Synod London 2010 formed a committee to study the issue and that committee brought its report to Synod Nyack 2012. The advisory committee made several editorial changes and additions to the suggested Church Order changes of that report. Extended discussion ensued.
In the past, there have been problems with knowing where the credentials of a retiring minister should be held, particularly since ministers often move after they retire. The report sought to bring guidance and conformity to the holding of a retired minister’s credentials.
In explaining some additional language, advisory committee chairman Joel Vander Kooi said, “Where real and meaningful ministry is taking place, that’s where real and meaningful oversight ought to take place.”
Some debate about a particular phrase led to a motion to recommit, but that motion failed after it was pointed out that the phrase in question was actually part of the existing Church Order.
Since the recommendation involves changes to the Church Order, a two-thirds majority was required. A sufficient number of delegates voted in favor of the motion. The revised Church Order article now goes to the churches for the necessary two-thirds majority approval before the Church Order is updated.
Additionally, Synod formed a new Ad Hoc study committee with several directives in its very specific mandate “to give advice” concerning compensation and retirement concerns of ministers and “to determine” if churches presently address these matters without undue hardship on either the congregations or ministers.
This committee’s report is due by the deadline for the next synodical agenda and the appointed committee will serve until the next synod.