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BY LAWS -- CLASSIS OF NEW BRUNSWICK

May 2007

1. The Classis of New Brunswick is an assembly and judicatory defined by and subject to the
Constitution of the Reformed Church in America, especially The Government, Part II, of which
these bylaws are an application. (References to 'The Book of Church Order' are in parentheses).
The classis is a permanent, continuing body which functions between stated sessions through
committees. The classis is incorporated according to the laws of the State of New Jersey.

2. Classis consists of all its enrolled ministers and all the elders delegated to it by the churches
within the bounds that have been established by the regional synod. Elders are received upon
notice to the Clerk by the consistory or upon presentation of credentials.

3. Congregations without an installed pastor shall delegate one additional elder to classis.

4. Stated sessions of the classis are held three times a year; on the last Saturday of January, the
last Wednesday of May and the last Wednesday of September. The January session shall be held
during the day and the May and September sessions shall be held in the evening.

5. The Stated Clerk shall give 10 days notice of stated meetings, including the time, place, and
agenda of the meeting, together with all committee reports and recommendations to be
discussed.

6. The quorum for a stated session of classis is a majority of the elder delegates and a majority of
those ministers who are actively serving as ministers either under the jurisdiction of or with the
approval of the
classis.

7. At stated sessions the President establishes the bounds of the house, within which only
members may sit and have the right to the floor. The president seats students under care, visiting
Reformed Church ministers and elders, and other guests as corresponding members.
Corresponding members may address the classis though they may not vote.

8. Voting rights shall be limited to elder delegates and those enrolled ministers who are actively
serving as ministers either under the jurisdiction of or with the approval of the classis.

9. The President calls special sessions as needed, and must call them upon the written request of
two ministers and two elder delegates. The Clerk gives 10 days notice of the time, place, and
specific reason(s) for the special session; only stated business may be transacted. The quorum is
three minister and three elders. Special sessions will open and close with prayer.

10. It is the duty of all members to attend the stated sessions and the special sessions, unless an
excuse is presented to the Clerk and approved by classis.

11. It is the duty of all members, unless excused by the classis, to accept and fulfill all

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delegated responsibilities, including the answering of the constitutional 'inquiries' (BCO I.II.7.1).
It is the duty of all ministers designated as 'specialized' or 'without charge' to report annually to
the classis or its designated committee.

12. Stated sessions are held in each of the several churches in rotation, with consideration for
parking and accessibility, according to the alphabetical list of churches held by the Clerk. The
President chooses the
location of special sessions. The host pastor will lead opening worship at each stated session
unless other arrangements are required. The President will appoint a Parliamentarian.

13. Specific agenda items at the stated sessions shall include but not be limited to the following:
January: Report on the status of 'Consistorial Reports'
Report on churches with clergy under contract
Vote on 'Proposed Amendments to BCO'
Election of President and Vice President
Election of Clerk and Treasurer (as required)
Election of an elder at large to the Administrative Council
Election of delegates to RSMA

May: Celebration of the Lord's Supper during opening worship


Annual report on our Theological Students
Licensure & Ordination examinations (special or regular session)

September: Presentation of the Annual Budget


Presentation of the Minister's Salary Guide
Report on Specialized and Without Charge clergy
Election of General Synod delegates

OFFICERS
14. The officers of the classis are President, Vice President, Stated Clerk and Treasurer.

15. The President is elected at the January meeting with the current Vice President being the sole
nominee.

16. The Vice President is elected at the January meeting. A nominating ballot shall be taken and
each individual receiving a vote shall be considered in nomination. The classis shall then proceed
to an electing ballot with a majority of the total votes cast necessary for election. If there is no
majority on the first electing ballot, the voting shall be confined to the two persons receiving the
greatest number of votes.

17. The Vice President automatically succeeds a President who can no longer fulfill the office.
The Vice President shall complete the balance of the unexpired term and then continue to serve
the full term for which he/she was elected. A new Vice President shall be elected at the next
stated session of classis following the procedures outlined above.

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18. At least one of the following offices must be held by an elder: President, Vice President, or
Immediate Past President.

19. The Stated Clerk serves a five year term and is elected at the January meeting of years ending
in '0' or '5". The Nominations Committee shall present a nominee for election. Nominations may
also come from the floor and those so nominated must be present at the January meeting and
willing to have their names
placed in nomination.

20. The Treasurer serves a five year term and is elected at the January meeting of years ending in
'0' or '5'. The Nominations Committee shall present a nominee for election. Nominations may
also come from the floor and those so nominated must be present at the January meeting and
willing to have their names placed in nomination.

21. Compensation for the clerk and the treasurer is established at the September meeting as part
of the budget recommendation by the Administrative Council.

PRESIDENT
22. The President presides at all stated and special sessions, states and explains the business to be
transacted, enforces the rules of order, and, in general, maintains the decorum and dignity
belonging to church of Jesus Christ. The President conducts the classis according to the
Constitution of the RCA,
these bylaws, and where not in conflict, Robert's Rules of Order.

23. The out going President shall give a 'State of Religion' report at the January session.

VICE PRESIDENT
24. The Vice President assumes the duties of President in the absence of or at the request of the
President.

STATED CLERK
25. The Clerk, in accordance with the BCO, keeps a faithful record of all the proceedings of the
body, furnishes official notices in writing to all who are directly affected by judicial decisions of
the classis, and forwards to the denominational archives copies of the minutes of the classis and
subsidiary corporations, as well as all papers pertaining to disbanded churches.

26. The Clerk handles all the correspondence of the classis, keeps a logbook thereof, receives all
communications and directs them to the appropriate officer or committee. The Clerk distributes
to each member the reports of the committees, when requested. The Clerk is a member of the
Administrative Council.

27. The Clerk distributes and receives the 'Annual Consisistorial Reports', the constitutional
inquiries, elders' credentials, and other report forms that are deemed to assist the witness and
work of the classis.

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28. The Clerk records the minutes of every session in a book and circulates copies of the minutes
within three (3) weeks of each session.

29. The Clerk receives the credentials of elders and furnishes credentials for the classis delegates
to other bodies.

30. At each stated session the Clerk lays on the table copies of the minutes of the classis for the
past two years, of the minutes of the most recent general and regional synods, of the bylaws of
the classis, of the Constitution of the Reformed Church (Book of Church Order, Liturgy,
Confessions) and of Robert's Rules of Order.

31. The Clerk notes two successive unexcused absences from stated sessions by an elder or
minister and notifies the appropriate committee.

32. The Clerk maintains a list of the ministers and of the member churches for the purposes of
rotation and delegate election. The list of the Ministers is based upon the date of the signing of
the 'Declaration for Ministers.' The list of the member churches is alphabetical by town or city.

TREASURER
33. The Treasurer is responsible for the day to day management of the funds and financial
accounts of the classis, secures necessary insurance coverage, receives assessments and all other
classis income, makes all classis disbursements, makes available a current written financial
report at each stated session, provides an audited account of the church funds on an annual basis,
and is a member of the Administrative Council.

COMMITTEES
34. The classis has standing committees and special committees. Committee members are
normally members of the classis, but there may be members drawn from the whole membership
of the church. Inasmuch as possible, membership of the classis committees should be evenly
balanced between ministers and elders. Committees keep minutes, which are available to the
classis. A standing committee chooses its secretary and its representative to the Administrative
Council. Normally, the chairperson shall serve as the standing committee's representative to the
Administrative Council though the members may choose an alternate representative.

35. The standing committees are: Administrative Council, Congregational Care, Candidate Care,
Pastoral Care, Overtures & Judicial Business, New Ministries, Justice & Mercy, and
Nominations.

36. Chairpersons of standing committees shall be limited to two (2) consecutive three (3) year
terms.

37. Standing Committees have power to act for classis in matters within their purview, which do
not require the expenditure of funds beyond those budgeted to the committee, and which do not
commit the classis to a theological, ecclesiological, or public policy position. Weighty matters
such as approval and dissolution of calls, matters of theological, ecclesiological or public policy,

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and unbudgeted expenditures are referred to the classis with recommendations and supporting
information.

38. Each committee, in order to recommend any action to the classis, provides a written report to
the Clerk for inclusion in the mailing prior to the next stated session. Any committee report
which does not meet this deadline is not to be considered at that session, except in cases of
emergency, as determined by the President, with the consent of two-thirds of the members
assembled.

39. Special committees are appointed by the President and are given specific tasks with time
limits for completion. Special committees shall report to the classis as required.

Administrative Council
40. The Administrative Council acts on behalf of the classis between sessions, coordinates the
work of the committees, serves as the classis' Board of Trustees, plans for all sessions of classis
and sets the agenda for stated and special sessions. The immediate Past President serves as
chairperson of the Administrative Council.

41. The Administrative Council normally consists of fifteen members: the immediate Past
President, the four officers of the classis, one member from each from the following committees:
Congregational Care, Candidate Care, Pastoral Care, Overtures & Judicial Business, New
Ministries, Justice & Mercy, Nominations, two elders at large and the current classis minister.
One elder at large will be elected every January to a two year term.

42. The Administrative Council, with the guidance of the Treasurer, oversees the assets and
investments of the classis and prepares an annual budget which is recommended for approval at
the September stated session of classis.

43. The Administrative Council presents the current 'Minister's Salary and Benefits Guide' at the
September stated session of classis.

44. The Clerk will keep minutes of the Administrative Council and report the committee's
activity to classis at each stated session.

Congregational Care
45. The Congregational Care Committee oversees the member churches to fulfill The
Government (BCO, 1.I.2 and 1.II.7)

46. The Congregational Care Committee appoints supervisors for consistories without installed
ministers. It may appoint a supervisory team. Pastors are expected to serve when asked.

47. The Congregational Care Committee shall send a trained minister (or team) to superintend
the request for dissolution of a pastoral relationship. An exit interview with the departing pastor
shall be conducted.

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48. The Congregational Care Committee shall assist our member churches with the Self Study
Process using the specific guidelines developed by classis.

49. The Congregational Care Committee reviews each call to ensure its compliance with the
current 'Minister's Salary and Benefits Guidelines' Calls shall be sent to the classis or
Administrative Council for approval. No service of installation may be scheduled until after a
call has been approved.

50. The Congregational Care Committee will not consider a call to a licensed candidate
or minister from other denomination until such candidate has already met all the requirements of
the BCO (1.II.11) under the direction of the Pastoral Care Committee.

51. A church may not enter into a contract with a minister or student except by prior approval of
the classis. The Congregational Care Committee reviews each contract to ensure its compliance
with the current 'Minister's Salary and Benefits Guidelines' Contracts may be approved by the
Committee, although it
is free to defer the decision to the classis and must do so if the candidate does not retain
membership in the RCA or in a 'Formula of Agreement' church. Such contracts must be reviewed
annually. No service of commissioning may be scheduled until after the contract has been
approved.

52. A proposed call to a candidate holding membership in a 'Formula of Agreement' church shall
be forwarded to the Classis or Administrative Council with recommendation. 'Formula of
Agreement' ministers may be installed and enrolled as temporary members of classis with the
right to vote. A proposed
contract to a candidate holding membership in a 'Formula of Agreement' church may be
approved by the Committee. If the Committee does not wish to give the final approval to a
contract with a 'Formula of Agreement' candidate, it shall forward the matter to classis with a
recommendation. If approved, a minister or student under contract shall make an annual report to
the Committee.

53. A consistory contemplating the sale of a regulated property or requesting approval for a
financial loan must make application through the Congregational Care Committee, following the
guidelines established by the BCO. Recommendations to approve or deny the request shall be
forwarded to the classis at its next
stated session, or to the Administrative Council if timing is a crucial factor and the Committee is
of one mind.

54. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Candidate Care Committee


55. The Candidate Care Committee oversees the care, licensure, certification and ordination of,
and dispensations for students in theology (BCO 1.II.8 & 9 & 10) and conducts all their
examinations in committee. Senior examinations for licensure and ordination shall be
administered at a regular

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session of classis or at a special session of classis called for this purpose.

56. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Pastoral Care Committee


57. The Pastoral Care Committee oversees the care of ordained ministers (BCO 1.II.12), their
families, their relations with their consistories, and their continuing education.

58. The Pastoral Care Committee oversees ministers serving in ministries either under the
jurisdiction of or with the approval of the classis, ministers emeritus, retired, without charge, or
under contract.

59. Ministers in specialized ministries and ministers without charge shall annually update the
Committee on their particular form of ministry or status. Ministers 'without charge' will be
visited by the Committee in order to determine whether that person should continue in ordained
ministry.

60. The Pastoral Care Committee oversees the reception of Ministers and Licensed Candidates
from other denominations (BCO 1.II.11) including those with membership in 'Formula of
Agreement' churches. The whole process of examination and approval for ministers must be
completed before any church may negotiate with such person either a call or contract.
(Note: A document entitled 'The Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers' provides helpful
guidelines on the unique circumstances of ministers in 'Formula of Agreement' churches).

61. The Pastoral Care Committee shall receive applications from ministers and students seeking
ministry opportunities within the classis but who are not requesting membership in the RCA.
Candidates shall present satisfactory credentials to the Committee, shall be interviewed by the
Committee, and may be subject to such examinations before the classis as the Committee deems
appropriate. Permission to serve may only be granted by the classis, and once approved, the
terms of the contract shall be forwarded to the Congregational Care Committee.

62. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Overtures and Judicial Business


63. The Overtures and Judicial Business Committee handles all overtures to or from classis,
advises the classis on proposed amendments to the Constitution, advises the classes on all
judicial matters as mandated in the Government and Disciplinary Procedures.

64. The Overtures and Judicial Business Committee supervises the bylaws of the classis, drafts
appropriate amendments, and considers and edits any amendments which are referred to it.

65. Any complaint or appeal received by the Clerk is forwarded to the Overtures and Judicial
Business Committee, which decides whether the complaint or appeal is in order, and advises the
officers on the appropriate response.

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66. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

New Ministries
67. The New Ministries Committee encourages, supports and promotes new ministries within its
service area to reach unchurched persons, some of which will result in new congregations. These
new ministries will reflect the diversity of our classis.

68. The New Ministries Committee will oversee the reception of non-RCA congregations into
the classis.

69. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Justice and Mercy


70. The Justice and Mercy Committee actively promotes ministries of justice and mercy within
and between congregations.

71. The Justice and Mercy Committee actively encourages the classis as a whole to engage in
ministries of justice and mercy.

72. Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Nominations
73. The Nominations Committee shall be responsible for placing in nomination, at the
appropriate session of classis, those willing to serve as Vice President, Stated Clerk, Treasurer,
General Synod Delegates, and Regional Synod Delegates.

74. The selection of names for delegates to General Synod and the Regional Synod shall be
governed by guidelines and the rotation system approved by classis as noted below.

75. The immediate Past president shall serve as Chairperson of the Nominations Committee.
Inasmuch as possible, this committee shall be composed of an equal number of clergy and
laypersons.

Delegates to General Synod


76. Minister and Elder delegates to General Synod are elected at the September stated session of
classis.

77. Minister delegates to General Synod are chosen from the list of clergy actively serving under
the jurisdiction or with the approval of classis.

78. Minister delegates to General Synod are elected to a one year term.

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79. A minister must have attended at least one stated session (not counting the September
session) of the calendar year in which the election is held in order to be an eligible delegate to
next meeting of General Synod.

80. A minister delegate who refuses to accept election forfeits his/her turn and is placed at the
bottom of the eligibility list unless a written excuse is accepted by vote of classis.

81. The following selection process will be used to select minister delegates:

+When a new person signs the 'Declaration for Ministers' they automatically
go to the bottom of the list.

+When a person goes to General Synod a new date is put in for them and
they will go to the bottom of the list.

+When a person declines an invitation to be a delegate to General Synod


their name goes to the bottom of the list with a star (*) after their date
in the rotation to indicate when they were asked.

+When a person is ineligible due to not having attended at least one stated
session (not counting the September session) of the calendar year in which
the election is held, two stars (**) are placed after the date when they
would have gone to indicate they were ineligible.

82. Elder delegates to General Synod are chosen from the alphabetical list of churches as kept by
the clerk..

83. Elder delegates to General Synod are elected to a two year term.

84. A church may forward the name of any ordained Elder, whether currently serving classis,
consistory, or not.

85. A church that declines to forward the name of an Elder forfeits its turn and is placed at the
bottom of the eligibility list.

Delegates to Regional Synod


86. Minister and Elder delegates to the Regional Synod are elected at the January session of
classis.

87. Terms of service for Minister and Elder delegates to the Regional Synod are one (1) year in
length and begin the day of annual meeting of the Regional Synod and conclude on the day prior
to the following year's annual meeting of the Regional Synod.

88. The following selection process will be used to select minister delegates:

+Minister delegates shall be chosen from the list of those serving under the

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jurisdiction or with the approval of the classis.

+Minister delegates shall be selected in the date order by which the signed
the 'Declaration for Ministers.'

+A minister shall be ruled ineligible due to not having attended at least


one stated session in the calendar year prior to the meeting at which time
the election is held.

89. Elder delegates to Regional Synod will be chosen from the alphabetical list of churches as
kept by the clerk. The names of the primary elder delegates submitted by the member churches
will serve as elder delegates to the Regional Synod. Elders not able to attend may furnish the
name of an elder alternate to the clerk.

Particularia
90. With the advice and consultation of the President, the Clerk shall have the authority to fill
unexpected and unplanned vacancies in all Synod delegations.

91. Framers of motions must submit written copies of their motions upon the request of the clerk.

92. Consistories are considered delinquent if they fail to be represented at classis by an elder or
minister for two successive sessions without excuse, or if they fail to pay their assessments in a
timely manner, or if they fail to submit their consistorial reports. Delinquent consistories will be
contacted by a member of the Congregational Care Committee.

93. Ministers are considered delinquent who fail to attend two successive stated sessions without
an excused absence that has been approved by classis. Delinquent ministers will be contacted by
a member of the Supervision of Ministers Committee.

94. Any of these by laws not made obligatory by the Constitution of the Reformed Church in
America may be temporarily suspended by three-fourths majority of the members present that
has a quorum.

95. These by laws may be revised and amended in keeping with the Constitution. Proposed
amendments must be moved and submitted in writing at a stated session that has a quorum,
receive the approval of a simple majority; be referred to the Overtures and Judicial Business
Committee for review, editing and resubmission for second reading at the next stated session at
which there is a quorum, and receive approval by a two-thirds vote at that meeting.

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