Proposed Amendments to the Book of Order
by Reverend Jennifer Pattee, Interim Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos
At the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), thirty-three (33) proposed amendments to the Book of Order, the Constitution of the PC(USA), were approved to be sent to presbyteries for voting. All proposed changes are available in the full proposed amendments packet and here is a short summary of proposed amendments.
At the Gathering of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos on Thursday, February 23rd, the Office of the Stated Clerk will be offering a learning conversation giving you the opportunity to ask questions about the amendments. In order for us to prepare for that time, please send questions ahead of that day using this form.
About the Amendments
The 33 proposed amendments address various sections of our Book of Order, the constitution for our denomination. There are:
- 2 for section F – Foundations of Presbyterian Policy
- 17 for section G – Forms of Government
- 9 for section W – Directory for Worship
- 5 for section D – Rules of Discipline
One thing to notice – the very last proposed amendment, “22-GG” is a proposed “New Church Discipline section.” If this new section is approved, then the other proposed amendments to the Rules of Discipline will no longer be relevant. We will still vote on those individual edits as well, though, in case 22-GG is not approved. You can view a video from the Rules of Discipline Task Force here.
How We Will Vote
- At our business meeting on February 23rd, all of the proposed amendments will be presented as an omnibus motion (a motion to approve a list of multiple items with one vote).
- Members of the Presbytery will have a chance to “pull” items from the omnibus motion to be considered separately.
- Any items that are “pulled” from the omnibus motion will go to the next presbytery meeting for discussion and vote.
Why are we doing it this way?
Editing the constitution of our denomination is a big deal, and part of the core of who we are as Presbyterians. We view reforming, and allowing the local bodies to have a voice in that reform, to be an important element of why we gather locally and nationally. We want to ensure that we have provided enough time for considering the proposed amendments and for discussion as a body. At the same time, many of the thirty-three (33) proposed amendments are considered non-controversial. By presenting an omnibus motion and allowing members to pull items for discussion at the next meeting, we can better allocate the time for discussion at the next meeting, knowing which ones you all want additional time to consider.
Want some more resources?
If you’re looking for more resources for yourself or other leaders in your church on your role in decision making, check out the Theoacademy video series “Lessons for Ruling Elders & Deacons.” Lesson 8 especially!
Rev. Jennifer Pattee is the Interim Stated Clerk for our presbytery. Rev. Pattee moved to Southern California in 2020 after previously working at the University of Dubuque, a PC(USA) college and seminary. She continues to teach online for them in the Christian Leadership Program.