By Delores McDonald
For the second time in the past three years, the business of Synod came to a sudden halt due to the lack of a quorum. Although Moderator Suits made a plea to delegates to return after the dinner break, the quorum call came up six elders and 15 ministers short. One ARP minister said he believes this could be caused by the extra business added, due to the many ad hoc committees that have been formed; also, too much talking at the beginning of reports, adding – “If it’s in the written report, we don’t need it read to us again; and finally, ministers and elders need to be committed to stay until the end of Synod.
Although there was much business not covered before the quorum call, the following memorials were approved by Synod:
Memorial No. 2 (First Presbytery) Certification of Amendments
That the certification of the vote of the Presbyters shall be obtained by the simple majority vote of the Synod affirming the vote of the Presbyteries. Subsequent to the report of the principle clerk that an amendment to the Confession of Faith and Catechisms (FOG XV.A.1), an amendment to the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory of Public Worship (FOG XV.A.2), or the Rules of Order (IX) has received the required majority votes of the Presbyters, the Moderator shall put the question: “Shall the vote of the Presbyteries in the amendment be certified?” The vote shall be taken in accordance with Rules of Order VI.C.1. Before the vote is taken, it is permissible that members of the Synod may offer minor verbal changes to the amendment in accordance with Form of Government XV.C.5).
Memorial No. 3 (First Presbytery) Former Ruling Elder Moderators
That General Synod send the following amendment to Form of Government Chapter XIII.C.1. to the Presbyteries for approval: “Those entitled to sit as members of this court also shall include at least one ruling elder from each congregation, the vice-moderator, if he should be a ruling elder, and the retiring moderator, should he be a ruling elder, and all ruling elders who are former moderators of the Synod who are present and who are in good standing as members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.” And, that this amendment be incorporated into the new proposed Form of Government in the appropriate chapter pertaining to the General Synod.
Memorial No. 4 (First Presbytery) Terms of Synod Officers
That Synod: I. Amend the Manual of Authorities and Duties where required to include the following provision for each of Synod’s nine elected officers: “No officer of the court shall be elected to serve more than two consecutive terms in any single office.” II. Amend the Manual of Authorities and Duties where required to include the following provision for the elected officers of each of Synod’s boards and agencies: “No officer of the board/committee shall be elected to serve more than two consecutive terms in any single office.” III. (For the purposes of these provisions), all current or newly-elected officers shall consider the term beginning or including July 1, 2012, as their first term.
Memorial No. 2 (Northeast Presbytery) Redrawn Boundaries
That the boundaries of Northeast Presbytery be redrawn so that all counties in Virginia (but currently within the boundary of Northeast Presbytery) – with the exception of Fairfax County and the independent city of Alexandria – be removed to Virginia Presbytery) AND Memorial Number 1 from Virginia Presbytery (that the Presbytery boundaries of Northeast Presbytery and Virginia Presbytery be redrawn so that all counties in Virginia that are currently within the bounds of Northeast Presbytery, with the exception of Fairfax County and the independent city of Alexandria, be removed to Virginia Presbytery, and the boundaries of Virginia Presbytery shall be described as: “The Boundaries of Virginia Presbytery include the State of Virginia, except for the County of Fairfax the independent city of Alexandria, and the independent city of Falls Church,” and the State of West Virginia except for the “counties north of the southern boundaries of Preston, Taylor, Harrison, Doddridge, Ritchie, and Wood Counties”; and the boundaries of Northeast Presbytery shall be described as: “Constituted January 1, 1987, it was formed by the division of Virginia Presbytery. It now includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, DC; and in Virginia the County of Fairfax and the independent city of Alexandria and the independent city of Falls Church, and in West Virginia those counties north of the southern boundaries of Preston, Taylor, Harrison, Doddridge, Ritchie and Wood counties.
That the county of Arlington be added to the list of Virginia counties excluded from the description of Virginia Presbytery and included in the description of Northeast Presbytery. The amended sections would read: “…with the exception of Fairfax and Arlington counties and the independent city of Alexandria…” and “…and in Virginia the Counties of Fairfax, Arlington, and the independent city of Alexandria…”