Can my church council prevent me from accepting a call to another church?

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This question is from a real-life situation which Dr. Henry DeMoor has responded to based on his extensive knowledge of the Christian Reformed Church Order.

I recently accepted a call to serve another congregation. When I notified the council of my decision, they voted unanimously not to let me go. I know I’ve only been here three years, but can they do that? And what will our relationship be now if I stay?

The first answer given has been taken from the Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary written by Dr. DeMoor.

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Article 14a leaves no doubt that they can do that. The last time this rarity occurred, the minister confided in me that he had apologized for not consulting the elders sufficiently and that relationships were actually much improved after the run-in. He served with great effect for another three years before moving on, this time with the council’s blessing.

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