Church Session

  1. The church session consists of the pastor or pastors and ruling elders, of a particular congregation.
  2. If there are more than nine ruling elders, the pastor and at least one third of the elders shall constitute a quorum. If there are three to nine ruling elders, the pastor and two ruling elders shall constitute a quorum. If there are less than three ruling elders, the pastor and one ruling elder shall constitute a quorum.
    When a church has no pastor and there are more than nine ruling elders, five shall constitute a quorum; if there are five to nine ruling elders, three shall constitute a quorum; if there are less than five ruling elders, two shall constitute a quorum; if there is only one ruling elder, he does not constitute a session, but he should take spiritual oversight of the church, should represent it at presbytery and synod, should grant letters of dismission, and should report to the presbytery any matter needing the action of a church court. However, any session, by a majority vote of its members, may fix its own quorum, provided that it is not smaller than the quorums stated in this paragraph.
  3. The pastor of the congregation shall always be the moderator of the session; except when, for prudential reasons, it may appear advisable that some other minister should be invited to preside; in which case the pastor may, with the concurrence of the session, invite such other minister of this Church as they may see meet to preside in that case. The same expedient may be adopted in case of the sickness or absence of the pastor.
  4. It is expedient, at every meeting of the session, more especially when constituted for judicial business, that there be a presiding minister. When, therefore, a church is without a pastor, the moderator of the session shall be either the minister appointed for that purpose by the presbytery, or one invited by the session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is impracticable, without great inconvenience, to procure the attendance of such a moderator, the session may proceed informally without it, any action taken at such an informal meeting being subject to ratification at a duly constituted meeting.
  5. In congregations where there are two or more co-pastors, they shall, when present, alternately preside in the session.
  6. The church session is charged with maintaining the spiritual government of the congregation; for which purpose, they have power to inquire into the knowledge and Christian conduct of the members of the church; to call before them offenders and witnesses, being members of their own congregation, and to introduce other witnesses, where it may be necessary to bring the process to issue, and when they can be procured to attend; to receive members into the church by confession of faith in Jesus Christ, reaffirmation of faith in Jesus Christ, or church letter; to admonish, to rebuke, to suspend, or exclude from the sacraments those who are found to deserve censure; to determine all matters concerning the conduct of worship and of other religious services, to concert the best measures for promoting the spiritual interests of the congregation, including the supervision of the Sunday school and of other organizations within the church; and to appoint delegates to the higher courts of the Church.
  7. The pastor has power to convene the session when he may judge it requisite; and he shall always convene them when requested to do so by any two of the elders.
  8. Every session shall keep a clear record of its proceedings; which record shall be, at least once in every year, submitted to the inspection of the presbytery.
  9. Every session shall keep registers or rolls of the members of the church, both of believers and of their baptized children; of suspensions from the Lord’s Table, of the deaths and other removals of church members but the names of members shall be placed upon or removed from the rolls of the church only by order of the session.