Removing a Minister from One Charge to Another
- No minister shall be removed from one church to another, nor shall he receive any call for that purpose, but by the permission of the presbytery.
- Any church, desiring to call a settled minister from his present charge, shall, by commissioners properly authorized, represent to the presbytery the ground on which they plead his removal. The presbytery, having maturely considered their plan, may, according as it appears more or less reasonable, either recommend to them to desist from prosecuting the call, or may order it to be delivered to the minister to whom it is directed.
- When the congregation calling any settled minister is within the limits of another presbytery, that congregation shall obtain leave from the presbytery to which it belongs, to apply to the presbytery of which he is a member; and that presbytery, having cited him and his congregation as before directed, shall proceed to hear the cause and bring it to an issue. If it agrees to the translation, it shall release him from his present charge; and having given him proper testimonials, shall require him to repair to that presbytery, within the bounds of which the congregation calling him lies, that the proper steps may be taken for his regular settlement in that congregation; and the presbytery to which the congregation belongs, having received an authenticated certificate of his release, under the hand of the clerk of that presbytery, shall proceed to install him in the congregation, as soon as convenient. Provided always, that no minister shall be translated without his own consent previously obtained.
- When any minister is to be settled in a congregation, the installation, which consists in constituting a pastoral relation between him and the people of that particular church, may be performed either by the presbytery, or by a committee appointed for that purpose, as may appear most expedient; and the following order shall be observed therein:
- A day shall be appointed for the installation at such time as may appear most convenient, and due notice thereof given to the congregation.
- When the presbytery, or committee, shall be convened and constituted, on the day appointed, a sermon shall be delivered by a minister previously appointed thereto; immediately after which, the minister who is to preside shall state to the congregation the design of the meeting, and briefly recite the proceedings of the presbytery relative thereto. And then, addressing himself to the minister to be installed, shall propose to him the following or similar questions:
- Are you now willing to take the charge of this congregation, as their pastor, agreeably to your declaration when you accepted its call?
- Do you conscientiously believe and declare, as far as you know your own heart, that in taking upon you this charge, you are influenced by a sincere desire to promote the glory of God, and the good of his Church?
- Do you solemnly promise, that, by the assistance of the grace of God, you will endeavour faithfully to discharge all the duties of a pastor to this congregation, and will be careful to maintain a deportment in all respects becoming a minister of the Gospel of Christ, agreeably to your ordination engagements?
Having received satisfactory answers to all these questions, he shall propose to the people the same or like questions as those directed under the head of ordination, which, having also been satisfactorily answered, by the holding up of the right hand in testimony of assent, he shall solemnly pronounce and declare the said minister to be regularly constituted the pastor of that congregation. A charge shall then be given to both parties, as directed in the case of ordination; and prayer shall be offered. At the conclusion of the whole service, the congregation shall be dismissed with the usual benediction.
- It is highly becoming, that, after the installation, the heads of families of that congregation who are then present, or at least the elders and deacons, should come forward to their pastor, and give him their right hand in token of cordial reception and affectionate regard.