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Act 4, 1859 (IV) (Class 1) – Act anent the Election and Calling of Ministers. 25th May 1859. (As amended by Act 2, 1888 (II) – Act amending Act IV. 1859—anent the Election and Calling of Ministers. This act must be read in conjunction with Act 1, 1897 (I) – Anent Procedure in Vacancies. If anything in this act is inconsistent with Act I, 1897 then Act I, 1897 takes precedence.)

The General Assembly, with consent of a majority of Presbyteries, Enact and Ordain-

1. That when a vacancy has taken place in any Congregation, the Presbytery of the bounds shall, at its first meeting thereafter, appoint one of the ministers to preach in said Congregation, and to intimate the vacancy, and shall also appoint a minister to be interim Moderator of the Kirk-Session of the vacant Congregation, and to preside at all congregational meetings that may be held during the vacancy.

2. That on intimating the vacancy, unless special grounds exist for delaying to fill it up, the minister shall call a meeting of the Congregation on an early day.

3. That a form of exhortation previously prepared by the General Assembly shall be read at this meeting, setting forth the duties and responsibilities in the election of a minister pertaining to all the parties concerned, namely, to the Congregation, to the Presbytery, and the person or persons put in nomination.

4. That unless the Congregation are prepared at this meeting to elect a minister, they shall nominate certain of their number, who, along with the office-bearers, shall be a Committee, for looking out for a suitable person or persons to be heard by the congregation, or a suitable person to be recommended to them as their pastor.

6. That when the candidates have been heard, once or oftener, as may be arranged, a congregational meeting shall be held on an early day for the purpose of choosing one to be their pastor ; and if it shall appear that the congregation are not prepared at this stage to elect any of them, the Committee, or a new Committee to be then named, consisting, as before, of the office-bearers, and such members of the congregation as may be named for the purpose, shall prepare a list of additional candidates, when the same steps as before shall be taken.

7. That, when an election has taken place, the Presbytery shall proceed therein according to the laws of the Church, but when the circumstances are such that the Presbytery do not feel warranted to proceed immediately to moderate in a Call, they shall hold a meeting with the congregation, and shall not proceed to moderate in a Call till they have exhausted all means for producing harmony, and, should these means prove unsuccessful, they shall refer the matter to the Superior Church Courts for advice.

8. That when a division exists in the congregation, the Presbytery shall not sustain a Call unless it be subscribed by a majority of the whole members on the Communicants’ Roll.

9. That before any steps are taken in an election of a minister, the Kirk-Session shall have a roll of Communicants made up and attested; that the roll of Communicants so made up and attested, previously to the first Congregational Meeting at which a minister may be elected, shall, previously to any subsequent meeting for the election of a minister, be purged of all those who in the meantime have died, or have been disjoined from the Congregation by certificate, and the names shall be added to the roll of those who in the meantime have been admitted as Communicants in the Congregation ; the roll thus made up to be duly attested by the Kirk-Session.