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  1. Andy: I am a former member of Shenandoah Presbytery. The answers you are looking for can be found in the links under Constitutional Interpretation, to the left of your comment. First, click on Advisory Opinions, and look for a document titled "Implementing the Trust Clause for the Unity of the Church." This discusses issues like dismissal only to a reformed body. Then, click on the link for Constitution, and navigate down the page to find a link for the online searchable annotated Book of Order. This page has a menu tree on the left side. Open the Constitution, then Form of Government, then G-4.02. There will be links under G-4.0203 (Trust clause) and G-4.0207 (Church in Schism). Bagby is linked under G-4.0207. You may also want to look at Anderson, two years or so before Bagby. One or both cases involved congregations being dismissed to independent status; the rulings were that this could not be done; that dismissal has to be to a Reformed body. Finally, dissolve and dismiss are two of the three D's from G-3.0303b, the third being divide. Dismiss means a viable congregation is being sent to another Reformed body. Dissolve means the congregation is being closed, discontinued, etc. For instance, a congregation may request to be dismissed, but the presbytery may choose to dissolve it, instead. Here is something you did not ask but may relate: instead of dismissal, a joint congregational witness could be formed with a church of another denomination (not necessarily Reformed). The articles that create the joint witness define issues like membership, etc. Where the constitutions or similar documents of the two denominations differ, the more restrictive one is followed. Where they flat-out disagree, the issue is resolved in the document creating the joint witness. See G-5.05.

    by Dan Williams

    September 4, 2015


  2. Shenandoah Presbytery has begun a process to determine Reformed bodies to which presbytery may dismiss congregations. 1.What is the difference between "dismiss' and "dissolve" a congregation? 2.Why can a presbytery only dismiss a congregation to another Reformed body? 3.Can a extract of the PJC case Strong and Bagby v. Synod of the MidSouth, PCUS 1976 be sent to me, especially pp.92-96, as well as any other later GA PJC cases related to the issues of this above case?

    by Andy Sale

    August 23, 2015


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