Session Clerk's Info Pak
Thank you for serving as a Session Clerk! Please scroll down for more information and/or download the same information in a Word or PDF document (below).
Please note when your Session minutes are due and submit them electronically, along with the Session Minutes Review Form, to Dr. Rob Buchanan, Assistant Stated Clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you.
Session Minutes Review Form (three pages, be sure to fill out page 3 or have your Pastor fill it out, thank you).
May the Lord bless you as you serve His church!
Clerk's Info Pak (Word doc)
Clerk's Info Pak (PDF doc)
CLERK’S INFO PAK
CLERKS OF SESSION WORKSHOP
“A Little of What You Need to Know
Clerk of Session”
CLERK OF SESSION
MANDATE & MISSION
G. 16 THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH
G. 16-3 “Review and Control: For the orderly process of review and control, each organizational unit shall submit its minutes to the unit above. The Board of Deacons shall submit its minutes at least semi-annually to the Church Session; the Church Session shall submit its minutes to the Presbytery annually; the Presbytery shall submit its minutes to the General Assembly annually. Each court shall review the minutes submitted to it to insure that the lower body has faithfully and diligently fulfilled all duties and responsibilities assigned to each court. It may refer matters back for reconsideration, call attention to omissions, require amendment of actions out of conformity with the Constitution, or otherwise exercise proper review and control of the lower body.”
G. 16-13 “Minutes: A careful record of the proceedings of the court shall be kept by the Clerk. When the Church Session has approved its minutes, they shall be signed by the Clerk and the Moderator. The Clerk shall submit the minutes to the Presbytery annually. The Clerk shall be careful to record deaths, births, adoptions, baptisms, marriages, reception of members, transfers to the inactive roll, dismissals, and other records required regarding members.”
WHAT is the most effective way of fulfilling our mandate AND our mission?
1. As Scribe (see G.16-13, 8-1F)
To faithfully, carefully record the actions of Session
and, along with other required documents, preserve
them for posterity.
2. As Parliamentarian
To be familiar with Session’s established procedures,
policies, practices and with Robert’s Rules of Order in
order to provide guidance and counsel in questions
of required order.
3. As Correspondent
To act as the official correspondent re: all local church
matters with other judicatories and with non-EPC bodies.
4. As “Town Crier”
To publish all announcements authorized and directed
by Session to the local church, the community, and
Church at large
5. As Source of information
To respond to all inquiries and offer accurate, clear
information as instructed and required by the Session,
church bylaws and/or constitution of the EPC.
6. As “Armor Bearer” (I Samuel 14:1-14)
To serve in a support role to the Moderator, providing
whatever Scriptural assistance as required and necessary.
DO’S & DON’Ts OF CLERK’S WORK
DO keep an accurate record of ALL meetings – Remember, in five weeks or five months or five years from now, “if it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”
DO keep minutes of EXECUTIVE SESSIONS/MEETINGS. These minutes require special treatment:
- Record in regular minutes any action taken; additional detail is at discretion & instruction of the Session
- DO NOT record individual members’ comments UNLESS the executive session involves a FORMAL TRIAL according to the Book of Discipline
- Approve minutes at end of executive session or at the next regular Session meeting
- Keep minutes of executive sessions in separate sealed file from regular minutes
- DO NOT reveal contents of minutes of executive session UNLESS instructed/ordered to do so by the Session or a higher church court. EXCEPTION: In the case of pending/threatened litigation, it is permissible to share relevant information from sealed files to your insurance carrier provided they give you a written assurance of confidentiality.
DON’T meet in the absence of the Moderator UNLESS he has approved the meeting beforehand (G. 16-11). An “emergency” had better be just that! Otherwise, whatever is decided or done is subject to be declared out of order by Presbytery.
DO help the Moderator to begin meetings ON TIME – and to end at the agreed upon time.
DO file your church’s ANNUAL STATISTICAL REPORT by the DEADLINE given each year.
DO file your Pastor(s)’ ANNUAL CHANGES IN TERMS OF CALL & ANNUAL REVIEW by the DEADLINE – which is now JANUARY 1st. If your church doesn’t approve changes until after January 1st BE SURE TO NOTIFY THE STATED CLERK of your situation AND WHEN you will send it.
DO keep Minutes in a secure, safe place. The official Minutes SHOULD be kept in a hard-backed, bound book for permanency. Back-up copies on computers, floppies, CDs are additional safeguards for preservation.
DON’T FORGET: Session minutes are LEGAL DOCUMENTS, and in many courts, considered to be THE OFFICIAL RECORD of the church/Session.
DO become familiar with THE BOOK OF ORDER—especially the Book of Government!
ESSENTIALS OF SESSION MINUTES
“The Bare Minimum Requirements”
For purposes of creating and maintaining an accurate and consistent permanent record of Session meetings and actions taken, certain things need to be included in the minutes taken by the Clerk. Those items are (at least ):
- The date, time & place of each meeting
- The names of those in attendance: Moderator, REs, others
- That prayer was an integral part of all meetings, either beginning, during or at end
- Approval by Session of previous minutes & signed by Moderator, Clerk
- A record of births, baptisms, marriages, adoptions, deaths of members & members’
family members who are part of the church
- A record of members received (with names of minor children living with them)
- A record of those transferred to inactive status or dismissed to other churches
- Names & dates of those ordained and/or installed as Ruling Elders, Deacons
- Action taken by Session on all matters requiring its consideration by motion,
recommendation, request, and The Book of Order
Additionally, for future reference and for guidance to future leaders, minutes should include
- A copy of the annual budget approved by the Session and/or congregation
- A copy of the GA Annual Statistical Report
- Any communications by higher courts (presbytery, General Assembly) requesting
action by the Session (received as information, referred, approved, rejected)
1. PREPARATION FOR THE MEETING:
A. Have a written agenda with as much detail as possible; include copies of items
which Session members need to read ahead of time
B. Review the agenda with Moderator PRIOR to the meeting; try to avoid
C. Have a consistent methodology: pen & paper, laptop, recording, transcribing
A. Refer to “Session Minutes Guidelines” to cover all the bases
B. Make CLEAR, COMPLETE sentences!
C. PERSPECTIVE: Keep in mind that in 10 weeks, years, or decades your record
may be the ONLY record of a Session decision, action, consideration! Don’t be
TOO DETAILED, but don’t leave out IMPORTANT DETAILS!
3. CORRECTIONS TO MINUTES
A. THE IDEAL: Mail, distribute copies of minutes at least one week BEFORE the
next meeting so Session members can have time read, review
B. Very few (if any) Sessions read minutes in meetings (as in the old days); yet a
good Clerk NEEDS the clear eyes, minds of other Elders to catch typo’s,
mistakes. Encourage Session members to read, look for needed corrections
OR you may have someone else proof-read (volunteer or paid—AS LONG AS
they can keep what they read in CONFIDENTIALITY!)
C. Enter corrections, additions in NEXT set of minutes in section entitled,
A. Once minutes are approved, set a permanent copy with signatures of
MODERATOR & YOURSELF aside in a HARD-BOUND MINUTES BOOK.
B. Keep a BACKUP set of minutes on CD/diskette/zip in case something happens
to your/church files
C. Keep permanent minutes book in a SECURE PLACE! Safe from fire, flood, sun
damage, heat, theft as much as practical (The car trunk is NOT a good idea!)
D. Once a year, send a copy of the previous year’s minutes to GA ARCHIVES for
their record. Who knows? Someday one of your great-grandchildren may
write a history of your church using YOUR minutes!
5. “WHOSE MINUTES?”
A. Session minutes are SESSION minutes—and remain the property of the
Session unless required by Presbytery, GA (usually whenever the church is
B. Access to minutes: Determined by the Session! A VARIETY of ways to
address this: post/publish full text copies (on website or bulletin board or
newsletter), OR a publish a condensed version of meetings, OR a brief
synopsis/description of actions taken OR any combination or ALL of the
above! It’s up to Session to decide what’s best for your church.
C. Minutes of EXECUTIVE SESSION are not available to anyone UNLESS the
Session gives permission; Presbytery, GA may require them in certain cases.
MEETING OF THE SESSION
JANUARY 1, 2005
1. Call to order & prayer
2. Declaration of quorum
PRESENT: (OR) LIST NAMES OF TEs & REs
ABSENT: (Check Present or Absent)
3. MINUTES READ & APPROVED (Minutes may be distributed prior to meeting)
4. COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED (OR) CLERK’S REPORT
- “Communications” = Any correspondence from GA, Presbytery, members, committees, other churches, organizations--ANYTHING which Session needs to know about from outside, inside the church
- May be received as information or may be docketed for Session’s consideration at this or a future meeting (Clerk & Moderator decide which is best & Session ok’s)
5. REPORTS: May be from Treasurer, standing committees, teams, huddles, action teams, task force(s), Diaconate, Pastor(s)
6. OLD/UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Carry-over items from previous meeting(s)
7. NEW BUSINESS: Clerk AND Moderator notified BEFORE the meeting in order to docket for consideration
8. ANNOUNCE NEXT MEETING
9. PRAYER & ADJOURNMENT –Be sure to note TIME of adjournment (Didn’t you note the time the meeting started?)
SAMPLE IDEAS FROM OTHER CLERKS
1. OMNIBUS MOTIONS – Used to group together routine items which are not
considered controversial. Should any member desire to talk about a
particular item, you may isolate that item and discuss/vote on it separately.
2. CLERK’S REPORT (At each stated meeting, usually) – Here’s how one Clerk
BIRTHS – Jacob David Jones, son of John and Sue Jones,
December 10, 2007, Hometown General Hospital
- Julia Rachel Smith, daughter of Sam and Barbara
Smith, November 30, 2007, St. Joseph’s Hospital
- George Washington Bush, son of Ralph and Jean Bush,
December 2, 2007, Hometown General Hospital
INFANT BAPTISM - Samuel Eugene Brown, Jr., son of Sam and
ADULT BAPTISM -
WEDDINGS – Alice Sue Mitchell, daughter of Robert and Myrtle
Myrtle Mitchell, wed to Capt. James Longstreet, US
DEATHS – Harriet T. Bates, November 28, 2007
3. WRITTEN POLICY STATEMENTS ON WEDDINGS, FUNERAL SERVICES, OTHER
USAGE OF CHURCH BUILDING -- Samples can be secured by contacting
Administrative Director’s Office
4. YOUR IDEAS, SUGGESTIONS ? ? ?
REPORT FOR SESSION MINUTES
REPORT ON SESSION MINUTES of the ____________________________________ Church
CLERK OF SESSION: Please use the blanks to indicate the requested information is/is not provided. Include this sheet with your Minutes when it is submitted for examination.
PLEASE NOTE: If your church does NOT have a Board of Deacons, check here __________
BLANKS after each
question are to be
answered YES or NO
1. Is the time & place of each meeting given? ___________
2. Did Session meet at least once each quarter? ___________
3. Are names of Elders present noted? ___________
4. Was prayer a part of all meetings? ___________
5. Did Session always approve its own minutes & are they ___________
signed by the Moderator and Clerk?
6, Were Commissioners elected to each meeting of Presbytery? ___________
7. Did these Commissioners report to Session on their attendance ___________
8. Were minutes of the Board of Deacons examined at least ___________
annually by the Session?
9. Do minutes record ordination & installation of new Ruling Elders & ___________
Deacons, with dates?
10. Did Session approve annual budget of church? ___________
11. Was GA’s Annual Statistical Report approved & included in minutes ___________
& forwarded to GA?
12. Do minutes record reception of new members, giving full names, and ___________
noting how received?
13. Were all dismissals & other deletions from the church roll acted on ___________
by Session, with reasons given in the minutes?
SESSION MINUTES REPORT
14. Did Session make an annual review of the church roll for accuracy: ___________
(a) active members
(b) non-communing members (baptized, under 18)
(c) inactive members
(d) affiliate members?
15. Were communications from higher courts read & acted upon by ___________
the Session as requested by the sending court?
(received as information, referred, approved, rejected)
16. Were there any known irregularities or inconsistencies with ___________
The Book of Order in actions taken by Session?
If YES, explain: ________________________________________________
Attest: ______________________________________ Clerk of Session ______________Date
Name of Clerk of Session: _____________________________________________________
Street Address: _____________________________________________________
State : ________________________ Zip ___________________________
Email address: _______________________________________________________
Preferred Phone #: _______________________________________________________
Reviewed by: _________________________________________ Date ___________________
SESSION MINUTES REPORT
CHURCH LIFE & MINISTRY
1. Describe 3 to 5 significant events in the life of your church over the past year
(Please use & attach additional pages if needed):
2. How would you describe the life of your congregation this past year—is it in Incline,
Recline or Decline?
3. How may Presbytery be of help to your congregation in terms of guidance, training,
resourcing, or in other ways?
April 2013-January 2014 SCHEDULE
ANNUAL SESSION MINUTES REVIEW
PRESBYTERY OF MID-ATLANTIC
DATE DUE: CHURCH / MISSION CHURCH OR GROUP
T = Transitional Church (Transitional churches do not have to submit minutes at this time)
M = Mission Church
Session Minutes due at April 2013 Presbytery:
Church at Dutch Fork (Irmo, SC)
Forest Hills (Wilson, NC)
Grace (M) (Hampstead, NC)
Greenwood (Covington, VA)
Hurley (Hurley, VA)
iSight (Black Mountain, NC)
Kempsville (Virginia Beach, VA)
Lake Forest (Huntersville, NC)
Lebanon (Greenwood, VA)
Linwood (Gastonia, NC)
McBee (T) (McBee, SC)
Myrtle Grove (Wilmington, NC)
New Covenant (Burgaw, NC)
New Hanover (T) (Mechanicsville, VA)
Northampton (Hampton, VA)
Overbrook (Gaffney, SC)
Rocky River (T) (Abbeville, SC)
Siler (Wesley Chapel, NC)
Troy (T) (Troy, NC)
Village Church (Matthews, NC)
Warrenton (Abbeville, SC)
Waterbrook (Longs, SC)
Session Minutes due at September 2013 Presbytery:
Session Minutes due at January 2014 Presbytery:
Christ Community Church
Faith Liberation Community
Fellowship of Christ
PMA Treasurer - Tim Burns
2514 Plantation Center Drive
Matthews, NC 28105
Joining the EPC