2.5 The Synod

SECTION 5. The Synod

ARTICLE 95. The Synod is composed of at least four Classes and represents the whole Church. It is the highest judicatory and the last resort in all cases respecting the government of the Church. It shall meet annually, either in general convention or as a delegated body. In general convention it consists of all the ministers and one elder from each pastoral charge of the Classes constituting the Synod; as a delegated body it consists of the ministers and elders chosen by its Classes according to a basis of representation adopted by itself with the concurrence of at least two-thirds of its Classes. A suspended minister shall not be counted in the basis of representation to Synod. Its title shall be: THE SYNOD OF THE REFORMED CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.

ARTICLE 96. Any number of members convened at the time and place appointed for a meeting, in which a majority of the Classes is represented, shall constitute a quorum, which quorum shall contain not fewer than one minister and one elder from each of the Classes necessary to a majority of the Classes. At least one-third of the delegates shall be elders.

ARTICLE 97. The annual sessions shall be opened with religious services, including the preaching of a sermon by the President, or by some other member designated by him or by the Synod, after which the organization shall be effected and the business shall proceed according to the Rules of Order prescribed by the Synod.

ARTICLE 98. The Synod shall annually review the proceedings of its Classes. The report of the standing Committee on the Minutes of Classes shall embrace the following topics:

  1. Procedures with respect to the Constitution and Church order.
  2. Requests and references from Classes to the Synod.
  3. Complaints and appeals to the Synod.
  4. Decisions of the Classes on subjects referred to them by the Synod.
  5. Licensures; ordinations; ordained ministers received, dismissed, deceased, suspended or deposed; licentiates received or dismissed, and licenses revoked.
  6. Time and place of next annual meeting of each Classis, with the names and post office addresses of its President, Stated Clerk and Treasurer.

ARTICLE 99. The actions of the Classes upon an ordinance or an amendment of the Constitution of the Church shall be incorporated in regular order in the minutes of the Synod.

ARTICLE 100. The Synod has power to hear and determine complaints and appeals, and for this purpose may appoint a Judicial Committee which shall consist of three ministers and two elder delegates to the Synod.

All complaints and appeals not involving charges of errors in fundamental Christian doctrines, when brought before the Synod, may be referred to this Committee.

The Committee shall meet during the session of the Synod to hear appeals or complaints referred, and shall determine, under the provision of the Constitution, the regularity and irregularity of all papers, and consider the questions or qualities at issue, and then by a majority shall come to a decision in the case. It shall bring a report of its findings, giving a succinct statement of the main issue. If the Synod by a majority vote approves the report, it shall stand as the final decision of the Synod.

The Synod has power to give advice in a case referred to it by a Classis, to establish new Classes within its own limits, and to determine all controversies between Classes and between ministers or congregations of different Classes. A Classis, however, cannot be dissolved, nor can any part of it be united with another Classis without its own consent.

ARTICLE 101. The Synod shall give necessary attention to the education of pious men for the Gospel ministry, and to the cause of missions both in the home and in the foreign field. Its missionary operations shall be under the authority and control of the Synod.

The Synod shall diligently prosecute the work of Home Missions, of Foreign Missions, of Christian Education, and of Ministerial Relief by committees, which are to be elected and governed in their proceedings by rules established by the Synod. At the annual meeting of the Synod each committee shall submit a report of its operations and a statement of its present condition.

ARTICLE 102. The Synod may establish and maintain a Committee of Publication, whose particular purpose shall be the publication and sale of such church papers and books as are adapted to promote sound knowledge and true religion. At every annual meeting of the Synod, the Committee shall submit for examination and review a full statement of its operations during the year and of its present condition.

ARTICLE 103. The Synod shall prepare the following forms: constitution for a congregation; constitution for a joint consistory; certificate of licensure; testimonial of ordinations; certificate of dismission of a minister; call to a minister; call to a teacher of theology; certificate of dismission of a church member; statistical report of a pastoral charge; statistical report of a Classis; statistical report of the Synod; church register; accusations; citation of an accused person; citation of a witness; form for qualifying a witness; order of business and rules of order for the Classes and the Synod. These forms may be changed or amended at any stated meeting of the Synod by a two-thirds vote.

ARTICLE 104. All proposed ordinances of the Church, such as a constitution, a catechism, a hymn book and a liturgy, as well as all amendments of ordinances, must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Synod at a stated meeting, and then be submitted to all the Classes for ratification or rejection. If at the next stated meeting of the Synod it shall appear that more than one-third of the Classes have rejected the ordinance or amendment, the same is rejected and shall be so declared by the Synod; otherwise it shall be declared adopted and be binding on the whole Church.

ARTICLE 105. The original records of all proceedings of the Synod and all documents, letters and papers having reference to its proceedings, shall be carefully preserved by the Stated Clerk and deposited in such place as the Synod shall direct; and a document or paper shall not be removed by any person whatever without permission obtained from the Synod, or, during its recess, from the Stated Clerk.

ARTICLE 106. At least forty days before the regular meeting of the Synod, its Stated Clerk shall furnish the Stated Clerks of the several Classes with the blank forms of the credentials for delegates to Synod.

ARTICLE 107. A special meeting of Synod shall be called by the President, or, in case of his death or removal, by the Stated Clerk, whenever six ministers and four elders, members of the Synod, request it in a written communication specifying the particular business to be transacted. At least three weeks before the Synod convenes the Stated Clerk shall notify the members by circular of the time and place of meeting, and the items of business properly before the body.

ARTICLE 108. All credentials, calls to Teachers of Theology and agreements to which Synod is a party, shall be signed by the President and the Stated Clerk, and shall have the seal of Synod attached. The Stated Clerk shall attest all extracts from the records of Synod, and shall have charge of all the records and papers, and of the seal of Synod.

ARTICLE 109. The Stated Clerk of the Synod shall provide and accurately keep a Register of Licensures and Ordinations of ministers throughout the Church, said Register showing the full name of the licentiate or ordained minister, with the date of licensure or ordination, or both, the name of the Classis by which the minister was licensed or ordained, and the time and place of licensure or ordination, the time and place of the minister’s decease, with sufficient space for memoranda of the facts in case of the dismission of the minister to another Church, or of erasure of his name in the case of a transfer of his church relationship without dismission, or in case of his suspension or deposition from the ministry. The Register shall have an alphabetical index.

ARTICLE 110. The Synod shall have power to maintain correspondence with Churches with which it has fraternal relations.

ARTICLE 111. The Synod at its regular meeting shall elect a President, a Vice President, a Stated Clerk, and a Treasurer.

The Executive Committee of Synod shall consist of the President, the Vice President, the Stated Clerk, and two other delegates. At least two members of the Committee shall be elders. The Committee shall meet at least once between the annual meetings of Synod and also at the call of the Chairman or three members of the Committee.

The Executive Committee shall aid in stimulating the spiritual life of the Church by coordinating the work of the Committees of the Synod; preparing the order of business for the meetings of Synod, and, with the pastor loci, preparing the program of the Synod meetings. In the interim between meetings of Synod, proposed actions regarding the administration of the business of Synod shall be given in writing by the President to all the members of the Synod and shall be implemented unless written objection is received within thirty days from at least two members of Synod who are from different Classes. The duties of the Executive Committee shall be subject to revision at each session of the Synod. A record of the Executive Committee proceedings shall be kept and submitted to the Synod. The President of the Executive Committee of Synod shall annually submit a report to the Synod on the state of the church, making use of the reports of the Presidents of the Executive Committees of the Classes.

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