Church Membership Transfers


I was reading through my Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary (which every pastor should do on a Monday) and ran across something in the section on membership transfers. There it is mentioned that in the case of a member leaving a congregation and becoming part of a congregation not in ecclesiastical fellowship, that "the council provides the transferring member with a statement of membership indicating only the facts, date of baptism, date of public profession, length of membership and so on. *The member, not the council, then presents that document to the receiving church.* (emphasis mine).

For whatever reason, I had not heard this before. Is this new, or is this something that has been around a long time? Where would this be found in church order or Acts of Synod?

In one way this is consistent with earlier practices of immigrants taking their own membership papers and presenting them to the churches that they would be attending. In another way it seems odd as it doesn't seem to recognize the authority of the ruling body of the church the individual is becoming a part of. Any insight would be helpful.

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