The Two Synod Solution

Proposed Amendments to the Book of Order for Comment and Review

A Two Synod Constitutional Structure in the PCUSA
The Future of PCUSA Evangelicals
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2010 Overtures Addressing a Restructured PCUSA
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Proposed Amendments:
Auburn and Westminster Primary Synods 


Chapter XII

The Auburn and Westminster Primary Synods
and their Sub-Synods

G-12.0100       1.   General
G-120101           The PCUSA shall consist of a General Assembly   
Definition        and Two Primary Synods representing the two primary 
                     theological schools of thought in the denomination. 
                     The Two Primary Synods shall be:
                       i.  The Westminster Primary Synod, which represents
                           Presbyterians who are more Biblically orthodox 
                           in their theology, and 
                       ii. The Auburn Primary Synod which represents
                           Presbyterians who are more progressive
                           in their theology. 
                     The governing bodies serving and representing 
                     each of these two Primary Synods shall consist
                     of eight Sub-Synods and their Presbyteries
                     and congregations.  The eight Sub-Synods 
                     representing the Presbyterians in the
                     Westminster Primary Synod and the eight Sub-Synods
                     representing the Presbyterians in the Auburn Primary  
                     Synod shall have the same geographical
                     boundaries.  Thus, the Westminster Primary Synod  
                     and the Auburn Primary Synod shall each
                     have eight Sub-Synods with the same 
                     geographic boundaries, so as to maximize
                     cooperation between the governing bodies of the
                     two Primary Synods.  Below each Sub-Synod, 
                     which is aligned with their respective Primary Synod,
                     (either the Westminster or the Auburn Primary Synod)
                     will be their geographically based Presbyteries.  The
                     Presbyteries are made up of the congregations whose
                     sessions have voted to align themselves with 
                     either the Auburn Primary Synod or the Westminster
                     Primary Synod.  When a congregation votes to align
                     themselves with either the Westminster or the Auburn
                     Primary Synod, they will be enrolled in a Presbytery 
                     aligned with that Primary Synod (either the Auburn 
                     or the Westminster Primary Synod).   Thus,
                     the Presbytery of membership for each congregation, 
                     shall be the Presbytery aligned with the same
                     Primary Synod that the congregation has selected
                     to be aligned with, (either the Westminster 
                     or the Auburn Primary Synod).  The Presbytery,
                     in turn, shall be under the jurisdiction of their geographical
                     Sub-Synod aligned with their Primary Synod (either  
                     the Westminster or the Auburn Primary Synod),
                     which covers that geographic area.  In the same
                     manner, the Sub-Synod, shall be subject to their  
                     Primary Synod, (either the Westminster or 
                     the Auburn Primary Synod), that they are
                     aligned with. 

G-12.0102       Each Primary Synod (the Westminster and the  
Membership     Auburn Primary Synods) shall hold an 
                      annual general session, of their member
                      Sub-Synods and Presbyteries, to conduct
                      general business and to elect nine of the
                      eleven Primary Synod's General Council
                      Members as well as the Primary Synod's
                      Moderator and the Primary Synod's
                      Stated Clerk.  The Primary Synod's
                      General Council Members shall conduct the
                      day to day business of the Primary Synod,
                      set the policies for the Primary Synod,
                      and establish and delegate authority to
                      the various committees that will accomplish the
                      goals of the Primary Synod.  On the dates     
                      that each of the Primary Synods' convene 
                      their own Primary Synod General 
                      Session, the delegates shall
                      consist of commissioners that are of equal
                      numbers of elders and ministers from each
                      Presbytery that is aligned with that Primary 
                      Synod which is then convening their General Session
                      (either the Westminster or the Auburn
                      Primary Synod).  Each Presbytery 
                      shall elect 7 elders and 7 ministers,
                      who shall be called as commissioners
                      to their respective Primary Synod's General 
                      Session.  These Commissioners will be entitled  
                      to vote on matters brought before their 
                      specific Prmary Synod (Westminster
                      or Auburn), and be entitled to elect
                      their Primary Synod's (Westminster
                      or Auburn) General Council.  These
                      Commissioners' shall also be their Primary
                      Synod's elected Commissioners that are
                      sent to their Primary Synod's geographic
                      Sub-Synod, which represents their geographic

G-12.0103        The commissioners to each Primary  
Election of         Synod's General Session, shall be chosen    
each Primary     by their Presbyteries, and Sessions that      
Synod's            are aligned with that Primary Synod (either  
General            Westminster or Auburn), The Commissioners    
Council             shall elect nine of their Primary Synod's    
(Auburn and      General Council's voting members, one of        
Westminster)    those nine voting members shall be elected, 
                       by the Commissioners, as the Stated Clerk
                       of their Primary Synod's General Council,
                       and one of nine voting members shall
                       be elected, by the Commissioners, as the
                       Moderator of their Primary Synod's General
                       Council.  The current elected Stated Clerk
                       of the PCUSA General Assembly, and
                       the current elected Moderator of the PCUSA 
                       General Assembly shall be permanent voting
                       members on each of the Primary Synod's General 
                       Councils, (both the Westminster and the Auburn
                       Primary Synod), giving each Primary 
                       Synod, (the Westminster and
                       the Auburn Primary Synods), a
                       General Council of 11 voting

G.12-0104            The General Council of each of the two   
Responsibilities     Primary Synods (Westminster and Auburn)  
                           have the responsibility and the power
                           within their Primary Synod:

                           a.  to set priorities for the work of the church 
                           in keeping with the church's mission under Christ.
                           b.  to develop their overall objectives for mission  
                           and a comprehensive strategy to guide their  
                           churches at every level of its life
                           c.  to provide the essential programs and functions
                           that are appropriate for overall balance and fairness
                           within the mission of the church

                           d.  pursuant to these goals, each Primary 
                           Synod (Westminster and Auburn) shall establish
                           their own ordination standards, consistant with
                           the Biblically required duties, and responsibilities
                           of those ordained positions.  This must be  
                           consistant with caring for the Body of Christ 
                           and the propogation of the Good News, and 
                           consistent with Christ's call for caring
                           and seeking justice for the poor, the
                           outcast, and the dispossessed.   

                           e.  pursuant to these goals, each Primary 
                           Synod (Westminster and Auburn) shall 
                           determine the educational materials to  
                           be used by their member congregations,
                           to further the mission of the Church and
                           to propagate the Gospel.

                           f.  pursuant to these goals, each Primary
                           Synod (Auburn and Westminster), shall  
                           endorse and establish Statements of Faith, 
                           to be followed by their member congregations,
                           The Statements of Faith used by each
                           Primary Synod (Westminster and Auburn)
                           shall be based upon the confessions
                           as found in the 2008 edition of the Book
                           of Confessions.

                           g. pursuant to these goals, each Primary
                           Synod shall provide administrative 
                           services to their member
                           Sub-Synods, Presbyteries, and Sessions,
                           to help fulfill their objectives and programs
                           h. pursuant to these goals, each Primary
                           Synod shall establish and maintain their 
                           own office for general administrative matters, 
                           (Westminster and Auburn)

                           i.  pursuant to these goals each Primary
                           Synod shall establish and superintend the  
                           agencies necessary for the work of their 
                           respective Primary Synod.
                           j.  Each Primary Synod's General
                           Council (Auburn and Westminster) shall
                           provide on a regular basis a review of the  
                           functional relationship between the 
                           respective Primary Synod, its member Sub-Synods, 
                           its member Presbyteries, and its member 

                           k. Each Primary Synod's General Council
                           shall establish a comprehensive budget,
                           a copy of which is to be submitted to the General 
                           Assembly of the PCUSA.

                           l.  pursuant to these goals each Primary
                           Synod (Westminster and Auburn) shall 
                           provide for communication within their 
                           own Primary Synod, 
                           m. pursuant to these goals each Primary
                           Synod shall oversee the work of their
                           respective Sub-Synods, aligned with
                           that Primary Synod (Auburn or
                           Westminster) and facilitate
                           their participation in the mission
                           of the church
                           n.  to review the work of their Sub-Synods and  
                           to take care that they observe the Constitution
                           of the Church and the standards and guidelines
                           of their Primary Synod, with which they are aligned.
                           o.  to approve the organization, division,
                           uniting or combining of Presbyteries
                           within each Primary Synod (Auburn
                           or Westminster), in accordance with
                           with the decisions by the Joint
                           Committee on Presbytery
                           Boundaries and Regional Presbyery

                           p.  pursuant to these goals each Primary
                           Synod shall be a voting member along
                           with the General Assembly, on the
                           Joint Committee on Presbytery
                           Boundaries and Regional 
                           Presbytery Boundaries.  Each
                           entity having one vote, (one vote
                           for the General Assembly, one vote
                           for the Auburn Primary Synod and
                           one vote for the Westminster
                           Primary Synod).   The General
                           Assembly shall appoint seven
                           Committee Members, and
                           each Primary Synod (Westminster
                           and Auburn). shall each, appoint 
                           seven Committee Members, to
                           represent their Primary
                           Synod on the Joint Committee
                           on Presbytery and Regional
                           Presbytery Boundaries.  The
                           Committee members from
                           each entity:
                             i. the General Assembly
                             ii.  the Auburn Primary Synod, and
                             iii. the Westminster Primary Synod,
                           shall cast one single vote per
                           entity, one vote for the
                           General Assembly, 
                           one vote for the Westminster
                           Primary Synod, and one vote
                           for the Auburn Primary Synod.
                           Each entity's vote shall be based
                           upon a majority vote
                           of each entity's seven committee
                           members.  Decisions on boundaries
                           must be decided by an affirmative
                           vote of all three entities, based upon
                           a majority vote by each of the
                           entities seven voting committee 

                           q. to serve in judicial matters in accordance with
                           the rules of Discipline, each Primary Synod
                           shall select their own Permanent
                           Judicial Commission, as the highest court 
                           governing and adjudicating cases for
                           their respective Primary Synod 
                           (Westminster or Auburn).

                              i. to warn or bear witness against error in doctrine
                                 or immorality in practice within their
                                 Primary Synod

                              ii. to decide controversies brought before it and
                                  to give advice and instruction in cases submitted
                                  to it, in conformity with the constitution.

                           r. each Primary Synod shall provide
                           authoritative interpretation of
                           the Book of Order which shall only be binding
                           on their respective Primary Synod (Auburn
                           or Westminster), or through a
                           decision by that Primary Synod's
                           Permanent Judicial Commission in a
                           remedial or disciplinary case.  The
                           Primary Synod's (Auburn or Westminster)
                           most recent interpretation of a provision
                           of the Book or Order shall be binding
                           with respect to that Primary Synod, their
                           Sub-Synods, Presbyteries, and congregations,
                           aligned with that Primary Synod.

                           s. to establish and maintain those ecumenical
                           relationships that will enlarge the life and mission
                           of each Primary Synod

                           t. to correspond with other churches

                           u. to engage and participate in churchwide
                           v. to propose for their respective Primary
                           Synod's determination, the mission direction,
                           goals, objectives, and priorities of their respective
                           Primary Synod (Westminster or Auburn);
                           w. to coordinate and review the work of  
                           each of the Primary Synod's agencies and  
                           bodies in light of their Primary Synod's 
                           mission directions, goals objectives, 
                           and priorities;
                           x. to prepare and submit a comprehensive budget
                           for their Primary Synod, to be submitted
                           for approval by their respective Primary
                           Synod's General Session.  (Required of
                           both the Westminster and Auburn Primary

                           y. to correspond with presbyteries, and Sub-Synods
                           within each respective Primary Synod
                           (Auburn or Westminster), and their councils
                           and committees in matters related to their  
                           respective Primary Synod's, Synod-wide planning,  
                           budget development and the coordination of the
                           work of the Primary Synod;

                           z. to act, in matters of administrative staff, with
                           Sub-Synod councils and agencies aligned with
                           their respective Primary Synod (Westminster
                           or Auburn)

                           aa. to consult with Sub-Synods with regard 
                           to equitable compensation, personnel
                           policies, and fair employment practices;

G-12.0105            A quorum of each Primary Synod's General Session
Quorum                shall be one hundred commissioners, fifty of whom
of a Primary          shall be elders and fifty of whom shall be ministers,
Synod's                representing Presbyteries of at least one half of 
General                their respective Primary Synod's, Sub-Synods 

G-12.0106            Each Primary Synod shall keep a full and
Records                accurate record of its proceedings

G-12.0107            All questions requiring an interpretation by the 
Constitutional        Primary Synod's General Council of the Book of   
Questions             Order arising from governing bodies of that  
submitted to         respective Primary Synod, or from individuals  
the Primary           shall be communicated in writing to the Stated 
Synod                  Clerk of that respective Primary Synod
                           no later than 120 days prior to the
                           convening of the next respective
                           Primary Synod's General Session, (Auburn or
                           Westminster).  The Stated Clerk of each respective  
                           Primary Synod (Westminster or Auburn) shall refer     
                           all such questions of interpretation to the Advisory   
                           Committee on the constitution, of that respective   
                           Primary Synod (Auburn or Westminster),
                           except those questions pertaining to   
                           matters pending before that Primary Synod's
                           Permanent  Judicial Commission.  The Advisory
                           Committee shall report its findings to their 
                           Primary Synod (Westminster or Auburn) along
                           with recommendations.  Constitutional proposals, 
                           OTHER THAN: Ordination Standards, Statements
                           of Faith, Marriage Requirements,
                           Educational Materials used,
                           evangelism methods used, the Primary
                           Synod governance structure and alignment 
                           of congregations, Presbyteries, and
                           Sub-Synods within their Primary Synod
                           (Westminster or Auburn), may be
                           submitted by the Primary Synod
                           (Auburn or Westminster), to 
                           the PCUSA General Assembly for

 At the Synod's       At least nine members of the Advisory Committee
 General Session    on the Constitution, appointed by the moderator 
                            of each of the Primary Synod's, shall be
                            present at the general session of their
                            Primary Synod.  All items introduced and 
                            new business that touch upon constitutional matters, 
                            including requesting rulings by the moderator on
                            questions of order involving constitutional matters,
                            shall be referred in writing to these persons.  They 
                            shall act as the full committee and shall consider  
                            each matter referred to them and make 
                            recommendations directly to the Primary Synod's
                            General Session through the Primary 
                            Synod's moderator.                           

G-12.0108              PCUSA Seminaries and Colleges wishing    
PCUSA                   to affiliate and partner with one of the  
Seminary               two Primary Synods  (Westminster or Auburn),  
and                        may do so, providing that they affiliate   
Colleges                with a PCUSA seminary or college that 
affiliated                has affiliated and partnered with the   
with one                other Primary Synod  (Westminster         
of the                    or Auburn).  Affiliation with a PCUSA           
Primary                  seminary or college of the other Primary         
Synods                  Synod consists of exchanging faculty for         
(Auburn or             one week of each year, such that the       
Westminster)         students are given an overview of the      
                              theological positions of the other
                              Primary Synod (Westminster or

G-12.0109              The General Council of each of the two 
Church                   Primary Synods (Auburn and                 
Planting                 and Westminster) shall develop a  
                              comprehensive plan of new church
                              planting for their Primary Synod. 
                              This shall be done in conjunction
                              with their Sub-Synods and
                              Presbyteries, aligned with that 
                              Primary Synod, (Auburn or

G-12.0110              If a church congregation, whose denomination is in
Church                    full communion with the PCUSA, wishes to transfer
Transfers                their affiliation to the PCUSA and to a specific
                             Primary Synod within the PCUSA, (Auburn or
                             Westminster), they can only do so with approval
                             of the denomination from which they are departing,
                             and approval of the receiving Primary Synod
                             (Westminster or Auburn), and a payment of at least
                             20% of the fair market value of their property, that
                             they are taking from their former denomination, 
                             payable to the denomination from which they are departing.

G-12.0111              Each Primary Synod's General Council shall 
Manual of               develop in consultation with their Sub-Synods, 
Operations             a manual of operations that shall
                              include design for administrative staff
                              and provisions for size, and for specific
                              representation of Sub-Synod council 
                              membership that provides for
                              inclusiveness and fairness.

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