The General Assembly ordain that in future congregations in Groups III and IV, upon becoming vacant, or being for whatever reason required to submit a new Schedule, shall not be placed on the Equal Dividend Platform except upon the following considerations and terms:-
(1) The congregation shall promise to send to central funds an amount in total equal to the Equal Dividend current at the time of the submission of its schedule to the Sustentation Fund Committee.
(2) After the settlement of a Minister a fresh schedule shall be submitted triennially and the Sustentation Fund Committee shall have no authority to continue the congregation on the Equal Dividend Platform unless it promises a total contribution to central funds which shall at least equal the amount of the Equal Dividend current at the time of consideration of the fresh schedule.
(3) When a congregation hitherto on the Equal Dividend Platform on the above terms fails to qualify for retention on the basis of its fresh schedule the Committee shall report the case to the General Assembly, and unless the Assembly are satisfied that circumstances meriting special consideration exist, the Committee shall authorise that the minister be paid a stipend equal to the total contribution of his congregation to Central Funds from the beginning of June following upon the meetings of the General Assembly.
(4) Notwithstanding the above, the Committee may recommend to the General Assembly that in special circumstances congregations be admitted to the Equal Dividend Platform on conditions to be submitted by the Committee to the Assembly. These special circumstances shall have regard to:-
(a) The geographical position of the congregation: and
(b) The potential for growth perceived to exist
Each such case so passed by the Assembly shall be reviewed triennially.
(5) Before a presbytery gives its approval to a Schedule seeking ‘Special Consideration’ in terms of paragraph (3) or (4) it shall carry out a visitation of the congregation and submit to the Committee, along with the Schedule, a report on the prospects of a continued ministry in the congregation.
(6) When a congregation listed in Group I or Group II at the time of the approval of its Sustentation Fund Schedule fails to remit to central funds an amount equal to the Equal Dividend then current, the Sustentation Fund Committee shall draw this fact to the attention of the congregation. If the shortfall continues for three years the Committee shall require the congregation to submit a fresh schedule to be dealt with on the same terms and conditions as Group III congregations.
The General Assembly repeal Act XIII Class 2 1976
The General Assembly re-enact as follows:-
“Where the main church buildings of two vacant congregations or a vacant congregation and a settled charge, one or both of these congregations being in Groups III and IV, are not more than 15 miles apart, the Presbytery shall be required to take all possible steps to bring about a linkage”.