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Canon 31 – Of Parish Meetings and Elections

GOVERNANCE
Section 1. 

The congregation of each Parish shall meet annually on a date to be appointed by the Vestry; notice of which must be given by the Rector or Vicar or, if there be none, by one of the Wardens in any practical manner at least fourteen (14) days prior to the appointed date. The meetings shall be designated as the Annual Parish Meeting. The provision of this Canon relating to the qualifications of Vestry Members shall be read to the congregation at the meeting before nominations for the Vestry are made.

Section 2.

Other Parish meetings may be held from time to time as occasion may require, at such times as may be appointed by the Vestry; due notice of which must be given by the Rector or Vicar or, if there be none; by one of the Wardens, in any practical manner, at least fourteen (14) days prior to the appointed date.

Section 3. 

At the Parish meetings the Rector or Vicar or, if absent, the Senior Warden, or, if absent, the Junior Warden, shall preside.

Section 4. 

Except when otherwise specified by existing charter, the following shall alone be entitled to vote in any Parish meeting under these Canons: all confirmed communicants in good standing not less than sixteen years of age as certified by the Rector or Vicar or the Vestry. Those voters so qualified and being present at the meeting shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5.

All elections and other matters voted upon at Parish meetings shall be decided by a majority of the qualified voters present.

Section 6.

(a).(1). The Vestry shall be elected by ballot at the Annual Parish Meeting and shall take office as stipulated by Parish By-Law; in absence of such a By-Law, the Vestry shall take office at the next following meeting of the Vestry.

(2). Vestry Members may also be elected at any other Parish Meeting held during the three (3) months of the year next preceding the Annual Parish Meeting if the Vestry so determines and gives notice of the time and place of such election as required by Section 1 of this Canon, in which case the term of office of each Vestry Member so elected shall commence on the date of the next Annual Parish Meeting.

(3). The polls shall be open until all qualified voters present have had ample opportunity to cast their ballots. Each member elected on the Vestry shall be given written notice thereof by the Secretary; and the new Vestry shall convene for organization and business as soon as practicable after the election.

(b). The Vestry so elected shall continue to discharge the functions of their office until their successors are elected.

(c). The Vestry shall consist of not less than three nor more than twenty-one Vestry Members, provided that a Parish having more than 600 communicants may have a maximum of thirty Vestry Members, if it so desires. Vestry Members in Parishes having more than twenty persons qualified to vote in a Parish meeting shall initially be elected in the following manner, viz: one-third to serve for a period of one year, one-third to serve for a period of two years, one-third to serve for a period of three years. Thereafter, Vestry members shall be elected for a period of three years, and no retiring Vestry Member, except those Vestry Members who have served less than one-half of a full term, shall be eligible for re-election until there shall have elapsed a period of one year, or until the Annual Parish Meeting following such retirement. Vestry Members in Parishes having not more than twenty persons qualified to vote in a Parish meeting shall be elected for such terms, not exceeding three years, as the congregation may in Parish meeting determine.

(d).(1). Those qualified for election to the office of Vestry Member shall be as follows: Any confirmed communicant in good standing of the Parish who is not less than eighteen years of age, a regular attendant at the services of the Church in the year preceding election, and known by the Treasurer to have made and fulfilled a stated financial commitment for church support in the year preceding election. (Note: this phrase was inadvertently omitted from the June 1997 printing of revised canons. Correction posted on this Web site 1/19/99.)

(2). Those qualified to continue to hold the office of Vestry Member shall be as follows: Any confirmed communicant in good standing of the Parish who is a regular attendant at the services of the church during such term and known by the Treasurer to have timely made and faithfully fulfilled, in accordance with its tenure, a stated financial commitment for church support at all times during such term.

Section 7.

The Vestry shall annually elect from the Vestry Members one member as Senior Warden and one member as Junior Warden; or elect a Junior Warden and empower the Rector, or Vicar, to appoint the Senior Warden.

Section 8. 

Upon the convening of the Annual Parish Meeting, a suggested order of business shall be as follows:

(a). Prayer;

(b). Election of a Secretary for the meeting;

(c). Appointment of three tellers to count the votes, one of them being designated chairperson. The results of the election shall be declared by the presiding officer and shall be recorded in the minutes by the Secretary before adjournment of the meeting.;

(d). Rector’s or Vicar’s Report and any recommendations;

(e). Report of the Vestry (required by Canon 33, Section 2) and any recommendations; to be submitted by the Senior or Junior Warden, or, in their absence, by some other member of the Vestry;

(f). Reports, in writing, of all Parish organizations;

(g). Elections;

(h). Miscellaneous business;

(i). Prayer and benediction;

(j). Adjournment.

Section 9.

The Secretary of the Annual Parish Meeting shall sign and deliver to the Clerk of the Vestry the minutes and all reports received at the meeting. These shall be transmitted to the Vestry, to be by them examined and duly recorded in the minutes of the first meeting of the Vestry following the Annual Parish Meeting and filed among the permanent records of the Parish.