July 9, 2023
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
As most of you are probably aware, the amended Book of Order took effect July 9. There are several new provisions that I want to bring to your attention:
- C-2.0804 has been amended to require terms of call to include at least 12 weeks paid family medical leave defined as
a. Leave to accommodate the birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child
b. To provide care to an ill or disabled family member, and
c. To heal following a loss or tragic event
While the literal reading applies to installed positions only, the COM is reviewing the presbytery Policy on Pastoral Compensation in light of this new requirement and the increasing number of temporary/contractual pastoral positions in the presbytery. Changes to the policy must be approved by the presbytery.
- G-1.0501 Now requires congregations to use Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, unless they designate another parliamentary authority in their bylaws. The section authorizes electronic meetings, but states congregations should adopt rules to govern them.
- G-3.0106 requires all councils (sessions are councils) to adopt harassment policies and anti-racism policies in addition to the already mandated sexual misconduct and child protection policies. Also, all councils must require boundary training with recertification every 36 months.
Our dismantling racism team is at work to expand our training policy to include anti-racism policies to govern the life of the presbytery and will share insights on how sessions may create such policies. This fall, the COM sexual misconduct team will also communicate information on resources that congregations may use for the required boundary training.
All these changes were approved by the Presbytery of Baltimore and will not be a surprise. Nevertheless, implementation can sometimes be challenging. If you have questions or comments please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I am eager to work with you in any way as we all live into these new requirements designed to make our Church safer and more just for all.
Peace and Blessings,
Mary Gaut, Stated Clerk