Mandated Airplane Material

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By Dan Amos

For the framers of our church constitution, the Sunday church bulletin had always been the primary means of written communication. The bulletin has also provided the working material for many an airplane folded during the worship service. Sometimes test flights even waited until after the church service was over.

Today, thanks to email and the website, we’ve scaled back the paper we print. I rarely take the printed material and almost never fold an airplane. For many, the printed material is no longer the primary means of communication. Some of the changes proposed to the constitution open our options for official communication. We will continue to use a variety of media as appropriate, but we intend to continue some printed materials, such as the letter sent out a week ago on our upcoming congregational meeting.

Constitutions are often referred to as living documents, meaning that they can be adjusted as new needs arise. However, changes to constitutions should not be taken lightly. Our church’s constitution is no different, and we have the added consideration of the biblical direction to be orderly in the church. This is firmly in mind as we propose changes to our church document. The changes are intended to honor the spirit and intention of the original document but also to update it to allow for present circumstances.

Below are the changes we are asking the membership to approve at the meeting on October 7. Each proposal is in a separate table and includes the section of the constitution to be updated, the current wording, and the proposed change. This is followed by the rationale or reason why we think the change is needed.

If you have questions, ask me, Brian Sharpe, or Brian Waple. We were the committee on the Elder Board that put together this proposal.

Article III, Section 3: Update voting rights for absentee ballots and establishment of quorum.
Current Proposed
All members, eighteen years of age or older   shall have equal voting rights. A: All members, eighteen years of age or older shall have equal voting rights. B: Members in good standing but unable to attend a duly called business meeting may vote by absentee ballot and be counted for purposes of establishing quorum. C: Members in good standing and absent due to prolonged geographical separation for reasons of work, school, or of a similar nature shall not be counted among the voting membership for the purpose of establishing quorum.
Rationale: Item A is currently the entire wording of section 3. We propose adding items B and C to acknowledge the nature of travel, work, and school makes it difficult to attend every business meeting and for those away for extended periods, absentee voting may not be practical because they have not been able to participate in the life of the body and are not familiar with the issues presented to the membership. If such persons can not or choose not to vote by absentee ballot then they would retain their full membership, but for the purposes of establishing quorum for the specific business meeting in question they would not be counted among the membership solely for that purpose.
Article III, Section 4B2): Broaden venue for required action
Current Proposed
If the accused refuses to appear, the Elder Board shall remove their name from the Church   Membership Roll. The Elder Board shall inform the Church of its decision at a duly called business meeting following the decision. If the accused refuses to appear, the Elder   Board shall remove their name from the Church Membership Roll. The Elder board shall inform the church of its decision at a duly called business meeting or devotional meeting following the decision.
Rationale: Adding “or devotional meeting” expands and clarifies the options for informing the membership and congregation.

 

Article IV, Section 6A2): Eliminate redundant paragraphs in the document
Current Proposed
They shall be elected for a two year term. By   special request of the Elder Board and with approval of the Nominating Committee, any officer may be nominated for election for two additional terms. The officer must then sit out one full year before being re elected. Delete subsection 2) and remove subsection 1)   as a subsection.
Rationale: Subsection 2) repeats the already stated term of office of all church officers in Article IV, Section 5C. With the removal of subsection 2), there is no longer a need to make the statement in subsection 1) as a subsection. It will now be the sole statement of Article IV, Section 6A.
Article V, Section 3B: Divide paragraph for   clarity and change medium for communication
Current Proposed
This Committee shall prepare and present at   the Annual Budget and Election Meeting a slate of candidates for the offices   to be filled. They shall also fill vacancies that occur during the year. The   names of the candidates shall be published in the Church bulletin and posted for two (2) consecutive Sundays. Preceding the Election Meeting, the candidates shall study the responsibilities and functions of their office. The Senior Pastor or appointed Elder shall oversee their education. 3B: This Committee shall prepare and present   at the Annual Budget and Election Meeting a slate of candidates for the offices to be filled. They shall also fill vacancies that occur during the year. 3C: The names of the candidates shall be   published and posted for two (2) consecutive Sundays. 3D: Preceding the Election Meeting, the candidates shall study the responsibilities and functions of their office. The Senior Pastor or appointed Elder shall oversee their education. 3E: Regular members of this Church may make   nominations only by filing with the Nominating Committee a written and signed nomination. The Nominating Committee shall consider persons so nominated by their qualifications.
Rationale: The proposed change breaks up a large paragraph with disparate provisions into separate paragraphs addressing single issues. In the proposed paragraph 3C, the words “in the Church bulletin” are removed. This simply allows for prevailing media and means of communication to be used to accomplish the same purpose. At the time the constitution was written, the weekly church bulletin was the primary means of communication. This has been replaced by an electronic weekly newsletter and other means.
Article VI, Section 3A: Broaden timing of annual budget and election meeting
Current Proposed
ANNUAL BUDGET AND ELECTION MEETING – This   meeting of the membership shall be held on the first Sunday of December to elect new officers and approve a budget for the coming year. ANNUAL BUDGET AND ELECTION MEETING – This meeting of the membership shall be held no later than the second Sunday of December to elect new officers and approve a budget for the coming year.
Rationale: The current designation of the first Sunday of December is not always a good date to have this meeting. The proposed wording honors the intent to complete and pass the budget prior to the start of the new year but allows   for flexibility in the timing of the meeting.
Article VI, Section 4A: Change medium for communication
Current Proposed
Announcement of all business meetings shall be made from the pulpit and printed in the Sunday bulletins two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting. Announcement of all business meetings shall be made from the pulpit and published for two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting.
Rationale: Removes “in the Sunday bulletins”
Article VI, Section 4G: Change documentation of absentee ballots
Current Proposed
Voting by proxy shall not be permitted. In the event members are not able to attend a business meeting, they may apply to the Elder Board for an absentee ballot. Upon submitting such ballot, voting members must sign an updated membership roster. It shall be the responsibility of the Elder Board Chairman to assure the confidentiality of absentee ballots. The   availability of absentee ballots shall be announced in accordance with rules for announcement of all business meetings as stated in Article VI. Section 4:A Voting by proxy shall not be permitted. In the event members are not able to attend a business meeting, they may apply to the Elder Board for an absentee ballot. Upon submitting an absentee ballot, the membership roster for the business   meeting shall indicate an absentee ballot has been received from that member. It shall be the responsibility of the Elder Board Chairman to assure the confidentiality of absentee ballots. The availability of absentee ballots shall be announced in accordance with rules for announcement of all business meetings as stated in Article VI. Section 4:A.
Rationale: Replaces the phrase “Upon submitting such ballot, voting members must sign an updated membership roster.” This allows for other forms of absentee ballot submission but maintains a record to prevent submission of duplicate ballots.
Article VII, Section 2: Change “properly” to “duly”.
Current Proposed
A three fourths (3/4) vote by secret ballot at a properly called business meeting shall be required for the purchase or sale of real estate. A quorum (50%) of the voting membership must be present. A three fourths (3/4) vote by secret ballot at a duly called business meeting shall be required for the purchase or sale of real estate. A quorum (50%) of the voting membership must be present.
Rationale: Maintains agreement in vocabulary throughout the document.
Article VIII, Section 3: Add “designated”
Current Proposed
Monies from the Benevolence Fund shall come   from contributions made at the communion services, and from any other monies which the Church may designate for the fund. The Elder Board shall not be required to make public disclosure of the specific disbursements from this fund, but an accounting will be kept by the Church Treasurer. Monies from the Benevolence Fund shall come   from designated contributions made at the communion services, and from any other monies which the Church may designate for the fund. The Elder Board shall not be required to make public disclosure of the specific disbursements from this fund, but an accounting will be kept by the Church Treasurer.
Rationale: Adds the word “designated” to distinguish from undesignated giving for the general fund.
Article IX, Section 3A:
Current Proposed
Each year the Board of Elders shall appoint   from the membership a Congregational Secretary. At the beginning of each year the Board of   Elders shall appoint from the membership a Congregational Secretary.
Rationale: Designates the timing of the appointment.
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