Per Capita = Caring for One Another
Rob Watkins, from the Presbytery of Sacramento, reflects theologically on per capita from the perspective of ministry. Read “Making Connections.”
The parliamentary authority required by the Book of Order (G-3.0105), “the most recent edition [currently, the 11th] of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised” (RONR), allows “electronic meetings—that is, … meetings at which, rather than all participating members being physically present in one room or area … some or all of them communicate with the others through electronic means such as the Internet or by telephone”—but only if “authorized in the bylaws.” RONR also requires that “the meetings provide, at a minimum, conditions of opportunity for simultaneous aural communication among all participating members …” and advises those bodies that choose to authorize them “to adopt additional rules pertaining to their conduct.” [See pages 97–99 of RONR for details.]
RONR discourages “attempts to conduct the deliberative process in writing (such as by postal mail, e-mail, “chat rooms,” or fax).” I have been a member of some committees (not councils) that occasionally take votes by email, though this is generally only for fairly pro forma matters that need immediate attention, in an attempt to avoid calling a special meeting or delaying an uncontroversial approval. Councils that believe that such committee votes are justified might want to adopt special rules of order that include provisions such as (a) every member must be reached—no blindsiding; (b) if any member wishes to discuss the matter, that opportunity will be provided via face-to-face or electronic meeting before action is taken, and (c) any action taken will be ratified at the next meeting and recorded in those minutes.
A number of mid councils are experimenting with—and perfecting—the use of online technology for committee and even council meetings. Thanks to these colleagues who have taken the time to share their thoughts and experiences for the benefit of all:
Here are some tips from the Presbyterian Communicators Network.
- Marjorie Reinsch and Jennifer Burns Lewis, Presbytery of Wabash Valley, reflect on their presbytery’s use of virtual meetings.
- Dean Strong, Synod of Alaska-Northwest, lists some of the things he’s learned about video-conferencing.
- Andy James, Presbytery of New Hope, provides thoughts about electronic meeting rules with attention to the parliamentary authority required by the Book of Order, the policy adopted by the Presbytery of New York City, and for those who want a deep dive, sample rules for a variety of scenarios by the editors of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
- Josh Daum, Presbytery of the Western Reserve, offers a detailed presentation about how to use Zoom.
Do you have unanswered questions—or further insights to share? What is working (or not working) for your mid council?
AMCLmatters Google Group
The president of the Association of Mid Council Leaders (AMCL), Erin Cox-Holmes, has gone through the most up-to-date database for mid council leaders and directly added to the AMCLmatters google group a number of “Eps” (by whatever title) who are either new to their position, or who were somehow missing from previous spreadsheets. [Thanks, Erin!] She did not add stated clerks, unless they are also the “EP”—however, stated clerks may join the group by request, as they may join AMCL.
The google group offers peer-to-peer support for conversations and resources to keep you connected to what God is doing in our midst. It is open to mid council leaders with titles like “executive, general, associate presbyter” and “stated clerk.” It is also open to those serving in the six agencies in positions that support mid councils. You need not have paid AMCL dues to join (although a full membership is encouraged). Subscribe by contacting Erin Cox-Holmes—email@example.com—with name, presbytery/synod/agency, job title, and email address.
To join AMCL, use this remittance form. Or simply send your name, position, and dues with a check addressed to AMCL and “dues” in the memo line to: Michael Wilson, AMCL Treasurer, The Presbytery of Donegal, P.O. Box 10054, Lancaster, PA 17605. You can also contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The annual dues for 2018 are $125 for the first membership from a presbytery or synod, and $50 for subsequent memberships.
Looking Forward to General Assembly
Have you explored—and pointed out to your mid council—the unique experiences available at the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in St. Louis, where Presbyterians will be able to engage the city with attention to justice, race, poverty, and privilege? The COLA website, in addition to offering volunteer opportunities, has information about the realities that have come to national attention especially since the killing of Michael Brown. You can also learn more about Hands and Feet: Presbyterians Engaging in Communities.
In the March 19 episode of Coffee with the Clerk, J. Herbert Nelson II talked with Associate Stated Clerk Tom Hay and St. Louis activist Erin Counihan about plans for the assembly, including using the offering taken at opening worship to provide bail for impoverished persons who have been jailed because they could not afford fines imposed for minor offenses.
GA Dates to Know
- April 9–11: Leader Briefing, Louisville
- April 17: 60-day deadline for GA business with financial implications
- May 3: Registration deadline
- May 6: 45-day deadline for GA business with no constitutional or financial implications
- June 16–23: 223rd General Assembly (2018), St. Louis, Missouri
Tuesday Evening on the Mississippi
For those looking for a dinner option Tuesday night at GA, Debby Brincivalli has been in touch with the riverboats by the St. Louis Arch. A three-hour private event (board 6:30, cruise 7:00, return 9:30), including buffet, Dixieland music, and the sunset, would cost about $60 a person (cash bar). 100 people are needed to make this happen, and 150 can be accommodated. If you might be interested please be in touch with Debby at email@example.com.
The Synod of the Sun is excited about its new Communications Services Plan program; it’s available even for presbyteries from other synods.
Small Church Residency Program
The Synod of Mid-America has announced a two-year pastoral residency program for first call pastors to serve small, underserved congregations. If you have candidates under care who might be interested, note that the application deadline for this cycle is May 31.
Remote Office Days
The staff of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve has been traveling around, spending a day at Wi-Fi-enabled coffee shops near various churches in the presbytery. Members and staffs of congregations are encouraged to drop by for conversation, with beverage of choice provided.
You can subscribe to a variety of blogs from Presbyterian Mission Agency ministries.
Announcing Open Positions
Could God be calling you, or do you have someone to recommend or encourage?
Job openings published here upon request.
Mid Council Leaders Gathering
Cosponsored by the Office of the General Assembly and the Board of Pensions (BOP): a combination of the former Fall Polity Conference (OGA) and the Regional Benefits Consultations (BOP). October 5–7, 2018, Chicago, Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Association of Stated Clerks and Association of Mid Council Leaders
October 7–9, 2018, Chicago, Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
November 15–17, 2018, Louisville, Brown Hotel