Procedure for organizing a new congregation.
quoted from the ARP Form of Government.
1. It is lawful and expedient to organize a new congregation wherever a sufficient number of Christians of the same faith and order are found, if said organization will add to the efficiency of the Church.
2. Prior to organization, a Presbytery may upon its own initiative or upon request of a group of Christians who are working toward the development of an organized congregation, grant mission status to the group. The Presbytery shall appoint for the Mission a Provisional Session of Associate Reformed Presbyterian ruling elders from neighboring congregations, wherever possible, or ruling elders who meet the standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, with an ordained minister to serve as moderator until the congregation is organized and officers are elected in the regular manner and a pastor is elected and installed. See X.E.15. [Amendment No. 1 effective June 3, 1975, Amendment No. 25 effective June 9, 1998]
3. A congregation can be organized only by the authority of the Presbytery, which shall consult the General Synod, or the proper agency thereof, before organizing a congregation requiring financial aid from the General Synod.
4. A congregation can be organized only when the Presbytery has assurance of adequate leadership.
5. Those desiring to organize a new congregation shall make application to the Presbytery within whose bounds they reside, submitting a full statement of all the facts, such as the number of persons desiring it, their ability and willingness to support the work and worship of the Church, the religious condition of the community, etc., showing the necessity or propriety of such organization, and when appropriate, the name and terms of call of the person whom the petitioners desire to call as the pastor as described in Chapter X.E. The Presbytery shall consult with the session of any congregation which may be affected by the new organization before approving the application. [Amendment No.26 effective June 9, 1998]
6. The congregation shall be organized by the Presbytery or a commission of Presbytery.
7. When the Presbytery has approved the application for a new congregation, it shall appoint a day and hour for its organization.
8. At the time agreed upon, after public worship, the Presbytery or its commission shall form an active membership roll of the proposed congregation, either by certificate of transfer or by reaffirmation or profession of faith in Jesus Christ, those desiring to become members, and by entering their names on the roll.
9. The members shall then be required to enter into covenant by answering affirmatively the following question, either by voice, by uplifted hand or by standing: “Do you in reliance on God’s grace, solemnly promise and covenant that you will walk together as an organized congregation, according to the Constitution of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, working toward the purity and unity of the Church?”
10. The presiding minister shall then say: “By the authority of Presbytery, I now declare that you are constituted a congregation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
11. Ruling elders shall immediately be elected in the regular manner. Until these officers are ordained and installed, the Presbytery or the commission shall appoint a Provisional Session. Deacons may be elected in the regular manner.
12. The Presbytery shall record the name and organization date, the number of members and the names of the officers elected. Where applicable, the addresses of the pastor, the clerk of the session and the chairman of the diaconate shall be included in the report.
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