All proposed constitutional amendments have been ratified

New provisions take effect June 25, 2017

April 10, 2017

222nd General Assembly Plenary Vote

All sixteen constitutional amendments proposed by the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have received the 86 affirmative votes from among the 170 presbyteries needed for ratification.

The new provisions will take effect on June 25, 2017—one year from the adjournment of the assembly that proposed them. Presbyteries have until that date to vote on the proposals and are encouraged to do so.

The amendments (descriptions provided by the Association of Stated Clerks) and the voting tallies as of April 10, 2017:

  • 16-A: to require all councils to adopt and implement a child and youth protection policy. (107-3)
  • 16-B: to create flexibility in filling the membership of committees above the session by not requiring “at least one-half being members of congregations,” instead requiring “in numbers as nearly equal as possible.” (98-11)
  • 16-C.1–8: to change ordered ministry titles back to their form before the Book of Order was amended in 2014—“teaching elder” changed back to “minister of the Word and Sacrament”; “ruling elder” changed back to “elder”; and “commissioned ruling elder” changed back to “commissioned lay pastor.” The eight amendments change this wording in eight different places in the Constitution.
  • 16-C.1. (98-12)
  • 16-C.2. (98-12)
  • 16-C.3. (99-11)
  • 16-C.4. (98-12)
  • 16-C.5. (98-12)
  • 16-C.6. (88-22)
  • 16-C.7. (95-15)
  • 16-C.8. (98-12)
  • 16-D.1: to remove a permanent ban—the result of a 2014 amendment to G-2.0509—on teaching elders who had renounced jurisdiction while in the disciplinary process from working in or for a church under the jurisdiction of the PC(USA) in either a paid or volunteer position. The new provision removes this restriction by requiring the former teaching elder to rejoin the church and to resubmit to the original disciplinary process. (86-22)
  • 16-D.2: to remove any statute of limitations regarding the alleged prior offense cited in 16-D.1. (87-21)
  • 16-E: to remove the requirement in G-2.1101 that all certifying bodies must have a “handbook.” (108-1)
  • 16-F: to add the phrase “caring for God’s creation” to the “Ministry of Members” listed in G-1.0304. (104-5)
  • 16-G: to make the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper available to developing Christians who have not yet made the baptismal declaration. (97-3)
  • 16-H: to replace the current Directory for Worship with a new Directory for Worship. (94-6)


Please click here for latest voting tallies for the constitutional amendments proposed by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).  

  1. As a 222nd GA commissioner, who served on the Church Polity and Ordered Ministry committee, I am disappointed that 16-C.7 has again misreported ! Please stop referring to commissioned 'lay' pastors. The committee explicitly removed the word lay from the title as inappropriate to our polity and theology. The amendment deliberately allowed for the use of the titles “commissioned pastor” and “commissioned ruling elder” for CREs and “Minister” or “Minister of Word and Sacrament”, as shown below. 16-C.7. Amending both the Directory for Worship and the Rules of Discipline to replace “ruling elder commissioned to particular pastoral service” or “ruling elder commissioned to pastoral service” (commonly referred to as CRE or Commissioned Ruling Elder) with “commissioned pastor (also known as commissioned ruling elder), and to replace “teaching elder” with “minister” or “minister of Word and Sacrament.”

    by Deb Bergmann, CRE

    June 27, 2017

  2. As a 222nd GA commissioner, who served on the Church Polity and Ordered Ministry committee, I am disappointed that 16-C.7 has again misreported! Please stop referring to commissioned 'lay' pastors. The committee explicitly removed the word lay from the title as inappropriate to our polity and theology. The amendment deliberately allowed for the use of the titles “commissioned pastor” and “commissioned ruling elder” for CREs and “Minister” or “Minister of Word and Sacrament”, as shown below. 16-C.7. Amending both the Directory for Worship and the Rules of Discipline to replace “ruling elder commissioned to particular pastoral service” or “ruling elder commissioned to pastoral service” (commonly referred to as CRE or Commissioned Ruling Elder) with “commissioned pastor (also known as commissioned ruling elder), and to replace “teaching elder” with “minister” or “minister of Word and Sacrament.”

    by Deb Bergmann, CRE

    June 27, 2017

  3. This is sort of lake election night when those on the West Coast feel like everything is decided before the polls close. I wish they wouldn't announce this so early. Presbytery of Northern Waters hasn't had a chance to vote, yet.

    by Jay Wilkinson

    April 11, 2017

  4. I hope that all Christian Education Committees will review Amendment 16-G, I hope that all Worship Committees will review Amendment 16-H. All Sessions should take the time ro discuss all these new additions to our Book of Order.

    by Robert H Wright Jr

    April 11, 2017

  5. 2 questions How do you define a "developing Christian"? What is the authority for allowing the change :-G: to make the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper available to developing Christians who have not yet made the baptismal declaration. (97-3)?

    by Psmall

    April 11, 2017

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