2010 Resolutions Due by August 7
Be it Resolved: Get Involved
Neil D. Houghton, Chair, Committee on Resolutions
As Episcopalians we are members of a Church with a polity that allows the communicants to steer the course of how we present our understanding of Christ to the world.
There are other denominations and other faith communities were the members have little to say about the positions taken and how the Church interprets Scripture. Our voices are heard through resolutions at Diocesan and General Conventions.
Often we only see resolutions as broad and far-reaching, dealing with issues of global import. They certainly can be and establishing “mind of the Diocese” on these issues is important. But they can also address a particular local concern such as mission priorities, communications, safety, local legislation, etc. You are encouraged to have parish meetings to talk about what might be brought before Convention that is important to you.
Operating under Roberts Rules of Order there are restrictions to which we must adhere. For that purpose the Committee on Resolutions reviews resolutions in order to avoid an important issue form being unnecessarily dismissed or delayed.
Time limits are established so that the committee has sufficient time to review them. Resolutions must be submitted 90 days prior to convention. This year that is August 7. They are then reported from the committee to the Secretary of Convention within 30 days (Sept 6) and 30 days prior to convention (Oct 6) the resolutions must be presented to the delegates.
The exception to these deadlines is only to members of elected bodies: Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, The Commission on Ministry and Deputies to General Convention. These exceptions are intended as a way to deal with last minute issues as well as recognizing the closer involvement with the immediate needs of the diocese of elected officials. We encourage everyone to meet the deadlines so that all resolutions can be distributed in time for review and discussion by delegates.
If a resolution deals with a situation which arises at the last hour, it can also be introduced on the floor as a Special Order of Business. This requires a 2/3 majority vote of the body to suspend the rules of order.
When you are elected as a delegate, your parish is saying, “We trust you to prayerfully consider, ask question about, offer amendments and vote on the resolutions presented.” It can be intimidating to raise an opposing position and it can be difficult to be in the minority. We are working on ways that will make for more thoughtful and open discussion of resolutions. But only by listening to each other, especially when we disagree can we grow and become a mature community.
It’s an important ministry to which our delegates are called. We all need to respect the calling and each other in the process.