15. The Presbytery

  1. The Presbytery consists of all the Ministers and churches within its bounds that have been accepted by the Presbytery. All Ministers and Ruling Elders in good standing of Evangel Presbytery shall have floor privileges.

    In presbytery votes, in order to promote parity between Ministers and Ruling Elders and to prevent centralization of power in large churches, voting privileges for members of presbytery shall be capped at two Ministers per church. Up to two Ruling Elders from each church may be appointed by their sessions as voting commissioners. A voting Ruling Elder shall be added to each church’s allowed number of voting commissioners for each full one hundred communicant members over fifty members, up to four additional voting Ruling Elders.

    The Senior Pastor of each church, if present, shall be a voting member of Presbytery. All other voting members shall be chosen by each church’s session. All Ministers and Ruling Elders may serve as voting members of presbytery committees and commissions.

  2. A Minister shall be required to hold his membership in the Presbytery within whose bounds he resides, unless there are reasons which are satisfactory to his Presbytery why he should not do so. When a minister labors outside the geographical bounds of, or in a work not under the jurisdiction of his Presbytery, at home or abroad, it shall be only with the full concurrence of and under circumstances agreeable to his Presbytery, and to the Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he labors, if one exists. When a minister shall continue on the rolls of his Presbytery without a call to a particular work for a prolonged period, not exceeding three years, the procedure as set forth in BCO 37.10 shall be followed. A minister without call shall make or file a report to his Presbytery at least once each year.
  3. Every Ruling Elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the church which he represents.
  4. Any three Ministers belonging to the Presbytery, together with at least three Ruling Elders, representing at least three churches, being met at the time and place appointed, shall be a quorum competent to proceed to business. However, any Presbytery, by a majority vote of those present at a stated meeting, may fix its own quorum, provided it is not smaller than the quorum stated in this paragraph.
  5. Ministers seeking admission to a Presbytery shall be examined on Christian experience, and also concerning their views in theology, sacraments, and church government. If applicants come from other denominations, the Presbytery shall examine them thoroughly in knowledge and views as required by BCO 23.4 and require them to answer in the affirmative the questions put to candidates at their ordination. Ordained ministers from other denominations being considered by Presbyteries for reception may come under the extraordinary provisions set forth in BCO 23.4. Presbyteries shall also require ordained ministers coming from other denominations to state the specific instances in which they may differ with the Confession of Faith and Catechisms in any of their statements and/or propositions, which differences the court shall judge in accordance with BCO 23.4, sections e-f. All Ministers shall be required to submit their exceptions to the Constitution of this church BCO 29.1 in writing to the Presbytery prior to their examination. No exceptions to the Book of Church Order are permitted; however, a Minister may believe a change to the Book of Church Order is necessary and seek that change through the amendment process established therein.
  6. The Presbytery shall cause to be transcribed, in some convenient part of the book of records, the obligations required of Ministers at their ordination, which shall be subscribed by all admitted to membership, in the following or like form, namely: “I, [Name], do sincerely receive and subscribe to the above obligation as a just and true exhibition of my faith and principles, and do resolve and promise to exercise my ministry in conformity thereunto.”
  7. The Presbytery, before receiving into its membership any church, shall designate a commission to meet with the church’s ruling elders to make certain that the elders understand and can sincerely adopt the doctrines and polity of Evangel Presbytery as contained in its Constitution. In the presence of the commission, the ruling elders shall be required to answer affirmatively the questions required of officers at their ordination.
  8. The Presbytery has power to receive and issue appeals, complaints, and references brought before it in an orderly manner, and in cases in which the Session cannot exercise its authority, shall have power to assume original jurisdiction; to receive under its care candidates for the ministry; to examine and license candidates for the holy ministry; to receive, dismiss, ordain, install, remove, and judge Ministers; to review the record of church Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order, and take effectual care that they observe the Constitution of the Church; to establish the pastoral relation, and to dissolve it at the request of one or both of the parties, or where the interests of religion imperatively demand it; to set apart Evangelists to their proper work; to require Ministers to devote themselves diligently to their sacred calling and to censure the delinquent; to see that the lawful injunctions of the higher courts are obeyed; to condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them; to unite or divide churches, at the request of the members thereof; to form and receive new churches; to take special oversight of churches without Pastors; to dissolve churches; to concert measures for the enlargement of the Church within its bounds; in general, to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care. The Presbytery’s power in no way diminishes the absolute right of a church to withdraw or secede from the Presbytery. In doing so, the church retains all right, title, and interest in the church’s real and personal property.
  9. The Presbytery shall keep a full and fair record of its proceedings; and all the important changes which may have taken place, such as the licensures, the ordinations, the receiving or dismissing of members, the removal of members by death, the union and the division of churches, and the formation of new ones.
  10. The Presbytery shall meet at least twice a year on its own adjournment. When any emergency shall require a meeting earlier than the time to which the Presbytery stands adjourned, the Moderator shall, at the request, or with the concurrence, of two Ministers and two Ruling Elders of different churches, call a special meeting. Should the Moderator be for any reason unable to act, the Stated Clerk shall, under the same requirements, issue the call. If both Moderator and Stated Clerk are unable to act, any three Ministers and two Ruling Elders of different churches shall have power to call a meeting. Notice of the special meeting shall be sent not less than ten days in advance to each Minister and to the Session of every church without a Pastor. In the notice the purpose of the meeting shall be stated, and no business other than that named in the notice is to be transacted.
  11. Ministers in good standing in other Presbyteries, or in any evangelical Church, being present at any meeting of Presbytery, may be invited to sit as visiting brethren. It is proper for the Moderator to introduce these brethren to the Presbytery. They shall be granted the privilege of the floor, but no voting privileges.

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