.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 12 : The Church Session

Paragraph 3 : Of Churches without Pastors

12-3. When a church is without a pastor, the moderator of the Session may be either a minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, with consent of the Session, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion, or one of its own members elected to preside. In judicial cases, the moderator shall be a minister of the Presbytery to which the church belongs.

[DIGEST: .]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
PCA 1973, 13-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 133
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 13-3, Proposed text, p. 13
When a church is without a Pastor, the Moderator of the Session may be either a Minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, with consent of the Session, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion, or one of its own members elected to preside. In judicial cases, the Moderator shall be a Minister of the Presbytery to which the church belongs.

PCUS 1933, XIV, § 63
and
PCUS 1925, XIV, § 63
When a church is without a Pastor, the Moderator of the Session shall be either a Minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion. When it is inconvenient to procure such a Moderator, the Session may elect one of its own members to preside. In judicial cases, the Moderator shall be a Minister of the Presbytery to which the church belongs.

PCUS 1879, V-3-3

When a church is without a Pastor, the Moderator of the Session shall be either the Minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion. But when it is inconvenient to procure the attendance of such a Moderator, the Session may proceed without it. In judicial cases, this Moderator shall always be a Minister of the same Presbytery to which the church belongs.

PCUS 1869 draft, V-3-3
When a Congregation is without a Pastor, the Moderator of the Session shall be either the Minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is highly inconvenient to procure the attend-ance of such a Moderator, the Session may proceed without it. In judicial cases, this Moderator shall always be a member of the same Presbytery with the Congregation.

PCUS 1867 draft, V-3-4
When a congregation is without a pastor, the moderator of the session shall be either the minister appointed for that purpose by the presbytery, or one invited by the session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is highly inconvenient to procure the attendance of such a moderator, the session may proceed without it. In judicial cases, this moderator shall always be a member of the same presbytery with the congregation.

PCUSA 1821, IX-4
It is expedient, at every meeting of the session, more especially when constituted for judicial business, that there be a presiding minister. When, therefore, a church is without a pastor, the moderator of the session shall be, either the minister appointed for that purpose by the presbytery, or one invited by the session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is impracticable, without great inconvenience, to procure the attendance of such a moderator, the session may proceed without it.

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 78-79), on V-3-3 :
65.--III. When a church is without a Pastor, the Moderator of the Session shall be either the Minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery, or one invited by the Session to preside on a particular occasion. But when it is inconvenient to procure the attendance of such a Moderator, the Session may proceed without it. In judicial cases this Moderator shall always be a Minister of the same Presbytery to which the church belongs.
The Moderator of the Session is an appointee of the Presbytery, to which, and not to the Session, he is responsible for his behavior and decisions as Moderator. (Cf. par. 54.) When the church has no Pastor, who is always appointed to his office by the Presbytery, it belongs to the Presbytery to appoint some one of its Ministers as Moderator of the Session. In case this has not been done, or in cast this presbyterial Moderator cannot be present without hurtful delay, of which the Session must judge, the Session may invite some Minister to preside, but with two limitations : the Session can never select any one as its permanent Moderator, but only to preside on a particular occasion ; and, if the particular occasion is to take action in a judicial case, the Moderator thus invited for the particular occasion must be a Minister of the same Presbytery as the church, that in so important a matter no confusion of jurisdiction may arise. And only when the Session finds it inconvenient to procure the attendance of either the Moderator appointed by the Presbytery, or of any Minister invited by itself for a particular occasion, may the Session select one of its own members to moderate it for that occasion. Even in a judicial case, a Session may proceed with one of its own number as Moderator, if the emergency requires. And, of course, the Session can always convene, with one of its own members presiding, for the purpose of inviting a Minister to preside.
If one of the Ruling Elders acts as Moderator, or some Minister no appointed by Presbytery to preside, the appeal from his decisions must be to the Session ; but if the Moderator of the Session is the Pastor or any other appointee of the Presbytery, the appeal from his decisions must be to the Presbytery.



©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of 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]