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Article 50

The general synod shall ordinarily meet annually. To this synod an equal number of elders and ministers out of every classis shall be delegated as determined by synod. If it becomes necessary in the opinion of at least two classes to call a special meeting of synod, the local church designated for this purpose shall determine time and place.

(Revision of Article 50: Synod of 2000, Art. 28, H.) (Cf. Rules for Synodical Procedure, p. 79.)

Article 49

Each synod shall delegate some to execute everything ordained by synod, both as to what pertains to the government and to the respective classes resorting under it, and likewise to supervise together or in smaller number all examinations of future ministers. And, moreover, in all other eventual difficulties they shall extend help to the classes in order that proper unity, order, and soundness of doctrine may be maintained and established. Also they shall keep proper record of all their actions to report thereof to synod, and, if it be demanded, give reasons. They shall also not be discharged from their service before and until synod itself discharges them.

Article 48

(Each synod shall be at liberty to solicit and hold correspondence with its neighboring synod or synods in such manner as they shall judge most conducive to general edification.)*

*Articles 47 and 48 are retained in the body of the Church Order because they belonged to the original Church Order of Dordrecht.  They are, however, put in parentheses because the Protestant Reformed Churches do not have particular synods.  (Synod of 2000, Art. 28, M.)

Article 47

(Every year [or if need be oftener] four or five or more neighboring classes shall meet as a particular synod, to which each classis shall delegate two ministers and two elders. At the close of both the particular and the general synod, some church shall be empowered to determine, with advice of classis, the time and place of the next synod.)*

*Articles 47 and 48 are retained in the body of the Church Order because they belonged to the original Church Order of Dordrecht.  They are, however, put in parentheses because the Protestant Reformed Churches do not have particular synods.  (Synod of 2000, Art. 28, M.)

Article 46

Instructions concerning matters to be considered in major assemblies shall not be written until the decisions of previous synods touching these matters have been read, in order that what was once decided be not again proposed, unless a revision be deemed necessary.

Article 45

It shall be the duty of the classis and the general synod to furnish the following meeting with the minutes of the preceding.

(Revision of Article 45: Synod of 2000, Art. 31.)

Article 44

The classis shall authorize at least two of her oldest, most experienced, and most competent ministers to visit all the churches once a year and to take heed whether the minister and the consistory faithfully perform the duties of their office, adhere to sound doctrine, observe in all things the adopted order, and properly promote as much as lies in them, through word and deed, the upbuilding of the congregation, in particular of the youth, to the end that they may in time fraternally admonish those who have in anything been negligent, and may by their advice and assistance help direct all things unto the peace, upbuilding, and greatest profit of the churches. And each classis may continue these visitors in service as long as it sees fit, except where the visitors themselves request to be released for reasons of which the classis shall judge.

Decisions pertaining to Article 44

Church visitation, which is required to be done in the congregations, requires for its efficient prosecution the following:

  1. Each classis shall appoint from her midst at least two ministers and their alternates.
  2. The visitors shall give the congregations at least eight days’ notice of the day and hour of their proposed visit.
  3. The consistory shall see to it that all the consistory members are present at the meeting which is appointed for church visitation. Any member failing to be present shall be required to give the meeting good reason for his absence. If one-half of the members are absent, the visitation cannot be carried out.
  4. The consistory shall see to it that the record books are at hand for the inspection by the visitors.
  5. Of the visitors, one shall function as chairman and the other as secretary. They shall record their findings and actions in a book which can be consulted at the next visitation, and which can be kept in the classical archives.
  6. After completing the visitation of all the congregations, the visitors shall with requisite discretion compose a report of their activities to be delivered at the next following classis.

(Adopted by Classis of June 6, 7, 1934; Synod of 1944, Arts. 66, 67.) (Cf. Questions for Church Visitation, pp. 133-136.)

Article 43

At the close of the classical and other major assemblies, censure shall be exercised over those who in the meeting have done something worthy of punish­ment, or who have scorned the admonition of the minor assemblies.

Article 42

Where in a church there are more ministers than one, also those not delegated according to the foregoing article shall have the right to attend classis with advisory vote.

Article 41

The classical meetings shall consist of neighboring churches that respectively delegate, with proper credentials, a minister and an elder to meet at such time and place as was determined by the previous classical meeting. Such meetings shall be held at least once in three months, unless great distances render this inadvisable. In these meetings the ministers shall preside in rotation, or one shall be chosen to preside; however, the same minister shall not be chosen twice in succession.

Furthermore, the president shall, among other things, put the following questions to the delegates of each church:

  1. Are the consistory meetings held in your church?
  2. Is church discipline exercised?
  3. Are the poor and the Christian schools cared for?
  4. Do you need the judgment and help of the classis for the proper government of your church?

And finally, at the second to the last meeting and, if necessary, at the last meeting before the synod, delegates shall be chosen to attend said synod.

(Revision of Article 41: Synod of 2002, Art. 28, F.)

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