Shared in the September 22, 2014 Heartland Connection:

     Church Order and Listening Division Informational Sessions                                       By Ruling Elder Fran Haney, Butler Presbyterian Church

Another task of the Church Order and Listening Division (COAL) is to offer informational sessions for clarification about the six items plus the Belhar Confession sent from the 221st General Assembly (GA) requiring action by the Presbytery.  The vote to accept or decline changes in the Book of Order and/or Book of Confession will be taken at the November 22nd Presbytery meeting at Kaw Prairie Community.

Envelopes with The Book of Order and the Directory of Worship summaries of proposed changes and related information will be handed out at the September 30, 2014 Stated Meeting at Heartland Center.

The information sessions will be offered in four locations in the Presbytery in late October and early November. [See the Heartland Connection for specific dates and times.] They will be two hours in length, at various times and on different days of the week. They are intended to be for information and clarification, not forums for debate. There will be a GA Commissioner at each session available for the question and answer time.  The items currently under consideration are as follows:

The Book of Confessions Amendment:  (Requires two-thirds of the presbyteries to approve)                                                                                                                                                    A proposal to amend The Book of Confessions with the addition of the Confession of Belhar.

Proposed Book of Order Amendments: (Requires a simple majority vote from presbyteries)                                                                                                                                         Item 06-05      G-2.0509      Renunciation of Jurisdiction                                                           Item 06-06      G-3.0301      Minimum of Operating Sessions and Teaching Elders in                                                                Presbytery                                                                                       Item 06-12      G-2.0607  G-2.0610     Preparation for Ministry and  Process                         Item 07-02 (2)  G-5.0102    Interreligious Stance                                                                        Item 08-14      G-3.0106      PC(USA) to Adopt a Child/Youth Protection Policy                 Item 10-02    W-4.9000      Marriage

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.          

Shared in the September 15, 2014 Heartland Connection:

                                  What’s So Important About Session Minutes?                                                       By Ruling Elder Carol Wagner, Northminster Presbyterian Church

Why do we even keep Session minutes?  Just because the Book of Order, G-3:0204, says so? Or just because the Heartland Presbytery Clerk of Session Handbook, page 22, says so?

How about because it is a wonderful history of your church from the first gathering to last months’ Session meeting!

COAL (Church Order and Listening Division) is responsible for reading each church’s Session Minutes annually, as well as their Register and Rolls.  So far this year we only have reviewed Minutes and Registers from 55 of the 101 churches in Heartland Presbytery. There is a long check list for each one, but once you start following it, it makes the job of Clerk of Session much easier.  How about devising a calendar for each month with specific business that Session needs to address, such as budget and Communion schedule and then providing each Teaching Elder with a copy?

Last year, COAL asked for highlights and challenges from each church.  We got a great response.  We plan to do that about every 2 years.  We are also investigating a pilot program where we travel to several churches a year and read through the minutes.

Another idea is for each Session to present an annual report to the congregation, given out with the budget and pastor’s terms of call at the annual congregational meeting.  It is a summary of last year’s congregational highlights, like Presbyterian Women, men and youth groups and each Session team. What a great gift for the generations to come.

If you are one of the churches that have not had your 2013 minutes and registers reviewed, consider bringing them to the September 30 Heartland Presbytery meeting for a special session during the lunch break. If you plan to do so please contact COAL Moderator Fran Haney at so the committee will be ready for you.

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.  

Shared in the September 8, 2014 Heartland Connection:

                                Church Order and Listening Division                                                                 By Ruling Elder Fran Haney, Butler Presbyterian Church

The Church Order and Listening Division (COAL) has the responsibility of supporting the churches of Heartland Presbytery and fostering interaction between the Presbytery and its churches by:

  • examining the session records (minutes and registers) of each church;
  • preparing a Manual of Operations for the Presbytery and overseeing updates to the Manual;
  • training and advising session clerks about the proper form for items such as minutes, manuals of operation and overtures;
  • examining proposed overtures from sessions and divisions and presenting them to Presbytery for action before sending them to General Assembly;
  • informing member churches of Presbytery about overtures approved by General Assembly and then facilitating their consideration at Presbytery meetings.

If you are interested in church polity, strengthening the bonds between the Presbytery and our member churches, and like to do things “decently and in order,” this committee is for you!  Consider putting your talent to use in this division of Heartland Presbytery.

Link to a Bulletin Insert of this article to share with your congregation.