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Does anyone know if the clerk of council has to be an elected elder or deacon?

Thanks for advising. 



Article 35 of the Church Order states that the council shall be "composed of the minister(s), the elders, and the deacons." Other than that I am not aware of synod having addressed this question. There would appear to be nothing against having someone who is not an officebearer be present to take minutes. Care should be taken about confidentiality and when sensitive matters are discussed, council would need to ask the clerk who is not an officebearer to leave the meeting.

While the Church Order may not address this, it is probable that either your congregation's by-laws or state or provincial non-profit by-laws do. It is common to require that the council (or non-profit board) have certain officers who must be members. That said, there is nothing to prevent the treasurer having a bookkeeper who does the actual financial entries or the clerk having a scribe to assist with the minutes.


In my book entitled Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary I answer this question directly on page 196.  Members can access this on the web library of the CRC.

Henry's article basically gives my answer. Deacon can be clerk of council, though that raises the question of who will be clerk of the consistory (elders). A non-council member may serve as minute taker, and and be asked to take a vow of confidentiality.

From DeMoor's book

The Church Order specifically gives you the right, at the local level to select whomever you wish as officers of the council, the consistory and the diaconate (Article 36). Typically, these are officebearers. Selecting a deacon to be clerk of council is certainly possible. Most councils prefer to have the clerk serve for both council and consistory. That would make selection of a deacon bit mote problematic since deacons don’t serve on the consistory. But it is entirely your prerogative.

My other suggestion would be to indicate that it is also possible to appoint a capable person not serving in office to do the actual work of recording and correspondence under the guidance of the selected elder clerk. For example, I have seen retired persons who once served as elders now serve in this capacity with great joy and enthusiasm. You could ask such a person to make a “vow of confidentiality,” and use their time and energy to everyone’s benefit.

To supplement the comment of Bill Via re possible legal rules, I know of no US state where non-profit laws would prohibit this.  And If the church's bylaws do, they are easily changed, by simple action of the council, unless the bylaws themselves required additional (e.g., vote of congregation).  If there is a prohibition in the articles of incorporation (which I frankly have never seen), then congregational action (and a filing with the state) would also likely be required, but again, I've never seen such in a CRC's articles and wouldn't expect to.

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