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


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 43 : Complaints

Paragraph 2 :

43-2. A complaint shall first be made to the court whose act or decision is alleged to be in error. Written notice of complaint, with supporting reasons, shall be filed with the clerk of the court within sixty (60) days following the meeting of the court. The court shall consider the complaint at its next stated meeting, or at a called meeting prior to its next stated meeting. No attempt should be made to circularize the court to which complaint is being made by either party.

DIGEST : The previous thirty day filing deadline was extended by amendment to sixty days, in 2013 [M41GA, p. 112], on the grounds that "The change provides for a time frame for filing complaints with the court of original jurisdiction that allows for variances in how quickly a person is informed of a court’s decision, variances in a person’s level of familiarity with the Rules of Discipline, and time to have questions answered about a court’s action before filing an official complaint. At the same time, sixty days does not present an undue burden on courts." Paragraph 43-2 was first included in the Book of Church Order in 1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5, p. 89]. A subsequent amendment to the paragraph was later made in 1987 [M15GA, 15-25, Item 2, p. 95]. No similar provision was found in the earlier PCA and PCUS editions. The OPC's text allows up to 90 days for filing, with provision for longer periods under extenuating circumstances.

BACKGROUND AND COMPARISON :
No comparable paragraph is found in the following editions:
PCA 1973, RoD, Chapter 17, Adopted text
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, Chapter 17,Proposed text
PCUS 1933
PCUS 1925
PCUS 1879

PCUS 1869 draft
PCUS 1867 draft

OTHER COMPARISONS:
OPC 2005, Book of Discipline, IX-2
A complaint shall first be presented to the judicatory which is alleged to be delinquent or in error, and this judicatory shall be asked to make amends. The complaint shall be presented as soon as possible after the alleged delinquency or error, and always within three months, unless it is shown that it could not have been presented within that time.

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


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]

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