7. THE RULES OF DISCIPLINE

 

 

CHAPTER 1 General Rules

 

 

Article 1 The Meaning of Discipline

Ecclesiastical discipline is the exercise of that authority that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed to the visible church for the execution of laws established by him, and shall include all the cases that govern and admonish the members, the officers, and all governing bodies in the church.

 

 

Article 2 The Purposes of Discipline

The purposes of discipline are to protect the truth, to strengthen the authority and honor of Christ, to eliminate offenses, to purify his church, to edify the church, and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offender.

1. To fulfill the above purposes, discipline must be conducted wisely and carefully.

2. All governing bodies, at the time of discipline, must consider the relations and circumstances of offenses in view of cases of similar character and decide based on the precedents. But a different decision may be rendered for those cases with different circumstances.

 

 

Article 3 Offenses

Regardless of the members, officers, or governing bodies involved, an offense is any act that is contrary to the Scriptures, and even if it is not wicked, it may constitute an offense if it causes others to commit sin or hinders the building of virtue.

 

 

Article 4 Judicial Cases

If the charged offense is not a violation of the Scriptures or of church rules and customs regulated by the Scriptures, or if the case is prohibited by other articles of discipline, the matter shall not constitute a judicial case.

 

Article 5 Judicial Cases and Administrative Cases

If formal charges of offense are filed against members or officers, irrespective of whether a lower body or a higher body is involved, such cases shall constitute judicial cases; all other cases shall be administrative cases.

 

 

Article 6 The Children of Communicant Members

All children of all communicant members are members of the church, and they shall be baptized and placed under the care of the church, subject to its government and discipline, and when they have reached the age of reason (discretion), they shall discharge the obligations of members faithfully.

 

 

CHAPTER 2 The Complainant and the Accused

 

 

Article 7

Process against an offender shall not be commenced unless some person or persons undertake to make out the charge. Where discipline is deemed necessary, the court may itself become the complainant to file a formal charge.

 

 

Article 8

If the case is very difficult to decide as a result of strange circumstances, even when the charged offense is grave, it would be better to stay the judgment till God provides positive evidence by his means of justice, rather than to dismiss the case halfway through as a result of insufficient evidence and lose the effect of discipline.

 

 

Article 9

No charge of a private offense shall be admitted unless the court has first ascertained from the complainant that the course set forth by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 has been faithfully followed, which says:

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.”

 

 

Article 10

When the governing bodies decide to file the charge directly, the provisions of the previous article shall not apply. However, when a third patty other than the governing bodies or the injured party files the charges, it would be better for the governing body to try to get both patties reconciled quietly and not to institute judicial process, if possible.

 

 

Article 11

When the governing body files the charges, the World Korean Presbyterian Church becomes the complainant and prosecutor. In other cases, the party who filed the charges becomes the complainant.

 

 

Article 12

When the governing body files the charges for judicial process, one, two, or three of its members shall be elected as prosecutors, and they will act as complainants until the judgment of the highest court is rendered.

If judicial cases are transmitted to a higher body, the prosecutor may request assistants from among the members of the higher body, and the higher body shall elect one or two of its members as requested to assist him.

 

 

Article 13

When a communicant member is slandered by another member and requests an investigation of the case by the governing body, and when the governing body deems it proper, it shall elect one or more members to investigate and report. The governing body shall accept the report and record it in the minutes to close the case.

 

Article 14

Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person: (1) who is known to indulge a malignant spirit towards the accused,

(2) who is not of good character,

(3) who is himself under censure or process,

(4) who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused, (5) who is known to be litigious, or

(6) who is rash or highly imprudent.

 

 

Article 15

When the complainant who files the charges is not a member selected by the governing body, but rather a private person, the governing body, before it institutes the judicial procedure, shall warn him and declare:

“If the charge is false, and your intention is discovered to have been wicked and imprudent, you shall be censured as a slanderer of brothers.”

 

 

CHAPTER 3 The Writ of Complaint and Specifications

 

 

Article 16

In the writ of complaint, every charge must set forth the alleged offenses, and, in the specifications, the evidences of the offenses must be recorded in detail: the time, place, and circumstances, along with the explanation of the witnesses for each item.

 

 

Article 17

In the writ of complaint, each article shall record one offense only, but many offenses may be charged against one accused at the same time, in which case the evidence shall be specified separately for each offense. The court, as it sees fit, may conduct a trial on all charges at the same time, but the judgment shall be rendered seriatim (charge by charge).

 

 

Article 18

When one or more injured parties intend to file charges directly, they must present, with the writ of complaint, a statement that they have followed the course set forth by the teaching of our Lord recorded in Matthew 18:15-17.

 

 

CHAPTER 4 Ordinary Rules Governing the Trial of Judicial Cases

 

 

Article 19

Original jurisdiction over a minister belongs to the presbytery of which he is a member. Original jurisdiction over church members belongs to the session of which the individual is a member. However, when the lower body fails to obey the higher body’s instruction to rule on a matter, either willfully or carelessly, then the higher body shall have authority to rule on it directly.

 

 

Article 20

When the governing body is constituted as a  court, the moderator shall first announce the reasons for being so constituted and shall declare that the case must be handled carefully. The writ of complaint and specifications shall be read once. If the complainant or the accused does not want to be tried immediately, but requests that the trial be delayed, only the following things shall be done:

1. A copy of the writ of complaint and specifications shall be handed to the accused. (The specifications of witnesses for each charge shall be recorded in detail.)

 

2. The court shall issue citations directing the complainant, the accused, and all persons concerned to appear at the next session of the trial (which shall not be less than ten days later).

 

3. In the writ of prosecution, the name of the governing body shall be written, and the moderator and the clerk shall sign it.

 

4. Upon request by the complainant or the accused, witnesses shall be cited to appear.

However, the accused need not inform the complainant of the names of his witnesses.

Article 21

All citations should be served personally, but in case this is not possible, citations shall be sent to the last known address of the person cited. Before the court opens, evidences of service must be presented.

 

 

Article 22

If the defendant does not appear after receiving the subpoena, the governing body shall issue another subpoena with the warning that if he does not respond to the subpoena (unless there are natural hindrances), punishment shall be imposed according to the Book of Discipline (Arts. 34, 39, and 47). If the defendant does not appear after receiving the subpoena twice, the trial court shall proceed with the trial in his absence. In this case, the governing body shall appoint a defense counsel for the defendant. For the first subpoena, the trial date shall be set after ten days or longer, but for the second subpoena, the governing body may set the date for trial as well as for the subpoena of witnesses as it sees fit according to the situation.

 

 

Article 23

The defendant shall appear at the governing body on the date appointed in the subpoena. If he is unable to attend, he may send his proxy.

1. In the following cases, the defendant may interpose objections:

a. When he deems that the governing body convened unlawfully against the rules and regulations,

b. When he deems that the trial amounts to illegal interference,

c. When he deems that the writ of complaint and/or the writ of evidences does not follow the guidelines set forth in the Constitution or that applying the Constitution to the case at bar is improper, or

d. When there are other important considerations.

 

2. The governing body, before the trial, may hear the pleading from both the plaintiff and defendant regarding the complaint, and may, in virtue of its office, decide as follows:

a. It may dismiss the case forthwith, or

b. To be fair and honest, it may permit the complaint to be amended or any errors in the specifications to be corrected, provided that such amendments or corrections do not materially alter the documents.

 

3. If the governing body decides that the complaint meets the standard for legal adjudication, and that the writ of complaint and the specifications of the facts merit a trial, the accused shall be called upon to plead ‘guilty,’ ‘not guilty,’ or ‘silent.’ His plea shall be entered upon the record, and the court shall proceed to try the case.

 

 

Article 24

The court shall decide the date for trial and issue formal subpoenas to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and proceed as follows;

1. When the witnesses are examined, the plaintiff may cross-examine the Defendant’s witnesses, and the defendant may cross-examine the plaintiff’s witnesses, and they may present other legal evidence.

 

2. After that, only to impeach the credibility of the proffered evidence, the plaintiff or defendant may present new witnesses or new evidence.

 

3. During the trial, if new evidence is found by either party, the court may receive such evidence, but, before it does, the court shall inform the defendant of the names of witnesses and the specifications of the testimony; the court shall allow defendants sufficient time to examine it for fairness’ sake.

 

4. After hearing the testimony of witnesses, the plaintiff and the defendant shall make their pleading.

 

5. The court shall immediately have the plaintiff, the defendant, their counsels, and the audience retire, and shall hold a closed deliberation.

 

6. Only the members of the court shall be allowed to participate in the conference and to vote therein.

 

7. Decisions shall be made on each charge of the writ of complaint and on each specification of the facts.

 

8. Then the judgment shall be made for the whole case, and the final judgment shall be recorded in the minutes of the governing body.

 

Article 25

The court shall preserve a complete record of the trial, including the following: charges and specifications, objections made by the accused, the final judgment, all rulings and findings of the court (including the reasons for them), and minutes of the deliberations. In case of an appeal, the statement of appeal and the reasons for it shall be recorded in detail. This record, together with the statements made by both parties and all relevant papers, shall be certified by the clerk; they constitute the complete trial record.

 

 

Article 26

The accused may object to any and all rulings or findings made by the court, unless it is the highest court. All such objections must be entered on the record.

 

 

Article 27

Both the plaintiff and the defendant shall be entitled to the assistance of counsel, and may present pleading orally or in writing.

1. No person shall be eligible to act as counsel who is not a minister or an elder of the World Korean Presbyterian Church. No person who is counsel in a judicial case may sit in judgment on the same case.

 

2. When the governing body is the complainant in the case, the prosecutors (as mentioned in Chap. 2, Art. 12) and assistants appointed by the higher body shall be the counsel for the governing body, provided that no such person shall receive any compensation for serving as counsel.

 

 

Article 28

In the course of trial, if there are any disputes regarding the regulations or the evidence, the moderator shall hear the pleading of both parties and decide between them. Any party who does not agree to the decision may raise an objection, and the moderator shall decide on the validity of such objections. Such rulings shall be recorded in the minutes at the request of the complainant or the accused.

 

 

Article 29

Only members of the court who have been present and have heard all the proceedings shall be allowed to vote thereon, irrespective of the consent of the complainant, the accused, or any members of the court. The clerk shall call the roll at the opening of each session, whether after an adjournment or a recess, except at the highest court, and keep a record of absent members.

 

 

Article 30

The complainant or the accused may request a copy of the records related to the trial, and shall bear the cost of copying them. Upon the higher court’s ruling on an appeal, its decision and the records thereof shall be forwarded to the lower court.

 

 

Article 31

In case of the imposition or removal of church censures, the governing body shall follow the rules set forth in Chapters 16 and 17 of the Directory for the Worship of God of the World Korean Presbyterian Church.

 

 

Article 32

The governing body may hold a closed session by one-third vote of the court.

 

 

Article 33

The governing body, if it is deemed proper for the well-being of the church, may suspend the accused from church office or from communion with the church until the trial is adjudicated, but, in such cases, the case must be expedited.

 

CHAPTER 5 Special Rules Governing the Session Trial

 

 

Article 34

When the accused fails to appear (or send his counsel to represent him) after the second citation, or, having appeared, refuses to testify, the session shall discipline him until he repents of his perversity and obeys the session.

 

 

Article 35

The session may impose these degrees of discipline: admonition, rebuke, suspension, deposition, suspension from communion, expulsion, and excommunication. Excommunication shall be imposed only on those who do not finally repent. Such discipline may be lifted upon repentance. Otherwise, the governing body shall decide.

 

 

Article 36

A decision regarding an offense mayor may not be publicly announced. A public announcement shall be made only in the church involved or in the churches concerned with it.

 

 

CHAPTER 6 Regulations Governing the Trial of Officers

 

 

Article 37

In as much as the honor and progress of the gospel are much related to the reputation of ministers, the presbytery must carefully take notice of individual behavior and the official behavior of the ministers in the presbytery, and may not favor a minister or lighten his censure as a result of his position. On the other hand, it should not rashly accept a complaint against a minister on a minor matter.

 

 

Article 38

When a minister is charged far away from his home, and if his home presbytery has no way to ascertain the facts, but the presbytery that has jurisdiction over the place where the complaint is filed determines that the accused is guilty, then that presbytery shall inform the minister’s home presbytery of the nature of the case, and the home presbytery shall immediately take action if the matter is concerned with religious honor.

 

 

Article 39

If the accused minister does not appear after receiving the second citation, nor send his counsel, the presbytery may suspend him for his rejection of its oversight. If he does not appear after the third citation, nor send his counsel, the presbytery shall impose suspension from communion.

 

 

Article 40

When a minister is on trial, the governing body hearing his case may decide to suspend his right to speak and vote on the general deliberations of that body during the course of his trial.

 

 

Article 41

If the accused is judged to be guilty, then admonition, rebuke, suspension from office, deposition (in the case of suspension or deposition, suspension from communion may also be imposed at the same time), or excommunication shall be imposed. When, after a year has passed, a suspended person has failed to repent, the court may impose deposition without further trial.

 

 

Article 42

When a minister advocates heresy or breaks up the church illegally, if the case is serious, deposition shall be imposed. (However, it should be ascertained beforehand whether he deliberately encouraged others to oppose sound doctrine, or whether he did so as a result of a lack of knowledge and as such did not harm the doctrine of the church.)

 

 

Article 43

If the presbytery determines that the infraction is minor, and the congregation considers his repentance to be sufficient, and if there is no serious hindrance to ministry, proper measures shall be taken to prevent future incidents and the complaint shall be withdrawn.

 

 

Article 44

When a minister who has been deposed from his office on account of a misdemeanor repents deeply and manifests exemplary modesty and virtue for a long time, and when the presbytery with jurisdiction sees and ascertains that there would be no hindrance to his continued ministry, it shall reappoint him to his ministry, whether it be the presbytery that originally imposed deposition or another presbytery that is entrusted with his oversight.

 

 

Article 45

When the pastor of a local church is deposed but not excommunicated, the presbytery shall announce that he is released from his office. In this case, it shall give him a letter of transfer as an ordinary member and send it to the church where he wishes to go. In the letter the details of his circumstances shall be recorded. When a pastor is suspended, he may be subsequently released from office. However, if he appeals his suspension, he may not be released from office.

 

 

Article 46

The presbytery, for the well-being of the church, may suspend a pastor temporarily from office when a charge is filed against him, but in such a case the trial should be adjudicated speedily.

 

Article 47

If a charge is filed against an elder or a deacon, the provisions of this chapter shall apply correspondingly.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7 Provisions for Summary Judgment

 

 

Article 48

When a person commits an offense at the court or confesses an offense committed at another place, the court may hear the case and proceed to judgment without full process.

1. When a person commits an offense at the trial, he is entitled to request an extension of the trial for two days or longer.

 

2. In such a case, the specifications of the offense and the reasons for the decision shall be recorded in detail in the minutes of the court, and the case may be appealed as in other cases.

 

 

Article 49

When an active member, without any offense to be tried, comes before the session as his own accuser and declares that he is not qualified for communion, the session shall carefully consider the case, and, if it confirms that his declaration is not a misunderstanding, it shall temporarily suspend him from communion and shall record the facts in detail in the session minutes.

 

 

Article 50

When an active member moves to another place, the pastor or the secretary of the session shall give his address to the pastor or secretary of the session in that district.

1. When an active member moves to another place, but does not request a letter of transfer (without a proper reason) for more than two years, the home session shall reinvestigate the matter, and until the matter is resolved his name shall be moved to a separate roll (with the date noted).

 

2. When an active member moves to another place and is missing for three years, the session shall apply the provisions in the preceding paragraph correspondingly, and the reasons shall be recorded in detail in the minutes of the session.

 

3. In the roll of disciplined members, the name of censure shall be recorded, and the members mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs shall be recorded in a separate roll book. In the statistics presented to the presbytery, they shall not be counted as active members.

 

4. Before the session presents membership statistics to the presbytery, it shall examine the roll of the members carefully and adjust it according to the rules of discipline. Notification shall be sent to the members whose addresses are known, and efforts should be made to restore disciplined members.

 

 

Article 51

When a member of the church residing in the district does not attend the various services of the church, yet does not commit a chargeable offense, the session shall admonish him to attend. If he does not comply within one year, the session shall notify the member first and then take disciplinary action; if there is no charge against him and if he attends church services, he shall be restored.

 

 

Article 52

When a minister without blame presents a request to the presbytery according to the provisions of the Form of Government, Chapter 15, Articles 1 and 3, the presbytery shall inquire about the purposes and reasons for it and make a decision. In the case of Article 3, no action shall be taken for one year, after which the presbytery may conclude that the minister cannot carry out his responsibilities willingly and beneficially, and then may permit his resignation. Then his name shall be erased from the roll of the presbytery, and a certificate of transfer for a baptized member shall be given to him, and he will be sent to the church desired.

 

 

Article 53

When a church member joins another denomination without a certificate of transfer from his home church, it is an illegal act, and the session shall expel him from membership and record it in the minutes of the session. If there is any case pending against him, the trial may be carried out.

 

 

Article 54

When a minister who has not committed a definite offense rejects the jurisdiction of this church and gives up his office, or establishes a church of his own, or joins another denomination without a writ of transfer, the presbytery shall erase his name from the roll of the presbytery and record the reasons in the minutes. If there is any case pending against him, the trial may be carried out. If he joins a denomination regarded as heretical, then suspension, deposition, or excommunication may be imposed.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 8 Regulations Governing Evidence

 

 

Article 55

The governing body, when it receives evidence, must be attentive and fair. Not all witnesses are qualified, and not all qualified witnesses are trustworthy.

 

 

Article 56

Witnesses are permitted to testify, except those who do not believe in the existence of God or who do not believe in rewards and punishments in the future, or who do not understand the responsibility of an oath. Both the plaintiff and the defendant may object to any witnesses presented by the other party, and the governing body shall decide whether such witnesses shall be permitted to testify or not.

 

 

Article 57

In  deciding to  what  extent  a  witness is  believable or  credible, the  following circumstances may be considered:

1. The relationship of the witness to the complainant or the accused.

2. Any direct interest that the witness may have in the outcome of the trial.

3. The age of the witness.

4. The intelligence of the witness.

5. The behavior and temper of the witness.

6. Whether the witness is under the censure of the church.

7. The impetuosity and lack of discernment of the witness.

8. Whether the witness, irrespective of circumstances, may have an indirect interest in the case, and so be too biased to testify honestly or knowledgeably.

 

 

Article 58

A husband may bear testimony concerning his wife, or a wife concerning her husband, but the governing body may not compel either to bear testimony against the other.

 

 

Article 59

Testimony may be oral or written, direct or indirect as the case may be. In case of an offense, if there is only one witness and no other evidence, it is hard to adjudicate the case. However, when several offenses of similar nature are enumerated in one writ of complaint, and there is at least one credible witness for each of the offenses, then the writ of complaint may be adjudicated as a whole.

 

 

Article 60

Except for members of the governing body, the witnesses who will be testifying before and after shall not sit together.

 

 

Article 61

As to the order of examination of witnesses, witnesses shall be examined first by the governing body, and, with the permission of the body, by the party introducing them. They may then be cross-examined by the opposing party, after which any member of the court may question them. The court shall not permit irrelevant and frivolous questions. Unless permitted by the court to clarify important facts, the party that introduced a witness shall not ask him leading questions.

 

 

Article 62

The moderator shall require each witness to take the following oath before he testifies:

“Do you solemnly swear in the presence of the omniscient and heart-searching God that you will speak the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, concerning the matters on which you are called to testify, as you shall answer to almighty God, who will judge the living and the dead?”

The witness shall reply, “I do.”

 

 

Article 63

The testimony of the witnesses shall be recorded only when the party introducing them is present. When the complainant, the accused, and the court deem it necessary, every question put to a witness and the answer thereto shall be reduced to writing, and the testimony of the witness shall be read to him at the court for his approbation and subscription.

 

 

Article 64

The records of a court, whether original or transcribed, if authenticated with a signature by the clerk of the court (or by the moderator, if the clerk is deceased, out of town, or unable to perform his duties), shall be deemed good and sufficient evidence in the higher court or in any other court.

 

 

Article 65

In like manner, testimony taken by one court and regularly certified, as in the preceding article, shall be received by every other court as no less valid than if it had been taken by itself.

Article 66

In the course of the trial, if it is unavoidable, as a result of the circumstances of the complainant, the accused, or the witnesses, the governing body may, upon the request of both parties, appoint a commission consisting of ministers and elders to examine the evidence.

1. The members of such a commission need not be members of the governing body.

 

2. The commission shall receive the evidence presented by both parties. Before it starts the examination, it shall notify both parties of the time and place of the examination. It shall, according to the rules of the court, either question the witnesses orally or receive their written statements. The complainant and the accused may examine the witnesses directly or cross-examine them.

 

3. The court shall decide whether evidence presented through such a commission is relevant and credible.

 

4. The commission shall authenticate with a signature the evidence collected, and deliver it to the clerk of court.

 

 

Article 67

When the governing body opens the court, it may allow any member of the body to testify, and such member shall testify under oath like any other witnesses. After testifying, he may carry out his duties in the body as usual.

 

 

Article 68

Any member of the church who fails to appear after receiving a subpoena or who refuses to testify, though present, may be censured for contumacy.

 

 

Article 69

If, after the trial is closed by the governing body and the time limit for an appeal has passed, new evidence by which the accused may be acquitted is discovered, the accused may apply for a new trial, and the court may grant his request if it deems that justice may be served by a retrial.

 

Article 70

If, in the prosecution of an appeal, new testimony is offered which, in the judgment of the appellate court, has an important bearing on the case, that court may refer the case to the lower court for a new trial. Or, if both parties desire, the higher court may consider the evidence and retry the case, provided that the provisions of Article 100 be applied.

 

 

CHAPTER 9 Provisions for Appeals

 

 

Article 71

An appeal against a decision made by the session or the presbytery may be made, in order, to the higher Court by the following methods:

1. Examination and correction,

2. Entrusted judgment,

3. Petition, or

4. Appeal.

 

(1) Examination and Correction

Article 72

The cases adjudicated by the church or by its agencies shall be reported to its session, which shall examine the case, approve the record, and add it to the record of the session. Higher bodies shall examine the minutes of lower bodies once a year. If the lower body fails to present its minutes to the higher body, the higher body shall have it presented as is convenient or shall order it to be presented by a certain date.

 

 

Article 73

The higher body shall examine the minutes of the lower body and consider:

1. Whether the facts are recorded properly,

2. Whether the case was decided in accordance with the Constitution, and

3. Whether the case was decided wisely, fairly, and for edification.

 

Article 74

When the higher body evaluates the minutes of the lower body, the delegates from that lower body shall not have the right to vote.

 

Article 75

When the higher body examines the minutes of the lower body and finds mistakes, it is customary to record them in the minutes of the higher body and in those of the lower body. If the mistake is grave, the higher body may order the lower body to correct or change the matter and have it report whether it has been done, setting a time within which to do it. However, in a judicial case, the higher body may not change the judgment of the lower body unless the case has been appealed.

 

Article 76

Whenever a higher body confirms that a lower body under its jurisdiction has adjudicated a case in violation of the Constitution, it shall instruct the lower body to bring the record to a designated place and report the circumstances. If it is clearly found that a mistake was made, the higher court may correct it directly or send it back to the lower body to be corrected. When a petition or an appeal is being considered by a governing body or its court, before the judgment is announced, if the petitioner or the appellant distributes to the members of the higher body or to the public copies of the pleading or specifications or publishes them to influence the result directly or indirectly, such action shall constitute contempt of the governing body and shall be censured, and the petition or appeal may be dismissed.

 

Article 77

When the lower body neglects to fulfill its responsibility, so that heresy or immorality prevails and clearly wicked persons escape discipline, and the adjudicated cases are omitted from the minutes or miswritten, the higher body, if it confirms such a fact, shall examine the minutes of the lower body and have them corrected so as to adjudicate the case properly, applying Article 76 of this chapter.

 

(2) Entrusted Judgment

 

 

Article 78

The lower body may present a judicial case that is hard to decide to the higher body in writing, seeking guidance on how to handle it. However, it is usually better for the church if the lower body decides the case using its own discernment.

 

 

Article 79

The lower body shall request an entrusted judgment in unprecedented cases, vital cases, cases that are difficult to adjudicate, cases that present difficult circumstances, cases in which the decision of the lower court may set a precedent, cases in which the opinions of the members of lower body are divided, and cases that should be decided by the higher body due to the gravity of the matter.

 

 

Article 80

When an entrusted judgment is requested of the higher body by the lower body, the lower body (1) may request the guidance of the higher body in preparing material for its decision, or (2) may request the higher body to examine the case directly and reach a judgment. When only guidance is requested, the lower body shall suspend the decision temporarily, but when examination and judgment are requested, the whole case shall be entrusted to the higher body.

 

 

Article 81

When the higher body deliberates on the case, delegates from the lower body may participate and vote.

 

 

Article 82

The higher body may decide not to examine and decide the entrusted case, but only provide guidance. Or it may send the case back to the lower body with or without any direction.

 

Article 83

When the higher body accepts the case entrusted by the lower body, the lower body shall immediately send the records of the case to the higher body, and, when the higher body has received them, it shall also hear statements from both the complainant and the accused.

 

(3) Petition

 

 

Article 84

One or more members who are under the jurisdiction of a higher body may petition in writing for redress if the lower body does not fulfill its duty in an administrative case, or if it takes an action or makes a decision in violation of law. When the court that acts for the lower body makes a decision on an administrative case after the closing of the body, the petition may be presented to the higher body as if the decision was made at a regular meeting. If one-third of the members of the court who participated in its decision were consulted for the action, the decision of the lower court shall be suspended until the higher body rules on the petition.

 

 

Article 85

Notice of the petition and any supporting statement shall be presented to the clerk of the lower body within ten days after the decision of that body (or to the moderator, if the clerk is deceased, out of town, or unable to act), and the clerk, by the second day of the stated meeting of the higher body, shall lodge the notice of petition, the statement of reasons for it, and all the records and documents of the case with the clerk of the higher body.

 

 

Article 86

In an administrative case (other than a judicial case), if one-third of the members who participate in the decision of the lower body jointly present a petition, the decision of the lower body shall be suspended until the case is decided by the higher body.

 

Article 87

Those who have given notice of a petition shall present it and the reasons for it to the clerk of the higher body by the second day of the next stated meeting of the higher body.

 

Article 88

When the higher body deems that the petition is in order and that there are good reasons for it, the decision and all pertinent records of the lower body shall be recited and the pleading of both parties shall be heard, after which the case shall be adjudicated.

 

Article 89

When the higher body deems that a petition is lawful, it may change either the entire decision made by the lower body or part of it. In such a case, the higher body shall tell the lower body how to dispose of the case.

 

Article 90

Those who present the petition are the petitioners, and those against whom the petition is presented are the respondents. The respondent is usually the lower body, and it shall appoint one or more of its members to represent it, and they should seek the assistance of counsel.

 

Article 91

The petitioners and/or the respondents who are members of the lower body shall have their rights as members of the higher body suspended during the consideration of the case.

 

Article 92

The petitioner or the respondent may appeal to the highest body.

 

 

Article 93

The lower body against which the petition is filed shall lodge the entirety of the records and documents pertaining to the case with the higher body. The lower body’s failure to comply shall be admonished. The rights of both parties shall be preserved until the records and documents are forwarded, and until the case is examined and adjudicated.

 

(4) Appeal

 

 

Article 94

An appeal is a written request to a higher court to consider a judicial case on which judgment has been rendered in a lower court. The party who files the appeal is the appellant, and the party against whom the appeal is filed is the appellee, regardless of which one was the complainant or the accused. The only way to reverse or modify the judgment in a judicial case is by an appeal. If an appeal is filed, members of the lower body may only present complaints, protests, or a written opinion, but shall have no right to speak.

1. After the meeting is adjourned, both the complainant and the accused may appeal to the higher body against the judgment rendered by the court that acted for the body, as if the decisions were made at the regular meeting.

2. In the appellate court, evidence may be examined when it is unavoidable, but evidence shall not be examined at the highest court.

 

 

Article 95

The grounds for an appeal are as follows:

1. When the lower court conducts the trial in violation of the law,

2. When the lower court does not permit an appeal,

3. When the lower court examines one party one-sidedly and severely,

4. When improper evidence is admitted,

5. When proper and vital evidence is refused,

6. When the lower court hurries to a decision before sufficient evidence is taken,

7. When the lower court manifests prejudice in the case, and

8. When there is a mistake or injustice in the judgment.

 

Article 96

The appellant, within ten days after the judgment of the lower court, shall file the notice of appeal, with supporting reasons, with the clerk of the lower court (or with the moderator, if the clerk is deceased, out of town, or unable to act). The clerk shall deliver the notice of appeal, together with all the records and documents pertaining to the case, to the clerk of the higher court by the second day of the next stated meeting of the higher body.

 

 

Article 97

The appellant (or his counsel) shall be present before the higher body by the second day of its stated meeting, and deliver the notice of appeal with written reasons for it to the clerk of the higher court. If the appellant does not appear on the said date, unless reliable evidence is produced to prove that his absence was due to unavoidable circumstances, the appeal shall be considered to have been withdrawn and the judgment of the original body shall be finalized.

 

 

Article 98

If the appellant or the appellee is a member of the higher body, his membership rights at the higher court shall be suspended while the appeal is being deliberated.

 

 

Article 99

When the appellant has presented the notice of appeal, the writ of appeal, and the written reasons for it, within the time limits, the higher court shall consider the appeal in accordance with the applicable rules.

1. The higher court shall read the judgment of the lower court, the notice of appeal, the writ of appeal, and the written reasons for it, and hear an explanation from both parties; then it shall decide whether to accept the appeal.

 

2. After a higher court has decided to hear an appeal, the following procedures shall be followed:

(a) The entire record of the lower court shall be read from beginning to end (if both parties agree, unnecessary parts may be omitted).

(b) Both  parties shall  make  oral  statements, but  the  beginning and  closing statements shall be made by the appellant.

(c) Both parties shall retire, and the members of the higher court shall deliberate the case.

(d) The moderator shall take the vote on the matters seriatim (item by item), considering the written reasons of appeal without debate. If the higher court deems for each item that there are no proper reasons for appeal, and does not sustain any of the specifications of error in the judgment of the lower court, then the higher court shall confirm the judgment of the lower court. However, if one or more material specifications of error are sustained, then the appellate court shall reverse or modify the judgment of the lower court, and may return the case to the lower court for a new trial as it deems appropriate.

When the higher court modifies the judgment of the lower court, its decision and the reasons for it shall be recorded in the minutes of the court, and, when it deems necessary, the summary of the interpretation of the judgment shall be recorded in the minutes.

 

 

Article 100

If the lower court issues an admonition or a rebuke, that censure shall be suspended temporarily when the appeal is filed, but other censures shall be put into effect until the appeal is heard by the higher court.

 

 

Article 101

If an appeal is filed, the lower court shall send all of the records and documents of the case to the higher court. If the lower court shall neglect to send this up, it shall receive a proper rebuke from the higher court, and the judgment from which the appeal has been taken shall be suspended until the record is produced.

CHAPTER 10 Dissents and Protests(by Members of the Governing Body)

 

 

Article 102

A dissent is a declaration on the part of one or more members of a minority, expressing a different opinion from the majority in its action on any issue before the court.

 

 

Article 103

A protest is a more solemn and formal declaration by members of a minority, bearing their testimony against what they deem an improper or erroneous action, decision, or judgment, and is accompanied by the reasons on which it is founded.

 

 

Article 104

If a dissent or protest is in proper order, is expressed in temperate language, and makes no unreasonable accusations against the majority, it shall be recorded.

 

 

Article 105

If the protest contains a misunderstanding of the precedents cited and the opinion of the court, the court may answer the protest in the record along with it. After the answer, the protester may modify his protest, and, if the court modifies the answer, the case shall be closed.

 

 

Article 106

No one can join in dissent or protest against an action of the court except those who had a right to vote in the case. Likewise, no one can join in dissent or protest against the issues in the trial except those who dissented when the vote was taken. However, members of the governing body may present a dissent, a protest, and answers against the judgment rendered by the court. In cases adjudicated by a court when the governing body is not in session, any member of the body or any member of the court may present a letter of dissent or protest to the clerk of the court within ten days from the announcement of the judgment, and then the court or the members of the court may present a letter of answer to the clerk of the court within twenty days from the judgment. The clerk of the court shall make copies of each dissent, protest, and answer and deliver them to the clerk of the governing body, who will record them in the minutes of the body.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 11 Jurisdiction over Transferred Members

 

 

Article 107

A minister or a church member shall be subject to the court of the governing body to which he belongs, whenever or wherever he may have committed offenses.

 

 

Article 108

Members of one church dismissed to join another and given a certificate of dismissal shall be held to be under the jurisdiction of the session dismissing them until they officially join as members of the church to which they have been dismissed. (After the member has received the certificate of dismissal, his office shall immediately end, and he shall have no right to speak or to vote at congregational meetings.) If he returns the certificate of dismissal to his original church within one year, the session shall receive and record it in its minutes, but his former office shall not be resumed.

 

 

Article 109

When a minister receives a certificate of dismissal, as in the preceding article, he shall remain under the jurisdiction of the presbytery dismissing him until he is received by the other presbytery. (From the day he receives the certificate of dismissal he shall have no right to speak or to vote at his original presbytery.) If he returns the certificate of dismissal to the original presbytery, it shall record it in the minutes, and his membership rights shall be resumed as before.

 

Article 110

When a presbytery dismisses a minister or a candidate for the ministry, the name of the presbytery to which he is dismissed shall be stated in the certificate, and, while that presbytery exists, no other presbytery shall accept him.

 

 

Article 111

When a  local church is  dissolved, the presbytery concerned shall have direct jurisdiction over its members and deliver certificates of dismissal to another church. If there is any judicial case which was started by the dissolved session, the presbytery shall deal with it.

 

 

Article 112

When a presbytery is dissolved, the General Assembly shall have direct jurisdiction over its members, and deliver certificates of dismissal to another presbytery. If there is any judicial case which was started by the dissolved presbytery, the General Assembly shall deal with it.

 

 

CHAPTER 12 Transferring between Churches or Presbyteries

Article 114

A minister or candidate for the ministry, in the case of his dismissal as in the preceding article, shall join the presbytery that is recorded in the certificate of dismissal. Unless there is some special reason, he shall deliver the certificate within one year to the presbytery to which he intends to move.

The presbytery that receives him shall immediately notify the presbytery that sent the certificate of dismissal.

 

 

Article 115

If a member requests a certificate of dismissal after two years or more have passed since moving from his hometown and church, the session shall record the facts in the certificate of dismissal.

 

 

Article 116

Judicial process on a case of offense shall be initiated within one year from the day when the facts are found. Unless the offense is so grave as to inflict important injury upon the church, the offense shall not be tried after a lapse of three years.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 13 The Higher Courts of the Church

 

 

Article 113

When a church member moves to another church, he shall present his membership certificate and his certificate of dismissal within one year to the church to which he intends to move, unless some special circumstance prevents him from doing so.

1. When parents move, the names of their baptized children (under the age for adult baptism) shall be included in the certificate of dismissal.

 

2. In the certificate of dismissal, the name of the church to which they are dismissed shall be stated. As soon as they are received and their certificate of dismissal has been accepted, their new church shall notify the church that sent the certificate of dismissal.

 

(1) The Court of a Presbytery

 

Article 117

The presbytery shall elect members of the court from among the ministers and elders under its jurisdiction. The number of judges on the court shall be seven or more, of which the majority shall be ministers. The presbytery may directly adjudicate judicial cases or may entrust them to the court, which may adjudicate only those cases entrusted to it by the presbytery .

 

 

Article 118

The court shall elect, from its members, a chairman and a secretary. It shall have the same rights as the governing body as far as the cases entrusted to it are concerned. It shall apply the Constitution of the Church and the bylaws of the presbytery, and shall report to the presbytery after its adjudication.

 

 

Article 119

The quorum of the court shall consist of two-thirds of its members, of which the majority shall be ministers.

 

 

Article 120

The date and place of the court shall be decided by the presbytery or, if there is no decision by the presbytery, by the court itself.

 

 

Article 121

If the court has adjudicated a case entrusted to it while the presbytery is in session, it shall immediately report to the presbytery, and after presenting the report the decision shall be regarded as the decision of the presbytery.

1. The presbytery may adopt or reverse the entire report of the court. When it reverses the case, it may retry the whole case in the usual manner.

 

2. A case adjudicated by the court after the session of the presbytery has concluded shall be regarded as the judgment of the presbytery from the time of its announcement.

 

 

Article 122

The clerk of the court shall make a detailed record of the proceedings of the trial and the judgment. The chairman and the clerk shall authenticate the copies to certify the authenticity of the records, and shall deliver one copy to the complainant, one to the accused, and one to the clerk of the presbytery.

 

Article 123

The court may entrust the report to the clerk of the presbytery or may report directly to the presbytery. The clerk of the presbytery shall present the record along with the minutes of the presbytery to the higher body for examination.

 

(2) The Court of the General Assembly

 

 

Article 124

The General Assembly shall establish a permanent court, to which eight ministers and seven elders shall be elected, of which no presbytery shall be represented by more than two members.

The members of the court shall be divided into three classes of five members each. Each year, one class shall come up for election to a three-year term starting with the first convening date. The members whose terms have expired shall not be reelected for at least one year after that.

Those who are members of permanent agencies of the General Assembly shall not be elected as members of the court.

1. If there are vacancies on the court while the General Assembly is in session, the General Assembly shall fill the vacancies. If there are vacancies after the closing of the General Assembly, the moderator shall fill them, and they shall serve until the opening of the next General Assembly.

 

2. The General Assembly may directly adjudicate judicial cases or may entrust them to the court, which shall adjudicate only the cases entrusted to it.

 

 

Article 125

The court shall elect its chairman and clerk from its members every year. Its authority to adjudicate the cases entrusted to it is the same as that of the governing body. It shall apply the Constitution of the Church and the Bylaws of the General Assembly, and report its decisions to the General Assembly.

 

Article 126

The quorum for the court of the General Assembly shall be eleven members, among whom six shall be ministers.

 

 

Article 127

The convening date and place of the court shall be decided by the General Assembly or the court itself.

 

 

Article 128

The judgment of the court of the General Assembly shall bind only the parties until the

General Assembly accepts it.

 

 

Article 129

The clerk of the court shall record the entire proceeding and the decisions in detail in the minutes, copies of which the chairman and the clerk shall authenticate, and one copy of which shall be delivered to the complainant, the accused, and the clerk of the General Assembly.

 

 

Article 130

The court may entrust the report of the case to the clerk of the General Assembly or may directly report to the General Assembly. The clerk of the General Assembly shall take charge of the received reports and include them with the minutes of General Assembly.

 

 

Article 131

The General Assembly may examine the judgments of the court and may either accept or return them, or establish a special court to consider a particular case and report on it. When the General Assembly does not examine the judgment of the court, or does not make any change after examination, the judgment shall be finalized from the time of the closing of the General Assembly.

 

Article 132

The expenses of the court shall be defrayed by the General Assembly.

 

 

Article 133

When the General Assembly deems it necessary, it may establish a special court, which shall follow the rules of the permanent court.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 14 Disputes among Governing Bodies

 

 

Article 134

If any governing body intends to petition against a decision of another governing body of the same level (cf. Art. 84 and Art. 93), it shall present the petition to the higher governing body. It shall notify the clerk of the body against which the petition is filed and the clerk of the higher body within one year after the occurrence of the incident.

 

 

Article 135

When a governing body intends to file a complaint as stated in the preceding article, it may select a representative counsel to handle the case from the initial court to the final judgment of the highest court.

 

 

Article 136

The higher body that has received a petition shall examine the case. If it finds that the petitioner’s arguments are valid, it may reverse or modify all or part of the decision made by the respondent body, and instruct that body accordingly, in which case the petitioner and/or the respondent may appeal to the higher body.

주소: 125 S. Vermont Ave.,

Los Angeles, CA 90004

연락처 >

T: 213-381-0082

F: 213-381-0010

E: office@wkpc.net

관련기관

© 2019 WKPC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.