PCA HISTORICAL CENTER
Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 5 : The Organization of a Particular Church

Paragraph 9 :

B. The Organization of a Particular Church
5-9. A new church can be organized only by the authority of Presbytery.
a. A Presbytery should establish standing rules setting forth the prerequisites that qualify a mission church to begin the organization process, e.g., the minimum number of petitioners and the level of financial support to be provided by the congregation. The number of officers sufficient to constitute the quorum for a session shall be necessary to complete the organization process.
b. The temporary government of the mission church shall oversee the steps necessary for organization.
c. When the temporary government determines that among the members of the mission congregation there are men who appear qualified as officers, the nomination process shall begin and the election conclude following the procedures of BCO 24 so far as they may be applicable.
d. The election of officers shall normally take place at least two weeks prior to the date of the organization service. However, the effective date of service for the newly elected officers shall be upon the completion of the organization service.
e. If deacons are not elected, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the session, until deacons can be secured.
f. If there is a minister approved by Presbytery to serve the mission church as its pastor, and members of the mission church have been received according to BCO 5-5, the temporary session shall call a congregational meeting at which the congregation may, by majority vote, call the organizing pastor to be their pastor without the steps of BCO 20. If no such minister has been appointed, or the minister or congregation choose not to continue the pastoral relationship of the newly organized church, a pastor shall be called as follows: (1) The temporary government shall oversee the election of a pastor according the provisions of BCO 20 so far as they are applicable. If a candidate is to be proposed before the organization, the congregational meeting to elect a pastor shall take place early enough for Presbytery to consider and approve the pastor’s call prior to the service of organization. This may be the same meeting called for the election of other officers. (2) The ordination and/or installation shall be according to the provisions of BCO 21 so far as they are applicable. The service may take place at the service of organization.
g. In order to proceed to organization as a particular church the members of the mission church shall sign a petition to Presbytery requesting the same.
h. Upon Presbytery’s approval of the petition, Presbytery shall appoint an organizing commission and shall set the date and time of the organization service.
i. At the service of organization the following elements shall be included in the order deemed by the organizing commission to be appropriate:
(1) The organizing commission shall ordain and/or install ruling elders and/or deacons according to the provisions of BCO 24-6 so far as they may be applicable.
(2) If a pastor is being ordained and/or installed at the service, the organizing commission shall act according to the provisions of BCO 21 so far as they may be applicable.
(3) A member of the organizing commission shall require communicant members of the mission church present to enter into covenant, by answering the following question affirmatively, with uplifted hand: Do you, in reliance on God for strength, solemnly promise and covenant that you will walk together as a particular church, on the principles of the faith and order of the Presbyterian Church in America, and that you will be zealous and faithful in maintaining the purity and peace of the whole body?
(4) A member of the organizing commission shall then say: I now pronounce and declare that you are constituted a church according to the Word of God and the faith and order of the Presbyterian Church in America. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


DIGEST :

BACKGROUND & COMPARISON :

No comparable text in these editions:
PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text
PCUS 1879
PCUS 1869 draft
PCUS 1867 draft

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898)
[no comparable text for discussion]


Chapter Index [links are to Paragraph 1 in each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]

©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2017. All Rights Reserved.