Rules of Order
The Rules of Order are the parliamentary procedures that govern the proceedings of the Diocese of North Carolina's Annual Convention.
Download a pdf of the Rules of Order
I. The Order of Business at the Annual Convention or any Special Convention shall be proposed by the Bishop or the presiding officer for adoption by the Convention. Upon adoption, only the Convention may make any change in the Order of Business prescribed under the authority thereof.
II. Any of the rules of order may be suspended by simple majority vote of the Convention, except those rules which specify a larger majority for a specific action. Any such rule may be suspended upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the delegates present and voting.
III. (a) The clergy and lay delegates of a parish or mission that fails to comply with Canon 21.4(g) or Canon 20.6(a), as the case may be, concerning the timely filing of an audit or with Canon 30.5 concerning the timely filing of a parochial report shall be deprived of vote at Convention and shall be excluded from the calculation of clergy and lay delegates required to attain a quorum.
(b) No later than 21 days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of Diocesan Council immediately prior to Convention, the Secretary shall inform every such parish and mission of the process established by Diocesan Council to request a waiver of this Rule.
(c) Diocesan Council, at its discretion, may grant a waiver of this Rule to a parish or mission upon a showing of good or unavoidable causes. Additionally, no waiver shall be given to the same parish or mission for three consecutive years.
(d) The report of the Secretary to Convention shall identify parishes and missions whose clergy and lay delegates were deprived of vote under this Rule, requests for waivers, and waivers granted. [Added by Act 2007-12; succeeding Rules renumbered accordingly; Amended by Act 2010-4; Amended by Act 2018-8; Rewritten by Act 2019-6.]
IV. (a) Resolutions for Convention action may be submitted by members and officers of the Convention, canonical commissions, committees and other bodies chartered or recognized by the Ecclesiastical Authority or the Diocesan Council, or Convention committees. The presiding officer of the Convention shall refer to an appropriate Convention Committee for consideration and report all such resolutions except those which accompany the report of the Committee on Dispatch of Business. To assure timely reports, it is appropriate for Convention Committees to meet for consideration of resolutions referred to them at any time after they have been appointed.
(b) While preambles or any recital of reasons, explanatory comments, or argument regarding any resolution may separately accompany its introduction or its report from a Convention Committee, they shall not constitute a part of the resolution for purposes of legislative action. Only the text of the adopted resolution shall be printed in the Journal of the Convention.
(c) Reports from institutions (and portions of such reports) which propose no resolutions shall be deemed filed and received by title and need not be referred to committee. [Amended by Act 2006-9; Amended by Act 2011-1.]
V. After the President has taken the chair no member shall continue standing except to address the Chair.
VI. No member shall address the Convention or make any motion except from the microphones provided for that purpose and after recognition by the Presiding Officer.
VII. Speakers shall address the Presiding Officer and shall confine themselves to the point in debate.
VIII. No motion shall be considered unless seconded and, if required by the Presiding Officer, reduced to writing.
IX. When the Presiding Officer is putting any question, the members shall continue in their seats and shall not hold any private discourse.
X. Except by leave of the Convention, no member shall speak more than twice in the same debate, nor longer than two minutes at one time. The total time of debate on any question or resolution shall be a maximum of twenty minutes.
XI. No applause shall be permitted during any debate or voting of the Convention or of the Committee of the Whole.
XII. When a question is under consideration, no motion shall be received except to lay upon the table, to call for the previous question, to postpone to a certain time, to postpone indefinitely, to commit, to amend, or to divide; and motions for any of these purposes shall have precedence in the order herein named. The motions to lay on the table, to call for the previous question, and to adjourn shall always be in order and shall be decided without debate; and of these the motion to adjourn shall take precedence.
XIII. If the question under debate contains several distinct propositions, the same shall be divided at the request of any member, and a vote taken separately, except that a motion to strike out and insert shall be indivisible.
XIV. All amendments shall be considered in the order in which they are moved. When a proposed amendment is under consideration, a motion to amend the same may be made. No amendment to a second amendment shall be in order. But when an amendment to an amendment is under consideration, a substitute for the whole matter may be received. No proposition on a subject different from the one under consideration shall be received under color of a substitute.
XV. In a vote by orders the individual votes of the clergy and laity shall be taken separately. A majority of affirmative votes in both orders shall be necessary to any decision on any vote by orders.
In any vote by orders, upon the request of any two members of the clergy who do not serve the same congregation (parish or mission), or any two lay delegates representing different congregations, the vote shall be by roll call of the clergy and lay delegates. The votes of the lay delegates shall be announced by a member designated by the delegation when the name of that church is called. The delegation shall be polled upon request of any member thereof.
XVI. A question once decided shall stand as the action of the Convention and shall not be drawn again into debate. A member of the Convention who voted on the prevailing side may move to reconsider any vote so long as the motion is made on the same or succeeding day to that on which the vote was taken, except that such a motion may be voted on at any time with the consent of two-thirds of the Convention.
XVII. (a) Reports to the Convention from all commissions, committees, temporary bodies, and institutions of the Diocese shall be in writing. All reports recommending or requiring any action or expression of opinion by the Convention shall be accompanied by corresponding resolutions to be introduced in accordance with Rule of Order IV(a).
(b) Reports to the Convention by commissions, committees, or temporary bodies that require no action or expression of opinion by that body and which have been distributed in advance shall be received as presented.
(c) A Convention Committee report on resolutions referred to it may include statements of reasons for the committee’s recommendations, may be accompanied by a minority report (if signed by one-fourth of the committee’s membership), and, with respect to each resolution or group of related resolutions requiring separate action, shall take one of the following forms:
1. Recommend adoption.
2. Recommend adoption of a substitute resolution.
3. Recommend rejection. In this event the resolution shall lie upon the table unless (a) a majority of the delegates present and voting call for placing the resolution on the agenda for immediate consideration, or (b) the report is accompanied by a minority report recommending adoption, in which case the question shall be consideration of the minority report.
4. Report without recommendation. In this case the presiding officer shall put the original resolution, stating that the committee makes no recommendation.
XVIII. All questions of order shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate. Any member may appeal from such decision, when, on motion by the member, duly seconded, the question shall be decided by majority vote of the Convention. On such an appeal no member shall speak more than once without leave.
XIX. No member shall be absent from the sessions of the Convention without leave or unless unable to attend.
XX. When the Convention is about to rise, every member shall remain seated until the President leaves the chair.
XXI. On motion duly put and carried, the Convention may resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, with or without closed doors, for the purpose of discussing such subjects as may be approved by the Convention.
The Bishop may select and announce subjects for discussion: Provided, that if the motion to go into a Committee of the Whole has specified the subject to be discussed, that subject shall first be disposed of.
XXII. (a) No nomination shall be received unless the person to be nominated has indicated assent thereto. Nominations for election by the annual Convention may be submitted electronically or in writing to the Secretary of the Convention at least 40 days before the opening session thereof. Any nomination received by the Secretary after the specified date shall be returned to the nominator and may be submitted from the floor of the Convention in accordance with the provisions of this rule of order. All nominators and nominees must be communicants in good standing in this Diocese. At the first business session of the Convention the presiding officer shall call for nominations from the floor, at which time the Secretary shall read the names of all persons whose nominations have been received at least 40 days before the opening of the Convention, after which additional nominations may be received from the floor, provided that any such nomination is submitted jointly by three voting members of the Convention, each being from a different parish or mission. Each nomination shall be accompanied by a brief biography of the nominee on a form prepared by the Secretary of the Convention. The information to be included on the biographical form (to be signed by the nominator) shall include at least the following: nominee’s name, address and home congregation, and prior as well as present parochial and Diocesan offices. [Amended by Act 2007-11; Amended by Act 2016-2.]
(b) The names and biographies of all persons nominated in writing to the Secretary at least 40 days before the opening session of the Convention shall be given to the deans of the convocations and shall be included in the advance materials distributed by the Secretary to members of the Convention prior to the meetings of each convocation which are to be held not later than 10 days prior to the Convention. The Secretary shall also post the biographical forms in a conspicuous place in or adjacent to the room in which the Convention meets so that they may be seen throughout the Convention session by all delegates.
(c) All nominations shall be reported to the Convention by the Secretary together with appropriate instructions as to how to cast a valid ballot. Delegates may vote for fewer candidates than the number of positions to be filled, but ballots containing votes for more than the number of positions to be filled shall be rejected.
(d) All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. The results shall be determined by a majority of votes cast on the ballot or by such larger majority as may be required by the Constitution or by canon. If candidates are to be chosen for different terms to the same office, the Secretary shall assign terms to those elected in the order of the number of votes received.
(e) Nominees receiving a majority vote (as herein defined) on any ballot shall be declared elected. If subsequent ballots be required, the nominees to be voted on shall be limited to the number remaining which is equal to twice the number of offices to be filled and who received on the preceding ballot the highest number of votes exclusive of those declared elected.
(f) After the election of Deputies to the General Convention, alternates for these deputies are designated from the remaining candidates in the order of the number of votes received on the preceding ballot. [Amended by Act 2016-3 and Act 2018-6.]
XXIII. (a) Resolutions to be acted on at the annual Convention shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Convention on or before the 40th day preceding the opening date of the Convention. Upon submission, resolutions shall be referred to the appropriate Convention Committee as prescribed by Rule of Order IV(a), and the texts thereof shall be included in the advance materials distributed by the Secretary of the Convention to the members of the Convention prior to the Convention. Resolutions submitted to the Secretary later than specified shall be returned to the introducer without action.
Resolutions not proposing or requiring amendment of the Constitution or Canons may be introduced during the Convention but may be acted upon only as follows: If introduced in the first business session of the Convention, the question before the Convention shall be whether the resolution shall be considered. Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the delegates, the resolution shall be referred to an appropriate Convention Committee for study and report to that Convention. Such resolutions that fail to receive the required vote, as well as resolutions introduced after the close of the first business session of the Convention, shall not be considered.
This rule shall not apply to resolutions of courtesy.
(b) Any portions of the Bishop’s address meriting the Convention’s response shall be referred by the Diocesan Bishop to an appropriate Convention Committee.
(c) The Secretary of the Convention, with the assistance of the Chancellor of the Diocese, shall review each resolution submitted within the time prescribed in section (a), above, to determine whether favorable action on the resolution would require adoption or amendment of a constitutional provision, canon, or rule of order. All such resolutions shall be simultaneously reported to the Commission on Constitution and Canons and referred to the appropriate Convention Committee. The Commission shall report its recommendations with respect to such measures to the Convention at the first business session either as part of its annual report or separately, as may be most convenient. No resolution amending the Constitution or Canons shall be considered on the day on which proposed, except by a two-thirds vote of those entitled to vote. Amended by Act 2006-9.]
XXIV. If a resolution submitted for Convention action would substantially affect Diocesan finances, the presiding officer of the Convention shall, at the time the resolution is referred to an appropriate Convention Committee under Rule of Order IV(a), also request the Convention Committee on Administration of the Diocese to consider the measure. The Convention shall not take up the resolution until its Committee on the Administration of the Diocese has, without recommendation, furnished the Convention with an analysis of the effect adoption of the resolution would have on the fiscal affairs of the Diocese.
XXV. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the Constitution, Canons, and Rules of Order of the Diocese of North Carolina, and any Special Rule proposed by the Committee on Dispatch of Business for the election of a bishop or the consideration of any other specific items of business, the Parliamentary Authority governing the transaction of business by the Annual Convention or any Special Convention shall be the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. [Added by Act 2008-6]
Supplemental Rules of Order for Use of Teleconferencing at a Convention
[Added by Act 2021-8]
T1. Purpose. The purpose of these Supplemental Rules of Order for Use of Teleconferencing at a Convention (“T-Rules”) is to facilitate calling and conducting a Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina when the Ecclesiastical Authority determines that it is impractical or impossible to hold an in-person meeting of the Convention because of governmental constraints or other compelling reasons.
T2. How Called. 120 days prior to an Annual Convention or at the time when a Special Convention is called, the Ecclesiastical Authority may, at its discretion, determine that the Convention will take place entirely by teleconference (a “Teleconferenced Convention”) or will have some members present in person and other members participating by teleconference (a “Hybrid Convention”). The Secretary shall inform members accordingly.
T3. Scope. These T-Rules apply to both Teleconferenced and Hybrid Conventions, except as identified herein. However, nothing in these T-Rules applies to an episcopal election, which the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese reserve for a Convention at which members are present in person.
T4. Selection of Services. The Secretary of the Convention shall engage one or more companies to provide two-way video and audio connectivity and online systems that support parliamentary procedure, voting, and casting of ballots at a Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention (collectively, the “Services”). To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall employ Services whose user interfaces are available in both English and Spanish.
T5. Members to Furnish Email Addresses. No less than 60 days before a Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention, every member of the clergy order shall notify the Ecclesiastical Authority of his or her email address. No later than such date, every church and campus worshipping community shall have submitted its Certificate of Election, updated as necessary by Certificates of Change in Lay Delegation, to the Secretary. Such certificate shall specify the email address of every lay delegate.
T6. Choice of Attendance. In the case of a Hybrid Convention, a member shall specify whether he or she intends to attend in person or by teleconference when registering for the Convention, but no less than 30 days before the Convention. Any member failing to provide timely notice of attendance by teleconference shall be deemed to intend to attend in person. A member may subsequently change his or her participation from by teleconference to in-person by notifying the Secretary but not from in-person to by teleconference.
T7. Issuance of Access Instructions. No less than 14 days before a Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention, the Secretary shall provide individualized access instructions for the Services by email to each member (in the case of a Hybrid Convention, to members that will attend by teleconference). The access instructions shall include URLs, user-ids, and passwords as needed to authenticate the member for participation in the Convention and, if the member has right to vote, to vote and to cast ballots.
T8. Security. A member shall not publicize or divulge to any person his or her individualized access instructions. A member shall use only the individualized access instructions provided him or her.
T9. Availability. The Secretary shall make Services available for members to sign in no less than 30 minutes before the start of each session of Convention. At the discretion of the Secretary, the Services may be left active during recesses or may be taken down, to be restarted at a time to be announced by the Secretary.
T10. Signing in and out. Members shall identify themselves by signing into the Services using their respective individualized access instructions. During a session of Convention, a member shall remain connected to the Services unless he or she must absent himself or herself from participation, in which case the member shall sign out while absent and sign in upon return. A member shall sign into the Services from only one access device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) at any given time, but a member may change his or her access device by signing out and then signing in from another access device.
T11. Presence. Members who connected to the teleconferencing services at least once during a Convention are deemed to be present with respect to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese and shall be marked as present in the Journal.
T12. Quorum. When determining and reporting the presence of a quorum to the President, the Committee on Credentials shall include members who have signed into the Services.
T13. Parliamentary Processes, Voting, and Casting of Ballots. No less than 7 days prior to Convention, the Secretary shall inform members (in the case of a Hybrid Convention, members participating by teleconference) by email of the procedures for use of the Services in parliamentary processes, voting, and casting of ballots. The President may rule out of order the actions of a member that do not comply with the procedures.
T14. Video. When actively engaging in parliamentary process, a member shall enable his or her video uplink. At other times, the member may, at his or her discretion, disable the video uplink.
T15. Technical Requirements and Malfunctions. Each member is solely responsible for his or her access device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and Internet connectivity. No action of Convention shall be delayed, objected to, or invalidated on grounds that the loss or poor quality of a member’s individual Internet connection or the failure of his or her access device prevented participation in the Convention.
T16. Muting. Each member shall keep the microphone of his or her access device muted unless recognized by the President to speak.
T17. Forced Disconnections. The Secretary may cause the muting or disconnection of a member’s connection to the Services if undue interference with the Convention is attributable to such member. The Secretary’s decision to do so, which is subject to an undebatable appeal that can be made by any member, shall be announced to Convention and recorded in the Journal.
T18. Hybrid Conventions. So far as is practicable in a Hybrid Convention: (a) the President shall give equitable attention to members attending in-person and members attending by teleconference; (b) members actively engaging in parliamentary process by teleconference shall be seen and heard in the Convention meeting hall; and (c) non-parliamentary proceedings of the Convention will be made available to members participating by teleconference.
T19. Proceedings in Spanish. The Secretary shall (a) arrange for translation into Spanish of the proceedings of a Teleconferenced Convention and (b) provide the same degree of Spanish translation for members attending a Hybrid Convention by teleconference as is provided members attending in-person.
T20. Moderators. In order to facilitate the conduct of Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention, the President of the Convention may appoint one or more Moderators to assist the President and the Secretary.
T21. Broadcast. At the discretion of the Ecclesiastical Authority, any Convention may be broadcast in whole or in part by one-way audio and/or video to the public at large. Mere broadcasting of a Convention does not constitute a Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention. Nothing in these T-Rules shall apply to manner in which a Convention is broadcast.
T22. Precedence. In case of conflict between the Rules of Convention and these T-Rules at a Teleconferenced or Hybrid Convention, these T-Rules shall prevail.
Certified by the Commission on Constitution and Canons
February 1, 2023