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Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 10 : Church Courts in General

Paragraph 4 : Of the Clerk's Duties

10-4. A clerk or clerks shall be elected by the Session, Presbytery, and General Assembly to serve for a definite period as determined by the court.
It is the duty of the clerk, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required. Such extracts under the hand of the clerk shall be evidence to any ecclesiastical court, and to every part of the Church.


[Note : The first paragraph of the current PCA text was added in _____, and in substance reflects the earlier phrase present until 1925, namely, ",...whose continuance in office shall be during the pleasure of the court,...". The second paragraph of the current text is unchanged from the earlier PCA editions and PCUS 1933 and 1925.]

BACKGROUND & COMPARISON:
1. PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 132
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, p. 11
3. PCUS 1933, XII, § 54
and
4. PCUS 1925, XII, § 54

It is the duty of the Clerk, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required. Such extracts under the hand of the Clerk, shall be evidence to any ecclesiastical court, and to every part of the Church.

PCUS 1879, V-1-5

It is the duty of the Clerk, whose continuance in office shall be during the pleasure of the court, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required. Such extracts under the hand of the Clerk, shall be evidence to any ecclesiastical court, and to every part of the Church.

PCUS 1869 draft, V-1-5
and
PCUS 1867 draft, V-1-7
It is the duty of the clerks, whose continuance in office shall be during pleasure, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required. Such extracts under the hand of the clerk shall be authentic vouchers in any ecclesiastical court, and to every part of the church.

PCUSA 1789, XX. Of Clerks.
Every judicatory shall choose a clerk, to record their transactions, whose continuance shall be during pleasure. It shall be the duty of the Clerk, besides recording the transactions, to preserve them carefully; and to grant extracts from them, whenever properly required; and such extracts, under the hand of the clerk, shall be considered as authentic vouchers of the fact which they declare, in any ecclesiastical judicatory, and to every part of the church.

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 66), on V-1-5 :
55.--V. It is the duty of the Clerk, whose continuance in office shall be during the pleasure of the court, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required. Such extracts under the hand of the Clerk, shall be evidence to any ecclesiastical court, and to every part of the Church.
It has not been deemed necessary, for prudential reasons, to require the election of a Clerk at each stated meeting ; but each court is at liberty to fix a term of office for its Clerk. It is a matter of course that the Clerk is not superior to the court appointing him, and in all his duties is subject to the order of the court ; nor has he any vote or voice in the actions of the court, unless he is a member of the court, and then he has only the same authority as any other member. His duties are three : to record the transactions ; to preserve the records ; and to grant extracts. All his work is subject to the correction of the court itself. But extracts under his hand are legal evidence everywhere of what the transactions of the court are ; but no evidence is final that has in it the possibility of error, if it is possible by superior evidence to show and correct the error. The Moderator has nothing to do with certifying the record. See, however, paragraphs 88 and 213. A court may have several Clerks at the same time, provided their respective functions are defined, and to no one is assigned any function not properly pertaining to a Clerk. (Cf. 54.



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]

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