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:
- Each classis shall appoint from her midst at least two ministers and their alternates.
- The visitors shall give the congregations at least eight days’ notice of the day and hour of their proposed visit.
- 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.
- The consistory shall see to it that the record books are at hand for the inspection by the visitors.
- 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.
- 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.)