Stated Clerk’s Corner September 2020
The Stated Clerk’s duties have certainly been impacted by Covid-19 like so many others. I have been postponing Review of Minute Books and Registers until October hoping that things might have changed enough for Clerks of Session to gather together and review each other’s books. Well, that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. So, taking my cue from the Stated Clerk of the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii who has cancelled the Review of Presbytery Minutes until 2021, I am doing the same. There will be no Review of Minute Books and Registers this year. That means we will be looking at two years’ Minutes in 2021: 2019 and 2020. The Synod will be doing the same.
Unfortunately, our presbytery and our congregations are holding official meetings “out of order” according to our by-laws as no one could have ever predicted Covid-19 and included an option of holding regular stated meetings electronically as Robert’s Rules forbids it. Of course, this would apply to congregations that have chosen Robert’s Rules as their parliamentary procedure option in their By-Laws. Most, possibly all, of our congregations function according to Robert’s Rules. We are all approving motions in this manner after voting to do so at the beginning of meetings with the caveat that all those motions will need to be ratified when we can finally meet in person again. At that time we will also vote on including meetings of this nature under a very specific set of circumstances in the future. Hopefully, we will never need to do this again. We all look forward to the day we can all be functioning legally again.
I am aware that so many things are different this year. The clerks may not have access to their church offices as they have had in the past years. That means they may not be able to be working with their official Minute Book and Register. I have advised clerks to be working with their individual monthly sets of minutes and filling in the Review Form along the way with the month a requirement was fulfilled. They can get back to the official books with page numbers in the future when they are available. That way they will not be so far behind when we can actually open up our church offices as before.
I am presently working on a Zoom training module for new Clerks of Session. This module will be part of the 2021 Winterfest event and will be available after the Winterfest event in a library of electronic resources. I have already posted several resources for Clerks of Session on the presbytery website under the “Clerk’s Corner” and plan on adding additional items in order to provide a good amount of resources that can be accessed at any time by clerks. This can certainly be thought of as a positive result of Covid-19 for it means that as new Clerks of Session come into the office, there will be immediate assistance available. It does not mean that I will not meet individually with a new clerk. I am aware that one of the great advantages of doing individual clerk training is that the training can be tailored to their specific situation. I will continue to make efforts to help individually, as well.
The Executive Presbyter and I will not be flying off to the Mid Council Leaders’ Meeting this fall
as it will be held virtually due to Covid-19. That meeting is scheduled for one day, November 5th, this year. I will certainly miss the comradery that occurs at mealtimes and evening events. The theme for the meeting is, “Wholeness in Times of Crisis.” I look forward to being able to share whatever information I glean this year with the presbytery.
Here are the dates for the Presbytery Meetings for the 2021 year:
January 26th – Tuesday, 7-9 PM
March 20th – Saturday, 9am-12noon
June 19th – Saturday, 9am-12noon
September 18th – Saturday, 9am-12noon
November 16th – Tuesday, 7-9pm
(We are planning for in-person meetings at this time until we see what Covid-19 holds for the future year-2021. We will adapt as needed.)
Winterfest – The Plenary and Worship Celebration will be held on line on February 6th
We are now looking for locations for those various presbytery meetings. If you would like to volunteer your church as a possible location of one of these presbytery meetings, please contact the stated clerk and/or the executive presbyter. We would love to discuss that idea with your church leadership.
Diane M. Frasher