Dear Congregation,

We were recently advised that CPC should amend its bylaws to explicitly permit virtual participation in Congregational Meetings. While Virginia Corporate Laws permit remote participation, CPC bylaws state that we will follow Roberts Rules of Order, which allow remote participation only if specified in the bylaws. Session has decided to make the matter clear by proposing that our bylaws include a statement permitting remote participation by Covenant Partners. We propose the following language, which is based on our Presbytery’s bylaws:

“Congregational meetings may be held by telephone conference call or electronic means in which all persons participating in the meeting may communicate with one another. The notice of a meeting by electronic means must be included in the announcement when giving notice. Participation of a person on a conference call or electronic meeting constitutes presence of that person at the meeting.”

This amendment will allow remote participants in future Congregational Meetings to have the same rights and privileges as those who are physically present: to be counted toward the quorum, participate in discussion, and vote on motions. The proposed amendment would become Section VIII of Article II in our bylaws (see attached).

Session also voted to clarify their ability to hold Session meetings remotely. The requirement for physical presence in establishing a quorum of Session (Article IV, Section IV) conflicts with subsequent statements allowing remote participation of Session members. Session therefore proposes to strike the phrase requiring a physical presence for a quorum.

The proposed changes are ‘redlined’ in the attached version of the bylaws, which will be presented at the December 13,2020 Congregational Meeting.

We realize that the existing requirement for Covenant Partner participation only by those physically present may prevent some members from expressing their opinions in the December 13 meeting. We therefore ask those that cannot attend in person to review the changes and ask any questions or provide any concerns to the Clerk of Session (Todd Martin) via email at Comments and questions received will be presented at the meeting along with Session’s responses.

Proposed changes to CPC Bylaws