News for the Notetakers

A Newsletter for the Clerks of Session of Highlands Presbytery

November 2022

From the Stated Clerk

~ Rev. Dr. Steven Shussett

A December Newsletter — in November?

For those of you who track such things — and clerks are known for their tracking! — News for the Notetakers has been sent to clerks of session in March, June, and September. Logic dictates that the next issue is coming in December, but as I often say, “logic is overrated.”


This issue is coming to you a month earlier than you might have expected because, if your session meets in December, you have a chance to compare the 2022 review form (due in 2023) with what you’ve actually done in 2022. If you find you’ve come up short in one item or another, you may still be able to address it, or fix an area that recently received an exception. 

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Session Structure in the Post Pandemic Season


Wednesday – November 30 – 7 pm via ZOOM

Session Structure in the Post Pandemic Season –

A Workshop for Church Leaders

Session structure pre pandemic vs

Session Structure Post pandemic

Many are finding that what was working before the Pandemic is not working now. What happen? Where do we go from here? What are practical steps to determine our post pandemic session structure?

Read More and Register

Frequently Asked Questions About

Voting on General Assembly Amendments

Highlands Presbytery will continue voting on proposed amendments to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Constitution in January, March, and May. The schedule for each meeting can be found on the Clerks of Session page of the Presbytery’s website, along with original amendments and a short summary.


With this schedule you may be able to find elders interested in or knowledgeable about a given proposal, who may wish to act as your congregation’s commissioner to that meeting. But don’t forget: you have a limited number of ruling elder commissioners. If you add one person, you may have to withdraw another.

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FBI Resources for Parents and Church Staff

Who Work with Minors -

A message from PC(USA) General Counsel

The FBI has a resource page titled Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers: Protecting Your Kids.

This page has information of value for parents, teachers, church leaders, and church staff who deal with minors. First, it includes a link to the National Sex Offender Registry. The Registry can be used when church leaders are conducting background checks on new hires. Best practice when hiring those who will work with minors or have access to minors is to conduct a background check, including a check on a history of sexual misconduct.

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2022 Annual Statistical Report

Watch for information in December regarding your 2022 Annual Statistical Report!

The Presbytery Office will be sending information on how to access your reports and important deadlines. As always, there are new questions, based on the needs of General Assembly and presbyteries. Please make every effort to fill it out in its entirety.

We appreciate all the work that requires,

but the church benefits most when it hears from you!

Minutes Made Easy

Thank you to all who joined us for the Clerk of Session Workshop in October, or who have reviewed the video on the Presbytery website (

A few things to keep in mind as you look toward a new year, and a new chance at making life simpler.

You can find the 2022 Session Minute Review Form HERE

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Don’t Forget to Use the Terms of Call Worksheet!

The Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry has presented its minimum terms of call and cost of living increases, and your session will make its recommendations to the congregation at your annual meeting. Our responsibility as clerks remains clarity and communication.


The best way to make sure that everyone is on the same page is to use the Terms of Call worksheet, which itemizes pastoral compensation from A-Z. This way, your pastor, congregation, and the Committee on Ministry all know what was agreed upon. We always hope there won’t be any questions later, but if there are, this is one agreed-upon document to which you can turn.


The Terms of Call worksheet is required, even if there has not been a change since the prior year.

Annual Reminder concerning exemptions

for Ruling Elders and Deacons

Reminder that exemptions to G -2.0401 and/ G-2.0404 must be requested annually. This includes representation from the congregation and/or exemption concerning limitations on classes. 

Annual requests for exemption shall be in writing and include the following:

·        Size of the congregation and the size of the session and/or deacons

·        Demonstration how they have made an effort to elect new leadership that expresses the diversity of the congregation.

·        Explanation why they need an exemption from G-2.0401 and/or G-2.0404

·        IF they have a prior exemption what they have done to in the past year to remedy the issue and why they still need an exemption. 

Looking ahead to 2023

Email Steve ( or Sonja ( with your thoughts!

  •      Would you like us to organize regional meetings to review session minutes in 2023, in addition to the electronic reviews we’ve been doing since the pandemic? We’ll track respondents to see who and how many would prefer face to face, and use that to do our organizing, so please take this seriously and reply.

  •      Are there particular topics or speakers you would like us to invite for next year’s Clerk of Session Workshop? It is best to get on people’s calendars as early as possible. 

A Newsletter for the Clerks of Session of Highlands Presbytery

will come out quarterly, in March, June, September, and December. If you have something to share or a question for the community of clerks, please send it to by the last week of the month before. 

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