New provisions take effect June 25, 2017
APRIL 10, 2017
Jerry Van Marter
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY COMMUNICATIONS
All sixteen constitutional amendments proposed by the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have received the 86 affirmative votes from among the 170 presbyteries needed for ratification.
The new provisions will take effect on June 25, 2017—one year from the adjournment of the assembly that proposed them. Presbyteries have until that date to vote on the proposals and are encouraged to do so.
The amendments (descriptions provided by the Association of Stated Clerks) and the voting tallies as of April 10, 2017:
- 16-A: to require all councils to adopt and implement a child and youth protection policy. (107-3)
- 16-B: to create flexibility in filling the membership of committees above the session by not requiring “at least one-half being members of congregations,” instead requiring “in numbers as nearly equal as possible.” (98-11)
- 16-C.1–8: to change ordered ministry titles back to their form before the Book of Order was amended in 2014—“teaching elder” changed back to “minister of the Word and Sacrament”; “ruling elder” changed back to “elder”; and “commissioned ruling elder” changed back to “commissioned lay pastor.” The eight amendments change this wording in eight different places in the Constitution.
- 16-C.1. (98-12)
- 16-C.2. (98-12)
- 16-C.3. (99-11)
- 16-C.4. (98-12)
- 16-C.5. (98-12)
- 16-C.6. (88-22)
- 16-C.7. (95-15)
- 16-C.8. (98-12)
- 16-D.1: to remove a permanent ban—the result of a 2014 amendment to G-2.0509—on teaching elders who had renounced jurisdiction while in the disciplinary process from working in or for a church under the jurisdiction of the PC(USA) in either a paid or volunteer position. The new provision removes this restriction by requiring the former teaching elder to rejoin the church and to resubmit to the original disciplinary process. (86-22)
- 16-D.2: to remove any statute of limitations regarding the alleged prior offense cited in 16-D.1. (87-21)
- 16-E: to remove the requirement in G-2.1101 that all certifying bodies must have a “handbook.” (108-1)
- 16-F: to add the phrase “caring for God’s creation” to the “Ministry of Members” listed in G-1.0304. (104-5)
- 16-G: to make the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper available to developing Christians who have not yet made the baptismal declaration. (97-3)
- 16-H: to replace the current Directory for Worship with a new Directory for Worship. (94-6)