THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
REFORMED CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
SECTION 1. Judicatories in General
ARTICLE 49. The judicatories are:
- The Consistory.
- The Spiritual Council.
- The Classis.
- The Synod.
They take cognizance only of ecclesiastical matters, and have authority to require obedience to the laws of Christ and His Church and to discipline the disobedient.
ARTICLE 50. Cases over which a lower judicatory has original jurisdiction can be brought before a higher judicatory only by reference, complaint or appeal.
ARTICLE 51. From the regular credentials of the delegates, primariiand secundi, the Stated Clerk of a Classis and the Synod shall prepare the roll in advance of the stated meeting. Irregular or disputed credentials shall be referred, immediately after the organization of the Judicatory, to a special committee, which shall report within twenty-four hours after its appointment. The sessions of every judicatory shall be opened and closed with religious services.
ARTICLE 52. A Classis and the Synod shall elect a President, a Stated Clerk, and such other officers as they may respectively deem necessary, who shall hold their offices for such term as the respective judicatories may determine.
ARTICLE 53. When a judicatory meets as a delegated body, the delegates to it shall be elected by the judicatories which they respectively represent from among their members, and in all such elections at least a double number of persons shall be nominated. Tellers shall be appointed to distribute, collect and count the ballots, and shall report the number of votes cast for any member to the President, who shall then declare the result. Those having the highest number of votes shall be the primarii, and an equal number having the next highest number of votes shall be the secundi, who shall succeed the primarii in the order of the number of votes received in both cases. In case delegates have received an equal number of votes, their names shall be arranged on the list in alphabetical order.
ARTICLE 54. Active elders only shall be ordinarily elected to judicatories. For good reasons, other elders may be seated by a two-thirds vote of the judicatory to which they have been elected. Elders shall have the same rights and privileges in a judicatory as Ministers of the Word.
ARTICLE 55. Delegates to a judicatory shall be punctual in attending its meetings and shall remain during the whole of its sessions. They are amenable for their tardiness or absence to the judicatory which elected them, which also must provide for the expenses incurred in attending to their duties unless paid by the higher judicatory.
ARTICLE 56. At a special meeting of a judicatory action can be taken only on the items of business specified in the call.
ARTICLE 57. If unforeseen circumstances should render it necessary, either the time or the place, or both, of the stated meeting of a Classis and the Synod may be changed by the President and Stated Clerk; provided that for a Classis two weeks and for the Synod four weeks previous notice is given by the President and Stated Clerk through a circular addressed to each member of the judicatory.
ARTICLE 58. At least one member of every committee appointed by Classis or the Synod shall be an elder.
ARTICLE 59. Delegates from bodies in correspondence with the Synod shall be recognized as advisory members, but they shall not have a vote. The same privilege shall be accorded to every minister and elder of the Reformed Church who, though not a delegate, is present at a meeting of the judicatory. Ministers from other denominations who are in attendance shall be recognized and welcomed by the President, but shall not be admitted to seats as advisory members.
ARTICLE 60. A member of a judicatory shall not be allowed to enter a protest against its acts; but any member dissenting shall have the right to call for the yeas and nays, in which case the vote and name of every member voting on the question shall be entered on the minutes, or any member may have his affirmative or negative vote recorded in the minutes.