Rules of Order

Rules of Order of the Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

1. On each day of Council there shall be appropriate worship services including a celebration of Holy Communion at each regular meeting of the Council.

2. On the first day of Council the Presiding Officer, having taken the Chair, shall declare a quorum present, if such be the case, or he may direct that the roll of the members of the clerical and lay order be called to determine a quorum.

3. On the first day of Council, a Program of Council shall be adopted.

4. On the first day of each regular meeting of Council, the Presiding Officer may appoint assistant secretaries to the Secretary of the Council.

5. Prior to each regular meeting of Council, the Presiding Officer shall appoint the following Committees of Council to serve until their successors have been appointed.

A. Committee on Credentials

B. The Committee on Constitution and Canons, to which all proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons shall be referred. The Committee on Constitution and Canons shall conduct a hearing at a session of the Council and thereafter make a report to Council.

Notice having been given that amendments to the Constitution and Canons should be submitted prior to the Council meeting, no additional amendments to the Constitution and Canons shall be received and acted upon at the Council without a two-thirds vote of the Council, unless it shall be reported by a Committee of Council. All such amendments submitted on the floor of Council must be submitted in 600 copies ready for distribution.

C. The Committee on Resolutions, to which may be referred all written resolutions, except those referred to the Committee on Budget.

All resolutions shall be introduced in writing in such electronic or written format as specified by the Diocesan Office. Resolutions shall be introduced no later than three days before the first open hearing of the Resolutions Committee, which may occur at a Pre-council meeting, provided that the date of such meeting and the intent to hold a hearing shall have been announced at least a month previous. If no such hearing occurs before the opening of Council, all resolutions shall be submitted no later than ten calendar days before the opening day of Council.

Other than Courtesy Resolutions, no additional resolutions shall be received and acted upon at the Council without a two-thirds vote of the Council, unless it shall be reported by a Committee of Council. All such additional resolutions must be submitted in 600 copies ready for distribution. Unless a resolution addresses circumstances arising after the deadline for submission of resolutions, it may be ruled out of order.

Courtesy Resolutions are those expressing thanks, congratulations, or condolences to individuals, families, or organizations, as may be appropriate for the occasions of retirement, departure, achievement, anniversary, or death. Courtesy Resolutions may be introduced as late as the first day of Council without bringing 600 copies of the resolution and without the need for a two-thirds vote. A Courtesy Resolution thanking or commending service at Council may be introduced at any time.

The Committee shall conduct an open hearing or hearings and thereafter report its recommendations on all resolutions submitted.

D. The Committee on Budget, to which shall be referred (a) the Executive Board's recommended program and proposed funding, and (b) such resolutions related thereto as shall have been filed in writing with the Council.

The Committee on Budget shall conduct a hearing at a session of the Council and thereafter report to Council by presenting:

1. The Executive Board's budget.

2. The resolutions or recommendations referred to it by Council with the Committee's recommendation(s) to Council regarding adoption or rejection of each.

3. Such other changes in the Executive Board budget as the Committee shall recommend, said changes to be presented in the form of a resolution or resolutions.

No floor amendment to the proposed budget will be considered unless the subject matter of the proposed amendment has been presented or made known to the Committee on Budget prior to or during open hearings.

No amendment to the proposed diocesan budget, as presented by the Committee on Budget, shall be received unless the amendment includes provision for offsetting changes in other expenditures or revenues.

E. The Committee on Church Status, to which shall be referred all petitions for church status prepared and presented as prescribed by Canon.

F. The Committee on Related Organizations, which shall study, review and report to Council the relationship existing between the Diocese and any organization, institution, corporation, board or other group which by charter or custom or for any reason may be considered to have a relationship with the Diocese or a desire to have such a relationship. All requests to change or create such relationship shall be referred to this Committee. This Committee is charged with presenting to Council, or to the Executive Board between meetings of Council, nominations or elections for confirmation, of officers or board members of all related organizations whose articles of incorporation or bylaws require such action.

G. The Committee on the Journal of the Council, composed of three persons of whom the Secretary of the Diocese shall be one, and of either order, to whom shall be referred all matters to be printed in the Annual Journal of the Council, which said Committee shall have power to act during recess of the Council, and report to the Council.

6. The Presiding Officer shall appoint such other committees of Council as the Council may direct or the Presiding Officer may determine and he may designate the chairman of any committee.

7. The size and composition of every committee of Council shall be in the sole discretion of the Presiding Officer, except where otherwise provided by the Constitution and Canons.

8. The President may appoint a parliamentarian for any meeting of Council.

9. Elections: In every election where more persons are nominated than are to be elected, the balloting shall be:

A. On each ballot, the nominee(s) receiving the highest number of votes, but not less than a majority of valid ballots cast, shall be declared elected.  A ballot on which there is indicated a clear preference by the voter, in the sole judgment of the Head Teller, to vote for at least one person and not more than the number of persons to be elected on the ballot shall be a valid ballot.

B. If any office remains to be filled after the first ballot, second and subsequent ballots shall be taken. On each later ballot, the number of nominees shall be reduced by one-half, but such reduction shall always provide for two more nominees than offices to be filled. In the event of a single vacancy, the number of nominees shall be reduced to two. Depending upon the distribution of votes, the presiding officer may, on the advice of the Chief Judge of Election and with the approval of Council, authorize the retention of three more names than offices to be filled.

C. In the event of an impasse, declared to be such by the Presiding Officer, the Council may change or modify Section A and B of this rule by a majority vote of members present, notwithstanding the requirement for a two-thirds vote to suspend a Rule of Order. Notwithstanding paragraph 9(B), where a special council is electing a bishop, a nominee may be removed from the ballot only at a nominee’s request.

D. Whenever the Council must fill a vacancy on the Standing Committee, the order of election shall be:

(1) The member for a regular term;
(2) The member or members for the longest vacancy to be filled;
(3) The member or members for the remaining vacancy to be filled.

10. When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the Presiding Officer, and, if in writing, be read by the Secretary. After a motion is so stated or read, it shall be deemed in possession of the Council, but may be withdrawn by the mover at any time before amendment or decision, with the consent of the second.

11. Every motion shall be reduced to writing if the Presiding Officer or any member requires it.


A. When a motion is pending, the following amendments shall be in order:

(1) One amendment may be made to each independent or separable portion thereof; and
(2) one motion to amend that amendment shall be in order; and it shall be in order
(3) to offer a further amendment by way of substitute to which may be
(4) one amendment.

B. No proposition not germane to the subject under consideration shall be received under color of an amendment or a substitute. Neither the substitute nor its amendment shall be voted on (except to lay on the table) until the original matter is perfected. An amendment or a substitute may be withdrawn by the mover with the consent of his seconder before amendment thereof or before decision is had thereon.

C. The amendment or the substitute shall be debatable only when the main question is debatable.

D. The adoption of an amendment by way of substitute or otherwise shall not displace the main resolution, which, after being amended, shall be the question before the Council.

E. The following questions cannot be amended:

(1) The call for the Order of the Day,
(2) an appeal from the decision of the Chair,
(3) an objection to consideration of any question, or the motions
(4) to adjourn,
(5) to lay on the table,
(6) to take from the table,
(7) for leave to continue speaking,
(8) to postpone indefinitely,
(9) to reconsider,
(10) to suspend rules,
(11) to take up business out of order or
(12) for leave to withdraw a motion.

F. The order of decision of a question before the Council shall be:

(1) Amendment to the amendment of the main question;
(2) Amendment to the main question;
(3) Amendment to the substitute motion;
(4) The substitute motion;
(5) If the substitute fails, then the main question.

13. When a question is under debate no motion shall be received but to

(1) adjourn,
(2) to lay on the table,
(3) for the previous question,
(4) to take at a certain time,
(5) to commit or recommit,
(6) to amend or substitute,
(7) to postpone to a certain day, or
(8) to postpone indefinitely, which several motions shall have precedence in the order enumerated and be settled by a majority vote.

14. A motion for the previous question shall be put in this form: "Shall the previous question or questions before the Council now be put?" If the previous question is voted, only the immediately pending questions before the Council shall be put without debate.

15. A motion to adjourn, or lay on the table, shall always be in order and shall be decided without debate.

16. When two or more members of Council rise at once, the Presiding Officer shall decide who is entitled to the floor.

17. Except by leave of the Council, no member shall speak more than twice in the same debate, nor longer than two minutes at one time. No applause shall be permitted when a question is under debate.

18. The vote on all questions shall be taken by orders whenever as many as five members request it.

19. Reports of all committees shall be in writing. Statistical and other reports of officers and committees which require no action by Council may be read by title only, and any report may be read in part only when the Presiding Officer shall, without obligation, so direct, or when the Council shall so require.

20. No member shall absent himself from the meetings of the Council without leave, unless he be sick or unable to attend.

21. All persons elected as officials of the Diocese by the Council or by the Executive Board of the Council, Presidents of the Regions, and members of the Executive Board-elect who will take office at the conclusion of the regular meeting of Council, shall by virtue of their respective offices, be entitled to a seat and voice, but no vote, at all meetings of the Council.

22. These rules may be amended or special orders for the conduct of business adopted at any time by a two-thirds majority of the members present.

23. In all matters not specifically covered by these Rules of Order or by the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, Robert's Rules of Order, Revised, shall govern the Council in all cases to which they are applicable.

24. Rules in force: At the meetings of the Annual Council, the rules and the orders of the previous meeting shall be in force until they are amended or repealed by the Council.