Standing Rules of West Tennessee Presbytery
I. West Tennessee Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is incorporated by the State of Tennessee and serves as a member presbytery of the Synod of Great Rivers and the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Standing Rules of West Tennessee Presbytery are as follows:
1. The Presbytery shall meet on the first Saturday of March and October at 9:00 a.m. and on the first Sunday in June at 4:00 p.m. All meetings shall begin with a worship service planned by the host congregation and the Presbytery Council. The October session shall include a memorial to those ministers and elders who have died during the past year and recognition of ministers who have been honorably retired during the past year.
2. The Presbytery shall comply with the charter and bylaws and be guided by the “Handbook on Procedures of Operation for West Tennessee Presbytery.” According to the Charter, the stated clerk is the registered agent of Presbytery and his/her professional address is the registered office. According to the Bylaws, the designated Board of Directors of Presbytery is the member Ministers and the enrolled Elder delegates.
3. All ministers and probationers who are under the care of presbytery and all ministers and probationers from other Presbyteries serving as Stated Supplies in congregations in West Tennessee Presbytery are required to attend in its entirety each session of Presbytery or request to be excused.
4.Each Church Session shall send a representative(s) to attend in its entirety each session of Presbytery or request to be excused.
5. A Moderator shall be elected to serve a one-year term beginning in the March session. A Vice-Moderator shall also be elected to a one-year term beginning in the March session. Insofar as possible, the Nominating Ministry Team shall present the name of a nominee, alternating annually between clergy and laity. The Moderator is authorized to make interim appointments to Presbytery agencies when vacancies occur due to resignations and/or other circumstances between regular sessions.
6. A parliamentarian and an alternate parliamentarian shall be elected for a three-year term.
7. The Stated Clerk, Assistant Stated Clerk, Treasurer, and Coordinator of Ministries are the officers of Presbytery and receive an honorarium for their services. They serve under the supervision of the Presbytery Council. The Council will do a performance review of each of these officers every two years. The Stated Clerk shall be elected to a three-year term. An Assistant Stated Clerk shall be elected for a three-year term and shall function if the Stated Clerk is unable to do so. The Assistant Stated Clerk shall serve as Engrossing Clerk. The Stated Clerk and Assistant Stated Clerk shall be eligible for election to an indefinite number of terms.
8. The Stated Clerk shall mail Preliminary Minutes of Presbytery to all ministers, licentiates, candidates, and Session Clerks twenty-one (21) days in advance of the March and October sessions. The Stated Clerk shall prepare and distribute Minutes within thirty (30) days following the March and October meetings. The October Minutes will include an updated directory.
9. The Treasurer shall be elected to a three-year term. She/he shall receive and disburse all monies given or earned in support of the Presbytery’s budget and program, and shall be custodian of any other funds, designated or undesignated, in the Presbytery’s possession. The Treasurer shall make regular reports to the Presbytery Council, and shall prepare a detailed financial report to be included in the Minutes of the Presbytery. The Treasurer will be bonded in an amount not less than the total liquid assets of the Presbytery. The Chairperson of the Finance and Benefits Ministry Team shall function as Treasurer in case of emergency.
10. The Coordinator of Ministries will coordinate the functions and reports of ministry teams and organizations and ensure reports are sent to the Council in a timely manner; will be an advisory member of all ministry teams and organizations; will be informed of the actions of General Assemble and will report those actions to presbytery; convey pertinent General Assembly information to ministry teams and organizations and ensure teams take appropriate action; prepare
commissioners for General Assembly and ensure that delegates report to presbytery; communicate and consult with Stated Clerk but will not duplicate constitutional duties of Stated Clerk; Plan agenda for the Council in cooperation with the president of the Council; will perform other duties and functions as assigned by the Presbytery Council in coordinating all presbyterial programming including council reports to presbytery.
11. The Presbytery shall have a budget that will include the annual allocation to the Synod of Great Rivers and all Presbytery programs. All congregations of West Tennessee Presbytery are expected to fully support the presbytery as well as the denominational ministries.
12. All ministry teams and agencies requiring funds shall submit budget requests annually to the Finance and Benefits Ministry Team by August 1. Each ministry team and agency will furnish one hard copy and an electronic copy of their report to the Presbytery Council via the Stated Clerk by January 15 and August 15 annually.
13. The agencies of the Presbytery shall be as stated below. All membership terms shall be for three years, except in the case of filling unexpired terms or in creating a new agency, with a maximum of three consecutive terms of service. Persons may be eligible to be elected to the same ministry team or agency after a lapse of one year. No person shall serve on two ministry teams simultaneously. Newly elected persons will begin their service at the close of the meeting of presbytery during which they were elected. If a member becomes inactive by missing two or more consecutive meetings of the respective agency without excuse, she/he may be replaced. All ministry teams and agencies of Presbytery shall be inclusive of both male and female and clergy and laity. The Presbytery Treasurer shall serve as a member of the Finance and Benefits Ministry Team but will not be eligible to serve as its chairperson.
A. The Presbytery Council shall be responsible for coordination of the total program of the Presbytery, and shall be the agency primarily responsible for long-range planning. The Presbytery Council shall consist of seventeen (17) members, six (6) members to be elected at large according to the Standing Rules of the Presbytery, and one (1) representative from each of the following agencies of
Presbytery: Clergy Care Ministry Team, Board of Directors of Camp Clark Williamson, Discipleship Ministry Team, Finance and Benefits Ministry Team, Judicial Concerns Ministry Team, Nominating Ministry Team, Missions Ministry Team, New Church Development Task Force, Probationer Care Ministry Team, Theology and Social Concerns Ministry Team, and Board of Trustees. Each agency named above will select one of its members to serve on the Council. The Moderator, Stated Clerk, Treasurer and Coordinator of Ministries shall serve as advisory members of the Presbytery Council. The Presbytery Council will elect its officers annually. Between sessions of Presbytery, it may interpret policy decisions and make program and budget adjustments where necessary, but may not make judicial decisions for the Presbytery. There shall be an executive committee consisting of the chairperson of the Council, the Coordinator of Ministries, one at large member, and one ministry team representative, to function between meetings of the Council and to plan the agenda for the Council meetings. The Council shall be directly accountable to the Presbytery. The responsibilities of the Council include:
Cultivating and promoting the development and growth of the Presbytery; Engaging in study and planning in order to recommend goals, objectives, programs, actions, and priorities to the Presbytery; Receiving the reports of all agencies and submitting them to the Presbytery with recommendations as necessary; Receiving the proposed budgets of the various agencies, and, in consultation with the Finance and Benefits Ministry Team, submitting a unified budget to the Presbytery for consideration and adoption. Planning the program and agenda for each meeting of Presbytery. Executing performance reviews and supervising the Presbytery staff; and, Recommending a place of meeting for Presbytery.
B. The Missions Ministry Team shall consist of twelve (12) members. The Missions Ministry Team shall be responsible for: redevelopment of existing churches; recommending the establishment and the dissolving of pastoral relationships; giving special attention to churches without pastors; assisting sessions and pastors in resolving conflicts; assisting sessions in the process of calling a pastor; and
support the churches of the presbytery in sharing the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ with the world. The chair of the Missions Ministry Team must be informed, prior to action, regarding a change in the relationship between a church and the pastor, stated supply or interim pastor. This applies to both the call and the dissolution of the relationship.
C. The Discipleship Ministry Team shall consist of twelve (12) members. This team is responsible for discipleship programming for the presbytery including: leadership development and support, enrichment of worship, camping and retreat ministries, age-specific ministries, supporting congregations in ministries of Christian education and disciple making.
D. The Board of Directors of Camp Clark Williamson shall consist of twelve (12) members. The Board shall supervise and direct the operation of Camp Clark Williamson, employ needed personnel, execute annual performance evaluations of employees, make budget requests annually, submit line item budgets, and work with the Discipleship Ministry Team in promoting presbytery’s camps and retreats.
E. The Probationer Care Ministry Team shall consist of ten (10) members. This Team shall provide care, guidance, support, and prayerful encouragement of all persons who are considering a call to ministry and who are enrolled as candidates or licentiates. The Team is responsible for the supervision of probationers by: developing a plan for each as he/she prepares for a specific ministry calling (ordained clergy, youth minister, Christian educator, etc.); evaluating ongoing progress; reviewing spiritual and theological growth and development; exploring individual needs and challenges; examining faith and theology as they relate to the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith; identifying readiness for licensing, certification, or ordination through interviews, examination and observation; and, make recommendations to presbytery.
F. The Clergy Care Ministry Team shall consist of nine (9) members, six ordained ministers and three laypersons. This team is responsible for: providing prayerful care and support to ministers; sharing in their joys and concerns; offering a compassionate ear,
counsel, and referrals in times of need; providing financial assistance in times of extreme emergency; assisting congregations who need ministers to occasionally serve communion; maintaining records of continuing education units earned and inform presbytery of quality continuing education opportunities; and, addressing ministers’ request for approval to serve in ministries other than a parish setting (chaplaincy, teaching, etc.).
G. The Board of Trustees shall consist of nine (9) members. The Board is responsible for: supervise the purchase, development or sale of presbytery property and any legal issues or conflicts related to such property; addressing legal issues related to presbytery; and, making recommendations to presbytery. Any two (2) board members shall serve as signatory for West Tennessee Presbytery with approval of the Board of Trustees and/or presbytery.
H. The Judicial Concerns Team shall consist of nine (9) members. The Team shall review the session records of the member churches and make recommendations to the presbytery. The minutes of congregations shall be reviewed as follows: Antioch Union through Meridian in the March session of presbytery, and Milan through Zion in the October session. The Team shall study all questions coming before the Presbytery by appeal, dissent, or protest and advise the Presbytery on the legal and constitutional aspects of the questions. The Team shall make rulings on such judicial questions as are referred to it. The Team shall name a subcommittee of its members to serve as a Credentials Committee and consider requests for excused absences at all regular and called sessions of Presbytery. The Credentials Committee shall report, with recommendations, to each session of Presbytery.
I. The Finance and Benefits Ministry Team shall consist of seven (7) members, six of whom will serve 3-year terms and one who will always be the Presbytery Treasurer. The Team will be responsible for: reviewing eligibility and approving ministers and probationers for the insurance program; promoting the financial stewardship and support of presbytery and denominational programs; evaluating the ongoing financial status of presbytery; planning and developing in consultation with the Presbytery Council an annual budget and
submitting recommendations to presbytery; and assisting congregations in stewardship education.
J. The Nominating Ministry Team shall consist of nine (9) members. The Team will nominate persons to serve on all teams and agencies of the Presbytery and as delegates to the higher judicatories. Elder representatives to higher judicatories must be current session members when the judicatory actually convenes. This Team shall nominate a person to serve as Moderator, alternating between ordained ministers and elders. Commissioners, alternates, and Youth Advisory Delegates to General Assembly and delegates and alternates to Synod shall be elected in the October session. The minister commissioners and alternates to the General Assembly shall be selected from an alphabetical rotation roster of active members of presbytery (attends at least one session during the past year). The Elder commissioners and alternates shall be selected from the various congregations according to the alphabetical listing of the churches. No church shall be eligible to supply an elder commissioner that was not represented in at least one of the sessions of presbytery during the past year. The minister delegates and alternates to Synod shall be selected from an alphabetical rotation roster. The elder delegates and alternates shall be selected from the various congregations according to the alphabetical listing of the churches. A minister must be a member of presbytery for a minimum of one (1) year in order to be eligible to serve as a commissioner or delegate to a higher church court. No minister or elder commissioner shall serve more than once over a five-year (5) period.
K. The Theology and Social Concerns Ministry Team shall consist of five (5) members. This team is responsible for raising awareness to pressing social issues and addressing the theological implications of these concerns for congregations and presbytery. The team shall serve as liaison to the denomination’s Theology and Social Concerns Committee and advocate for programs and studies adopted by the General Assembly. In addition, the team will serve as advocate for cooperative ministries with the nearby presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America and address strategies developed by the two denominations for reuniting.
L. The New Church Development Task Force shall consist of nine (9) members in rotating terms of 3 years. This Team is responsible for: evaluating the need for new congregations; working with the General Assembly Ministry Council to develop strategies and implement plans for new congregations; oversee the development of new congregations as approved by presbytery; employ needed leadership for these congregations; administer funds provided by presbytery and General Assembly; and present recommendations to Presbytery.
14. All persons required to perform duties for Presbytery are entitled to be reimbursed for costs incurred for meals, lodging and travel. The Finance and Benefits Ministry Team shall determine the reimbursement rate for use of private automobiles. Delegates to the Synod of Great Rivers and Commissioners to General Assembly shall make a report as a unit to the October session of Presbytery. Commissioners to General Assembly shall select one Commissioner to write the report that shall include a list of who served on what committee and a copy of the summary of actions prepared by the Office of the General Assembly. The Treasurer is authorized to advance funds for delegates and commissioners to Synod and General Assembly as specified by presbytery. Each delegate and commissioner shall report expenditures. Adjustments to monies received will be made by the Treasurer.
15. No agency of West Tennessee Presbytery shall exceed the approved budget figure by practicing deficit spending during the calendar year without the consent of the Presbytery Council. Each Agency is encouraged to follow good stewardship practices in utilizing its resources.
16. West Tennessee Presbytery will pay 20% of the denominational health insurance premium of eligible ministers who are members of presbytery. The respective churches those pastors serve will pay the remaining 80%. Presbytery will pay one-half of the Part B premium for ministers who are on Medicare. Premiums will not be paid for eligible ministers who qualify for an exemption from the denominational policy due to having insurance that is considered permanent. Pastors of union churches shall be covered by provisions
applicable to ministers of their own denomination in accordance with previous inter-denominational agreements on union churches. All pastoral relations will be approved only upon documentation that the Presbytery and the respective congregation have agreed to provide premium payments for the denomination’s health insurance for the pastor. The Missions Ministry Team and the Finance and Benefits Ministry Team will coordinate efforts to insure these guidelines are honored.
17. When an ordained minister is asked to moderate the session and administer the sacraments for a church without the services of an ordained minister the church will pay his/her travel expense.
18. Any member wishing to present a resolution to Presbytery must do so at the beginning of the respective session. The said resolution will be addressed after the completion of all other business.
19. No candidate or licentiate from another presbytery shall assume the duties of Stated Supply in any church in West Tennessee Presbytery until the call has been reviewed and approved by the Missions Ministry Team in consultation with the Probationer Care Ministry Team.
20. Each church calling and employing the services of a minister must provide a copy of the pastoral contract/covenant to the chair of the Missions Ministry Team and the Stated Clerk (for filing purposes) before the relationship is approved.