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Remote Meetings of Congregation Councils or Congregations

Pre-Work

Become familiar with these resources:

  1. 2019 Model Constitution for Congregations of the ELCA or your congregation’s Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions
  2. Robert’s Rules of Order, 11th Edition (RRO)
  3. Chapter 31- South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act (SCNCA)
    Section 33-31-704
    Section 33-31-708
  4. Remote Meeting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Congregations

Legal Counsel is recommended. See the advice of an attorney who can be helpful in determining state codes for allowing virtual meetings even if they are not discussed in congregation constitutions.

Constitution Requirements

Meeting – Chapter 10 Constitution 1

            At least one regular meeting per year C10.01.

            If a special called meeting specify the purpose C10.02

            Notice at Worship two previous weeks (electronic is worship) and by mail or electronic ten days in advance of the meeting. C10.03.

            Quorum required is different for each congregation

            RRO2 governs procedure C10.07. “simultaneous aural communication is essential to the deliberative character of the meeting” (voting members need to speak and hear each other), page 98

            Meeting must be held is a way that allows “simultaneous aural communication” by voting members. (C10.08.)

Voting Members

            Constitution1

*C8.02.c. “…confirmed, communing and making a contribution of record in the current or preceding calendar year…”

“The Congregation Council shall provide for annual review of the membership roster.” C12.07.

Voting Member List For On-Line Meeting

At a Congregation Council meeting when a congregation meeting is called:

Secretary presents list of voting members

Council approves the list

Use this list when taking attendance at online meeting and to ascertain quorum

Once list is approved by council, objections to a particular voting member are out of order.

Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot is out of order, Constitution1 C10.05.

Voting

When an electronic or written ballot is used refer to SCNCA-7083

Written consent from eighty percent of voting power (eighty percent of those registered for the meeting) to meet electronically SCNCA-7043

Electronic balloting will vary in each congregation depending upon demographic factors and internet access in the area. You may need to find a way to accommodate those persons who are lacking the access to technology to vote.

When a written ballot is used refer to SCNCA – 7083

Written ballots dropped off in a defined time frame refer to Remote FAQ4

Only members who attended the meeting and were marked present may vote, Remote FAQ4

Ballots cast need not have names of voting member, but the name of the voting member is required to be on the outside of the sealed envelope to verify presence at the meeting

Resources from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The ELCA distributed a document titled Considerations for Remote Council and Congregation Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This document can be found on this link:  https://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Remote_Meeting_FAQ_for_Congregations.pdf?_ga=2.233530781.2045696294.1590506413-596960671.1552065499.

Other Resources

Section 33-31-704

This comes from Chapter 31- South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act

Section 33-31-708

This comes from Chapter 31- South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act

Remote Meetings of Congregation Councils or Congregations

A printable version of this post

Rev. Ozzie Herlong, Secretary
South Carolina Synod of the ELCA

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Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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