Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Summary of Proposed Constitutional amendments from the 222nd General Assembly (2016)

16-A  Child and Youth Protection Policy – This would amend G-3.0106 to add the words “and youth” to the required policy statement, so that the sentence reads, “All councils shall adopt and implement a sexual misconduct policy and a child and youth protection policy.”
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16-B  Parity in Committees – This proposed amendment to G-3.0109 specifies that the parity of members of committees of councils “higher than the session” will be made up of “teaching elders and members of congregations in numbers as nearly equal as possible.” This seeks to allow the membership make-up of committees to maintain parity but not be as restrictive as currently is worded.
16-C  Ordered Ministry Titles – There are eight different proposed amendments that all deal in different ways with restoring the title, “minister of Word and Sacrament,” to generally replace the title, “teaching elder.”
16-C.1. Amending F-3.0202
16-C.2. Amending G-2.0102
16-C.3. Amending G-2.0301
16-C.4. Amending G-2.05 and G-2.0501
16-C.5. Amending G-2.0701
16-C.6. Amending G-3.0307
16-C.7. Amending both the Directory for Worship and the Rules of Discipline to replace “ruling elder commissioned to particular pastoral service” or “ruling elder commissioned to pastoral service” (commonly referred to as CRE or Commissioned Ruling Elder) with “commissioned pastor (also known as commissioned ruling elder), and to replace “teaching elder” with “minister” or “minister of Word and Sacrament.”
16-C.8. Amending W-4.4001a
16-D  Relationship to the PC(USA) of a Person Who Has Renounced Jurisdiction of the Church – This proposed amendment seeks to address what was seen as a permanent ban on teaching elders who renounced jurisdiction in the middle of a disciplinary process from either being paid or volunteering to work again in the church, and would allow a former teaching elder to publicly face accusations which s/he had halted before as a step to possible reinstatement.
16-D.1. To amend G-2.0509
16-D.2. To amend D-10.0401
16-E  Certified Service Requirements – This proposed amendment to G-2.1101, referring to people who seek a call to a certified position in the Church, deletes reference to a “handbook” of a national certifying body, relying instead on such body’s certification requirements.
16-F  The Ministry of Members – This proposed amendment to G-1.0304 adds the phrase “caring for God’s creation” to the present list of ways in which a faithful member of a congregation seeks to be involved responsibly in the ministry of Christ’s Church.
16-G  Access to the Lord’s Table – This proposed amendment to W-2.4011a and W-2.4011b urges sessions to encourage people who come to the Table for Communion to learn about the grace of God evidenced in Baptism, but would not require admission to the Table to be only for those who are baptized. (Note: If proposed amendment 16-H, which is the revised Directory for Worship, is approved, the wording in 16-G already would be included in the revised Directory.)
16-H  Directory for Worship – This proposed amendment would replace the current Directory for Worship with a new Directory. Much like what happened a few years ago with the then-new Form of Government, this new version of the Directory for Worship has been condensed (from 7 chapters to 5 chapters), has been reorganized in ways that group common subjects together, and reflects the flexibility that the revised Form of Government provided to councils of the Church.
Prepared by teaching elder Steve Plank,
Stated Clerk/Communicator, Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery
October, 2016

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