Is there a quorum for confessing members to be present at a congregational meeting to make the decisions made legal?

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We have a member who feels we need a majority of our confessing members present at our congregational meeting where we approve the budget.  Is that correct?

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The two things to take into consideration are Church Order, Article 37 and the church's articles of incorporation, i.e. the Constitution & Bylaws. In particular, Article 37 states "Although full consideration shall be given to the judgment expressed by the congregation, the authority for making and carrying out final decisions remains with the council as the governing body of the church, except in those matters stipulated otherwise in the articles of incorporation or by law." 

As an incorporated entity, the church's bylaws will usually specifiy what constitutes a quorum required to constitute a congregational meeting.  Best to check there first.

The new proposed Model Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws (Canada) released by the CRCNA states "Quorum at All Member Meetings. At each meeting of the Members a quorum shall be 50 percent of the Professing Members present in person or by such electronic means as is approved by the Council as deemed necessary to permit them to participate in the meeting. If a quorum is not present, the meeting shall be adjourned to a date and time set by the Chair."

The bar in your bylaws regarding a quorum may be set lower, or perhaps higher. In the case of the church I attend, the bylaws state "The professing members attending a general meeting, including the annual general meeting, shall constitute a quorum."

As I understand the situation, CRC congregational decisions are made by the consistory and congregational meetings are only advisory. That's how First Everett CRC (WA) functions.

Participant

Thanks Lubbert, for the quote of the new proposed Model Articles of Incorporation. 

In my previous church we did not have anything about a quorum in the articles of incorporation. Thus, because the CRC Church Order (also quoted by Lubbert) gives final authority to the council in all manners, a congregational meeting is technically advisory and a quorum is not needed. In my former church, and perhaps my present one as well, I have a hard time imagining anything motivating 50% of the confessing members to attend a congregational meeting. I think that's a sad commentary both on member commitment and on the fact that our congregational meetings are too frequently handled as business transactions rather than opportunities to reflect together on what God is calling our congregations to do for HIm. 

Admin

To boost congregational meeting attendance, a few years ago we introduced a 'newspaper' theme where we asked each area of ministry to give us a:

- Headline (from the prior year)
- Forecast (for the next year, also written in a headline format)
- Help Wanted (volunteers or other support needed)

As we walk through each ministry/budget area, we show the Headline, Forecast, and Help Wanted on the screen. Because they're in headline format, it goes quickly. Some of them get really creative, or funny, or poignant. And all give a fun glimpse into what God's been doing among us. I'm not sure it's translated into higher attendance (yet) but it sure makes the meeting more interesting.

Hi Scott...

There is a caveat in Church Order, Article 37 which I had highlighted, i.e. "except in those matters stipulated otherwise in the articles of incorporation or by law." 

Congregational meetings that are called under Articles of Incorporation, in particular those dealing with financial matters fall under the caveat above and therefore authority rests with the quorum of the congregation at the meeting and not council.

 

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