25. The Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation

  1. When any Minister shall tender the resignation of his pastoral charge to his Presbytery, the Presbytery shall cite the church to appear by its commissioners, or the church may so appear upon its own motion, to show cause, if it has any, why the Presbytery should not accept the resignation. If the church fail to appear, or if its reasons for retaining its Pastor be deemed insufficient, his resignation shall be accepted, and the pastoral relation dissolved. If any church desires to be relieved of its Pastor, a similar procedure shall be observed. But whether the Minister or the church initiate proceedings for a dissolution of the relation, there shall always be a meeting of the congregation called and conducted precisely in the same manner as when the call of a Pastor is to be made out. The pastoral relation of the assistant pastor may be dissolved by the Session; the presbytery shall be informed of their action.

    Upon dissolution of the pastoral relationship of the senior pastor, the Presbytery must determine if the dissolution of the pastoral relationship of the senior pastor was brought about in Christian love and good order on the part of the parties concerned. The Presbytery must review the call of any new senior pastor and the continuation of existing pastoral relationships, which calls are subject to the Presbytery’s approval by majority vote.

  2. The Presbytery may designate a minister as honorably retired when the minister by reason of age wishes to be retired, or as medically disabled when by reason of infirmity is no longer able to serve the church in the active ministry of the Gospel. A minister medically disabled or honorably retired shall continue to hold membership in his Presbytery. He may serve on committees or commissions if so elected or appointed.
  3. In order to provide necessary changes in pastorates, a temporary relation may be established between a church and a minister called Stated Supply. If a church is unable to secure a regular pastor or a Stated Supply, then the Session with approval of Presbytery may establish a temporary relation between the church and a licentiate called Student Supply or Ruling Elder Supply.
  4. Such temporary relationships can take place at the invitation of the church Session to the minister of the Word, the licentiate, or the ruling elder. The length of the relationship will be determined by the Session and the minister, the licentiate, or the ruling elder, with the approval of the Presbytery. Stated supply, student supply, or ruling elder supply relationships will be for no longer than one year, renewable at the request of the Session and at the review of the Presbytery (cf. BCO 21.1).


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