Rules of Order for the Convention



Rules of Order for the Convention of the Diocese of California

Proposed 2020

Finalized by the Committee on Dispatch of Business on September 10th, 2020

Explanation of proposed changes

Rule 1.1:  The rule describing who may submit a resolution contains some ambiguities that need to be clarified.  Only canonically resident clergy are members of Convention.  The status of alternate delegates was unclear.  Any elected delegate or alternate is potentially eligible to vote at Convention. but at the time of the deadline for submission, it is not known who will actually be eligible.  A mechanism for resolving ambiguities is needed well before Convention begins.

Rule 1.2:  This rule is added to address another ambiguity regarding the handling of recommendations from task forces.  For recommendations that are not purely advisory or informational, it is normally best practice to frame them as resolutions to ensure clarity in the action taken by Convention.

Proposed deletions are shown in strikeout type, and proposed additions are shown in bold italics.  The rules in Section 1 have been renumbered to provide for the insertion of rule 1.2 without using bold or strikeout type.


Proposed by

The Committee on Dispatch of Business


Before Convention
Section 1 - Procedure for Resolutions

Any resolution to be considered by the Convention, other than those necessary matters of procedure and business of the Convention, must be received by the Chair of the Resolutions Committee at least ninety (90) days prior to the opening of Convention.  Resolutions may be submitted by any canonically resident cleric, or any elected lay delegate or alternate eligible to vote at the Convention, or by any parish, mission congregation, deanery or other officially recognized diocesan organization.  In questions concerning eligibility of any submitter, the Committee may rely on a determination by the Secretary.

Included on the copy of the proposed resolution shall be the name and address of the proposer of the resolution.  In the case of resolutions submitted by an organization, the resolution shall state the name of the Rector, Vicar, Chair, or other person duly authorized by that organization to respond to questions and accept amendments to such resolutions.

It shall be open to other persons or organizations to be listed as supporters of a resolution.

1.2 When a task force or other temporary committee established by the Convention submits a report requesting action by the Convention, the proposed action shall be included in the report's recommendations in the form of a resolution, and that resolution shall be submitted to the Committee on Resolutions for its review according to these rules.  The Committee on Resolutions shall not be required to review the content of the report other than the proposed resolution.

1.3  The Committee on Resolutions shall meet not less than seventy-five (75) days prior to the opening of Convention to consider resolutions submitted in timely fashion.  The Committee may make such editorial changes as may appear necessary for accuracy or clarification.  Substantive changes in resolutions shall not be made without the consent of the proposer.  However, at its option, the Committee may make suggestions or recommendations concerning resolutions, which may be incorporated in the pre-Convention materials furnished to the Deaneries.

Copies of all resolutions, in their original form, or as modified by the Resolutions Committee shall be filed with the Secretary of Convention and shall be included in the pre-convention materials distributed to the six deaneries.

1.4 The several Deanery meetings at which such resolutions are considered shall be open to all interested persons.  Advance written notice of the time, date and place of the meeting of such Deanery shall be given by the Deanery Secretary to the proponents of the resolution and to other interested persons who have in writing requested such notice.  It shall be open to the presiding officer at the Deanery meetings to call for a straw vote, if desired, on resolutions after appropriate discussion, but such vote shall not be binding on persons present who shall be entitled to vote at the Convention.

1.5 The Committee on Resolutions shall submit no more than five (5) resolutions to the Convention for its consideration.  This rule shall not apply to

a) routine or incidental motions required by the Canons or Rules of Order, including action on the budget and assessment formula;

b) resolutions proposed by the Committee on the Bishop’s Address;

c) courtesy resolutions;

d) proposed changes to the Constitution and Canons; except that if the Committee on Dispatch of Business determines that such proposed changes are sufficiently substantive as to require significant debate, then the proposed changes shall count as one resolution and the Committee on Resolutions shall submit no more than four (4) resolutions be reduced by one;

e) resolutions placed in the Consent Calendar by the Committee on Dispatch of Business.

1.6 For purposes of Rule 1.5, a resolution or set of resolutions proposing both a resolution for General Convention and a substantially similar resolution governing or urging conduct or policy at the diocesan level may be regarded as a single resolution.

1.7 When, in the opinion of the Committee on Resolutions, the presentation of a resolution to Convention would be improved by the Committee’s division of the resolution into two or more resolutions, the several resolutions resulting from such division may be regarded as a single resolution for purposes of Rule 1.5.

1.8 Rule 1.6 or 1.7 shall be applicable only it if the Committee on Resolutions, with the consent of the Committee on Dispatch of Business, proposes a special order providing that debate on the set of resolutions shall be limited to the time normally allotted to a single resolution.  The special order shall also provide that the question on the set of resolutions shall be decided by a single vote, unless the Convention votes to divide the question.

1.9 Any proposed resolution that does not meet the foregoing criteria may be considered by the Convention only upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3rds) of those present and voting in Convention.  If the Convention agrees to consider a resolution, it shall be referred by the Chair to the Committee on Resolutions or other appropriate Committee of Convention.

1.10 Any proposed amendments to a resolution may be filed with the Secretary of the Convention on or before the opening of Convention, and shall promptly be referred by the Chair to the Committee on Resolutions or other appropriate committee.

1.11 Any resolutions submitted to the Committee on Resolutions and not submitted to the Convention, unless withdrawn, shall be identified by the Committee in its report.  The report shall include the name or subject of each resolution, the name(s) of the proposer(s), and the reason it was not submitted to the Convention.

1.12 All Committees of Convention may hold meetings by conference telephone call, teleconferencing or videoconferencing as an alternative to in-person meetings, provided that during any meeting all participants are capable of hearing each other at all times.  All Committee members shall be provided with information necessary to join the meeting.  Reasonable notice of meetings shall be given by written notice, telephone, fax, email, or other electronic means.


During Convention
Section 2 - Order of Business

Both the Annual and Special Conventions shall open with divine worship, at which service the Bishop may read an address.  Following the service, the President shall take the chair, after which the Order of Business shall be as follows:

2.1 A quorum being present, the President shall declare the Convention organized for business.

2.2 The Convention having been organized, the President may yield the chair to the Chair of Convention elected or appointed pursuant to the provisions of the Canons.

2.3   The Bishop’s Address, if not read during divine worship.  Table discussions may follow the address.

2.4 Report of the Committee on Credentials.  Any contested right or claim to a seat in the case of a cleric, and any irregular or doubtful certificates in the case of delegates, shall be referred to the Committee on Credentials.  The seating of clerics or delegates in question shall be decided by the Convention upon the recommendation of the Committee on Credentials.

2.5 Report of the Committee on Dispatch of Business.  The Committee on Dispatch of Business may propose a Special Order establishing a Consent Calendar consisting of routine and noncontroversial matters.  The adoption of the Consent Calendar shall be by unanimous consent; and if any member objects to an item, it shall be removed from the Consent Calendar and considered at a time determined by the Chair.  All items in the Consent Calendar shall have been published for consideration of the members of Convention at least two weeks before the Convention, using the normal methods for publishing Convention materials, which may include electronic posting or distribution.  Matters placed in the Consent Calendar may include, but are not limited to

a)  The Convention Agenda,

b)  Any Special Orders governing reports or debate,

c)  Bishop’s appointments requiring the consent of the Convention,

d)  Technical amendments to the Canons to correct errors or comply with federal, state or canon law,

e)  Resolutions deemed noncontroversial.

2.6 The appointment by the President of the Chancellor, any other appointed offices required by the Canons, any Committee of the Convention not previously appointed under provisions of the Canons, the filling of any vacancies resulting from absence or other causes, and the entry in the minutes of the names of those comprising the Committees previously appointed.

2.7 Report of the Committee on Resolutions.

2.8 Report of the Committee on Nominations and further nominations from the floor for all offices, committees and boards to be elected by the Convention, followed by the first ballot.

2.9 Other business.  After consultation with the President, the Committee on Dispatch of Business shall arrange the remaining business of the Convention in an order that best serves the theme and focus of that Convention.  Provision shall be made for

a) Report of the Committee on Canons.

b) Report of the Treasurer of the Diocese, including the report of the audit of the Treasurer’s Books.

c) Report of the Executive Council.

d) Presentation of the Program and Budget of the Diocese for the coming year.

e) Reports of Special Committees appointed at previous conventions or by the President.

f) Action on resolutions reported by the Committee on Resolutions.

g) Report of the Standing Committee.

h) Reports of such other officers, boards and committees of Convention as requested by the President or ordered by the Convention.

i) Additional ballots as needed.

j) Prayer.


Section 3 - The Business of Convention

3.1 All elections shall be conducted in accordance with Canon VII and these Rules.

3.2 All Special Committees shall be appointed by the President, unless otherwise ordered.

3.3 The reports of all Committees shall be in writing, and shall be received in course without motion for acceptance.  They shall be included in the Journal of Convention, unless otherwise ordered.  If recommending or requiring any action or expression of opinion by the Convention, they shall be accompanied by a resolution, or resolutions, for the consideration of Convention.

3.4 The prescribed Order of Business shall not be departed from, nor shall any Rule of Order be suspended, unless by a vote of two-thirds (2/3rds) of the members present.

3.5 No Order of Business shall be changed or rescinded except by vote of Convention.

3.6 An Alternate Delegate may not vote or have voice in Convention, unless and until certified by the Committee on Credentials as a substitute for a Delegate.

3.7 Following the close of Convention, the President of Convention, the Chair of Convention, and the Secretary of Convention are authorized to certify the minutes of the Convention for publication.

3.8 The courtesy of seat and voice shall be granted to Deanery Presidents, Chairs of Departments and Commissions, and representatives of special projects for the purpose of explaining their work and responding to questions.


Section 4 - Parliamentary Procedure

4.1 No principal motion, amendment thereto, or substitute therefor, shall be acted upon by the Convention until duly seconded and submitted in writing.  No amendment or substitute shall be finally adopted until the same be read to the house.

4.2 When a question is before the Convention, no motion, except as hereinafter provided, shall be received, but to lay on the table, to move the previous question, to limit debate, to postpone to a certain time, to commit, to amend or to postpone indefinitely, which motions shall have precedence in the order named.

4.3 All amendments shall be considered in the order in which they are received.  When a proposed amendment is under consideration, a motion to amend the same may be made; no further amendment to such second amendment shall be in order.

4.4 A motion to lay on the table shall always be decided without debate.

4.5 A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, when no member is speaking.

4.6 The person who has made a motion or moved a resolution may withdraw the same, without the consent of the seconder, at any time before the decision or amendment, in which case it shall not be entered upon the minutes.

4.7 If a question under debate contains several distinct propositions, the same shall be divided, at the request of any member, and a vote taken separately on each division thereof.

4.8 The votes shall be taken by ayes and nays.  On any single question each member of Convention shall have one vote.  No vote shall be taken by Orders unless so prescribed by the Constitution and Canons.

4.9 Any member whose character or motives may have been attacked or questioned in debate shall have the right to speak to a question of personal privilege.

4.10 A question that has been decided shall not be reconsidered during the same session except when significant circumstances can be adduced to support reconsideration.  No question shall be reconsidered more than once.  In a motion to reconsider a resolution or motion previously adopted, the reconsideration of said action shall be preceded by the reading by the Secretary of the resolution as recorded in the minutes of the Convention.

4.11 All questions of order shall be determined in the first instance by the Chair, but any member may appeal from any decision of the Chair; and on such appeal no member shall speak more than once without leave of the Convention.

4.12 During all debates the Chair shall call alternately upon those wishing to speak for and against the question, so long as there are those both pro and con who wish to speak.

4.13 After having spoken to it, the proponent of a motion may respond to questions of clarification from the floor before debate begins.

4.14 Prior to any matter coming before the Convention, the Committee on Dispatch of Business may introduce resolutions limiting the time allotted for its consideration and debate.

4.15 A motion to caucus will always be in order, even after debate on a question has terminated.  The motion is not debatable.  Should it be carried by a majority, the Chair will set the time allotted for the caucus.

4.16 In circumstances not covered by these Rules, the rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall apply.


Section 5 - Nominations

5.1 Under the proper order of business, the Committee on Nominations shall propose two or more names, if possible, otherwise only the number required for a specific office.  Nominations may be made from the floor at that time.  No seconds are required.  In placing a name in nomination, the following are required: 1) the name and position held by the person being nominated; 2) prior consent given by the individual to be placed in nomination; and 3) biographical material prepared and distributed.

5.2 Upon completion of nominations, the Committee on Elections shall print and furnish the Convention with sufficient ballots containing the names of all persons nominated for each office requiring an election.  The clergy and lay ballots shall be distinguished by paper of different colors, identified with the name of the office; except that if automated vote-counting equipment is employed and the manufacturer does not supply ballots of different colors, then paper of the same color may be used, provided that the name of the order is printed on each ballot using a font of 24 points or greater.

5.3 The Secretary shall provide the registrars or tellers with a voting list, in the Order for which they are registrars or tellers, corrected to show those entitled to vote.  The registrars or tellers shall provide ballots to voters only after checking the names of the voters on the voting list.

5.4 If the number of names nominated does not exceed the number required for each office, the ballot for that office may, by unanimous consent, be cast by the Secretary.


Section 6 – Voting

6.1 When multiple positions in the same office are to be filled at one time, all nominees for that office shall be listed together on the same ballot, and each Member of Convention shall be allowed to cast as many votes for that office as there are positions to be filled.

6.2 When one or more vacancies for unexpired terms are to be filled by election, all nominees for the same office, whether for a full term or for a vacancy, shall be listed together on the same ballot, and each Member of Convention shall be allowed to cast as many votes for that office as there are positions to be filled, including vacancies; except that when the number of nominees does not exceed the number of positions to be filled, each Member of Convention shall be allowed to cast only as many votes for that office as there are full terms to be filled.  The full term(s) shall be filled first, as specified in the Canons of the Diocese, and vacancies shall be filled second, in order of precedence.

6.3 When the Constitution or Canons prescribe that alternates are to be elected in addition to the regular holders of an office, all nominees shall be listed together on the same ballot, and each Member of Convention shall be allowed to cast as many votes as there are regular positions to be filled, not including alternates.  The regular positions shall be filled first, as specified in the Canons of the Diocese, and the alternates shall be filled second, in order of precedence.  Among the alternates, the order of precedence shall be determined by the total number of votes received in both lay and clergy orders combined.

6.4 On any ballot after the first ballot, each Member of Convention shall be allowed to cast as many votes for each office as allowed on the first ballot, reduced by the number of positions filled on previous ballots.

6.5 When each Member of Convention casts more than one vote for an office, a majority shall be deemed to be the number of votes that is more than half of the ballots cast.

6.6 In casting multiple votes for the same office, no Member of Convention shall be permitted to cast more than one vote for the same person.


Section 7 - Conduct of Elections

7.1 The polls shall be opened in a convenient place, at an hour and for a period fixed by the Convention.  When the time for voting expires, the Chair of the Committee on Elections shall declare the polls closed and the tellers shall proceed to count the vote.

7.2 Each voter shall vote by making a check mark or a cross opposite the name of the nominee for each position to be filled, on a single ballot for the appropriate office; except that if automated vote-counting equipment is employed, the mark shall be as specified by the manufacturer. 

7.3 In tallying, the following ballots shall not be counted:

a) if two or more ballots are folded together, unless the extra ballot or ballots are entirely blank;

b) if more than the specified number of persons receive votes on any one ballot.

The reason for not tallying shall be endorsed on the reverse side of any such ballot by the teller.  Such uncounted ballots shall be included in the appropriate envelope for the vote and office concerned.

7.4 Any doubtful ballot shall be referred to the Chair before tallying it, and the Chair’s decision shall be final.

7.5 The Secretary shall provide each set of tellers with a tally sheet or sheets, properly headed and numbered.  Each tally sheet shall have the name of each person for whom votes are to be cast, and all votes shall be registered only on that tally sheet.  The tellers shall be the only persons to record the votes on the tally sheets.  If done by any other person, the votes shall be void.

7.6 The Committee on Elections may, with the consent of the President and Secretary, employ automated vote-counting equipment to canvass the ballots.  No voting machine or electronic voting system shall be employed which does not use individual physical ballots marked personally by the members of Convention.  The Secretary shall provide the tellers with vote result forms in lieu of tally sheets, and the tellers shall transcribe the results displayed or printed by the equipment to the vote result forms.  At least three tellers shall observe and verify the transcription of each result.  If the equipment provides a printed result, it shall be attached to the vote result form.

7.7 Immediately after canvassing the ballots, the tellers shall place them in separate envelopes for each  order and shall endorse on the outside of each envelope the following:

a) whether they were ballots of the Clerical or Lay Order;

b) the number of counted ballots inside, and if the vote did not result in an election;

c) whether it is the first or other ballot for the office;

d) the number of any ballots not tallied.

7.8 Each envelope shall be signed by the several tellers and delivered to the Secretary.  In separate envelopes, the tellers shall place the voting lists of the two Orders, properly endorsed, with the number of the ballot for which they were used.  The envelopes shall remain unsealed until the close of that day’s proceedings.  It shall be the duty of the Secretary to provide suitable envelopes for these purposes and to see that they are returned with the ballots properly endorsed and sealed, and to keep them unopened, except as provided in Rule 7.9.

7.9 If the accuracy of the canvass by the tellers in any election should be questioned, the same may be recanvassed on written request of two clerics and two lay persons, delivered to the Bishop no later than thirty days after the adjournment of Convention.  Upon such request the ballots shall be recanvassed  in the presence of the Bishop, the Standing Committee and the Secretary of Convention, as soon as may be convenient, either before or after adjournment of Convention.  Their findings shall be final.

7.10 After the expiration of the time for requesting a recanvass, the Secretary may order the destruction of the ballots, provided that there is no request for a recanvass still pending.