upon Christ and the joy and responsibility of serving him through the mission and ministry of the church, and shall include a sermon appropriate to the occasion. The minister presiding shall state briefly the nature of the office.
“W-4.4002    Setting of the Service
“The service of ordination and installation, or commissioning, may take place during the Service for the Lord’s Day as a response to the proclamation of the Word. (W-3.3503). Ordination and installation, or commissioning, may also take place in a special service that focuses upon Jesus Christ and the mission and ministry of the church and which includes the proclamation of the Word. The service of installation of a pastor or associate pastor shall be conducted at a convenient time to enable the substantial participation of the presbytery.
W-4.4003    Constitutional Questions to Officers and Commissioned Persons
“The moderator of the governing body of those to be ordained, installed, or commissioned shall ask them to stand before the body of membership and to answer the following questions:
“a.   Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
“b.   Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to you?
“c.   Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
“d.   Will you fulfill your office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
“e.   Will you be governed by our church’s polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?
“f.   Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
“g.   Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?
“h.   Will you seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
“i.    (1)   (For elder) Will you be a faithful elder, watching over the people, providing for their worship, nurture, and service? Will you share in government and discipline, serving in governing bodies of the church, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“(2)   (For deacon) Will you be a faithful deacon, teaching charity, urging concern, and directing the people’s help to the friendless and those in need, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“(3)   (For minister of the Word and Sacrament) Will you be a faithful minister, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the governing bodies of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“(4)   (For commissioned lay pastor) Will you be a faithful commissioned lay pastor, serving the people by proclaiming the good news, teaching faith and caring for the people, and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“(5)   (For certified Christian educator) Will you be a faithful certified Christian educator, teaching faith and caring for people, and will you in your ministry try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“W-4.4004   Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
“At the service of ordination or installation of elders and deacons:
“W-4.4004a   Questions to Congregation
“a.   The elders-and deacons-elect having answered in the affirmative, an elder shall stand with them before the congregation and shall ask the congregation to answer the following questions:
   “(1)   Do we, the members of the church, accept (names) ____________ as elders or deacons, chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to lead us in the way of Jesus Christ?
   “(2)   Do we agree to encourage them, to respect their decisions, and to follow as they guide us, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is Head of the Church?
“W-4.4004b   Prayer and Laying on of Hands
“b.   The members of the church having answered these questions in the affirmative, those to be ordained shall kneel, if able, for prayer and the laying on of hands by the session. Those previously ordained ordinarily shall stand, along with the congregation, if able, for the prayer of installation. The session may invite other elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament to participate in the laying on of hands.
“W-4.4004c.   Statement
“c.   The moderator shall say to those who have thus been ordained and installed:
“You are now elders and deacons in the Church of Jesus Christ and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
“W-4.4004d   Session Welcomes
“d.   Then the members of the session, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the newly ordained and installed, or newly installed, elders and deacons into their fellowship in ministry.
“W-4.4004e   Congregation Greets
“e.   After the service, it is appropriate for the members of the congregation to greet their new elders and deacons, showing affection and support.
“W-4.4005   Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
“At the service of ordination to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament
“W-4.4005a   Ordination Questions
“a.   The presbytery shall utilize the ordination questions laid out at G-14.0300, W-4.4003, using these words for Question i.(3): Will you be a faithful minister, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the governing bodies of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
“W-4.4005b   Prayer and Laying on of Hands
“b.   The candidate, having answered the questions in the affirmative, shall kneel, if able, and the presbytery, or presbytery commission, shall, with prayer and the laying on of hands, ordain the candidate to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament. The member presiding shall then say:
“(Name)____________________, you are now ordained a minister of the Word and Sacrament in the church of Jesus Christ. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
“W-4.4005.   Presbytery Welcomes
“c.   Then the members of the presbytery, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the new minister into the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. At the conclusion of the ordination service, the new minister may make a brief statement and shall pronounce the benediction.
“W-4.4006    Installation of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
“Every Christian is called by God to serve the church; however, God calls some persons to serve the church in particular and specific ways in congregations. When the congregation, the presbytery, and the minister (or candidate) have all concurred in a call to a permanent or designated pastoral position, the presbytery shall complete the call process by organizing and conducting the service of installation. Installation is an act of the presbytery establishing the pastoral relationship. A commission may be appointed to act for the presbytery.
“W-4.4006a   Installation Service
“a.   On the day designated for the installation, the presbytery or commission appointed for this purpose shall convene and shall call the congregation gathered to worship. The service shall have the same focus and form as the service of ordination and the person being installed shall be asked to answer the questions asked at the time of ordination.
“W-4.4006b   Questions for Congregation
“b.   Following the affirmative answers to the questions asked of the person being installed, an elder shall face the congregation along with the pastor-elect (associate pastor-elect) and shall ask them to answer the following questions:
   “(1)   Do we, the members of the church, accept (Name) ___________ as our pastor (associate pastor), chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to guide us in the way of Jesus Christ?
   “(2)   Do we agree to encourage him (her), to respect his (her) decisions, and to follow as he (she) guides us, serving Jesus Christ, who alone is Head of the Church?
   “(3)   Do we promise to pay him (her) fairly and provide for his (her) welfare as he (she) works among us; to stand by him (her) in trouble and share his (her) joys? Will we listen to the word he (she) preaches, welcome his (her) pastoral care, and honor his (her) authority as he (she) seeks to honor and obey Jesus Christ our Lord?
W-4.4006c   Installation of Minister
c.   The members of the congregation having answered these questions in the affirmative,
(1)    a candidate being ordained and installed shall kneel, if able, and the presbytery shall, with prayer and the laying on of hands, ordain the candidate to the office of minister of the Word and Sacrament and install him or her in the particular pastoral responsibility.
(2)    a minister, previously ordained, who is being installed ordinarily shall stand, if able, for the laying on of hands and the prayer of installation.
“W-4.4006d   Statement to Minister
“d.   The member presiding shall then say:
“(1)    (For one being ordained and installed) (Name) ______________________, you are now a minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Church of Jesus Christ and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything
“(2)    (For a minister previously ordained) (Name) ________________, you are now a minister of the Word and Sacrament in and for this congregation. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.
“W-4.4006e   Welcome
“e.   Then the members of the presbytery, and others as may be appropriate, shall welcome the newly ordained and installed or newly installed minister into their fellowship in the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.
“W-4.4006f    Charge
“f.   Persons invited by the presbytery may then give brief charges to the pastor (associate pastor) and to the congregation to be faithful in their relationship and in their reciprocal responsibilities.
“W-4.4006g   Benediction
“g.   At the conclusion of the service, the newly installed minister may make a brief statement and shall pronounce the benediction.
Rationale for Amendment B.1.
Moving these sections from Chapter 14 into the Directory for Worship will accomplish at least three things:
•   Placing this section into the Directory for Worship embodies our belief that ordination and installation of officers must always occur in the context of worship. Our theology teaches us that these acts are forms of worship at least as much as they are of governance.
•   Having one portion of the Book of Order dedicated to the ordination questions for elders, deacons, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament makes clear our understanding that ordination is to function (G-6.0102) and that everyone being ordained answers the same questions (except for the final one, which is directed to each office individually).
•   The church has been asking for a shorter Chapter 14 and this is one way to move lengthy portions to a more logical placement.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.1.
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.1.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (ACC).
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 216th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Amendment B.1.
Rationale
The amendment would, if approved, move the questions for ordination, installation, and commissioning, together with other instructions for such services, out of Chapter XIV and into the Directory for Worship (DfW). Regardless of whether Amendment A is approved, the effect of approving this amendment would be to lodge all ordination/installation/ commissioning service information in the Directory for Worship.
The ACC finds no constitutional barrier to the action proposed in this amendment. Since the Directory for Worship has equal standing with the Form of Government as part of the Constitution of the church, transferring ordination/installation/commissioning questions and service information to the DfW does not result in a loss of constitutional force regarding these questions. Moreover, their placement in the DfW is in keeping with the character and contents of the DfW, since ordination, installation, and commissioning are all acts of worship.
2.   Amendment B.2. [Note: These B amendments are written in terms of changes to the revised Chapter XIV being proposed in amendments A. See the cross-reference for 2005 Book of Order placement.]
Shall G-14.0440 (Negotiation for Service) become G-14.0441 and new language be inserted at G-14.0440 [would be G-14.0309d] so that the sections shall read: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italic.]
“G-14.0440    Licensure
“When a candidate has completed all requirements for ordination, except completion of the examinations of G-14.0430ae, the candidate and the presbytery may agree that the candidate will serve an internship prior to undertaking the exams described in G-14.0430ae. The presbytery may grant such candidate a license to preach, and when its strategy for mission requires it, a limited license to administer the sacraments. A minister of the Word and Sacrament shall be assigned as mentor and supervisor. Upon successful completion of the examinations described in G-14.0430ae, such candidate may be invited by the session to serve in any of the positions described in G-14.0551.
G-14.0440 G-14.0441    Negotiation for Service
“A candidate who has completed two full years of theological education or its equivalent, who has had an annual consultation within the previous year, and who has successfully completed all ordination examinations or has received presbytery’s certification of readiness according to G-14.0472 may, with approval of the committee on preparation for ministry (CPM) and the appropriate committee on ministry, enter into negotiation for his or her ministerial service. For candidates who have not yet completed the two years of theological education or successfully completed all ordination examinations, the presbytery of care may, by three-fourths vote, permit a candidate to proceed to negotiate for service prior to certification of readiness to receive a call.
Rationale for Amendment B.2.
Many of the focus groups who gave feedback on the Form of Government project mentioned a desire for reinstating an old concept, but putting it into a new setting: licensure of candidates who have completed the preparation process except for passing all the ordination exams. The thinking is as follows:
Deans in seminaries see the wisdom of allowing candidates to have hands-on experience, including administering the sacraments, as they prepare to finish their exams outside the academic setting. Since the exams aim to test assimilation of academic training with pastoral sense, this experience often serves to aid them in passing the exams.
Presbyteries with many small churches are hoping that such candidates will be able to pastor some of these congregations; they can do so now, but cannot celebrate the sacraments. Experience has taught us that once such a candidate is serving such a small congregation it is much more likely that the candidate will stay on for a few years even after they are ordained. This is a winning situation for all concerned.
Many large church pastors would like to be able to mentor a young pastor in a large congregation setting, which many candidates will not be able to experience otherwise.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.2.
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.2.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Amendment B.2. with the following alternative language:
G-14.0440    Licensure
When a candidate has completed all requirements for ordination, except for completion of the examinations of G-14.0431(a)–(e), the candidate and the presbytery of care may agree that the candidate will serve an internship prior to undertaking the exams described in G-14.0431(a)-(e). The presbytery of care may grant such candidate a license to preach. When its strategy for mission requires it, the presbytery of service may also grant the candidate a limited license to administer the sacraments under the supervision of a minister of Word and Sacrament, who shall also serve as the licentiate’s mentor. Upon successful completion of the examinations described in G-14.0431(a)–(e), such candidate may be invited by the session to serve in any of the positions described in G-14.0551.
Rationale
The amendment would, if approved, create a new paragraph G-14.0440, Licensure, in the text of the revised Chapter XIV and renumber G-14.0440 as G-14.0441. The new paragraph would create the option for a presbytery to license a candidate to preach and, with limitations at the discretion of the presbytery, to administer sacraments under the supervision of a minister of the Word and Sacrament. Service under such licensure would not restrict the candidate’s eligibility to be called to any position described in G-14.0551 upon completion of the requirements for ordination.
The committee finds no constitutional barrier to the creation of this provision.
Licensure is not a new idea for the church. In 1872, the PCUSA adopted rules governing the licensure of candidates to preach, but the practice goes well back into the early history of Presbyterianism in this country. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, licensure was a regular part of preparation for ministry, and various references appear in minutes of the PCUSA describing debates on permitting licentiates to administer sacraments or perform other pastoral responsibilities. In 1927, the Swearingen Commission of the PCUSA dealt extensively with licensure as part of its study of the status of ministers and candidates (“probationers”) in the church (see Minutes, PCUSA, 1927, Part I, pp. 56–86). The practice of licensing candidates to preach was part of the PCUS Book of Church Order from at least as early as 1907 but is absent from the 1961 edition. Licensure was part of the polity of the PCUSA and was brought into the UPCUSA, where it remained until reunion, when it was omitted from the Book of Order.
The effect of approving this amendment would be to restore the option to the presbytery to provide a period of internship for candidates during which they might hone their skills as pastors and preachers before being released to the full exercise of ministry. In truth, this option already exists; this amendment has the function of strengthening the ability of the presbytery to make use of it as a tool in the task of preparation for ordination. Research indicates that candidates who serve such internships before undertaking the standard ordination examinations generally perform more satisfactorily than those who have not had such internships.
The amendment proposes to grant to licentiates a “limited license to administer the sacraments.” This does represent a change in the historic practices of all three antecedent denominations of the PC(USA). All three antecedent denominations permitted only ministers (and licentiates were clearly understood as not yet ordained to the ministry) to administer the Sacraments. However, in the years intervening between reunion and the present, the church has seen fit to change its stance regarding administration of the Sacraments in two important ways. First, in G-6.0304 and G-11.0103z, the presbytery is empowered to authorize specific elders to administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper after appropriate instruction by the presbytery. Second, presbyteries are permitted under the provisions of G-14.0801c to authorize commissioned lay pastors (who are elders) to celebrate both baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The ACC believes that the permission to licentiates to administer the Sacraments is consistent with these existing provisions.
It is important to note that in case of both elders and commissioned lay pastors who are permitted to administer the Sacraments, both are holders of ordained office. Licentiates may or may not have been ordained as elders before completing the requirements for ordination to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. Permitting non-ordained licentiates to administer the Sacraments would create a new category in our polity and change to this extent our theology of ordination. In view of this, the General Assembly may wish to consider either of two solutions:
1.   Delete the second half of the second sentence of the proposed amendment, so that the sentence now reads: The presbytery may grant such candidate a license to preach.
2.   Amend the second sentence of the amendment to include the requirement that the licentiate be given permission to administer the sacraments under the supervision of a minister of the Word and Sacrament. The assembly might accomplish this end by replacing the second and third sentences with the following: The presbytery may grant such candidate a license to preach. When its strategy for mission requires it, the presbytery may also grant the candidate a limited license to administer the sacraments under the supervision of a minister of Word and Sacrament, who shall also serve as the licentiate’s mentor.
Finally, the ACC notes that there may be confusion regarding which presbytery licenses the candidate and authorizes the administration of the sacraments. The determination to license a particular candidate would be the presbytery of care. The determination of “strategy for mission” would presumably be the presbytery of service. Therefore the Advisory Committee on the Constitution suggests the following additional clarifying modifications:
3.   In the first sentence add the words “of care” between the words “presbytery” and “may agree”; and in the second sentence add “of care” after the word “presbytery”; and in the third sentence, add “of service” after the word “presbytery”.
If the 217th General Assembly (2006) concurs with the Advisory Committee on the Constitution, the proposed amendment, as advised above, would read:
When a candidate has completed all requirements for ordination, except for completion of the examinations of G-14.0431(a)-(e), the candidate and the presbytery of care may agree that the candidate will serve an internship prior to undertaking the exams described in G-14.0431(a)-(e). The presbytery of care may grant such candidate a license to preach. When its strategy for mission requires it, the presbytery of service may also grant the candidate a limited license to administer the sacraments under the supervision of a minister of Word and Sacrament, who shall also serve as the licentiate’s mentor. Upon successful completion of the examinations described in G-14.0431(a)-(e), such candidate may be invited by the session to serve in any of the positions described in G-14.0551.
3.   Amendment B.3. [Note: These B amendments are written in terms of changes to the revised Chapter XIV being proposed in Amendments A. See the cross-reference for 2005 Book of Order placement.]
Shall G-14.0472 [ current G-14.0313b] be amended by striking the last three sentences as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with strike-through.]
“G-14.0472    Examination Requirements
“The examination requirements of G-14.0431 shall not be waived until an inquirer or candidate has failed on two attempts to receive a satisfactory grade, unless the inquirer or candidate has a disability, documented by a person or persons of the presbytery's choice, which disability affects the individual's test-taking ability. If the presbytery believes that the person should be certified as ready for examination for ordination, pending a call, it shall authorize an exception only by a three-fourths vote of the members of the presbytery present, and must determine an alternate means whereby it will satisfy itself of competence in the area(s) of difficulty. When the individual successfully completes the alternate pattern, the presbytery may certify readiness in the usual manner. The minutes of presbytery shall contain a full record of the reasons for the exception and the alternate pattern for determining competence. Presbyteries shall submit to the synod the process by which a candidate, who has failed one or more examinations twice, or who has such a documented disability, would be examined. Once that process has been approved, presbyteries may proceed with particular candidates, and note such exemptions in their minutes each occasion. Such processes will be reviewed every three years.
Rationale for Amendment B.3.
The suggestion for this amendment came from several focus groups, including one made up of synod execs and stated clerks. There are a number of problems with the current requirement that synods approve an alternate ordination exam process for a presbytery:
•   For the alternate exam process to be useful enough for each individual situation in which it might be needed, it would have to be too specific to be practical.
•   The timeline often acts as a bureaucratic delay in a candidate’s process without adding the benefits of a true safeguard.
•   Synods often simply approve such processes without careful scrutiny. Presbyteries are very able to judge for themselves the adequacy of the alternate process.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.3
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.3.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 216th General Assembly (2006) to approve Item 05-11, Amendment B.3.
Rationale
The amendment, if approved, would strike the final three sentences from G-14.0472 of the proposed revision of Chapter XIV in Amendment A (current G-14.0313b), which require that presbyteries who wish to use an alternate means of examining candidates in the areas specified in current G-14.0310d(1–5) must submit for synod approval a process for such examinations. At present, the Book of Order requires that the candidate has failed one or more of the examinations in G-14.0310d(1–5) at least twice before the presbytery can apply alternate means.
Paragraph G-14.0313b has been the subject of some effort at revision in the recent past. In 1996, the presbyteries approved amending G-14.0313b to insert the very language proposed for deletion in this amendment. The effort at that time was to allow presbyteries to submit for synod approval a general process for granting exceptions to the standard ordination examinations, rather than requiring synod review of every exception proposed by the presbytery. In 2000, presbyteries inserted language to G-14.0313b to allow candidates with disability affecting their test-taking ability to apply for alternate means before having twice failed one or more of the standard ordination exams.
The effect of this amendment would be to remove any requirement that the synod approve the process used by the presbytery in determining a candidate’s readiness for ministry. The Advisory Committee on the Constitution finds that this removal is in keeping with other provisions of our polity, which assign the assessment of a candidate’s readiness for ministry to the presbytery (G-11.1013l and G-14.0310a, b) but make no mention of any role or responsibility on the part of the synod.
4.   Amendment B.4.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-11, Recommendations B.4. - B.6. See pp. 38-39.]
Shall G-14.0513 [in proposed revised Chapter XIV; in current Book of Order would be G-14.0501d] be amended by striking the words “or to” and inserting the words “except by a two-thirds affirmative vote of presbytery.”; inserting the words “An associate may” at the beginning and striking “except” in the second sentence, and inserting a new sentence so that it shall read as follows: [Text to be deleted is shown with strike-through; text to be added or inserted is shown as italics.]
“G-14.0513    Succession and Extraordinary Circumstances [in proposed revised Chapter XIV; in current Book of Order would be G-14.0501d]
“The official relationship of an associate pastor to a church is not dependent upon that of a pastor, but an associate pastor is not eligible to be the next installed pastor in a church that they have served together, or to except by a two-thirds affirmative vote of presbytery. An associate may be called as pastor to serve as co-pastor of that church, except in churches that currently have a co-pastor model in place which has been in effect for at least three years and the congregation desires to continue such a model. In such churches, an associate pastor may be called as pastor to serve as co-pastor of that church with a two-thirds affirmative vote of presbytery. An associate pastor shall be directed in his or her work by the pastor in consultation with the session.”
Rationale for Amendment B.4.
The request for this amendment came from a number of focus groups, asking that the presbytery be given the ultimate decision about what works best in their context for their congregations. Not every presbytery would choose to take such actions and even if they would choose to do so, the action still would require a super-majority of the presbytery to be approved. This assures that the presbytery needs to be convinced of the extraordinary circumstance for such an exception to occur.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.4.
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.4.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) on Item 05-11, Amendment B.4., with the following comment:
The amendment, if approved, would amend G-14.0513 of the proposed revision of Chapter XIV in Amendment A (current G-14.0501d). The present language of G-14.0501d prohibits an associate pastor from succeeding immediately the pastor with whom he or she has served as associate pastor. The amendment would permit such succession upon supermajority vote of the presbytery. The current provisions of G-14.0501d also allow a church that has used a co-pastor model for at least three years to call an associate pastor to become co-pastor under that model, again with a supermajority vote of presbytery. The amendment would preserve that possibility, but would reduce the required presbytery supermajority from the present three-quarters to two-thirds.
There have been numerous efforts to permit associate pastors to succeed as the next installed pastor, or to become co-pastor, of the congregation where they are serving or have recently served as associate pastor. In the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), prior to 1960, the Book of Church Order required that the relationship of an associate pastor with a congregation be dissolved with the departure of the pastor. This provision was changed to allow an associate to become pastor after having ceased to be associate pastor for a period of six months (Minutes, PCUS, 1960, Part I, p. 121). The polity of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) did not preclude associate pastors from election as pastor of the church where they serve as associate upon the resignation of the pastor. This provision was changed with the adoption of the current Book of Order at reunion. Amendments were rejected by assemblies in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 2000 that would have permitted associates to succeed as pastor with various levels of majority and supermajority approval by calling congregations and presbytery.
In 1987, the current provision of G-14.0501 was amended to prohibit either pastor or associate pastor from becoming co-pastors of the congregation they are serving as pastor or associate. General Assemblies in 1989, 1995, and 1996 rejected efforts to change that provision. The only exception to this was the adoption by presbyteries in 1990 of the current language of G-14.0501d to permit an associate to be called as co-pastor in a congregation that has employed the co-pastor model for three years.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the General Assembly that the clear historical reluctance of the church to permit associate pastors to succeed as pastors of churches where they serve as associates indicates a broad sense in the church that this practice is in most cases unwise and potentially injurious to congregational health.
5.   Amendment B.5.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-11, Recommendations B.4. - B.6. See pp. 38-39.]
Shall G-14.0553 [in proposed revised Chapter XIV; in current Book of Order would be G-14.0513b be amended by adding “except by a two-thirds vote of the presbytery” at the end of the sentence, so that it reads:
“G-14.0553    Interim Pastoral Relations
“When a presbytery and session determine that an interim pastor, interim co-pastor, or interim associate pastor is necessary and helpful, the session may consult the committee on ministry and seek an interim minister as soon as a date certain for departure has been announced by the pastor or associate pastor planning to leave. An interim pastor, interim co-pastor, or interim associate pastor is not eligible to serve that church as the next permanent or designated pastor except by a two-thirds vote of the presbytery.
Rationale for Amendment B.5.
The request for this amendment came from a number of focus groups, asking that the presbytery be given the ultimate decision about what works best in their context for their congregations. Not every presbytery would choose to take such actions and even if they would choose to do so, the action still would require a super-majority of the presbytery to be approved. This assures that the presbytery needs to be convinced of the extraordinary circumstance for such an exception to occur.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.5.
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.5.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) regarding Item 05-11, Amendment B.5. with the following comment:
The amendment, if approved, would amend G-14.0553 of the proposed revision of Chapter XIV in Amendment A (current G-14.0513b) to permit an interim pastor to be eligible for nomination as pastor of the congregation in which he or she is serving as interim pastor, provided that the presbytery approves the call by supermajority vote.
The amendment poses no direct conflicts with other provisions of the Constitution. 
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution notes, however, that in 1992 the General Assembly rejected Overture 92-39, a proposed amendment that would have permitted interim pastors to succeed as pastor with the approval of a three-fourths vote of the presbytery. The specific reasoning of the Advisory Committee on the Constitution at that time is instructive:
... The safeguard to the congregation inherent in this prohibition far outweighs the inconvenience of a difficult search process. Any person who agrees to serve as interim understands that there is no possibility for a permanent relationship. That prohibition was designed to give the interim and the church freedom to engage in necessary objective evaluation of the church's future. To qualify this prohibition, as this overture suggests, will in fact change the nature of the interim position so that it will no longer be truly an interim position. Rather, it would have the effect of eliminating the distinction between temporary and permanent pastoral relationships. (Minutes, 1992, Part I, pp. 302, paragraph 21.031)
6.   Amendment B.6.
[The assembly disapproved Item 05-11, Recommendations B.4. - B.6. See pp. 38-39.]
Shall G-14.0613 [in proposed revised Chapter XIV; in current Book of Order would be G-11.0103o] be amended by inserting the following as the last sentence, “The relationship may be dissolved if the presbytery determines that the pastoral/congregational match is incompatible.” Section G-14.0613 shall then read as follows: [Text to be added or inserted is shown as italics.]
“G-14.0613    Presbytery Action
“The presbytery, through its committee on ministry or an administrative commission, may inquire into reported difficulties in a congregation and may dissolve the pastoral relationship if, after consultation with the minister, the session, and the congregation (G-7.0304a(3)), it finds the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it. The relationship may be dissolved if the presbytery determines that the pastoral/congregational match is incompatible.
Rationale for Amendment B.6.
This amendment addresses two not-uncommon fact patterns for many presbyteries:
•   The discovery in a relatively short time that a particular minister is a very bad match for a congregation. Rather than allow the resulting conflict to build to a destructive level, the presbytery may take preemptive action in time to allow both the minister and the congregation to survive what often becomes an unhealthy departure if delayed too long.
•   Occasionally a presbytery is dealing with a minister with impaired emotional or mental ability. Being able to act quickly is critical to the health of all involved.
ACC ADVICE ON ITEM 05-11, AMENDMENT B.6.
Advice on Item 05-11, Amendment B.6.—From the Advisory Committee on the Constitution.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the 217th General Assembly (2006) on Item 05-11, Amendment B.6., with the following comment:
The amendment would add a final sentence to section G-14.0613 of the proposed revision of Chapter XIV. The proposed G-14.0613 concerns the ability of the presbytery, acting directly or through its committee on ministry, to dissolve the pastoral relationship, after appropriate consultations as prescribed in G-7.0304a(3), if it finds that the church’s mission “imperatively demands it.” The addition proposed by Amendment B.6. would add the qualification that the determination may be made on the grounds that the match between the pastor and congregation is incompatible.
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advises the General Assembly that there are no constitutional barriers posed by this amendment. The Advisory Committee on the Constitution further advises that the amendment is unnecessary because the presbytery already possesses the necessary authority to dissolve pastoral relationships for reasons of the health and well being of the congregation under existing provisions of the Book of Order.
Table of Contents and Cross-Reference for New Chapter 14
* indicates not found in 2005 Book of Order   + indicates new wording
 
Proposed
Paragraph or Provision
2005 Book of Order
Preface
Advisory Handbook Definition
*
G-6.0500
Dissolution of Relationship of Elder or Deacon
G-14.0210
G-6.0600
Release from the Exercise of Ordained Office
G-11.0414, G-14.0211
G-6.0700
Renunciation of Jurisdiction
G-6.0500
G-9.0405
GA Create Advisory Handbooks
*
G-11.0405c
Ministers of Other Churches
G-14.0514
G-11.0408a
Validated Ministries
G-11.0408
G-11.0408b,c
Validated Ministry: Call, Installation, Recognition
G-14.0517a,b
G-14.0000
Ordination, Certification and Commissioning
G-14.0000
G-14.0100
Leadership in the Church
G-14.0100+
G-14.0110
Servant Style
G-14.0103
G-14.0120
Ordained Ministry
G-14.0101+
G-14.0130
Certified Ministry
G-14.0804+
G-14.0140
Commissioned Ministry
G-14.0102+, W-4.3001+
G-14.0200
Preparation for the Office of Elder and Deacon
G-14.0200+
G-14.0210
The Office of Elder or Deacon
G-14.0203+
G-14.0220
Election Provisions
*
G-14.0221
Fair Representation
G-14.0201+
G-14.0222
Terms
G-14.0201a+
G-14.0223
Nominating Committee
G-14.0201b
G-14.0224
Elected Annually
G-14.0201b+
G-14.0225
Nominating Procedures
G-14.0201d
G-14.0226
Exemptions
G-14.0202+
a.   Fair representation
G-14.0202a
b.   Fewer than 70 members
G-14.0201c+
c.   Rotation of terms
G-14.0202b+
G-14.0230
Congregational Meeting
G-14.0204a
G-14.0231
Purpose of meeting
G-14.0204b
G-14.0232
Nominations from floor
G-14.0201e+,G-14.0204b
G-14.0233
Ballots
G-14.0204b
G-14.0240
Preparation and Examination for Office
G-14.0205
G-14.0300
Ordination as Officers of the Church
G-14.0206+,G-14.0405+
G-14.0310
Service of Ordination, Installation,
G-14.0206+,G-14.0405a
And Commissioning
G-14.0801g,h
G-14.0320
Setting of the Service
W-4.4002+
G-14.0330
Constitutional Questions to Officers
G-14.0207+,
and Commissioned Persons
G-14.0405b+,G-14.0801g+
G-14.0340
Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
G-14.0341
Questions to Congregation
G-14.0208
G-14.0342
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0209a
G-14.0343
Statement
G-14.0209b
G-14.0344
Session Welcomes
G-14.0209c
G-14.0345
Congregation Greets
G-14.0209d
G-14.0400
Preparation for the Office of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0300
G-14.0401
Presbytery Responsibility for Inquiry and Candidacy
G-14.0301
G-14.0402
Advisory Handbook
*
G-14.0403
Time Requirements
G-14.0303b+,G-14.0401
G-14.0404
Inquiry Phase
G-14.0302
G-14.0405
Candidacy Phase
G-14.0304
G-14.0410
Duties of Presbytery and Session
G-14.0306a(1)+
G-14.0411
Oversight
G-14.0306a(2)
G-14.0412
Presbytery Responsibility
G-14.0306a+
G-14.0413
Session Responsibility
G-14.0306b
G-14.0420
Service in Covenant Relationship
G-14.0307+
G-14.0421
Annual Reports
G-14.0308+,G-14.0309+
G-14.0430
Examinations
G-14.0310c+
G-14.0431
Five Ordination Exams
G-14.0310d+
G-14.0432
Grading the Exams
G-14.0310e+
G-14.0440
Negotiation for Non-Ordained Service
G-14.0309d+
G-14.0450
Final Assessment of Readiness to Begin Ordained Ministry
G-14.0310a,b+
G-14.0460
Transfer of or Removal from Covenant Relationship
G-14.0461
Transfer of Relationship
G-14.0311
G-14.0462
Another Reformed Body
G-14.0314b
G-14.0463
Removal from Relationship
G-14.0312+
G-14.0470
Extraordinary Circumstances
G-14.0313
G-14.0471
Educational Requirements
G-14.0313a
G-14.0472
Examination Requirements
G-14.0313b
G-14.0473
Time Requirements
G-14.0313c
G-14.0474
Confirmation of Exceptions
G-14.0313d
G-14.0480
Ordination an Act of the Whole Church
G-14.0401+
G-14.0481
Place of Examination and Ordination
G-14.0314a+
G-14.0482
Examination for Ordination
G-14.0402+
G-14.0483
Presbytery of Call
G-14.0402a.+
G-14.0484
Agreement on Place of Ordination
G-14.0404+
G-14.0485
Recording the Ordination
G-14.0406+
G-14.0490
Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0405+
G-14.0491
Ordination Questions
G-14.0405b+
G-14.0492
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0405d
G-14.0493
Presbytery Welcomes
G-14.0405e
G-14.0500
Pastoral Relations
G-14.0500+
G-14.0501
Installed or Temporary Relations
G-14.0501a+
G-14.0510.
Installed Pastoral Relations
*
G-14.0511
Permanent Pastoral Relations
G-14.0501b+
G-14.0512
Co-Pastors
G-14.0501c+
G-14.0513
Succession and Extraordinary Circumstances
G-14.0501d+
G-14.0520
Designated Pastoral Relations
G-14.0501e
G-14.0521
Calling a Designated Pastor
G-14.0501e+
G-14.0522
Renewing or Ending the Call
G-14.0501e+
G-14.0523
Designated Pastor to Pastor
G-14.0501e+
G-14.0530
Election of a Pastor or Associate Pastor
G-14.0502+
G-14.0531
Pastor Nominating Committee
G-14.0502a+
G-14.0532
Confer with Committee on Ministry
G-14.0502b+
G-14.0533
Signing the Call
G-14.0506a
G-14.0534
Terms of the Call
G-14.0506b+
G-14.0540
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510+
G-14.0541
Installation Service
G-14.0510a+
G-14.0542
Questions for Congregation
G-14.0510a
G-14.0543
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510b
G-14.0544
Statement to Minister
G-14.0510c
G-14.0545
Welcome
G-14.0510d
G-14.0546
Charge
G-14.0510e
G-14.0547
Benediction
G-14.0510f
G-14.0550
Temporary Pastoral Relations
G-14.0513+
G-14.0551
May Not Become Next Installed Pastor
G-14.0513d+
G-14.0552
Organizing Pastors
G-14.0513f+
G-14.0553
Interim Pastoral Relations
G-14.0513b,c+
G-14.0560
Commissioned Lay Pastor
G-14.0801a
G-14.0561
Period Valid
G-14.0801b
G-14.0562
Authorization to Perform Functions
G-14.0801c+
G-14.0563
Pastoral Care and Confidentiality
G-14.0801f+
G-14.0564
Supervision
G-14.0801d
G-14.0565
Questions Asked
G-14.0801g+
G-14.0570
Parish Associate Relationship
G-14.0515a
G-14.0571
May Not Be Next Called Pastor
G-14.0515a
G-14.0572
Presbytery Oversight
G-14.0515b,c+
G-14.0573
Termination of the Relationship
G-14.0515d
G-14.0600
Dissolution of Installed Pastoral Relationships
G-14.0600+
G-14.0610
Dissolved by Presbytery
G-14.0601+
G-14.0611
Minister Requests
G-14.0602
G-14.0612
Church Requests
G-14.0603
G-14.0613
Presbytery Action
G-11.0103o+
G-14.0620
Pastor Emeritus, Emerita
G-14.0605
G-14.0630
Officiate by Invitation Only
G-14.0606
G-14.0700
Persons Called to Certified Ministry
G-14.0710
Christian Educators
G-14.0701a,b+
G-14.0711
Training
G-14.0701c+
G-14.0720
Certification for Christian Educators
G-14.0702+
G-14.0721
Accrediting Process
G-14.0703+
G-14.0722
Educator Certification Council
G-14.0704+
G-14.0730
Presbytery and Certified Christian Educators
G-14.0705+
G-14.0731
Service of Recognition
G-14.0705b+
G-14.0740
Other Certified Persons
G-14.0802a+
G-14.0741
Organized Associations
G-14.0802+
G-14.0742
Certification
G-14.0802+
G-14.0743
Notification of Status
G-14.0803
G-14.0744
Recognition by Presbytery
G-14.0804+
Cross References, If Amendments B Are Approved
 
Proposed
Paragraph or Provision
2005 Book of Order
Amendment B.1:
G-14.0310
Service of Ordination, Installation, and Commissioning
*
G-14.0320
Setting of the Service
W-4.4002+
G-14.0330
Constitutional Questions to Officers
G-14.0207+, G-14.0405b+,
and Commissioned Persons
G-14.0801g+
G-14.0340
Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
G-14.0341
Questions to Congregation
G-14.0208
G-14.0342
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0209a
G-14.0343
Statement
G-14.0209b
G-14.0344
Session Welcomes
G-14.0209c
G-14.0345
Congregation Greets
G-14.0209d
G-14.0490
Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
 
G-14.0491
Ordination Questions
G-14.0405b
G-14.0492
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0405d
G-14.0493
Presbytery Welcomes
G-14.0405e
G-14.0540
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510+
G-14.0541
Installation Service
G-14.0510a+
G-14.0542
Questions for Congregation
G-14.0510a
G-14.0543
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510b
G-14.0544
Statement to Minister
G-14.0510c
G-14.0545
Welcome
G-14.0510d
G-14.0546
Charge
G-14.0510e
G-14.0547
Benediction
G-14.0510f
W-4.4000
Ordination and Installation and Commissioning
W-4.4000+
W-4.4001
W-4.4001a
Ordination and Installation
W-4.4001
W-4.4001b
Service of Ordination, Installation
G-14.0206+, G-14.0405a,
and Commissioning
G-14.0801g,h
W-4.4002
Setting of the Service
W-4.4002+
W-4.4003
Constitutional Questions to Officers
G-14.0207+, G-14.0405b+,
and Commissioned Persons
G-14.0801g+
W-4.4004
Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
W-4.4004a
Questions to Congregation
G-14.0208
W-4.4004b
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0209a
W-4.4004c
Statement
G-14.0209b
W-4.4004d
Session Welcomes
G-14.0209c
W-4.4004e
Congregation Greets
G-14.0209d
W-4.4005
Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
 
W-4.4005a
Ordination Questions
G-14.0405b
W-4.4005b
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0405d
W-4.4005c
Presbytery Welcomes
G-14.0405e
W-4.4006
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510+
W-4.4006a
Installation Service
G-14.0510a+
W-4.4006b
Questions for Congregation
G-14.0510a
W-4.4006c
Installation of Minister
G-14.0510b
W-4.4006d
Statement to Minister
G-14.0510c
W-4.4006e
Welcome
G-14.0510d
W-4.4006f
Charge
G-14.0510e
W-4.4006g
Benediction
G-14.0510f
Amendment B.2:
G-14.0440
Licensure
*
G-14.0441
Negotiation for Non-Ordained Service
G-14.0309d+
Amendment B.3:
G-14.0472
Examination Requirements
G-14.0313b+
Amendment B.4:
G-14.0512
Succession and Extraordinary Circumstances
G-14.0501d+
Amendment B.5:
G-14.0553
Interim Pastoral Relations
G-14.0513b, c+
Amendment B.6:
G-14.0613
Presbytery Action
*
Cross Reference for Chapter 14
In Current Chapter 14 Order
* indicates not found in 2005 Book of Order   + indicates new wording
 
2005 Book of Order
Paragraph or Provision
Proposed
G-6.0500
Renunciation of Jurisdiction
G-6.0700
G-11.0408
Validated Ministries
G-11.0408a
G-11.0414
Renunciation of Jurisdiction
G-6.0700
G-14.0100
Ordination for Church Office
G-14.0100+
G-14.0101
Ordination
G-14.0120+
G-14.0102
Commissioning
G-14.0140+
G-14.0103
Servant Style
G-14.0110
G-14.0200
Electing and Ordaining Elders and Deacons
G-14.0200+
G-14.0201
Election Provisions
G-14.0220, G-14.0221+
G-14.0201a
Terms
G-14.0222+
G-14.0201b
Nominations
G-14.0223, G-14.0224+
G-14.0201c
When a Small Church
G-14.0226b+
G-14.0201d
Principles
G-14.0225
G-14.0201e
Floor Nominations
G-14.0232+
G-14.0202
Exemptions for Certain Congregations
G-140226+
G-14.0202a
Fair Representation
G-14.0226a
G-14.0202b
Waiver
G-14.0226c+
G-14.0203
Office is Perpetual
G-14.0210+
G-14.0204
Congregational Meeting
G-14.0230
G-14.0204a
Election
G-14.0230
G-14.0204b
Nominating and Voting Requirements
G-14.0231, G-14.0232, G-14.0233
G-14.0205
Preparation for Office
G-14.0240
G-14.0206
Service of Ordination and Installation
G-14.0300, G-14.0310+
G-14.0207
Constitutional Questions to Officers
G-14.0330+
G-14.0208
Constitutional Questions to Congregation
G-14.0341
G-14.0209
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0342
G-14.0209a
Prayer
G-14.0342
G-14.0209b
Statement
G-14.0343
G-14.0209c
Session Welcomes
G-14.0344
G-14.0209d
Congregation Greets
G-14.0345
G-14.0210
Dissolution of Relationship
G-6.0500
G-14.0211
Release from Exercise of Ordained Office
G-6.0600
G-14.0211a
Application for Release
G-6.0600a
G-14.0211b
Discontinuation of Function
G-6.0600b
G-14.0211c
Desire to be Restored
G-6.0600c
G-14.0300
Preparation for the Office of Minister of the
Word and Sacrament
G-14.0400
G-14.0301
Presbytery Responsibility
G-14.0401
G-14.0302
Inquiry Defined
G-14.0404
G-14.0303
Inquiry Phase
G-14.0403+
G-14.0304
Candidacy Defined
G-14.0405
G-14.0305
Candidacy Process
*
G-14.0306
Duties of Presbytery and Session
G-14.0410+
G-14.0306a
Duties of Presbytery
G-14.0410+, .0411, .0412+
G-14.0306b
Support by Session
G-14.0413
G-14.0307
Service in Covenant Relationship
G-14.0420+
G-14.0308
Annual Report
G-14.0421+
G-14.0309
Consultation and Guidance
G-14.0421+
G-14.0309a
Annual Consultation
*
G-14.0309b
Written Report
*
G-14.0309c
Content
*
G-14.0309c(1)
Prior to Theological Education
*
G-14.0309c(2)
First Year Theological Education
*
G-14.0309c(3)
Second Year Theological Education
*
G-14.0309d
Negotiation for Service
G-14.0440+
G-14.0310
Final Assessment
G-14.0450
G-14.0310a
Assess Readiness to Begin Ministry
G-14.0450
G-14.0310b
Requirements to Be Certified Ready for Examination
G-14.0450+
G-14.0310b(1)
Readiness
G-14.0450a
G-14.0310b(2)
Transcript
G-14.0450b
G-14.0310b(3)
Educational Requirements
G-14.0450c
G-14.0310b(4)
Examination Requirements
G-14.0450d
G-14.0310c
Bible Content Examination
G-14.0430+
G-14.0310d
Areas of Examination
G-14.0431+
G-14.0310d(1)
Open Book Bible Exegesis
G-14.0431a+
G-14.0310d(2)
Bible Content
G-14.0431b+
G-14.0310d(3)
Theological Competence
G-14.0431c+
G-14.0310d(4)
Worship and Sacraments
G-14.0431d+
G-14.0310d(5)
Church Polity
G-14.0431e+
G-14.0310e
How Graded
G-14.0432+
G-14.0311
Transfer of Covenant Relationship
G-14.0461
G-14.0312
Removal from Covenant Relationship
G-14.0463+
G-14.0313
Extraordinary Circumstances
G-14.0470
G-14.0313a
Educational Requirements
G-14.0471
G-14.0313b
Examination Requirements
G-14.0472
G-14.0313c
Time Requirements
G-14.0473
G-14.0313d
Confirmation of Action
G-14.0474
G-14.0314
Location of Ordination
G-14.0314a
Examination and Ordination
G-14.0481+
G-14.0314b
Other Reformed Bodies
G-14.0462
G-14.0400
Ordination for the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0401
Ordination of Candidates
G-14.0403, G-14.0480+
G-14.0402
Examination for Ordination
G-14.0482+
G-14.0402a
Appearance before Presbytery
G-14.0483+
G-14.0402b
Vote to Proceed
*
G-14.0403
Extraordinary Circumstances
*
G-14.0404
Place of Ordination, Installation
G-14.0484+
G-14.0404a
Ordination in Presence of Congregation of Membership
G-14.0484+
G-14.0404b
Place of Installation
G-14.0484+
G-14.0405
Ordination Service
G-14.0300+
G-14.0405a
Presbytery or Commission Convenes for Service
G-14.0310
G-14.0405b
Constitutional Questions
G-14.0330+, G-14.0491
G-14.0405c
Section stricken
G-14.0405d
Laying on of Hands
G-14.0492
G-14.0405e
Welcome
G-14.0493
G-14.0406
Ordination Recorded
G-14.0485+
G-14.0500
Calling and Installing Ministers of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0500+
G-14.0501
Pastors, Co-Pastors, and Associate Pastors
G-14.0501+
G-14.0501a
Pastoral Relations
G-14.0501+
G-14.0501b
Pastor or Associate Pastor
G-14.0511+
G-14.0501c
Co-Pastors
G-14.0512+
G-14.0501d
Cannot Immediately Succeed the Pastor
G-14.0513+
G-14.0501e
Designated Pastor
G-14.0520+, .0521+, .0522+, .0523+
G-14.0502
Election of a Pastor
G-14.0530+
G-14.0502a
Elect a Pastor Nomination Committee
G-14.0531+
G-14.0502b
Work of the Committee
G-14.0532+
G-14.0502c
Report of the Committee
G-14.0530+
G-14.0503
Congregational Meeting
*
G-14.0503a
Convened for Election of Pastor
*
G-14.0503b
Vote by Ballot
*
G-14.0504
Larger Parish
*
G-14.0505
Dissent
*
G-14.0506
The Call
*
G-14.0506a
Persons Elected to Sign the Call
G-14.0533
G-14.0506b
Written Call
G-14.0534+
G-14.0506c
Allowances and Amounts
*
G-14.0506d
Certification
*
G-14.0506e
Minimum Requirements
*
G-14.0506f
Integration
*
G-14.0507
Call Presented and Received
*
G-14.0507a
Presbytery Finds Call in Order
*
G-14.0507b
Call Through Own Presbytery
*
G-14.0507c
Call, Delegation of Authority
*
G-14.0508
Section moved to G-11.0404
G-14.0509
Installation of Minister
*
G-14.0509a
Call Is Presented
*
G-14.0509b
Acceptance of Call
*
G-14.0510
Installations Service
G-14.0540+
G-14.0510a
Presbytery or Commission Convenes
G-14.0541+, G-14.0542
G-14.0510b
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0543
G-14.0510c
Statement
G-14.0544
G-14.0510d
Welcome
G-14.0545
G-14.0510e
Brief Charges
G-14.0546
G-14.0510f
Benediction
G-14.0547
G-14.0510g
Record Service
*
G-14.0511
Welcome
*
G-14.0512
More than One Church
*
G-14.0513
Temporary Pastoral Relations
G-14.0551+
G-14.0513a
Stated Supply
G-14.0551+
G-14.0513b
Interim Pastor
G-14.0552+
G-14.0513c
Interim Associate Pastor
G-14.0552+
G-14.0513d
Temporary Supply
G-14.0550+, G-14.0551+
G-14.0513e
Inquirer or Candidate as Temporary Supply
G-14.0550+
G-14.0513f
Organizing Pastor
G-14.0551+, G-14.0552+
G-14.0514
Ministers of Other Churches
G-11.0405c
G-14.0515
Parish Associates
G-14.0570
G-14.0515a
Minister in Validated Ministry Other Than the Local Parish
G-14.0571
G-14.0515b
Designation Made Under Supervision of COM
G-14.0572
G-14.0515c
Annual Review
G-14.0572+
G-14.0515d
Termination of Relationship
G-14.0573
G-14.0516
Section moved to G-14.0801
G-14.0517
Validated Ministry: Call, Installation, Recognition
G-11.0408
G-14.0517a
Call
G-11.0408b
G-14.0517b
Service
G-11.0408c
G-14.0600
Dissolution of Pastoral Relationships
G-14.0600+
G-14.0601
By Presbytery
G-14.0610+
G-14.0602
Request by Minister
G-14.0611
G-14.0603
Request by Congregation
G-14.0612
G-14.0604
Section stricken
G-14.0605
Pastor Emeritus, Emerita
G-14.0620
G-14.0606
Officiate by Invitation Only
G-14.0630
G-14.0607
Section stricken
G-14.0700
Certified Christian Educator
G-14.0700+
G-14.0701
Christian Educators
G-14.0710+, .0711+
G-14.0702
The Certified Christian Educator
G-14.0720+
G-14.0703
Certification
G-14.0721+
G-14.0704
Educator Certification Council
G-14.0722+
G-14.0705
Presbytery
G-14.0730+,G-14.0731+
G-14.0800
Other Certified Employees
*
G-14.0801
Commissioned Lay Pastor
G-14.0801a
Local Commission to Provide Pastoral Services
G-14.0560
G-14.0801b
Period Valid
G-14.0561
G-14.0801c
Authorization to Perform Functions
G-14.0562+
G-14.0801d
Supervision
G-14.0564
G-14.0801e
Moderator of Session
*
G-14.0801f
Trust and Confidentiality
G-14.0563+
G-14.0801g
Questions Asked
G-14.0310, G-14.0330+, G-14.0565+
G-14.0801h
Prayer and Statement
G-14.0310
G-14.0802
Other Certified Lay Employees
G-14.0740+, .0741+, .0742+
G-14.0803
Notification of Status
G-14.0743
G-14.0804
Recognition by Presbytery
G-14.0130+, G-14.0744
Cross References If Amendments B Are Approved
 
2005 Book of Order
Paragraph or Provision
Proposed
Amendment B.1.
G-14.0207
Constitutional Questions to Officers & Commissioned Persons
G-14.0330
Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
G-14.0340
G-14.0208
Questions to Congregation
G-14.0341
G-14.0209a
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0342
G-14.0209b
Statement
G-14.0343
G-14.0209c
Session Welcomes
G-14.0344
G-14.0209d
Congregation Greets
G-14.0345
G-14.0405b
Constitutional Questions to Officers
And Commissioned Persons
G-14.0330
Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
G-14.0490
G-14.0405b
Ordination Questions
G-14.0491
G-14.0405d
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
G-14.0492
G-14.0405e
Presbytery Welcomes
G-14.0493
G-14.0510
Installation of Minister
G-14.0540
G-14.0510a
Installation Service
G-14.0541
G-14.0510a
Questions for Congregation
G-14.0542
G-14.0510b
Installation of Minister
G-14.0543
G-14.0510c
Statement to Minister
G-14.0544
G-14.0510d
Welcome
G-14.0545
G-14.0510e
Charges
G-14.0546
G-14.0510f
Benediction
G-14.0547
G-14.0801g
Constitutional Questions to Officers & Commissioned Persons
G-14.0330
G-14.0206
Service of Ordination, Installation & Commissioning
W-4.4001a
G-14.0207
Constitutional Questions to Officers & Commissioned Persons
W-4.4003
Ordination or Installation of Elders or Deacons
W-4.4004
G-14.0208
Questions to Congregation
W-4.4004a
G-14.0209a
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
W-4.4004b
G-14.0209b
Statement
W-4.4004c
G-14.0209c
Session Welcomes
W-4.4004d
G-14.0209d
Congregation Greets
W-4.4004e
G-14.0405a
Service of Ordination, Installation & Commissioning
W-4.4001a
G-14.0405b
Constitutional Questions to Officers
and Commissioned Persons
W-4.4003
Ordination of Minister of the Word and Sacrament
W-4.4005
G-14.0405b
Ordination Questions
W-4.4005a
G-14.0405d
Prayer and Laying on of Hands
W-4.4005b
G-14.0405e
Presbytery Welcomes
W-4.4005c
G-14.0510
Installation of Minister
W-4.4006
G-14.0510a
Installation Service
W-4.4006a
G-14.0510a
Q