For the First Time Commissioner to Presbytery Meetings
Welcome to the Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of Elizabeth. For the next few hours, you are going to hear reports on diverse topics in many areas, worship with other Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders, and be expected to make informed decisions as voting members of a council of the PC(USA).
Start with the Docket. It is the table of contents for the meeting, is planned out in advance, and is designed to move the business along in an orderly fashion. The Docket, as well as many other reports, are available in advance of the meeting on the Presbytery website. We no longer print meeting materials, so you will want to download the materials ahead of time and bring along a laptop or a tablet to the meeting. Many of the documents will be shown on the screen during the meeting as well. The more you can read before the meeting, the better informed you will be.
Minutes of the previous meeting will be posted along with other meeting documents, and they can be helpful in getting you up to speed on continuing issues. You will note that the Docket includes a Consent Agenda. The Consent Agenda presents items with the assumption of consent on the part of the entire Presbytery, than separate items requiring time for reporting and decision making. Any commissioner may request that any item on the Consent Agenda be moved onto the Docket for floor consideration.
As a commissioner, you have the right to vote on matters brought to the Stated Meeting and you have the privilege of speaking on the floor, once you are recognized by the Moderator. Please stand, identify yourself and your church, and address the Moderator directly.
Decision Making at Presbytery Meetings
Robert’s Rules of Order govern decisions and discussions at Presbytery meetings. You are probably familiar with this from your Session meetings.
Making a Motion: A motion is an item for decision precisely worded and recorded for debate. If it comes from a committee, commission, or team, it does not need a second. A motion made by an individual must be seconded by another individual. Unless proposed by an entity of the Presbytery, a motion cannot come from a single person. Once a motion is made, (and seconded, if appropriate), discussion can take place. Amendments may be offered, in order to “perfect” the motion. Calling the question is a means to end a protracted debate or discussion. Sometimes, the Order of the Day will be called, so that a time sensitive item can be addressed.
Please wear your name tag, and ask questions if something is confusing.
Thank you for your service!