COVID-19 & Synod Assembly
(10 June 2021)
Synod Assembly in action
Synod Assembly
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Contents
  • Synod Assembly 2021
    • Save-the-Date
    • Timing
    • Call of the Assembly
    • Plans for the Assembly
  • Synod Assembly 2020
    • For the Parliamentary Geeks...
  • Nominations

Synod Assembly 2021

Save-the-Date: 16 October 2021

This is not the official call of the Synod Assembly---that is yet to be prepared. This is the announcement that Synod Council, at its evening meeting of 10 June 2021, set the date for Synod Assembly. Synod Assembly 2021 is planned to convene on Saturday, 16 October 2021 at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, near Morgantown, WV.

Timing

Synod Council, at a special meeting in December 2020, pushed back the window for Synod Assembly 2021 to late summer through fall 2021 while reserving the right to push it back further. Original plans for Synod Assembly 2021 had placed it at the usual time (late May early June), but it seemed prudent to Synod Council to push it back in light of the promise of an aggressive vaccination program. The Synod Assembly Planning Committee (SAPComm) continued to monitor the pandemical situation, determining recently that it was reasonable to hold Synod Assembly this fall. After agreeing reviewing several locations, the Mon County 4H Center was selected as the first choice and timing selected that avoided scheduling conflicts with extra-ecclesial events and other obligations. 16 October 2021 provided the earliest and best opportunity.

When/Where is Synod Assemby?
If you want to know when and where Synod Assembly 2021 will be held, the best thing you can do is subscribe to The Bishop's Roadshow.

Call of the Assembly

As stated above, the "Save-the-Date" is not the call of the assembly. The call of the assembly must be issued 60 days before the convening of the assembly. There are, however, other notification requirements which require a 90-day notice. So, for a regular assembly, which this is, there will be some things kicking off at least 90 days before the gavel strikes us into session, but the 60-day notice is the binding notice. As details develop for this assembly, they will be posted on this page.

Planning for the Assembly

Initial plans for the Synod Assembly were laid out and accepted in principal by Synod Council at its October 2020 meeting. At the time, both risk mitigation and pandemic psychology were forefront in the Synod Council's thinking. The following assumptions drove planning:

  • An easing of government restrictions and recommendations could not be expected, meaning social distancing, masking, attendance caps for indoor venues, and food service requirements (e.g., no buffets) would all still be in place;
  • There would be a general uneasiness on the part of potential voting members to stay in hotels/motels;
  • Potential attendees would be dissatisfied with the cost and quality of boxed meals and/or would be uncomfortable with social dining (if even allowed by the government or venue); and
  • The sine qua non of the Synod Assembly is the conduct of business.

With these assumptions, the following planning goals were accepted:

  • Synod Assembly should be in a high-ventilation context (e.g., an pavilion, amphitheater, field house, etc.);
  • Synod Assembly should be as short as possible (with a proposed agenda including only those items of business required under the governing documents of the Synod and RONR);
  • Synod Assembly should be planned to be held over two non-consecutive days and arranged such that it may adjourn sine die at the end of the first day if the work of the assembly is completed or deems the second day unnecessary;
  • Synod Assembly should be held within a reasonable distance to the travel-calculated geographic center of the Synod; and
  • Synod Assembly should be held in proximity to multiple dining options with an extended lunch hour.

SAPComm, monitoring the pandemical situation, concluded that an open-air assembly, social distancing, and mandatory masking were no longer necessary but, being of the opinion that flexibility for response to possible variants and new waves of the coronavirus, chose to retain some of the planning parameters.

Synod Council reviewed SAPComm's work, settling on some details and leaving others to further work to the committee. As mentioned, details will be posted as they develop and can be formatted for presentation.

Synod Assembly 2020

Synod Assembly 2020 was not be held in Flatwoods, 5-6 June 2020. With the uncertainties occasioned by COVID-19, Synod Council, by action SC20.4.1, rescinded SC19.9.1 that had previously set the time and place of the Synod Assembly. While the Synod Council reserved the right to call an assembly later in 2020, the pandemical situation militated against doing so, and no business arose that was so pressing, in the opinion of Synod Council, to warrant doing so.

For the Parliamentary Geek...

Not Cancelled, Not Called

Technically, there was no cancellation of the Synod Assembly as the official "call of the assembly" had not been issued, nor was it a postponement for the same reason. The call of the assembly must be issued 60 days before the assembly convenes. Communiques related to the date of Synod Assembly issued prior to the call of the assembly are but informal save-the-dates.

Our governing documents, in †S7.01, require triennial assemblies at minimum; there is no requirement for an annual assembly. Bylaw S7.11.01 empowers the Synod Council to determine the time and place of Synod Assembly. A 90-day notice is expected under normal circumstances, but 60 days is the requirement for legal quorum. It is possible for the voting members of the Synod Assembly to force the call of a special assembly under S7.12. This requires a petition of 10% of the voting membership of the Synod Assembly; contact the Bishop for assistance in navigating this provision.

Synod Business in the Absence of an Assembly

Under our governing documents, in †S10.02, Synod Council functions as the interim legislative authority and may discharge all powers excluding those reserved to the Synod Assembly.

Elections are one of the very few reserved powers of the Synod Assembly. So, one might ask, "What about people who's terms are going to be up?" For the vice president, secretary, and treasurer, †S8.51 answers that they serve until their successors take office.

The CBCR/WV-WMD (Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the WV-WMD Synod) is silent on the question of synod councilors. Fortunately, Pennsylvania corporate is not. This may surprise most people, but the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Commonwealth law related to "domestic nonprofit corporations," provides an answer to this thorny question. Per 15 Pa.C.S. §5724, a Synod Councilor "shall hold office until the expiration of the term for which the director was selected and until a successor has been selected and qualified or until the director's earlier death, resignation or removal." By the way, there is a parallel provision in West Virginia Code §31E-8-806(e).

That leaves Discipline and Consultation Committees. Again, the CBCR/WV-WMD does not address this. The Commonwealth's statutes (q.v., 15 Pa. C.S. §5731(b)) are also unhelpful because the only committee terms that are addressed are committees of the board of directors (i.e., Synod Council), and these committees are committees of the Synod (specifically, the Synod Assembly, by virtue of the appointment power). Further analysis suggests that these two committees are not actually committees; rather, they are boards. It is a subtle distinction discussed in RONR §50. As such, it seems that the rule applicable to the board of directors would be applicable here.

Nominations

The public input phase for nominations associated with Synod Assembly 2020 began March 7. Though originally scheduled to close April 6, the public input phase will remain open until 60 days before the next regular synod assembly (2021). To learn more about what positions will be up for election at Synod Assembly 2021 and how to recommend people for nomination to those positions, visit our Nominations & Elections Page.



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