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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 46 : Jurisdiction

Paragraph 2 :

46-2. When a church member shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the church of which he is a member into the bounds of another, it shall be the duty of the teaching and ruling elders of the church of which he is a member, as far as possible, to continue pastoral oversight of him and to
inform him that according to the teaching of our Book of Church Order it is his duty to transfer his membership as soon as practicable to the church in whose bounds he is living.
It shall also be the duty of the church from whose bounds the member moved to notify the teaching and ruling elders of a church into whose bounds he has moved and request them to take pastoral oversight of the member, with a view of having him transfer his membership, unless BCO 18-7 applies.
If a member, after having thus been advised, shall neglect for one (1) year to have his membership transferred, the Session shall then proceed, according to BCO 38-4, except in special cases such as: servicemen, students, etc.
The name of any member whose residence has been unknown for one year to the Session shall be removed from the roll and such names are not to be counted in the annual statistical reports, though act of removal should be recorded in the Session’s minutes. If such a person at a later date should appear or desire transfer of his or her letter, the Session will inform the governing body of the inquiring church of their action in removing said person from their roll.


[HISTORICAL SUMMARY : Amendments to this paragraph have been adopted in 1990 [M18GA, 18-8, Item 4, p. 48] and 1997 [M25GA, 25-17, Item 8, p. 126].

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 20-2, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, pp. 154-155
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 20-2, Proposed text, pp. 61-62
When a church member shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the church of which he is a member into the bounds of another, it shall be the duty of the Pastor and Ruling Elders of the church of which he is a member, as far as possible, to continue pastoral oversight of him and to inform him that according to the teaching of our Book of Church Order it is his duty to transfer his membership as soon as practicable to the church in whose bounds he is living. It shall also be the duty of the church from whose bounds the member moved to notify the Pastor and Ruling Elders of the church into whose bounds he has moved and request them to take pastoral oversight of the member, with a view of having him transfer his membership. If a member, after having thus been advised, shall neglect for twelve months to have his membership transferred, his name shall be retired by the Session to a separate Roll for Non-Resident Members and he shall be notified. The name of any member whose residence has been unknown for two years to the Session shall be retired by the Session to a separate Roll for Retired Members, and the names on this retired roll shall not be reported to the Presbytery in the annual statistical report as a part of the total membership of the church. If a person on the retired roll shall apply for a letter of dismission, the Session may use its discretion in granting it. The name of any member who has resided without the bounds of the church for one year, and/or one locally who does not in any way support the church or manifest any interest in it, and who refuses to remove his membership to another church, should be dealt with by the Session in accordance with the rules of discipline. (See Chapter II).

PCUS 1933, XX-298
PCUS 1925, XX-298
When a church member shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the church of which he is a member into the bounds of another, it shall be the duty of the Pastor and Ruling Elders of the church of which he is a member, as far as possible, to continue pastoral oversight of him and to inform him that according to the teaching of our Book of Church Order it is his duty to transfer his membership as soon as practicable to the church in whose bounds he is living. It shall also be the duty of the Pastor and Ruling Elders of the church from whose bounds the member moved to notify the Pastor and Ruling Elders of the church into whose bounds he has moved and request them to take pastoral oversight of the member, with a view of having him transfer his membership. If a member, after having thus been advised, shall neglect for twelve months to have his membership transferred, his name shall be retired by the Session to a separate Roll for Non-Resident Members and he shall be notified. The name of any member whose residence has been unknown for two years to the Session shall be retired by the Session to a separate Roll for Retired Members, and the names on this retired roll shall not be reported to the Presbytery in the annual statistical report as a part of the total membership of the church. If a person on the retired roll shall apply for a letter of dismission, the Session may use its discretion in granting it. The name of any member who has resided without the bounds of the church for one year, and who does not in any way support the church or manifest any interest in it, and who refuses to remove his membership to another church, may be placed on this same retired roll.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XV-2

When a Church member or officer shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the court to whose jurisdiction he belongs into the bounds of another, if he shall neglect for twelve months, without satisfactory reasons given to both these courts, to transfer his ecclesiastical relations, the court whose bounds he has left shall be required to transfer them. And should that court neglect this duty, the one into whose bounds he has removed shall assume jurisdiction, giving due notice to the other body.


PCUS 1869 draft,
In case a Church member or officer shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the court to which he belongs into another,
if he shall neglect for twelve months, without satisfactory reasons given to both these courts, to transfer his ecclesiastical relations,
the court, whose bounds he has left, shall be required to transfer the same. And should that court neglect this duty, the one into
whose bounds he has removed shall assume jurisdiction, giving due notice to the other body.

PCUS 1867 draft,
In case a church-member or officer shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the court to which he belongs into another,
if he shall neglect for twelve months, without satisfactory reasons given to both these courts, to transfer his ecclesiastical relations,
the court, whose bounds he has left, shall be required to transfer the same. And should that court neglect this duty, the one into
whose bounds he has removed shall assume jurisdiction, giving due notice to the other body.

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 259-260), on XV-2 [§277]:
277.--II. When a Church member or officer shall remove his residence beyond the bounds of the court to whose jurisdiction he belongs into the bounds of another, if he shall neglect for twelve months, without satisfactory reasons given to both these courts, to transfer his ecclesiastical relations, the court whose bounds he has left shall be required to transfer them. And should that court neglect this duty, the one into whose bounds he has removed shall assume jurisdiction, giving due notice to the other body.
Here, again, church member includes non-communicating members, but the paragraph does not apply to suspended members or officers (see 232). The bounds of a court are, for a Presbytery, the geographical limits of its district (72), and of a church Session, the geographical limits within which persons may meet together for divine worship. A member is within the bounds of a Session, if he is near enough to the usual place of worship of the church to attend its meetings for worship : and hence he may be in the bounds of two or more Sessions at the same time. And a man's residence is really within the bounds of a Presbytery, if, having a charge within its geographical district, he is near enough thereto to attend to his duties in that charge. (See remarks on 72.) One removes his residence, in the intent of this paragraph, when, though his residence remains at the same geographical point, it yet becomes by changes of environment, or connection, out of the bounds of his court. If one removes his residence out of the bounds of one court without moving into the bounds of another court, this paragraph does not apply ; nor does this paragraph regulate transfers between this Church and any other Church. The twelve months of the paragraph must be calculated from the time of his entrance into the bounds of the court which is to be put in jurisdiction over him. Hence, the paragraph does not apply to those who do not remain as long as twelve months within one boundary. The "shall be required" is to be interpreted thus : if he shall neglect, the court shall be required by this paragraph. The requirement shall come into force and applicability whenever the condition arises. And this is a duty concerning which the court has no option ; to neglect it is to neglect a duty. Either court might be censured for such neglect under paragraph 245, or an order might be issued to it under 244. But there may be satisfactory reasons for not transferring. For instance, a member may retain his former ecclesiastical relation temporarily, in order to assist and encourage a weak church to which he expects soon to return ; or an officer may have no work under the direction of the Presbytery into whose bounds he has come, and be expecting work elsewhere. And there may be other reasons. Especially would it seem undesirable to gather into one Presbytery a preponderance of Ministers without charge under it. But the transfer must be made, unless the reasons to the contrary are given by the person to both courts, and are satisfactory to both courts.



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