Church Order

Article 13

Ministers who by reason of age, sickness, or otherwise are rendered incapable of performing the duties of their office shall nevertheless retain the honor and title of a minister, and the churches which they have served shall provide honorably for them in their need (likewise for the orphans and widows of ministers) out of the common fund of the churches, according to the general ecclesiastical ordinances in this matter.

(Revision of Article 13: Synod of 1995, Art. 62, Suppl. 21.) (Cf. Constitution of the Emeritus Committee, pp. 54-57.)

Decisions pertaining to Article 13

  1. In the case of ministers who through no fault of their own have been deprived of a congregation, it is both possible and mandatory that, pending the reception of a call to another congregation, such ministers be temporarily declared emeriti.
    Procedure:
    1. The minister who through no fault of his own has been left without a fixed charge may apply to a consistory of the classis in which he resides for emeritation, and such consistory may declare him emeritus.
    2. This shall not be done, however, without the approbation of the classis and of the deputies of the synod.
    Responsibility for Support:
    1. Since the minister becomes emeritus not of his own congregation but of a congregation he has not served, the obligation to support him and to provide honorably for him “in [his] need” shall not rest upon the local congregation but upon the churches in common, and he is to be supported out of the common Emeritus Fund of the churches.
    2. In such cases, if the abandoning church has been subsidized from the Needy Churches Fund, the amount of such subsidy shall be transferred to the Emeritus Fund, pending the next meeting of synod.
  2. If an emeritus minister transfers his membership to another congregation in the denomination, his ministerial credentials are also to be transferred to that congregation. This transfer is to be made in the following manner: The consistory of the church which the emeritus minister served last formally requests the consistory of the church which the emeritus minister wishes to join to exercise supervision over him.

(Adopted by Synod of 1956, Art. 177, Suppl. XVIII; Synod of 1995, Art. 62, Suppl. XXI.)

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