Who can attend council meetings?


Several church members have asked if they can participate in the council meetings. Are the council meetings open to anyone? 

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Community Builder

...meetings of officebearers are in principle open to the membership unless they are declared to be in executive session.  The latter happens routinely at meetings of the consistory and the diaconate (when particular members and their circumstances are discussed each time) and it happens occasionally when a council feels the need.  A good example of that would be a discussion on nomination for elders and deacons.  Nonetheless, meetings of council, certainly, are typically open, and it is good when members of the congregation take an interest and attend as visitors

(p. 216, Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary)

Community Builder

They can't 'participate' in a council meeting but they can sit in on a meeting.

Council meetings are open to congregation members but they should, out of courtesy, let the clerk know about their plans to attend a given meeting. Only elected office-bearers get to talk, discuss and vote on matters, unless the chair gives a visitor permission to speak to a certain point. For an observer to offer an opinion at a council meetings is rude and inappropriate.

And if there are matters of a sensitive nature -- especially dealing with personalities -- council should declare executive (closed) session and all visitors should leave the room.

Similarly, classis and synod meetings are also open to the public.... with the same caviates.


Keith Knight