Article 48 — Deputies of major assemblies
Each synod shall appoint deputies who are to assist the classes in all matters provided for in the Church Order. A classis may request these deputies to assist in cases of special difficulties. Each synod shall also appoint deputies to carry out its own decisions. Different deputies shall be appointed as much as possible for separate matters. All deputies shall keep proper record of their work and submit a written report.
Major assemblies are held at regular intervals. Unlike the consistory they are not of a permanent character, but between two classes or two synods certain matters must often be dealt with. For this reason both ecclesiastical assemblies appoint a number of deputies, who are instructed to execute certain matters ordained by these assemblies.
Our synods have appointed deputies for various reasons, e.g. for correspondence with foreign sister-churches, and deputies for the assistance of the classes in those cases mentioned in various articles: Article 5 (peremptory examinations), Article 14 (dismissal of a minister), Article 15 (relief from office), and Article 76 (deposition of a minister).
The same deputies shall, upon the request of a classis, assist the classes in cases of special difficulties..
In order to prevent an accumulation of appointments and duties the Church Order rules that for separate matters, as often as possible, different groups of deputies shall be appointed.
These deputies must all keep an accurate record of their activities – which, amongst others, means that they make minutes of their meetings – and submit a written report to the next major assembly. If required, they can be called to the latter to justify their actions.
This final sentence of Article 48 shows that deputies are not rulers of the churches, but their servants.