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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 12 : The Church Session

Paragraph 8 : Record-keeping

12-8. Every Session shall keep an accurate record of baptisms, of communing members, of non-communing members, and of the deaths and dismissions of church members.

[DIGEST: The sense of the current PCA text remains unchanged from that of both the early PCUS and PCUSA texts.
Of minor note is the earlier term "non-communicating" in use at least up through the PCUS 1879 edition.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1. PCA 1973, 13-9, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 133
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, p. 14
3. PCUS 1933, XIV, § 68
4. PCUS 1925, XIV, § 68

Every Session shall keep a fair record of baptisms, of those admitted to the Lord's table, of non-communing members, and of the deaths and dismissions of church members.

PCUS 1879, V-3-8

Every Session should keep a fair record of baptisms, of those admitted to the Lord's table, of non-communicating members, and of the deaths and dismission of Church members.

PCUS 1869 draft, V-3-8
Every Session should keep a fair register of baptisms, with the dates of the birth of the persons baptized; of those admitted to the Lord’s table; of non-communicating members; and of the deaths and removals of Church members.

PCUS 1867 draft, V-3-10
Every session should keep a fair register of marriages; of baptisms, with the dates of the birth of the individuals baptized; of persons admitted to the Lord’s table; of non-communicating members; and of the deaths, and other removals of church- members.

PCUSA 1821, IX-9
Every Session should keep a fair register of baptisms, with the dates of the birth of the persons baptized; of those admitted to the Lord’s table; of non-communicating members; and of the deaths and removals of Church members.

PCUSA 1789, VIII-4
We think it proper, that every church session keep a fair register, of births, of baptisms, of marriages, of persons admitted to the Lord's table, of deaths in the society, and of other removals.

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 88-89), on V-3-8
:
70.--VIII. Every Session shall keep a fair record of baptisms,
ordered by it and reported to it as administered ;
of those admitted to the Lord's table,
by it ;
of non-communicating members,
enrolled by it as under its jurisdiction ;
and of the death
reported to it (and all deaths of members should be formally reported to it),
and dismissions of church members.
All these items come properly in the proceedings of the Session ; but inasmuch as there is often kept a separate tabulation of such items, it might be thought unnecessary to record them among the proceedings but for this explicit regulation.



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9
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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]