What is the Book of Order?
The Book of Order (BOO) is Part II of the Constitution of the Presbytery Church (Part I is the Book of Confessions).
The BOO contains the Foundations of Presbyterian Polity, the Form of Government, the Directory of Worship, and Church Discipline.
In the BOO:
- SHALL and IS TO BE/ARE TO BE signify the practice that is mandated.
- SHOULD signifies practice that is strongly recommended,
- IS APPROPRIATE signifies practice that is commended suitable,
- MAY signifies practice that is permissible but not required.
- ADVISORY HANDBOOK signifies a handbook to guide councils in procedures related to the oversight of ministry. Such handbooks suggest procedures that are commended but not required.
The 225th General Assembly (GA) held in 2022 proposed amendments to the Foundations, the Form of Government, and the Directory for Worship. Approved by the majority of presbyteries, these changes are in the 2023-2025 edition of the BOO. Additionally, the GA approved replacing “Church Discipline” with the Rules of Discipline as the fourth section in the BOO.
There are four parts/sections to the BOO
F – Foundations of Presbyterian Polity
G – Form of Government
W – Directory of Worship
D – Rules of Discipline
What Session Needs to Know
Previously Congregational meetings were limited to the agenda items as part of the Call for the meeting. No other business could be conducted.
G. Receiving a disciplinary decision against a member of the congregational as required by D-9.0102
G-2.0603 PURPOSE OF INQUIRY
If you have someone under care of your session (inquirer, candidate): “They shall provide a certificate of completion of boundary training, which includes the topic of sexual misconduct, and sexual abuse prevention training with recertification at least every thirty-six months.”
…”during the time the individual is enrolled as an inquirer or candidate, the session shall report to the presbytery any matter of sexual misconduct.”
G-2.0804 Call and Installation – Terms of Call
“Shall include provision for a minimum of twelve weeks paid family medical leave.”
…A full financial review of all financial books and records SHALL be conducted EVERY YEAR by a public accountant or committee of members versed in accounting procedures.
- Annual review of financial records of all church organizations
- Full annual financial statements are to be reported to the congregation.
Failure to complete financial review by professional auditors or a committee elected from the congregation will result in the Committee on Ministry being notified.
Attending, And Reporting from Presbytery Meetings
G.3.0202 Relations with Other Councils
Sessions have a particular responsibility to participate in the life of the whole church through participation in other councils. It is of particular importance the sessions:
- Elect, as commissioners to presbytery, ruling elders from the congregation, preferably for at least a year, and receive their report.
G-3.303 Relations with Sessions
…”c. establish minimum compensation standards, including provisions for dissolution terms, for pastoral calls and for those serving in temporary pastoral service, Certified Christian Educator, and Certified Associate Christian Educators within the presbytery.
- Election and term or end of term date for clerk of session and treasurer are to be in the minutes.
- Sessions shall keep a register of baptisms, ruling elders, deacons, and installed teaching elders with dates of service.
- Review your membership rolls, (If you don’t, you’ll pay for it-literally).
It Should Be Noted that Sessions Shall Have a Separate Policy for each of the Following:
- Sexual Misconduct
- Child Protection Policy
- Anti-Harassment Policy
- Anti-Racism Policy
All policies should have approval date.