I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
17-a

Provisions regulating release from ministerial service in a congregation

a. If a classis decides a released minister needs evaluation and assistance before accepting another call, it shall specify at the time of release what is required before the minister is declared eligible for call.
1) The classis shall appoint an oversight committee of no fewer than three persons to plan and monitor an evaluation of readiness for the ministry that focuses on professional competence and personal/ emotional status. An evaluator or evaluators mutually agreed upon by the classis and the oversight committee shall conduct the evaluation. (Pastor-Church Relations is able to recommend appropriate evaluators.) Classis shall determine who is responsible for any costs of evaluation or stipulated personal counseling.
a) The committee, composed of both laity and clergy, may include one council member of the congregation involved in the separation.
b) The committee, in consultation with the interim committee of classis, shall develop specific expectations for the minister and shall monitor progress toward established goals. The issues addressed shall be determined by concerns raised by the council and the classis in collaboration with the minister.
c) The committee shall present a progress report at each regularly scheduled classis meeting.
d) After it has received the report of the evaluator(s), the committee shall make a recommendation to classis regarding the minister’s eligibility for call.
2) The minister shall participate in the evaluation and assistance process as follows:
a) The minister shall consent to the release of a detailed report, with recommendations, from the evaluator(s) to the oversight committee.
b) In addition to the evaluation stipulated above, the minister shall engage in any personal counseling required by classis with a therapist mutually agreed upon by the minister and the oversight committee.
3) Based upon the recommendation of its oversight committee, the classis shall make the final decision concerning the minister’s readiness to be declared eligible for call.
4) If the classis does not declare the minister eligible for call, it shall, with the concurrence of the synodical deputies, release the minister from of ce.
5) With the approval of classis, a minister who has been released from service in a congregation may transfer his/her membership and ministerial credentials to a neighboring council within the classis during the evaluation process. If classis declares the minister eligible for call, the council that holds the minister’s credentials shall publicize the minister’s availability.
6) With the approval of classis, a minister who has been released from service in a congregation may transfer his/ her membership and ministerial credentials to a council in another classis after the classis in which the separation occurred declares the minister eligible for call. The council that holds the minister’s credentials shall publicize the minister’s availability.
b. If a classis decides a congregation that has been separated from its minister needs a time of evaluation and assistance before extending another call, it shall specify at the time of separation what is required before the congregation calls another minister.
1) The classis shall appoint an oversight committee composed of the council’s classical counselor and at least two other persons to plan and monitor the evaluation process.
2) In conjunction with the church council, the committee shall secure interim pastoral leadership, preferably a specialized interim pastor, and set goals. (Pastor-Church Relations is able to assist with securing pastoral leadership.)
3) The committee shall present a progress report at each regularly scheduled classis meeting.
4) Based upon the recommendation of its oversight committee, the classis shall make the  nal decision concerning the congregation’s readiness to extend a call.

(Acts of Synod 2003, pp. 623-24)

Note: Councils and classes should take note of the regulations regarding “release from ministerial service” adopted by Synod 1998 (see Acts of Synod 1998, pp. 392-96) and as amended by Synod 2010 (see Acts of Synod 2010, pp. 915-16).