Transfer Lapsed Members?


We have a family requesting transfer to another CRC they have been attending for 7 years. They were declared lapsed in 2009. Is it still appropriate to send a letter of transfer?

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Actually they were lapsed in 2009, appropriately and correctly by the leadership serving the church at that time , and according to church order.  No one failed in their responsibility.  The paperwork is all up to date and has been since 2009.  My question is about whether it is correct to write a letter of transfer for members whose membership lapsed.


As far as I understand the principles behind membership letters, it's first of all testimony about their faith and involvement, and second,a sign of respect and fellowship between churches.  The official form, from a church office standpoint, would be helpful because it would give baptism/ profession dates. But even if you're not sure about an official form, an informal letter could give the same info and express the same sentiments.



Officially they are not members of your church. I would send a letter to the new church with the information that you have: dates of birth, baptism and profession of faith dates, and their history of involvement. I would also state that their membership was lapsed in 2009 and the reasons behind it. The other CRC can then do as they see fit. 


Community Builder

Good question!

Lapsing someone means they are no longer a member of your congregation. So the simple answer is, no, it is not appropriate to send a letter of transfer. The appropriate thing is for the church receiving them to ask them to make a reaffirmation of their faith. It may be beneficial to review the rules for lapsing members - given in the Supplement to Church Order article 67.


Interesting that this question indicates indirectly that the family had been attending another CRC for two years when they were 'declared lapsed in 2009', which raises the question why they were not transferred in 2009 instead of lapsed.  Obviously there is information lacking in the question.  Presuming Article 67 B was followed, it would seem the family 'claim(ed) to be worshipping elsewhere' but would not say where and would not request transfer to the church they were attending.  Also they would have 'claim(ed) to be committed to the Christian Faith' and 'the consistory (was) not aware of any public sin requiring discipline'.  What took so long to be interested in the transfer is a mystery that might suggest the need for a discreet converstion between representatives of the two consistories for more clarification in my humble opinion.  Then a decision could be made about 'transferring' the statistical (membership) information as long as the receiving consistory does a 'readmission' since there is "no synodical guidelines ... defined for the readmission... some sort of reaffirmation of confession of faith seems appropriate as part of the readmission process." 2008 Manuel of CRC Government #2, p. 264

Church order would not have been followed in this scenario.  It was well before my time and the details are scarce.  I also wonder how it is that the family has attended another CRC for over seven years and the pastor and elders there never helped shepherd this family. Your last two sentences are exactly what would need to be done in this case.