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


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 14 : The General Assembly

Paragraph 3 : Of Called Meetings

14-3. When an emergency shall require a meeting of the General Assembly earlier than the time to which it stands adjourned, the moderator shall issue a call for a special meeting at the request or with the concurrence of ten percent (10%) of the commissioners who had seats in the Assembly at its preceding meeting, of whom at least ten shall be teaching elders and at least ten ruling elders, representing at least one-third (1/3) of the Presbyteries. Should the moderator be for any reason unable to act, the stated clerk shall under the same requirements issue the call.
The members of the special meeting shall be the commissioners elected to the preceding meeting of the Assembly or their alternates. A Session, however, shall have the right to elect a commissioner or alternate in the stead of one who had died since the last meeting of the Assembly, or of one who has notified the moderator of the Session of his inability to serve. Notice of the special meeting shall be sent not less than twenty (20) days in advance to each commissioner and to the moderator of each Presbytery. In the notice the purpose of the meeting is to be stated and no other business is to be transacted.


DIGEST: In 1987, Missouri Presbytery petitioned the General Assembly under Overture 31 (M15GA, p. 66), to amend BCO 14-3. The Overture was referred to the Committee on Judicial Business, which in turn recommended that a revised wording of the Overture be sent down to the Presbyteries for their advice and consent. At the 16th General Assembly, 40 of 42 Presbyteries having voted in favor of the Overture, the amendment was adopted. (M16GA, pp. 107-108).

BACKGROUND & COMPARISON:
PCA 1973, 15-3, Adopted text, (M1GA, p. 135)
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 15-3, Proposed text, p. 18
When any emergency shall require a meeting of the General Assembly earlier than the time to which it stands adjourned, the Moderator shall issue a call for a special meeting at the request, or with the concurrence of twenty-seven Commissioners who had seats in the Assembly at its preceding meeting, of whom ten shall be Ministers and ten Ruling Elders, representing at least seven Presbyteries. Should the Moderator be for any reason unable to act, the Stated Clerk shall, under the same requirements, issue the call. The members of the special meeting shall be the Commissioners elected to the preceding meeting of the Assembly or their alternates. A Presbytery, however, shall have the right to elect a Commissioner or alternate in the stead of one who had died since the last meeting of the Assembly, or of one who has notified the Moderator of the Presbytery of his inability to serve. Notice of the special meeting shall be sent not less than twenty days in advance to each Commissioner and to the Moderator of each Presbytery. In the notice the purpose of the meeting is to be stated and no other business is to be transacted.

PCUS 1933, XVII-§87
and
PCUS 1925, XVII-§87
When any emergency shall require a meeting of the General Assembly earlier than the time to which it stands adjourned, the Moderator shall issue a call for a special meeting at the request, or with the concurrence of twenty-seven Commissioners who had seats in the Assembly at its preceding meeting, of whom eighteen shall be Ministers and seven Ruling Elders, representing at least twelve Presbyteries under the jurisdiction of at least five Synods. Should the Moderator be for any reason unable to act, the Stated Clerk shall, under the same requirements, issue the call. The members of the special meeting shall be the Commissioners elected to the preceding meeting of the Assembly or their alternates. A Presbytery, however, shall have the right to elect a Commissioner or alternate in the stead of one who has died since the last meeting of the Assembly, or of one who has notified the Moderator of the Presbytery of his inability to serve. Notice of the special meeting shall be sent not less than twenty days in advance to each Commissioner and to the Moderator of each Presbytery. In the notice the purpose of the meeting is to be stated and no other business is to be transacted.

PCUS 1879, Chapter V, Section 6--Of the General Assembly

[no comparable text or provision in this chapter]

PCUS 1869 draft, Chapter V, Section 6
[no comparable text or provision in this chapter]

PCUS 1867 draft, Chapter V, Section 6
[no comparable text or provision in this chapter]

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
, (1898), Chapter V, Section 6 :
[no comparable text or provision for discussion under this chapter.]

OVERTURES :

1987 - Overture 31 from Missouri Presbytery
Whereas BCO 14-5 allows General Assembly business to be conducted by 40 Commissioners representing at least 7 Presbyteries; and,
Whereas, this quorum determination is tantamount to having General Assembly business conducted by a Commission; and,
Whereas, this quorum determination fails to take into account the growth of the Denomination;
Therefore, the Presbytery of Missouri respectfully overtures the Fourteenth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 23-27, 1986 that the Book of Church Order be amended in 14-3 as follows: in the first sentence delete "seven" and insert "1/3", and, at the end of 14-3 add "A quorum shall consist of at least 1/3 of the Presbyteries." and
that the Book of Church Order be amended in 14-5 to require a quorum for annual General Assembly meetings by deleting from BCO 14-5 : "any forty" and inserting "at least 1/4", and, deleting "seven" and inserting "1/2 the."
By order of Presbytery, 17 January 1986.
Attest : Albert F. Moginot, Jr., Stated Clerk.

1987 - Report of the Committee of Commissioners on Judicial Business, (M15GA, 15-83, III, 2, p. 168)
2. In the event that the General Assembly votes to approve a representative assembly, we recommend that no action be taken on Overture 31 to the 14th General GA. However, if such action is not taken by the 15th GA, we recommend that it be answered in the affirmative with the following change:
(1) That BCO be amended as follows:
In 14-3, the first sentence be amended by replacing "20" with "10% of the" and the deletion of the word "seven" and insertion in lieu thereof "1/3 of the"; and
(2) In section 14-5, the words "any forty" be deleted and the words "any 100 of these commissioners" be inserted in lieu thereof, and the word "seven" be deleted, and the words "1/3 of the" be inserted in lieu thereof.
Adopted and sent down to the presbyteries for advice and consent.
Grounds : A percent will serve better, as the Assembly grows in size.



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.