To download a copy of of the current adopted bylaws, click here.
History of Bylaws
Last year, many major changes were adopted for the constitution of Presbyterian Church (USA), or the Book of Order. The new Form of Government (nFoG) adopted by PC(USA) is often referred to as a move to more “local control” – it attempts “to change the pattern of creating a rule to address every uncertainty.” Because many of the rules spelled out in old FoG have been removed, the new Book of Order is much shorter. These rules may still be important, but are not regarded as “constitutional”. Hence, each congregation needs to develop its own local rules of operation in the form of its Bylaws and Manual of Operations. The bylaws need congregational approval, while most of the other items require only the approval of Session.
Session appointed a task force to look into what is needed to respond to the adoption of nFoG and report its recommendations to Session. The members of the BOO (Book of Order) Committee are the immediate past, current and future Clerks of Session (Judith Thorburn, Marv Hackert and Joy Durrant), Director of Administration Fred Clement and Tom Sedberry. It was determined that the most pressing need was to write and obtain congregational approval of bylaws for CPC.
The BOO Committee researched what was needed, and what has already been done by other congregations. At a minimum, the bylaws need to determine the quorum and period of minimum notice for a congregational meeting, whether the congregation wishes to adopt Robert’s Rules as its parliamentary authority, and set the size and composition of the Congregational Nominating Committee. The committee decided to use the template recommended for bylaws available on the PC(USA) website. Taking advantage of language from bylaws of other Presbyterian churches, the committee modeled a draft of bylaws for Covenant Presbyterian Church. It consists of a preamble, a set of definitions and nine articles. Article IX is referred to as the “Default” paragraph – its role is to have a fall-back position of the old 2009/2011 Book of Order where many of these procedural issues were explicitly included just in case anything was not addressed in these bylaws that should be addressed.
After reaching agreement within the committee, the draft was reviewed by others outside the committee to obtain broader input, and then reviewed by Session. It is then presented to the congregation for review. Members of the congregation were encouraged to study the document and send any questions, comments or suggestions to Session. We then used your feedback to finalize the bylaws for Session approval at our meeting on Feb. 21, then held the bylaws to a vote before the congregation for adoption at our annual meeting on Feb. 26.
To download the a copy of the current adopted bylaws, click here.