Manual of Organization

Table of Contents


March 27, 2010
December 11, 2009
May 30, 2009
March 28, 2009
January 24, 2009
May 27, 2008
April 1, 2008
January 28, 2008
March 27, 2007


November 26, 2006


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Part I: Vision, Strategies, Entities

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley of the Synod of the Northeast and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is comprised of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations in the New York State counties of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, and Wyoming and also includes the Victor Presbyterian Church in the county of Ontario.

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley has three active policy documents:

  1. This Manual of Organization, including the policies listed in Part II
  2. The Consolidated Finance, Investment, and Funding Policies
  3. The Policy On Sexual Ethics

The policies and organizational structures in this document shall be effective upon final enactment by Presbytery in accordance with existing procedures. It is the intent of Presbytery that this material replace and supplant any and all previously enacted policies, procedures or guidelines not addressed in the Consolidated Finance, Investment, and Funding Policiesor the Policy on Sexual Ethics, and upon the adoption of this Manual of Organization, such previously-enacted policies, procedures and guidelines are repealed and shall be null and void.

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley is governed by the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). For procedural purposes the Presbytery uses the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (Scott Foresman edition). In the event of any conflict or inconsistency between these Policies and theConstitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or applicable New York State law, the provisions of theConstitution or State law shall control. Specific instances of possible conflict or inconsistencies of previously-enacted policies, procedures or guidelines not expressly addressed in these Policies, should be brought to the attention of Council in writing. Council shall report any such occurrences to Presbytery, together with its recommendation as to any action.

All amendments to this document shall be done according to the procedures described in the section entitled Policies and Guidelines for the Presbytery of Genesee Valley in Part II.

Minister and elder delegates to Presbytery are encouraged to remind their sessions from time-to-time of the policies and guidelines contained herein and of the principles which lie behind them, so that sessions may better understand the Policies by which Presbytery and its member congregations regulate themselves.

Our Vision

Know Christ, Live Christ, Share Christ


Today we lift up our vision for the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. We have a vision that begins with the faithfulness of those who have preceded us. We have a vision that emerges in a context of turbulence and rapid change in church and society. We have a vision that grows in the hearts of our diverse people as we commit to serve Christ together.

Vision Statement

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley glorifies God by Knowing Christ, Living Christ, and Sharing Christ.

What does this Vision look like?

  • We Know Christ when we worship God through Scripture, prayer, songs, and preaching; when we live as disciples of Jesus Christ within a faithful community of congregations; and when we experience the Holy Spirit leading us into the world with purpose and conviction. Our vision calls for the Presbytery to train and equip the people of God for faithful service in the life of our churches and surrounding communities.
  • We Live Christ when we model the truth and integrity of the Gospel as we build trust and work with one another and our neighbors; when our elders, pastors and church leaders feel strong spiritual encouragement and support for their vocation; and when we demonstrate our calling in ways that capture the attention of people who live throughout the Genesee Valley. Our vision calls for the Presbytery to demonstrate the wonder and joy of Christian faith as we eat, work, play and reach out together.
  • We Share Christ when we initiate emerging faith communities, develop new churches, and support existing churches; when our congregations join hands for shared mission endeavors; and when we engage in ministries of healing, comfort, renewal, justice, and peace. Our vision calls on the Presbytery to be a gathering of faithful congregations in which we mourn our defeats, celebrate our successes, and seek God’s confidence and strength as we embrace the future.

At its January 29, 2005, meeting, the Presbytery adopted this vision statement designed to lead our community of faith into the future.

A Vision/Mission Ministry Team appointed by the Council spent 15 months gathering data, studying materials, and reviewing feedback from presbyters. The Vision Statement is a critical first step in a strategic planning process.

Strategies For Knowing, Living and Sharing Christ in the Presbytery of Genesee Valley



Underlying our vision and all our strategies, plans, actions, and attitudes, we strive to create a culture in our Presbytery where compassion, cooperation, social justice, leadership and playfulness flourish. We strive to become a model for the spiritual transformation of congregations.


Like all faith activities, participation in Presbytery should be a meaningful, challenging, spiritually nourishing and rewarding experience. We are God’s glad and faithful people. As a Presbytery, we celebrate the work of pastoral ministry accomplished through our shared actions and through that of our seventy-one congregations.


  1. Affect: Council and committees promote hospitality, joyful service, enjoyment, satisfaction, and fun.
  2. Action: Council and committees encourage, support, and bless innovation and risk-taking. We celebrate successes and gladly learn from failures. “It is better to move forward and stumble than to stand still and grumble.”
  3. Relationships: The Presbytery when gathered and apart promotes and affirms the values of forgiveness and reconciliation as well as encourages authenticity, safety, and freedom in its processes.
  4. Faith: We rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Strategy One


We encourage, equip and empower Presbyterian leaders so that they may more directly provide evangelism, faith development, social justice and charity to their communities.


Enable church and community transformation by developing the spirit and capability of members. Equipping the saints.


  1. Presbytery proactively promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual health of clergy so that they in turn may support the health of their congregations.
  2. Presbytery sponsors action-reflection groups for faith development and evangelism.
  3. Committees of the Presbytery develop and implement a variety of training programs for elder and clergy leaders.
  4. Presbytery continues to develop and implement training in church transformation.
  5. Presbytery provides resources and support to congregations that want to find new ways to relate to their communities.

Congregational Transformation is a redirection of a congregation’s energy towards finding new ways to respond to God’s calling today. The Transformation movement has been central to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s strategy for moving into the 21st century for at least a decade.

Strategy Two


We focus resources into churches (both present and potential) who are motivated to respond to God’s calling in the midst of a changing culture and community.


Churches are vehicles for God’s mission in the world. “The harvest is in the field, not in the barn.”


  1. Through grants, Presbytery allocates funds to a congregation or groups of congregations for mission work, projects and connections.
  2. Presbytery acts as a liaison between congregations and mission opportunities.
  3. Presbytery develops and implements a plan to create one innovative (new, changed, expanded) congregation in the next three years.

Strategy Three


We are a Presbytery, a gathered presence both pastoral and prophetic through voice and action in the world. Through spiritual discernment, Presbytery carries out its calling as a partner with other Christian denominations, other faith traditions and social justice agencies.


Presbytery, as a unique form of the church of Jesus Christ, gathers the strength of all its churches into mission. Presbytery, as well as congregations, gives voice and action to the Good News. Our mission arises from discerning the movement of God’s Spirit in the world.


  1. Realizing our ministry is always in response to God, we seek spiritual discernment among ourselves and in partnership with others to understand the work to which God is calling us.
  2. Participates actively in and with other governing bodies of PC(U.S.A.).
  3. Through grants, Presbytery allocates funds to ecumenical and interfaith groups, coalitions, and ministries of the counties of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.
  4. Encourages members of Presbytery’s congregations to engage in missions of social justice by discerning our region’s (rural, suburban and urban) social justice needs and creating projects to respond. Areas that cry out for churches’ moral concern include poverty, racial and ethnic equality, and domestic violence. Many other dilemmas in our lives are candidates for these prophetic responses. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

Strategy Four


Develop and implement a structure for Presbytery that supports the vision and strategies.


Enable Presbytery to be both efficient and effective by focusing resources on the vision and strategies. To make straight the way of the Lord.


  1. Council, committees, and ministry teams are responsive to needs of congregations and prioritize their activities in order to better serve congregations.
  2. Council, committees, and ministry teams work to provide opportunities for meaningful and transforming service that makes use of member interests and gifts and enables members to experience our vision to Know, Live, and Share Christ.
  3. Council and every committee annually self-evaluates its size, tasks, processes, ministry teams, and member participation for alignment with the Presbytery vision and strategy.
  4. The Presbytery reviews manuals and policies and eliminate what is no longer relevant or in support of the vision.
  5. In order to free committees from the tyranny of the urgent so that they may attend to the important, Presbytery creates, trains, and empowers special ministry teams for crisis intervention in congregations.
  6. In order to encourage creativity and speed implementation, officers, committees and ministry teams act to the limits of their responsibility, without further approval.



Elected officers

In the election of officers of the Presbytery, opportunity shall always be given for nominations from the floor. Committee terms shall begin on July 1 of the year elected.

The Moderator of Presbytery shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee. The Moderator shall be elected at the March meeting of Presbytery, installed during the May meeting, and take office on July 1 for a term of one year. In addition to the duties and powers given by the Book of Order (G-9.0202), the Moderator may be given special responsibilities as approved by Presbytery. The Moderator (or his or her designee) shall preside at all installations of ministers, propound the constitutional questions, and declare the minister installed. The Moderator shall be a member of Council and shall chair the Council during the year after leaving office. (In case of the resignation of, or other need to replace, the chairperson of Council, the Nominating Committee shall nominate to Presbytery a chairperson, giving serious consideration and preference when possible to prior Presbytery moderators.)

The Moderator-Elect of presbytery shall be elected at the March meeting, installed during the May meeting, and take office on July 1 for a term of two years, one as Moderator-Elect and one as Moderator. The Moderator-Elect shall preside over the meeting of presbytery at the request of, or in the absence of, the Moderator. If the office of Moderator becomes vacant, the Moderator-Elect shall fill the unexpired term. If the Moderator-Elect is unable to serve, the most recent available Moderator shall serve. The Moderator-Elect shall be a member of Council and facilitator of their Budget Development and Oversight Committee. The Moderator-Elect shall coordinate the worship components of all presbytery meetings, provide technical assistance including return of any equipment to the presbytery office, and staff the New Business Committee and provide tellers.

The Stated Clerk shall be elected at the January meeting of Presbytery for a term of three years starting on February 1 of that year. The Stated Clerk shall receive such compensation as the Presbytery shall direct. In addition to fulfilling the constitutional duties, the Stated Clerk shall advise the committees of Presbytery, as appropriate or as requested, with reference to the rules and procedures of the Presbytery and of the denomination. The Stated Clerk shall be an ex-officio member of the Council, and shall serve as its secretary. The Stated Clerk is to be available to pastors and church officers for consultation on questions concerning the Book of Order and thePresbytery Manual of Organization.

The Journal Clerk shall be elected at the January meeting of Presbytery for a term of three years starting on February 1 of that year. She or he shall receive such compensation as the Presbytery shall direct. The Journal Clerk shall keep a record of each meeting of the Presbytery and transmit it to the Stated Clerk.

The Treasurer shall be elected at the January meeting of Presbytery for a term of one year starting on February 1 of that year. After six successive one-year terms, a Treasurer shall be ineligible to serve until one year has elapsed. The Treasurer receives all funds payable to the Presbytery and disburses all funds within the adopted budget of the Presbytery. Extra-budget disbursements shall be made only by order of the Presbytery. The Treasurer shall be an ex-officio (with voice, but not vote) member of the Council. The Treasurer shall serve as a resource to the Administration Committee Budget Development and Oversight Committee and the Trustees, and shall be responsible for arranging for the annual financial review of the Presbytery’s records.

Appointed officers

New Business Committee shall be elected at the beginning of each stated meeting of Presbytery. The committee shall be comprised of four (4) members: two (2) pastors and two (2) elder commissioners. The committee shall be nominated by the Moderator of Presbytery. Following the election of the New Business Committee, the Moderator shall call for any new business. Such items shall be referred to the New Business Committee, which will meet either during the dinner hour or be excused to consider the proposed item(s). The New Business Committee shall make its report at the conclusion of the Presbytery meeting. A particular New Business Committee shall be dissolved upon the adjournment of the meeting during which they were elected.

Temporary Clerks shall be elected at the beginning of each stated meeting of Presbytery, upon nomination by the Moderator of Presbytery. There shall be four (4) Temporary Clerks: two (2) ministers and two (2) elder commissioners. Temporary Clerks shall assist the Moderator in counting divided votes or secret ballot votes, and shall provide other assistance to the Presbytery at the direction of the Moderator. Their term of service shall end upon the adjournment of the meeting during which they were elected.

The Presbytery Attorney shall be appointed upon recommendation of the Council, in consultation with the Board of Trustees of the Presbytery. The Presbytery Attorney shall serve as legal counsel to the Presbytery with regard to matters related to Presbytery property and the relation of the Presbytery and its activities to civil law. The Presbytery Attorney shall receive such retainer as may be provided annually in the Presbytery budget, upon recommendation by the Board of Trustees and the Council.

Manual of Administrative Operations

Presbytery shall have a Manual of Administrative Operations, which will include theManual of Organization and Personnel Policies. Presbytery shall attach appendices to its manual of administrative operations as it shall, from time to time, deem appropriate. The manual of administrative operations shall be amended by a consultative process in conformity with Book of Order (G-9.0405).

Principles of Operation and Representation

Members of all committees shall be elected for three-year terms, one-third to be elected each year (unless otherwise provided); and members may not serve for more than six consecutive years. Those rotating off a particular committee following two terms should refrain from participating in the meetings and work of that committee for at least one year. Committee chairs shall be elected annually by their committees. Chairs may not serve for more than three consecutive years.

Presbytery shall give full expression to the rich diversity within its membership and shall provide means which will assure a greater inclusiveness leading to wholeness in its emerging life. Persons of all racial ethnic groups, different ages, both sexes, various disabilities, diverse geographical areas, and different theological positions consistent with the Reformed tradition, as well as different marital conditions (married, single, widowed, or divorced) shall be guaranteed full participation and access to representation in the decision-making of the Presbytery. (Book of Order, G-4.0403)

Members who are absent for three (3) consecutive meetings without excuse may be assumed to have resigned, and the Nominating Committee shall be so notified.

The quorum for committees shall be three (3) members except where otherwise specified by the Book of Order. (Committee on Ministry, Administrative Commissions and Judicial Commissions must have a majority of their members present.) Consistent with the Book of Order (G­11.0202), the quorum for Presbytery shall be any three minister members and the elder members present, provided that at least three churches are represented by elders.

When a chairperson of a committee is a lay person who is not an elder, he/she shall be given the privilege of the floor in order to participate in discussion concerning a motion(s) presented to Presbytery by the committee but may not vote.

Ministry Teams

A ministry team is a short-term group organized to accomplish a specific and well-defined task.

Any standing committee of the Presbytery may form a ministry team to accomplish a specific aspect of its work. Ministry teams may not exist without a “parent” committee to provide funding, oversight, and evaluation. The committee establishes a deadline by which the specific task will be accomplished. Upon completion of that task, the ministry team is dissolved.

People who serve on a ministry team are generally selected for their interest and/or expertise in a particular subject. The oversight committee is responsible for recruiting a convener and members of the team with sensitivity to the inclusiveness that best represents the diversity of the Presbytery. The committee will report the formation of a ministry team and its purpose to the stated clerk.


The primary purpose of Council is to “provide for the regular review of the functional relationship between Presbytery’s structure and its mission.” (Book of Order, G-11.0103 v.)

  • As such, it is “to develop strategy for the mission of the church in its area consistent with G-3.0000” (Book of Order, G-11.0103 a.)
  • And “to initiate mission through a variety of forms in light of the larger strategy of the synod and the General Assembly” (Book of Order, G-11.0103 c.)

In order to carry forward the vision and strategies of the Presbytery, Council has the following responsibilities:

  • All Council members shall be trained in the concepts of Church Transformation and the Council should ensure that all committee chairs (including Trustees) are similarly trained. (Strategy One)
  • We will do everything we can to support congregations, individuals and groups who are captured by the vision of growing in the knowledge, love and service of Jesus Christ. (Strategy Two)
  • At least annually, Council will arrange for Presbytery to hear a report on a new congregation or a significantly transformed congregation. This may be about a Presbyterian congregation in New York or neighboring states—or it may concern a church within the geographical bounds of the Presbytery started by another denomination or independent body. (Strategy Two)
  • As the Council provides for worship at meetings of the Presbytery, it will ensure that issues of social justice and moral concern, including poverty, racial and ethnic equality and domestic violence are lifted up in joint prayer. (Strategy Three).
  • Council will actively encourage all congregations, committees, boards, members and staff of Presbytery to live out the values outlined in the preamble to our strategies, to take risks and be bold as we seek to know, live and share Christ and to act with justice and mercy in all things. (Preamble, Strategy Four). As part of this work, the Council will be diligent in assuring fair representation within all Presbytery groups. (Book of Order, G-11.0103 d, e, w.)
  • Reflecting our strategic desire to “encourage, support, and bless innovation and risk-taking”, Council will serve as a mentor to Presbytery leaders that choose to come to it with ideas they feel would be beneficial to the Presbytery and its ministry. (Preamble)

The Council shall have nine (9) at-large members in three classes of three (3) persons, divided as evenly as possible between ministers and elders. Members shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Presbytery to three-year terms (or partial terms, when necessary). No member may serve more than six consecutive years. Care shall be taken to ensure that the Council is representative of both the demographics and the geography of the Presbytery.

Additionally, the following people shall serve as ex-officio (full members by virtue of their office with voice and vote) members of Council:

  • The Chair of Council
  • The Moderator
  • The Moderator-Elect
  • One representative from the following groups:
    • Committee on Ministry,
    • Committee on Preparation for Ministry
    • Mission and Advocacy Committee,
    • Committee on Representation,
    • Administrative Operations,
    • Budget Development and Oversight,
    • Personnel Committee,
    • Congregational Development,
    • Resource and Education,
    • Clergy Care and Development Committee,
    • Presbyterian Women,
    • Self-Development of People Committee,
    • Nominating Committee, and
    • Board of Trustees.

    These representatives shall be selected by the groups themselves; no action is needed by the Presbytery. However, groups are strongly encouraged to have consistent representation rather than switching representatives.

  • General Presbyter, Presbyter for COM Support, and Presbyter for Pastoral Support (with voice, but not vote)
  • The Stated Clerk (with voice, but not vote)
  • Treasurer (with voice, but not vote)

Additionally, Council shall:

  1. Nominate members of Presbytery’s Nominating Committee.
  2. Review the Presbytery docket for each meeting of Presbytery.
  3. Recruit and appoint ministry teams as it deems necessary, or by request of Presbytery.
  4. Coordinate the relationship of the Presbytery with Synod and General Assembly.
  5. Review the Manual of Organization and propose amendments as may be appropriate.
  6. Have the full authority to consider and approve recommendations and actions of the Board of Trustees to the same extent as Presbytery could consider and act. Such authority shall apply to such matters that require action before the next regularly scheduled stated meeting of Presbytery. Any such actions shall be reported to Presbytery at the next stated meeting and fully spread in the minutes.
  7. Have the authority to make decisions on behalf of Presbytery in the approval of grant applications. Any such actions shall be reported to Presbytery at the next stated meeting and fully spread in the minutes of such stated meeting.
  8. Provide for worship at meetings of Presbytery which may be planned and led by ministry teams appointed by the Council.
  9. Receive and recommend the disposition of overtures, resolutions, proposed amendments to the Constitution and proposed Presbytery policies. Other motions to be brought before Presbytery need not come through the Council unless the mover wants to seek Council’s advice regarding the proposed action and the Chair of Council deems it wise.
  10. Council shall ensure and provide for training of Council members in the responsibilities and procedures of the Council.
  11. Council shall receive the proposed annual budget, evaluate it in light of the vision and strategies and recommend Presbytery action.
  12. Council shall have the authority to act on behalf of Presbytery in approving duly elected members of committees or boards to be chair of that committee or board.
  13. The Council shall have the authority to act on behalf of presbytery in appointing an acting stated clerk for the presbytery in the event of the stated clerk’s illness, incapacity, or death. The acting stated clerk shall serve up to one year. At such time as it becomes clear that the stated clerk will not be able to resume his or her office, the Council shall provide for the election of a new stated clerk at a presbytery meeting, in conformity with Book of Order procedures.

The Council shall determine appropriate compensation for an acting stated clerk, subject to approval by the presbytery, and such compensation shall be paid through per-capita apportionment.

God handed out gifts … to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

Budget Development and Oversight Committee

Membership: 6

Purpose: The Budget Development and Oversight Committee is charged with engaging in good stewardship in the development and monitoring of the Presbyter’s budget. Its responsibilities include:

  • In consultation with committee chairs and Trustees, preparing an annual operating budget for the Presbytery and presenting it to Council for information and to Presbytery for a first reading in September and a vote in November each year.
  • In September, bringing to Presbytery for its approval a proposed Presbytery per capita assessment for the following year.
  • Overseeing the current year’s budget and recommending changes as necessary to deal with any surplus/deficit situation that may arise.
  • Maintaining a three-year income projection for planning purposes.
  • This committee shall establish and monitor the Presbytery’s annual budget through:
  • Development and oversight of a yearly line item budget for Presbytery.
  • Development of a budget-building process which incorporates input from committees of Presbytery. This includes educating and assisting committees in developing and implementing goal-directed budgets.
  • Recommending an initial working budget and challenge budget to Presbytery in May, and recommending a final working budget for adoption in November. This shall be a balanced budget which reflects Presbytery’s mission priorities.
  • Projecting future income and expenditures at least three years in advance, making these projections available to committees for their use in planning and to Presbytery for its use in the prioritization process.
  • Recommending to Presbytery financial procedures for the receipt and expenditure of funds as related to the development and oversight of the working budget.
  • Maintain computerization for the financial management of the Presbytery.

Clergy Care and Development Committee updated 01/28/08

Membership: 9

The Clergy Care and Development Committee shall:

  • Provide opportunities for clergy and commissioned lay pastors to further their spiritual and professional development.
  • Identify and promote pastoral care opportunities to clergy and lay pastors, their families and survivors.
  • Sponsor events to stimulate theological reflection and dialogue for clergy and lay pastors.
  • Identify opportunities for continuing education and sabbaticals and provide resources to enable pastors to use them effectively.
  • Advocate for and work with members of the Benefits Plan regarding Board of Pensions and benefits issues, salary concerns, and other matters regarding personnel issues.
  • Promote clergy wellbeing by providing arenas for fellowship, mutual support, and creative interaction among clergy and lay pastors.
  • Celebrate and encourage clergy in specialized ministries.
  • Implement a plan for assimilation of new clergy and lay pastors into the life of the Presbytery.

Committee on Ministry

Membership: 24

The Presbytery shall elect a Committee on Ministry, which shall function according to the provisions of the Form of Government G-l 1.0500. In its work the Committee on Ministry shall seek to be accessible to and to further the spiritual and temporal welfare of congregations, ministers, certified Christian educators, and commissioned lay pastors of the Presbytery.

The Committee on Ministry shall have twenty-four (24) members in three classes of eight (8) persons. The Committee on Ministry shall be comprised of twelve (12) ministers and twelve (12) elders. Care shall be taken to ensure that the Committee on Ministry is representative of both the demographics and the geography of the Presbytery.

In accordance with the Form of Government (G-l 1 .0502h.) the Committee on Ministry shall have authority to act on behalf of Presbytery to:

  • find in order calls issued by churches
  • approve and present calls for services of ministers
  • approve the examination of ministers transferring from other presbyteries required by G-11.0402
  • dissolve the pastoral relationship in cases where the congregation and pastor concur
  • grant permission to labor within or outside the bounds of Presbytery
  • dismiss ministers to other presbyteries

with the provision that all such actions be reported to the next stated meeting of Presbytery.

The Committee on Ministry shall oversee training and education regarding sexual misconduct awareness and prevention. For more information see the Presbytery’s Sexual Ethics Policy.

Committee on Preparation for Ministry

Membership: 18 (equal number of elders and ministers)

Purpose: To enter into a covenant relationship with those preparing to become Ministers of the Word and Sacrament or as Commissioned Lay Pastors so as to ensure that those who are to be ordained or commissioned as such receive full preparation for their task. The Committee on Preparation for Ministry not only assists inquirers, candidates and Elders as they prepare for ministry but it also provides nurture and care for those enrolled as inquirers or under care as candidates or as commissioned lay pastors.

Description: The Committee shall:

  • Be authorized to act on behalf of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley in accordance with G-11.0103v, G-14.0303e, G-14.0309, G-14.0310a, G-14.0312, and G-14.0801.
  • Meet with sessions when a member of the church desires to become an inquirer in order to provide an orientation to the preparation process, and instruct sessions as to their role in the inquiry and candidacy phases.
  • Interview prospective inquirers and enroll them as inquirers or grant their withdrawal from the process if so requested and report that action at the next Presbytery meeting in accordance with the Book of Order.
  • Provide consultation and guidance during the inquiry phase, ensuring that all requirements of the Book of Order are met.
  • Confer with inquirers and review evidence that they are ready to proceed to candidacy, making a definite recommendation to the Presbytery with respect to whether the inquirer should be received as a candidate.
  • Provide continuing consultation and guidance during the candidacy phase, in order to determine whether each candidate to be ordained has fully demonstrated readiness to begin the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments or grant withdrawal from the process if so requested and report the same to the next Presbytery meeting as required by the Book of Order.
  • Consult annually with each inquirer and candidate as required by the Book of Order, and report such actions to the Presbytery.
  • Recommend to Presbytery for election readers for candidates examinations. [See the Book of Order Sections G-14.0300 – G-14.0314, and applicable sections of G-14.0400, Preparation For Ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)]
  • Provide and coordinate training for elders to be considered as potential candidates for pulpit supply or as commissioned lay pastors.
  • Interview prospective elders for the commissioned lay pastor program and enroll them as such or grant their withdrawal from the program if requested and report such actions to the next Presbytery meeting.

Committee on Representation

Membership: 7

Purpose: To be responsible for implementing the Church’s commitment to inclusiveness and participation in order to insure representation in the decision making of the Presbytery and to give full expression to the rich diversity within the Presbytery’s membership.

Description: The makeup of the committee shall follow the requirements of G-9.0105 of the Book of Order.

The committee shall:

  • Serve both as an advocate for the representation of racial ethnic members, women, different age groups, and persons with disabilities and as a continuing resource to the Presbytery in these matters.
  • Review the performance of Presbytery in these matters and report annually to the Presbytery and the Synod with recommendations for any needed corrective action.
  • Consult with the Nominating Committee.
  • Consult with the appropriate constituencies of racial ethnic, persons with disabilities, persons of differing age groups, and women regarding nominations to all committees of the Presbytery.
  • Advise the Presbytery on the employment of personnel in accordance with the principles of participation and representation. See G-4.0403 of the Book of Order.

Congregational Development Committee

Membership: 12

The Congregational Development Committee concerns itself specifically with empowering and enlivening the ministry of every congregation of the Presbytery. The membership of the Committee shall be equally represented by churches in various localities and of different sizes.

The Committee will assist all churches in the Presbytery in developing and implementing plans by which those congregations will serve as primary instruments of mission in their communities. The Committee shall:

  • Assist churches to grow as communities of faith through consultation, and advocacy for congregational transformation. This includes analyzing social, demographic, and congregational trends in order to assess their implications for urban, suburban, town, country, and village churches.
  • Encourage congregations to engage in mission studies which renew the life and ministry of those congregations and provide direction for the future.
  • Provide financial support to urban, suburban, town, country, and village congregations. Support will be prioritized according to mission and need.
  • Engage with congregations and cooperate with other committees and ministry teams of Presbytery in matters of shared responsibility or interest, e.g., clearance interviews for pastors, triennial visits with sessions, community issues, mission projects, etc.
  • Encourage and assist congregations in initiating and participating in hands-on mission projects.
  • Review annually the use of the Committee’s funds from the Presbytery annual budget for congregational transformation.
  • The Committee will assist individual congregations in demonstrating the connectedness and mutual needs of Presbyterians by:
  • Encouraging trust between congregations that are detached from one another, either by geography, ethnicity, ideology, or theology, by encouraging every congregation to engage in an intentional partnership with another congregation, a ministry within the Presbytery, or an ecumenical ministry.
  • Building ongoing relationships between congregations and the various bodies of Presbytery.
  • Initiating support groups based on common interests.
  • Assisting congregations in developing faithful giving programs which link spiritual discipline with financial discipleship.
  • Working with other committees and ministry teams of Presbytery to plan social events and spiritual development opportunities for laity, elders, deacons, and clergy.
  • Developing resources and tools to nurture and support emerging faith communities, and new church developments.

Mission and Advocacy Committee

Membership: 15

This Committee will focus its efforts becoming a Catalyst in the World.

Responding to God’s grace this committee shall:

  • Claim our call as partners in the global and local mission of justice and peace.
  • Respond to the needs of people with high vulnerability through programs of direct service and advocacy through local congregations, ecumenical ministries, secular agencies, and inter¬faith forums.
  • Participate in ecumenical life and in ministries that offer mission opportunities within the broader community for building understanding and alienating injustice.
  • Advocate and work for systemic change to promote justice and to challenge the ecclesiastical, economic, social, and political forces that oppress people and the environment.
  • Oversee and administer the Presbytery’s portion of the annual Peacemaking Offering. Evaluate and prioritize funding of continuing mission projects and ecumenical programs, and fund new proposals based on availability of funds in the budget.
  • Endeavor to broaden the base for proclaiming the good news through sharing our faith, Presbytery-wide and regional programs and training events that invite discipleship to Jesus Christ; such as mission projects, liberation from oppression, and new church strategies.
  • Be the vehicle through which Presbytery will remain interrelated with the three Homes (Rochester Presbyterian Home, Kirkhaven, and Valley Manor) and the wide spectrum of eldercare provided by these homes, emphasizing especially information and advocacy around issues of holistic eldercare.
  • Coordinate and oversee the support of Campus Ministries within the bounds of the Presbytery.
  • Develop and implement a process for establishing avenues of input from all governing bodies, and for transmitting that information to sessions and congregations so that they may be aware of the financial needs and goals of Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly.
  • Promote, interpret, and develop participation in the Theological Education Fund among churches in the Presbytery.
  • Promote, interpret, and develop participation in General Assembly authorized special offerings among churches in Presbytery.
  • Report to Presbytery activities and stories for mission interpretation and stewardship.

Nominating Committee

Membership: 9

The Nominating Committee, as defined by the Book of Order (G-9.0801a), shall have a membership of one third clergy, one third laywomen, and one third laymen. The Council shall nominate the members of this committee to the Presbytery for election.

This committee will nominate members to the standing committees of the Presbytery. The Nominating Committee will nominate members-at-large to the Council. Ministry teams created by the standing committees or the Council of Presbytery will be recruited and appointed by the creating committee.

The committee will nominate all officers of the Presbytery including:

  • Moderator
  • Vice-Moderator
  • Chair of Council
  • Stated Clerk
  • Treasurer

The Nominating Committee will nominate commissioners from the Presbytery to the higher governing bodies of the church as well as members to any committees or other entities of those higher governing bodies.

Permanent Judicial Commission

Membership: 7

In accordance with the Rules of Discipline (D-5 .0100) there shall be a Permanent Judicial Commission consisting of seven (7) members (four ministers and three elders or four elders and three ministers). The term of office shall be six (6) years in three classes as nearly equal in size as possible. The duties, structure, and meetings of the Permanent Judicial Commission shall be as described in Chapter 5 of the Rules of Discipline. No person who has served a full term of six years shall be eligible for re-election until she or he has been out of office for at least four years.

Investigating Committee

When necessary, Presbytery shall elect an Investigating Committee according to the provisions of the Rules of Discipline (D-10.0201). The names shall be placed in nomination by the Stated Clerk after consultation with appropriate officers of the Presbytery. The Stated Clerk shall be responsible for convening and training the Investigating Committee. The Investigating Committee shall function as described in Chapters 10 through 14 of the Rules of Discipline. The work of the Investigating Committee shall begin upon their election by the Presbytery.

Committee of Counsel

When necessary, Presbytery shall elect a Committee of Counsel according to the provisions of the Rules of Discipline (D-6.0302). The names shall be placed in nomination by the Stated Clerk after consultation with appropriate officers of the Presbytery. The Stated Clerk shall be responsible for convening and training the Committee of Counsel. The Investigating Committee shall function as described in Chapters 6 through 8 of the Rules of Discipline. The work of the Committee of Counsel shall begin upon their election by the Presbytery.

Personnel Committee

Membership: 6

Purpose: The Presbytery’s Personnel Committee exists to help the Presbytery support and develop the people who serve it. This committee may act as a whole, by delegation, or by the use of ministry teams.

This committee shall oversee personnel employed by Presbytery, their development, staff position descriptions, and staffing levels. These responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining an employee handbook
  • Developing position descriptions for all positions
  • Ensuring annual performance reviews for all employees of Presbytery.
  • Establishing support staff positions needed for the efficient functioning of Presbytery.
  • Assisting the Co-Presbyters in the selection, retention and termination of non-exempt Presbytery employees
  • Recommending to the Administration Committee annual compensation packages for employees of Presbytery and the Stated Clerk
  • Maintaining open communications with employees on matters concerning their welfare and the employer’s interests
  • Supporing the work of the Co-Presbyter for Congregational Vitality and the Co-Presbyter for Pastoral Vitality
  • Establishing a process for the annual and end-of-term reviews of the Stated Clerk and the Treasurer
  • Establishing a process for the five-year reviews of the Co-Presbyters

In connection with the responsibilities ennumerated above, this committee shall recommend appropriate changes to Presbytery policies.

Resource and Education Committee

Membership: 9

The Committee will ensure Presbytery’s support for its congregations by developing leaders who will serve the congregations and beyond. The Committee will be responsible for:

  • Sponsoring programs and training events for church and Presbytery leaders
  • Facilitating the annual review of session minutes
  • Developing a Presbytery youth ministry in support of local congregations’ youth ministries.
  • Reviewing annually the use of the Committee’s funds from the Presbytery annual budget for leadership development
  • The Committee will supervise the operation of the Presbytery’s Resource Center in order to support and encourage the mission and ministry of the congregations and committees in the Presbytery. The Committee will be responsible for:
  • Collecting, filing, and displaying a wide variety of materials, including a music library.
  • Encouraging borrowing by its visitors and offering them the services of personal assistance, research, guidance, and training events.
  • Reviewing annually the use of the Committee’s funds from the Presbytery annual budget for the Resource Center.

Self-Development of People Committee

Membership: 9

The committee shall evaluate and approve proposals for funding of Self-Development of People projects within the Presbytery of Genesee Valley in accordance with the criteria developed by the National Self-Development Committee and the guidelines of the 182nd General Assembly (1979).

Although not required by the Book of Order, this committee‘s makeup and work is defined by the National Self-Development of People committee and must be validated by the national committee. The committee shall be composed of nine members at least 75% of whom shall be members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A majority of the members will be racial/ethnic minority persons.

Self-Development of People will be one way in which the Presbytery becomes a catalyst in the world.

Stewardship Development and Interpretation Committee

Membership: 6

At the heart of stewardship ministry is spiritual discipleship and participation in the mission of Christ through the Church. Recognizing that stewardship ministry must include communication and mission interpretation, the purpose of the committee is to promote understanding of the mission of the PCUSA and to inspire generosity among the presbytery’s members and congregations.

The Stewardship Development and Interpretation Committee shall:

  • Develop and implement a program of direct contact with sessions, congregational committees, and members to learn and dialogue about Presbyterian Church (USA) per capita and mission funding.
  • Develop and implement an effective system for receiving financial commitments from congregations for PCUSA shared mission funding.
  • Provide a variety of mission interpretation resources, tools, and opportunities for congregations in order to build greater awareness of the connectional church.

Board of Trustees

Membership: 9

The Trustees shall:

  • Record and maintain all capital assets of the Presbytery except for operating and budget accounts.
  • Receive requests for loans, grants, or other uses of capital assets of Presbytery for comment or recommendation prior to being submitted to Presbytery for action.
  • Consult with churches or agencies of the Presbytery on property, legal, and financial matters as requested by particular churches or as directed by Presbytery.
  • Recommend action to the Presbytery on requests from churches planning to make any contract for the purchase of property with or without encumbrances or conditions, or the enlargement, improvement, or extension of their properties in excess of 25% of the last year’s current receipts.
  • Approve Capital Fund Drives and capital improvements greater than 25% of the yearly budget (not receipts as stated).
  • Recommend action to the Presbytery on requests from churches planning to sell, mortgage, or lease their properties.
  • Have permanent responsibility for the management and supervision of the Revolving Loan Fund.
  • Make recommendations to the Presbytery for loans or any use from the Revolving Loan Fund and shall supervise repayments to the Fund.
  • Maintain the lease agreements and building maintenance concerns related to lease agreements for the Presbytery office.
  • Oversee the Master Insurance Program of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.
  • Maintain the relationship of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley to the Presbyterian Foundation of Genesee Valley, a corporation of the Presbytery.
  • Appoint a member liaison with each church as an active consultant on building projects and capital campaigns as a resource on property financial issues and as a member of the triennial visit team.
  • Wherever possible, Trustees will partner as a team with Congregational Ministries and the Committee on Ministry with a church that requires multiple resources.
  • In preparation of the Presbytery’s annual budget, meet with the Administration Committee to determine the amount of the RLF investment income that is reasonable to use for the operating budget for the coming year (see Financial Policies Revolving Loan Fund).
  • Supervise the work of the Presbytery Attorney including recommending to Personnel Committee any salary or cost of living increases.

Corporations and Related Entities

The Presbyterian Foundation of Genesee Valley, Inc.

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley has cause to be formed a corporation, The Presbyterian Foundation of Genesee Valley, Inc., the members of the Corporation consisting of the ministers and elders from time to time constituting the Presbytery of Genesee Valley or its successor. The Annual Meeting is to be held during, or immediately following, the Annual Meeting of Presbytery.

There shall be a Board of Directors consisting of not less than five (5) nor more than fifteen (15) members. The term of office for each Director shall be three years with a third being elected each year. No Director shall serve more than six (6) consecutive years, or two terms. Directors shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation and shall hold office until their successor has been elected, appointed, or has been qualified.

At least 50% of the Directors shall be members of local congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and/or members of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. No more than two (2) shall be members or affiliated with any one church. Each Director shall be at least 18 years of age.

A member of the administrative staff of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, as designated by the Co-Presbyters, shall be an ex-officio member (with voice, without vote).

There shall be a Nominating Committee of three (3) members, two appointed by the President of the Board of Directors; and the third shall be the Moderator of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.

The Corporation shall strive for an equitable balance between men and women, various ages, ethnic groups, and member churches of the Presbytery.

Relationship to Presbyterian Homes and Residences

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley shall continue to relate to

  • The Rochester Presbyterian Home,
  • the Presbyterian Residence Center Corporation (Valley Manor), and
  • the Genesee Valley Presbyterian Nursing Center (Kirkhaven).

The Mission and Advocacy Committee will promote these relationships and help to interpret to the Presbytery the mission and ministry of the homes. These relationships shall be governed by the Membership and Board Resolutions approved during Joint Corporation Meeting at the Wyoming Presbyterian Church, January 25, 1997 (See Presbytery Minutes, Book 14, pp.54-55).

Part II: Non-Financial Policies

The notation of the date, book and page numbers throughout this document refers to the Minutes Book of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.

Policies and Guidelines for the Presbytery of Genesee Valley


policy of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley is a course of action or a principal of action which is intended to apply broadly to the decisions and actions of the Presbytery and the committees and other entities of the Presbytery.

Guidelines and procedures are not as broad as Presbytery-wide policies. Guidelines and procedures define the manner in which certain courses of action are followed or implemented, consistent with Presbytery-wide policies. Guidelines and procedures may inform and instruct the work of committees or other entities, as they serve to enact or bring to fruition the decisions made by the Presbytery.

Committees and other entities of the Presbytery may develop guidelines and procedures for the work of their particular group, consistent with Presbytery-wide policies. (For example, the Mission and Advocacy Committee might develop its own policies regarding applications for funding; the Committee on Ministry has approved policies for Pastor Nominating Committees.) These guidelines and/or procedures should be communicated to the Council and to the Presbytery for their information.

Enactment of a Presbytery Policy

  1. Policies of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley shall be enacted by the Presbytery, in a duly called meeting, by a 2/3 vote of presbyters who are present for the particular meeting.
  2. Proposed policies shall come to the floor of Presbytery through the Council of Presbytery.

Procedures for Proposal of Policies to the Presbytery

  1. Those who wish to propose a policy (a congregation, a committee, a ministry team, an individual or a group) shall prepare the proposed policy in the following format:
    1. Part 1 — The text of the proposed policy, including a recommendation for when the policy, if approved, shall be reviewed by the Presbytery. Every policy should be reviewed at least every five years.
    2. Part 2 — A description of who is proposing the policy.
    3. Part 3 — A clear, succinct rationale for the policy.
  2. The author(s) of the proposed policy shall submit the above document to the Council for its deliberation. The Council will provide for full consideration of the proposed policy, including the opportunity for advocates of the policy to be heard.
  3. The Council shall determine when the policy shall come to the Presbytery, and shall make a specific recommendation to the Presbytery (approve, disapprove, approve with amendment). The rationale for the Council’s recommendation shall be clearly stated.
  4. The Council shall place the proposed policy, with all supporting rationales, in the Mailed Docket for the Presbytery meeting during which the proposed policy will be considered. Under no circumstances will the proposed policy be placed in the Taken Docket for a particular meeting.
  5. It will be the Council’s responsibility to keep a record of the review dates of Presbytery policies, and to conduct the review of the policy. Council will bring to the Presbytery the recommendation as to continuing, discontinuing, or amending the policy. This will ensure that policies remain applicable and up-to-date.


During the recent review of Presbytery policies over the past 10 to 15 years, the Council determined the need to clarify just what is a Presbytery policy, and how such policies should be proposed and enacted.

The above proposal was developed by a Ministry Team appointed by the Council. The Ministry Team members were: Elder and former Presbytery Moderator George Gotcsik; Elder Murray Hopkins; Interim Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Edie Gause; and Stated Clerk, the Rev. Val Fowler.

The Ministry Team desired to provide the requested clarity regarding policies of the Presbytery, but also strongly desired to preserve the initiative of Presbytery committees and other entities to develop the guidelines and principles for their specific work on behalf of the Presbytery and its congregations.

The Ministry Team suggests a ⅔ vote for implementation of policies for two reasons:

  1. the current first reading/second reading process is cumbersome and at times confusing, and
  2. the ⅔ vote will preserve the seriousness of such proposed actions and encourage full debate on the issue.

Careful readers will note that the process proposed is analogous to the overture procedure for the General Assembly. The Council will function in a role analogous to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution:

  • they will review the proposed policy to ensure that it is indeed a new policy and that it does not conflict with current policies of the Presbytery;
  • they will consider carefully the proposed policy and offer recommendations with rationale.

The intent is for the Council to assist the proponents of the policy to succeed in their efforts, while ensuring that the final product will enhance the ministry and witness of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.

With the exception of this paragraph, any policy (including provisions of this Manual of Organization) of the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley may be temporarily suspended at any Stated Meeting of the Presbytery by a ¾ vote of the members present, providing that thereby no provisions of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are violated.

Chemical Dependency and Other Disorders Affecting Church Employees and Families

Cf. Personnel Policies
1985 October 22, Book 7, Page 270

  1. This policy recognizes that alcoholism and other forms of harmful chemical dependency, mental or emotional illnesses, financial, marital or other family distress or legal problems are treatable and as such they should not be approached in a punitive fashion, but rather in a pastoral manner. We seek to enlist the support and cooperation of the entire governing body in pastoral approaches to these problems. It is, therefore, recommended to member churches of the Presbytery that this policy be adopted as part of their personnel policies.
  2. The purpose of this policy is to assure that any church employee or their family members having such problems will receive the same careful consideration and offer of treatment that is presently extended to church employees or their family members having any other illness or behavioral disorder.
  3. The goal of this policy is to assist the church employee or family member having trouble with alcohol and any other form of harmful chemical dependency, mental or emotional illnesses, financial, marital or other family distress or legal problems to remove these problems as a source of trouble.
  4. No employee with alcohol or other form of chemical dependency, mental or emotional illness, financial, marital or other family distress or legal problems will have his/her job security jeopardized by a request for diagnosis and treatment, or for seeking and accepting treatment. However, an employee’s continued refusal to seek help and treatment, or continued failure to respond to treatment, will receive the same response that similar refusals or treatment failures receive for other illnesses which affect job performance. However, it is most important that the person “recovering” from such problems has equal job opportunity following successful treatment.
  5. When church personnel go for treatment of their problem, they should be granted leave with pay as necessary for treatment, whether residential or outpatient.
  6. The role and importance of confidentiality apply to treatment of these disorders (stated in #1 and #3 preceding) and their treatment just as to any other health and/or behavioral condition.
  7. It is most important that personnel committees, the Committee on Ministry, Department of Church Professionals and church Sessions be knowledgeable and sensitive to persons in need of help with these disorders (stated in #1 and #3 preceding).

We recognize that the staff and committees of governing bodies do not ordinarily have the necessary qualifications to diagnose alcohol and other drug dependencies, mental or emotional illnesses, financial, marital or other family distress or legal problems, just as they are not usually qualified to diagnose other diseases. Evaluation, referrals and diagnostic intervention will need to be made in cooperation with qualified consultants such as those specified in the definition contained in the Pension Plan, or other qualified health professionals.

Since the affected person, especially chemically dependent persons, by the very nature of the illness/disorder often denies the problem, the consultant should be open to requests for help from spouses or family members, so that some kind of creative and therapeutic intervention can be initiated to help the afflicted person.

It is expected that through this policy employees who suspect that they may have such a problem, even in its early stages, will be encouraged to seek evaluation and, when indicated, follow through with prescribed treatment.

This policy applies not only to personnel employed by the Presbytery, but also applies to pastors employed by member churches of the Presbytery, staff members of member churches of the Presbytery, and clergy in non-parish service.

Church Membership Policy Statement

1988 April 26, Book 8, Page 392

Presbytery adopted the 190th General Assembly (1978) Statement of Church Membership as Presbytery’s policy statement.

Persons who manifest homosexual behavior must be treated with the profound respect and pastoral tenderness due all people of God. There can be no place within the Christian faith for the response to homosexual persons of mingled contempt, hatred, and fear that is called homophobia.

Homosexual persons are encompassed by the searching love to Christ. The church must turn from its fear and hatred to move toward the homosexual community in love and to welcome homosexual inquirers to its congregations. It should free them to be candid about their identity and convictions, and it should also share honestly and humbly with them in seeking the vision of God’s intention for the sexual dimensions of their lives.

As persons repent and believe, they become members of Christ’s body. The church is not a citadel of the morally perfect; it is a hospital for sinners. It is the fellowship where contrite, needy people rest their hope for salvation on Christ and his righteousness. Here in community they seek and receive forgiveness and new life. The church must become the nurturing community so that all whose lives come short of the glory of God are converted, reoriented, and built up into Christian maturity. It may be only in the context of loving community, appreciation, pastoral care, forgiveness, and nurture that homosexual persons can come to a clear understanding of God’s pattern for their sexual expression.

There is room in the church for all who give honest affirmation to the vows required for membership in the church. Homosexual persons who sincerely affirm “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” and “I intend to be his disciple, to obey his word, and to show his love” should not be excluded from membership.

On motion Presbytery was directed to seek ways to help churches become more inclusive in terms of membership, including visits with sessions, by invitation.

Camp Whitman

Cf. Historical Policies
27 February 2002
(Replaces October 25, 1994 — See Historical References)

  1. The Presbytery will contribute a fixed amount in support of Camp Whitman, as a mission outreach program, which will be reviewed annually.
  2. Opportunity will be given to the Presbytery of Geneva to come annually to Presbytery, through Council, to request permission to solicit additional mission funding for Camp Whitman from churches and individuals within the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.

Presbytery Directory/Mailing Labels

Cf. Historical policies
1997 January, Book 14, Page 40

The Presbytery’s Policy on the use of Presbytery’s Directory will be placed in a prominent place in the Presbytery’s Directory at its next printing.

Policy Statement: Presbytery will not distribute mailing lists of the Presbytery or its churches to any outside agency.

Greetings and Endorsements

1996 July 23, Book 12, Page 245

The Co-Presbyter for Pastoral Vitality, the Co-Presbyter for Congregational Vitality, the Stated Clerk, the Moderator of the Presbytery, and the Moderator of Council are authorized to send greetings to various organizations on behalf of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley at their own discretion. Other persons may be authorized by Council to bring such greetings in specific circumstances.

Presbytery chairpersons of particular committees are authorized to send greetings on behalf of a committee of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley at their own discretion.

Offering greetings does not imply endorsement of a particular organization’s ideology or theological stance. To endorse means “to approve or ratify.” This type of recognition requires the approval of Presbytery, or Council acting on behalf of Presbytery.

Only persons authorized by Presbytery or Council (when required by time constraints) may speak on behalf of Presbytery regarding particular issues, and then only issues on which Presbytery has taken specific action.

Only persons authorized by a committee of Presbytery may speak on behalf of the committee regarding particular issues on which the committee has taken action, and which is not contrary to Presbytery policies or actions.

It is advisable for those who address particular issues to present a written statement of the Presbytery’s or the committee’s stance upon which the speaker would elaborate.

Executive staff persons, and elected leaders of Presbytery who speak publicly on issues without official authorization are urged to make it clear that their views do not necessarily reflect the view of the Presbytery and its member churches.

Committee persons who speak publicly on issues without committee authorization are urged to make it clear that their views do not necessarily represent the views of the Presbytery committee, the Presbytery, or its member churches.

Open Door Policy

1983 November 22, Book 6, Page 209

The Personnel Committee shall initiate an open door policy, i.e., private access to the committee without one’s immediate supervisor being present, in all future reviews and/or contacts with exempt and non-exempt staff and any other persons under personnel jurisdiction. The policy is to be effective immediately and such private access is to be offered whether requested or not and whether such person is appearing at his or her own request or by invitation of the personnel committee.

Policy on Access, Confidentiality, Participation and Voting

cf. Historical Policies
1989 April 25 Book 9 Page 253

  1. As an instrument of Presbytery for promoting the peace and harmony of the churches, and especially in regard to matters arising out of the relations between ministers and churches, the Committee on Ministry shall be open at all times to direct access by, or communications from, all ministers in the Presbytery, all elders who are members of sessions, and the sessions of Presbytery through the chairperson of the Committee or the Co-Presbyters. (G-11.0502h, G-11.0503).
  2. At the Committee’s discretion, materials presented to the Committee may be available to the Presbytery and may be used for decision-making, recommendations and explanation, unless specifically given in confidence. Where such confidential information appears to be necessary for a decision or recommendation the person given such information will be requested to release that information from confidentiality. If that person does not so agree, then no decision or recommendation can be based upon that information. The information cannot form the basis or any part of the basis, for a decision or recommendation by the committee. A copy of this policy shall be provided to any person who presents information or materials to the Committee in advance of the use by the committee of that information or materials as any part of a basis for a decision or recommendation and in advance of its release by the committee to the Presbytery or any other party.
  3. When assessments have been made to the committee about an individual, session or congregation, the committee may offer an opportunity for response. The committee shall offer an opportunity for response to an individual, session or congregation when an assessment provided to the committee is to be used as the basis for a decision. (G-11.0503j).
  4. When the Committee is dealing with matters concerning the church of one of its members, the member shall absent himself/herself from that part of the business.
  5. In other situations where a committee member or staff person believes that his/her relationship to a church is biased by close personal involvement or confidential information, that committee member will be expected to absent himself/herself from that part of the business.

Moderators of Sessions amended 03/27/2010

Churches are required to pay appointed Moderators of Sessions $50 per session meeting and per congregation meeting. Under special circumstances, the Committee on Ministry may request that the amount be higher. This policy will affect all appointed Moderator relationships in effect on January 1, 1999, and thereafter.

Policy on Conflicts of Interest


It is the policy of the Presbytery to maintain high standards of integrity, honesty, impartiality, industry, and conduct by employees, members and volunteers. Avoidance of conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent, by all is indispensable to the maintenance of these standards.

No employee, member or volunteer of the Presbytery shall accept any gift, gratuity, grant, service or any special favor from any person or persons, or businesses which provide or receive goods and services or which seek to provide or receive goods and services to or from the agencies, councils and governing bodies. However, minor courtesies such as luncheons, dinners or similar arrangements in connection with business discussions may be received.

In addition, if an employee, member or volunteer is called upon to participate in a decision in which the interests of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley conflict with his or her personal interests, that person should abstain from participating in the decision.

All employees, members and volunteers shall avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest, special interest, or any other inappropriate conduct. If a person discovers that he/she may be in a position of conflict of interest, he/she shall immediately report this conflict to his/her supervisor, committee or governing body.

Accessibility Policy

2004 May 25

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley encourages its constituent congregations to:

  1. Strive to provide children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities the opportunity for a Christian education.
  2. Strive to provide persons with disabilities the opportunity for church membership, even when requirements and activities for membership must be modified to meet their special needs and challenges.
  3. Annually plan and provide a Disability Awareness Sunday for both adult and child Christian education and as an integral part of the worship service.
  4. Take an informed look at their physical and attitudinal accessibility, and develop a plan to address the barriers to full involvement of persons with disabilities in the life of the church.

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley makes a commitment to:

  1. Take feasible steps to ensure that Presbytery offices meet ADA requirements for accessibility. (See Minutes of Stated Presbytery Meeting of November 29, 2005, for decisions regarding the offices attached to Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church.)
  2. Provide—through its committees—resources of consultants, funds, and materials to help congregations become aware of physical and attitudinal barriers which prevent inclusion of all individuals within the full fellowship of the Church.
  3. Provide—through its committees—resources of consultants, funds, and materials to help congregations provide Christian education and membership education to all persons, and to remove attitudinal barriers to such inclusion.
  4. Provide—through its committees and through advocacy with higher governing bodies—resources of consultants, funds, and materials to help congregations remove physical barriers to full inclusion in the life and ministry of the church.
  5. Through the Presbytery Trustees, consult concerning guidelines for physical accessibility and develop avenues for congregations to access grants and loans from synod, denominational, and private sources for barrier removal.
  6. As far as possible ensure that Presbytery meetings are held in churches that are barrier free to meeting rooms, sanctuaries, and bathrooms.

The Presbytery, through its Council, shall review this policy (including an assessment of progress made) every three years. The Council, with input from the Committee on Representation, shall make any recommendations as to changes or additions in the policy.

Program Year

2006 September

The moderator, vice-moderator and members of committees of Presbytery shall be elected at the May meeting of Presbytery. Their terms of office shall run from July 1st to June 30th.

Rationale: With calendar year terms (January to December), changeover of responsibilities occur at a busy time of year for the church, its members and the Presbytery. Thus, there is little time for goodbyes or orientations. Summer is usually a slower time for all concerned, with more time to get acquainted and do thorough orientations. In addition, the program year for many churches and committees runs September through June.

Note: The terms of the Treasurer, Stated Clerk, Journal Clerk and those serving with boards or Synod remain on a calendar year basis. The budget would remain on a calendar year basis.

Sick Leave and Family Leave Policies

2004 September

Sick Leave

One day per month of service, cumulative up to 90 days. Sick leave is cumulative by the month from the first day of service. It is not included in any severance or termination compensation. The 90-day accumulation is equal to the amount of time required between the advent of disability and the beginning of payments by the Board of Pensions.

Family Leave

Statement of Coverage: This leave policy covers all minister members of the Presbytery serving in a congregation or on the staff of the Presbytery. The Committee on Ministry shall approve any of the following leaves in addition to the session and/or congregation because such a leave constitutes a change in the minister’s terms of call.

Pregnancy/Childbirth: Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act requires employers to treat pregnancy and childbirth in the same way as others causes of disability. Specifically, the amendment

  1. requires employers to treat pregnancy and childbirth in the same way as other causes of disability under the fringe benefits plan,
  2. prohibits terminating or refusing to hire or promote a woman solely because she is (or might become) pregnant,
  3. bars mandatory leaves for pregnant women arbitrarily set at a certain time in their pregnancy and not based upon their inability to work, and
  4. protects reinstatement rights of women on leave for pregnancy-related reasons.

In accordance with Federal Law and in coordination with Board of Pensions coverage, pregnancy shall be considered as a temporary physical disability and treated as such for compensation purposes. A session may supplement disability payments by the Board of Pensions up to the minister’s regular pay.

Following leave for pregnancy the minister may be granted an additional period of unpaid leave.

Parental Care Giving: A minister may request Parental Leave on the occasion of the birth, adoption, or guardianship of a child. The leave must be taken directly preceding or within 12 months of the birth or placement of a child.

Compensation for this time will be negotiated between the minister and the session. The minister may be granted an additional period of unpaid leave. The minister must utilize vacation time up to the total days available before unpaid leave begins. The total length of paid and unpaid leave for parental care giving may not exceed 6 months.

Family Care Giving: A minister may request Family Leave up to the total available vacation days in order to care for a spouse, child, or parent of the minister if such spouse, child, or parent has a serious health condition. The minister may be granted an additional period of unpaid leave.

Candidate Indebtedness Policy

2008 April

When the Presbytery of Genesee Valley is the Presbytery of Care:

  1. In order to assess net worth, and to make a plan for financing the cost of seminary, inquirers are required to:
    • attend a Board of Pensions “Fiscal Fitness” workshop held annually at each of the 11 Presbyterian seminaries during inquiry, or
    • meet with the Board of Pensions regional representative or the Presbyterian Foundation representative during inquiry, or
    • attend a local bi-annual “Fiscal Fitness” workshop sponsored by the Committee on Preparation for Ministry.
  2. The Presbytery of Genesee Valley will share the cost, with the congregation of which the candidate is a member, of attending a Career and Counseling Center for career guidance in pursuit of ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
  3. A designee of the Presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry will make available annually the median income for the denomination reported by the Board of Pensions, and the minimum effective salary established by the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.
  4. The Committee on Preparation for Ministry will be an advocate with the congregation of which the inquirer or candidate is a member, and with other congregations of the Presbytery as appropriate, in order to generate financial support for the inquirer or candidate in the form of grants.
    • The Committee on Preparation for Ministry will make available upon request a list of options for pursuing grants and interest free loans and other funding that may be available through the Financial Aid for Studies Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and PC(USA) seminaries.
    • The Committee on Preparation for Ministry may suggest that Inquirers and Candidates work with a financial advisor on their own to evaluate or anticipate indebtedness and assets.

When the Presbytery of Genesee Valley is the Presbytery of Call:

  1. When a minister serving a first call following graduation from seminary comes with educational indebtedness and wishes to access assistance from the Board of Pensions, he/she shall be asked if they have attended a financial planning workshop such as a Fiscal Fitness workshop sponsored by the Board of Pensions, or other financial planning workshop. If the minister has not attended such a workshop, he/she shall be required to do so within twelve months of start-up, the cost of registration fee, accommodation and travel for such a workshop to be considered legitimate reimbursable expense from study leave allowance.
  2. The Committee on Ministry shall encourage calling congregations to utilize further educational debt reduction as a point in negotiating salary with a prospective pastor who is a recent seminary graduate.
  3. Processing of applications to the Seminary Debt Assistance Program shall be the responsibility of Presbytery’s Board of Pensions liaison, through the Clergy Care and Development Committee. Ministers interested in applying to the Board of Pension’s Seminary Debt Assistance Program should be referred to the liaison.
  4. The Committee on Ministry shall advise ministers being called to churches in the Presbytery of Genesee Valley of the availability of this program. Those who meet the qualifications to apply for the Board of Pension’s Seminary Debt Assistance Program will be referred to the Presbytery’s Board of Pensions liaison.