Dear Members and Friends,
We have not had the 2019 annual meeting. At this meeting we receive reports about the year, elect officers (we have one Deacon and one Elder position to fill), present the 2020 budget, and conduct other business should any be necessary. We do not know when we will be back in our building where we have heretofore held this meeting, so I will recommend to Session that we consider this an extraordinary circumstance and that we conduct the annual meeting electronically using Zoom. I will send notice to Session soon for a called meeting of Session to authorize using Zoom for the annual meeting.
According to the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Eastern Iowa, this is appropriate and there are recommended procedures that govern electronic congregational meetings. Using Zoom means every member who wants to participate can participate either by computer (and see the meeting live) or by telephone (and not see it but hear the audio). For this meeting to take place, we will need plans to teach everyone who wants to participate how to use Zoom. We can send out written instructions, but that will not suffice. We will also make training available so that every member of the congregation will be taught over the phone how to connect to Zoom.
If we have this Zoom-connected meeting, we will have to vote for the election of the Deacon and Elder. In order for the election to be valid, everyone who wishes to vote will have to connect to Zoom, the Clerk of Session will record the name of everyone who has connected, and everyone will have to remain connected through the end of the meeting. In order to meet the requirements of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) all votes will need to be either by email or by snail mail. We need this type of electronic or paper trail to authenticate the vote.
If this sounds complicated, it is and it isn’t. Zoom is not difficult to learn. Teaching so many people will take a big effort. Recording the names of everyone in attendance will take some time. Zoom will allow opportunity for everyone to speak and/or ask questions. Results of voting will not be final for perhaps a week. This is the way we can move ahead with the affairs of the congregation. We do not have to wait for COVID-19 to be resolved.
I’m sure this is way more information than you want to know about how to conduct a remote meeting, but it is necessary for you to know it so you can fully exercise you privilege and responsibility as a member. If our computers, tablets, and smartphones can seem annoying at times, in this instance we can see how they are God-given gifts that help us with large and important tasks.
As always, I will respond to your questions and comments.
The peace of Christ be with you.
Terry March 26, 2020