Since the PCA began, the denomination has held that local congregations have the sole right to their properties, and that they also have the right to withdraw from the denomination at any time by a majority vote of the congregation. In the Book of Church Order (BCO), Chapter 25 calls the agreement to these provisions a “solemn covenant whereby the Church promises never to attempt to secure possession of the property of any congregation against its will, whether such congregation remains within or chooses to withdraw from this body.”
BCO 25 also sets the quorum for congregational meetings: one-fourth of the communing members of a church of less than 100 members; one-fifth of the communing members for congregations of 100-300 members; one-sixth for congregations of 300-600; one-seventh for congregations from 500-700; and 100 for congregations over 700.
Pacific Northwest Presbytery believes the current quorum requirement is too low for such an important decision. Therefore, they propose to set the quorum for a meeting where a vote to withdraw from the PCA is taken at one-half of the resident communing members. Their proposal does not call for an increase in the size of the majority required to approve withdrawal. Stated Clerk Howard Donahoe points out that many presbyteries have seen churches leave based on votes from very small quorums. “This change will make sure that any Session recommending a congregation leave the PCA will need to do so in front of a fuller representation of the Church,” he says.
The proposal was referred to the Overtures Committee (OC) and to the Committee on Constitutional Business which has advised the OC that it is not in conflict with other provisions of the Constitution.