Blog Post by
Rev. Joy Myers
…Each council shall elect a clerk who shall record the transactions of the council, keep its rolls of membership and attendance, maintain any required registers, preserve its records, and furnish extracts from them when required by another council of the church. Such extracts, verified by the clerk, shall be evidence in any council of the church. The clerk of the session shall be a ruling elder elected by the session for such a term as it may determine.
I KNOW! That can sound intimidating…but the wonderful part is that we have so many amazing session clerks in this presbytery who support one another and share ideas of how to keep the myriad of details that are required in the minutes, registers and rolls of each congregation. You always know you have support.
We have held three peer review gatherings for session clerks: August 10 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in St Charles; September 14 at Sullivan Presbyterian Church in Sullivan and September 21 at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in St Louis. There were 46 different congregations represented out of the 76 congregations of the presbytery. I really want to see 100% of the congregations participate in this review. We currently have over 60% participation.
There were some areas where we found that we do not always follow the guidelines set forth in the Book of Order or we were unfamiliar with them.
- First: G-3.0201b, W-2.4012, W-3.3616e – ask that we provide for distribution of the sacrament [of the Lord’s Supper (at least quarterly)] to members isolated from the community’s worship.
- Second: G-3.0202a – states that commissioners are elected to presbytery and report after each presbytery meeting. Many said they rotate or that the pastor attends. We really need the voices of ruling elders as well as teaching elders. Now that the presbytery is incorporating educational aspects to the gathering times, you never know what idea or information you will take away with you.
- Third: G-3.0201c – The training, examination, ordination and installation of newly-elected ruling elders and deacons is recorded. Most sessions do a portion of these tasks but the Book of Order asks that sessions do all of them…that it is not up to the pastor but to the session to decide the leadership of the congregation.
- Fourth: G-3.0113 – There was a financial review or audit. These should be conducted annually even if your session reviews the finances monthly at your meetings.
We are keeping a copy of the insurance declaration page for property, liability, and officer insurance in the files of the congregations of the presbytery that are kept in the office.
Three resources available from the Board of Pensions, which you can request directly from them, are:
- Understanding Effective Salary
- Living by the Gospel: A Guide to Structuring Ministers’ Terms of Call
- Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches: What you need to know for 2019
These are especially helpful as you approach the end of the current budget year and are looking at the compensation for all your church staff but especially the pastor’s terms of call.
Rev Joy Myers, Stated Clerk