41. Cases without Process

  1. When any person shall come forward and make his offense known to the court, a full statement of the facts shall be recorded and judgment rendered without process.
  2. A Minister of the Gospel against whom there are no charges, if fully satisfied in his own conscience that God has not called him to the ministry, or if he has satisfactory evidence of his inability to serve the Church with acceptance, may report these facts at a stated meeting of Presbytery. At the next stated meeting, if after full deliberation the Presbytery shall concur with him in judgment, it may divest him of his office without censure. This provision shall in like manner apply with any necessary changes to the case of Ruling Elders and Deacons; but in all such cases the Session of the church to which the Ruling Elder or the Deacon who seeks demission belongs shall act as the Presbytery acts in similar cases where a Minister is concerned.
  3. When a member or officer shall renounce the communion of this Church by joining some other branch of the visible Church, if in good standing, the irregularity shall be recorded, his new membership acknowledged, and his name erased from the roll. But if there is a record of an investigation in process, or there are charges concerning the member or minister, the court of original jurisdiction may retain his name on the roll and conduct the case, communicating the outcome upon completion of the proceedings to that member or minister. If the court does not conduct the case, his new membership shall be acknowledged, his name removed from the roll, and, at the request of the receiving branch, the matters under investigation or the charges shall be communicated to them.

    When a member or minister of this Church shall attempt to withdraw from the communion of this branch of the visible Church by affiliating with a body judged by the court of original jurisdiction as failing to maintain the Word and Sacraments in their fundamental integrity, that member or minister shall be warned of his danger and if he persists, his name shall be erased from the roll, thereby, so far as this Church is concerned, he is deemed no longer to be a member in any body which rightly maintains the Word and Sacraments in their fundamental integrity, and if an officer, thereby withdrawing from him all authority to exercise his office as derived from this Church. When so acting the court shall make full record of the matter and shall notify the offender of its action.

  4. When a member of a particular church has willfully neglected the church for an extended period of time, or has made it known that he has no intention of fulfilling the church vows, then the Session, continuing to exercise pastoral discipline (BCO 30.1.a and BCO 30.4) in the spirit of Galatians 6:1, shall remind the member, if possible both in person and in writing, of the declarations and promises by which he entered into a solemn covenant with God and His Church (BCO 62.2, questions 5–6), and warn him that, if he persists, his name shall be erased from the roll.

    If after diligently pursuing such pastoral discipline, and after further inquiry and due delay, the Session is of the judgment that the member will not fulfill his membership obligations in this or any other branch of the Visible Church (cf. BCO 3.2), then the Session shall erase his name from the roll. This erasure is an act of pastoral discipline (BCO 30.1.a) without process. The Session shall notify the person, if possible, whose name has been removed. Notwithstanding the above, if a member thus warned makes a written request for process (see BCO 34–36; 38–39), the Session shall grant such a request. Further, if the Session determines that any offense of such a member is of the nature that process is necessary, the Session may institute such process.


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