Book of Order Citations

The Book of Order, G-3.0303, Relations with Sessions (excerpts):

Presbytery, being composed of the teaching elders and commissioners elected by the session of congregations within its district, has a particular responsibility to coordinate, guide, encourage, support, and resource the work of its congregations for the most effective witness to the broader community.  In order to accomplish this responsibility, the presbytery has the authority to:

b.  control the location of new congregations and of congregations desiring to move as well as to divide, dismiss, or dissolve congregations in consultation with their members

d.  counsel with a session concerning reported difficulties within a congregation, including:

(1)  advising the session as to appropriate actions to be taken to resolve the reported difficulties,

(2)  offering to help as a mediator, and

(3)  acting to correct the difficulties if requested to do so by the session or if the session is unable or unwilling to do so, following the procedural safeguards of the Rules of Discipline;

e.  assume original jurisdiction in any situation in which it determines that a session cannot exercise its authority.  After a thorough investigation, and after full opportunity to be heard has been accorded to the session, the presbytery may conclude that the session of a congregation is unable or unwilling to manage wisely its affairs, and may appoint an administrative commission with the full power of session.  This commission shall assume original jurisdiction of the existing session, if any, which shall cease to act until such a time as the presbytery shall otherwise direct.

f.  consider and act upon requests from congregations for permission to take the actions regarding real property as described in G-4.0206.

The Book of Order, G-4.0207, Property of Congregation in Schism

The relationship to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of a congregation can be severed only by constitutional action on the part of the presbytery (G-3.0303b).  If there is a schism within the membership of a congregation and the presbytery is unable to effect a reconciliation or a division into separate congregations within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the presbytery shall determine if one of the factions is entitled to the property because it is identified by the presbytery as the true church within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  This determination does not depend upon which faction received the majority vote within the congregation at the time of the schism.