Presbytery of Tampa Bay Google Group for Clerks of Session

If you’re a Clerk of Session in the presbytery and haven’t already, please ask to join the Presbytery Clerks’ Google Group here:!forum/ptb-clerks-of-session

Session Minutes Review

The review of session and congregational minutes is underway in various ways, and we need to catch up on reviews not done in 2020 of 2019 minutes or in 2021 of 2020 minutes due to COVID restrictions on in-person gatherings.

The forms attached below for doing the self-check of your minutes before the stated clerk or a fellow clerk of session reviews them should not only be easier to complete than the form we’ve used in the past, but it is also the same form we’ll use in the future until we need to make a change.

Please keep in mind that clerks first complete their own self-check, and then the reviewers check off each item and complete the “reviewer’s form.”

You can download the review form in Microsoft Word and/or Adobe Acrobat PDF formats. Both can be printed out if you prefer to work by hand, and both can be typed on when open on a computer, saved (preferably with a new filename identifying your church, and emailed.

A few things to remember:

  • The Form of Government requirement is that the presbytery review annually “the proceedings and actions . . . of lower councils within its jurisdiction.”
  • In the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, responsibility for this review falls primarily to the Stated Clerk, and it has long been our practice to empower clerks of sessions — effectively acting as temporary presbytery clerks assisting the stated clerk — to act on our behalf in reviewing minutes prepared by other clerks.
  • Due to the social distancing requirements and limitations on in-person gatherings currently in effect due to COVID-19, we really can’t gather too many of us in one place for regional session minutes review workshops as we have in the past — and hope to do again in the future!

How many elders do we send as commissioners to Presbytery meetings?

UPDATED FOR 2022: Check the 2022 Plan for Parity of Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Ruling Elder Commissioners#2021 Plan for Parity (Approved December 2, 2021) for how many elder commissioners to elect and send to presbytery meetings in 2022. NOTE: the number of elder commissioners for a couple of churches has changed this year; please review the document carefully!

Training for new Clerks of Session

Thank you for serving as a Clerk of Session! Our former Stated Clerk, Rev. David Baker, assembled some training resources during his tenure that can be helpful in getting off to a good start.  Information specific to the Presbytery of Tampa Bay is in the videos below.  If you’re interested in additional training, the Hudson River Presbytery also has great training videos for clerks of session.

If you’re a clerk in the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, you can see personalized forms, details and information about your particular church by logging in and visiting the user home page (top left in the menu once you log in) or your church’s profile page.

If you don’t have login information or have other questions, please give me a call at the Presbytery office (813-868-4800, opt. 2) or send me an email and I’ll see what I can do to help!


Bill Wildhack

Rev. W. A. Wildhack III
Stated Clerk & Manager of Communications
Presbytery of Tampa Bay

Basic Clerk Training

The place where you might want to start is here, a “Basic Training” for clerks that covers the core responsibilities of the job:

Basic Clerk Training Replay

Basic Clerk Training Powerpoint
Basic Clerk Training PDF
Sample Session Minutes
For a list of “Property Option” churches, please contact the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery. Watch the last few minutes of the training above for some important context.

Advanced Clerk Training

Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, you may want to watch the “Advanced Training” workshop, which covers more of the intangibles of being clerk and the more difficult material:

Advanced Clerk Training Replay

Advanced Clerk Training Powerpoint
Advanced Clerk Training PDF

Annual Statistical Report Video Walkthrough

Blank Annual Statistical Report

Session Minutes Review

Once a year, the Presbytery is required to review the Minutes of its Churches. You’ll find links to the forms you need for this below, and training at 1:35:33 to 1:45:34 in the “Basic Training” on how to fill the forms out.  Here are some old forms as a reference; the 2020 form for reviewing 2019 Session Minutes will be posted here when it’s available:

2018 Review of 2017 Minutes Form
2018 Review of 2017 Minutes Form – Large Print

Video Training on the Forms (Click here – it will skip ahead to the right time)

Video Training on creating “Bates Numbering” in Adobe Acrobat

Sample bylaws and policies

If you find that you don’t have one of the required documents, you can find guidelines for creating them below (NOTE: these are not one-size-fits-all templates, but they are all good starts to be tailored to your congregation):
Sample Church Non-Profit Corporate Bylaws
Sample Bylaws and framework for Manual of Administrative Procedure for Churches
Sample Sexual Misconduct Policy for Church
Sample Sexual Misconduct Policy Congergation Response Guide
PCUSA Child and Youth Protection Policy Guidelines


Here are some important dates and deadlines you’ll want to keep in mind for 2019:
2019 Clerk’s Calendar for the Presbytery of Tampa Bay


Finally, if you have questions about any of this “Clerk” thing, please let me know. Blessings!