Book of Order Amendments and What They Mean For Your Church and Session

Book of Order Amendments and What They Mean For Your Church and Session

Book of Order Amendments and What They Mean For Your Church and Session

by Annika Lister Stroope, Stated Clerk

During the covid pandemic, the 2020 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) had to delay conducting business. This meant that the 2022 General Assembly (GA) needed to consider the previous GA’s business as well as new business.

At the conclusion of the 2022 GA, 33 proposed amendments to the Book of Order (Part 2 of the Constitution of the PC(USA)) were sent to presbyteries. All of the proposed amendments have been approved by the majority of presbyteries.

What does this mean for your church?

Please find below information about the amendments that directly affect church sessions. You are welcome to contact the presbyteries’ stated clerk with questions.

Boundaries Training

The new Book of Order requires ruling elders, inquirers, candidates, and those pursuing certification as Christian educators to complete boundaries training on the topics of sexual misconduct and child sexual abuse prevention every three years.

All church sessions should already have child and youth protection policies and sexual misconduct policies. If your session has not already adopted such policies, please visit this link for an example of a policy that your church session might use as a template.

Insurance companies often require their insureds to have child and youth protection policies and sexual misconduct policies. Please contact your insurance agent to connect you with resources, often provided by insurance companies to their insureds at no cost.

The Presbyteries of Des Moines, North Central Iowa, and Prospect Hill offer boundaries trainings that all ruling and teaching elders are encouraged to attend annually.

Boundaries trainings conducted by other Christian denominations may meet the new Book of Order requirement, and many boundary trainings are offered online. If you find a boundary training accessible to you, please contact Pastor to the Presbyteries, Rev. Ian McMullen, as to meeting the requirements of the Book of Order.

Harassment and Anti-Racism Policies

The new Book of Order requires that all church sessions adopt harassment and anti-racism policies. If your session has not already adopted such policies, the stated clerks of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies have a group of clerks currently working on policy templates as resources for congregations. Background and study resources about how congregations can practice anti-racism may be found here.

Family Leave

The new Book of Order requires that all installed pastors/associate pastors are eligible for 12 weeks of family leave. Some examples of family leave include (but are not limited to): a family member with a physical and/or mental health crisis, medical treatment, pregnancy, adoption, and military caregivers. Please contact Pastor to the Presbyteries, Rev. Ian McMullen, with questions as to how this new policy might affect your congregation.

 

Apply to Serve as a Commissioner or Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the 226th General Assembly

Apply to Serve as a Commissioner or Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the 226th General Assembly

Apply to Serve as a Commissioner or Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the 226th General Assembly

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) meets every other year in even-numbered years. It consists of commissioners – teaching elders (ministers) and ruling elders (active on session or not) and Young Adult Advisory Delegates (either ordained or not) – elected by each of our 167 presbyteries. Each Iowa presbytery sends one teaching elder commissioner, one ruling elder commissioner, and one Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) to the next General Assembly. All teaching elders, ruling elders and young adults may apply to serve.

The GA is full of activities: business sessions, committee meetings, an exhibit hall, daily worship services, and mission tours. The GA pays or reimburses the expenses of GA service.

The 226th General Assembly will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 25 to July 4, 2024.

At their fall meetings, presbyteries will elect one teaching elder to serve as a commissioner (and one alternate), one ruling elder to serve as a commissioner (and one alternate), and one Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) (and one alternate).

For more information, please click here

For the application, please click here.

Save the Date: Iowa Presbyterian Gathering 2023

Save the Date: Iowa Presbyterian Gathering 2023

Save the Date: Iowa Presbyterian Gathering 2023

The Iowa Presbyterian Gathering will be on Saturday, August 26. It will be a day of worship, fellowship, seeing old friends and making new ones. It is open to all God’s people. Please mark your calendar and tell your congregation to do the same! More details soon.