At the Online Annual Meeting of the Congregation, held January 31, the Congregation heard a report about the Session’s plan to propose an Amendment to the church’s corporate Bylaws. The reason for the proposed Amendment is to allow for online meetings. Even though we have been meeting online by necessity during the pandemic, the Bylaws do not formally recognize online meetings as meetings. The description in The Annual Report explains the situation fully.
Here is the Amendment which the Session is recommending. (Underlined text would be added,
Strikethrough text would be removed, Plain-text is the current wording.)
The congregation will meet annually in the period between the fourth Sunday and the eighth Sunday of each calendar year, inclusive, to review the adequacy of the compensation of the pastor(s) upon report of the prior review by the session, and to conduct such other business as may properly come before the congregation.
Other Congregational meetings may be called by the Session as necessary; business to be transacted shall be limited to items specifically listed in the call of the meeting.
Congregational meetings may be called in one of three formats – as an in-person meeting, as a virtual meeting, or as a hybrid (virtual and in-person) meeting. Session shall determine the format of Congregational meetings and publicize the selected format along with the other meeting details. The virtual meeting platform chosen for a congregational meeting shall be widely available to as many church members as possible. Virtual meeting participants should be able to discuss, deliberate, discern the will of God, and vote on business items.
Public notice of all congregational meetings shall be given on two successive Sundays prior to the meeting. All members on the Active Members’ Roll are eligible to vote. A quorum shall consist of the moderator(s), secretary, and not less than one tenth of the eligible voters. The session shall read, correct, and approve the minutes of each congregational meeting at its next scheduled meeting and shall enter them into the permanent record. At the next meeting of the congregation, the clerk shall have the minutes available and shall report the session’s action. The congregation may ask to have them read and may make additions or corrections by vote.
The quorum for a Congregational meeting is 55-60 persons so it has not yet seemed wise to gather for an in-person meeting.
To enact this Amendment, the Session expects to call an outdoor in-person meeting of the Congregation for the specific purpose, later in the Spring or early Summer, depending on the status of covid and the pace of the nationwide vaccination program. The Congregation would, at the same time, vote to ratify all actions taken at any online Congregational meeting prior to then.
Meanwhile, the Session wants to present this issue and this solution to you, and to offer their Recommended Amendment for consideration and comment. Please send any comments to the Clerk of the Session, Jon Barnett, or to one of the Pastors.