GS 1983 art 45

ARTICLE 45Proposed Guidelines for Synod

The discussion on the Proposed Guidelines for Synod is continued. The guidelines are adopted as amended.



–  Agenda VII, A, B, C, D, E, F

  • A.   Proposed Guidelines for Synod
  • B.   Letter from the Church at Brampton
  • C.  Letter from the Church at Chatham
  • D.  Letter from the Church at Chilliwack
  • E.   Letter from the Church at Cloverdale
  • F.   Letter from the Church at Smithville


The convening Church at Cloverdale proposes to Synod to adopt Guidelines for General Synod Meetings.

  • 1.   The Church at Chatham proposes “that each Synod adopt Guidelines for its own use,” on the ground that otherwise “one Synod would be lording it over future Synods.”
  • 2.   The Church at Smithville proposes that
    • a.   Synod make some guidelines for
      • 1.   Deputies, and
      • 2.   Local pastor(s) of the convening Church, who might be requested to ad­ vise Synod, namely, that they advise Synod “only when requested.” or speak only once in plenary session on a certain issue, in order to prevent that they “begin to function as ‘delegates’.”
  • 3.   Letter from the Church at Chilliwack with a similar proposal.
    • b.   Synod delete the guideline about “closed-restricted session” (IV, A, 2) on the ground that all office-bearers “are bound to preserve confidentiality” and that the term “extremely delicate situations” is open to subjective interpretation.
    • c.   Synod also delete the rule that “voting about delicate matters,” etc. shall be by ballot on the ground that also this is open to “subjective interpretation.”
  • 4.   The Church at Brampton requests Synod to keep open the possibility of having more than one motion under discussion at the same time for a possible better way of dealing with a certain matter.
    • It proposes to read sub IV, B, 2: “A main motion is not acceptable if it conflicts with any decision already made by Synod.”
  • 5.   In reply to the letter of the Church at Chatham, the Consistory of the Church at Cloverdale stated that Chatham’s objection “was covered in the last article.”


  • 1.   The Church at Cloverdale is correct when it states as ground for the adoption of “a few general rules” that they “may serve a fruitful purpose.”
  • 2.   The reply of the Church at Cloverdale to the objection of the Church at Chatham is correct.
  • 3.   a. Deputies and local ministers are not delegated and should not “begin to func­tion as such.”
    • b. Especially in cases of delicate personal matters it is better to have as few peo­ple know about it as possible. Smithville bases its objection on the incorrect assumption that every office-bearer by virtue of his office has the inherent right to attend sessions of any broader assembly, whether it is closed, closed-re­stricted, or not.
  • 4 Although the Church at Brampton is correct in its desire that the way be kept open for “an extensive discussion,” it will be better for the correct order that there is only one main motion on the table to be voted on. Brampton’s objection can be met by a guideline about notice of motion.


Synod adopt the PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR SYNOD with the following changes.

  • I, A. Change “arrange” to “set.”
    • B.   Change “four” to “six.”
    • C.   Delete the word “primi,” as well as the words “first two.”
    • D.   Add to the first sentence the words “in thirty copies.” Delete second sentence.
    • E.   Replace “pro tempore” by “until Synod has been constituted.”
    • E, 2 Delete “call to.”
  • II, C, 1.  Add the words ” Every morning” at the beginning of sentence.
    • 2, b.  Delete the word “main.”
    • 3.   Delete “the following,” as well as point a.
  • Ill, A, 6. Add “on” after ” elaborate.”
    • 9. Add sentence as follows: ··11 anyone has been requested to advise Synod on any matter, he shall address Synod on this point  only  when asked to do so by the chair.”
  • IV, A, 2. Add after “mean” the words ” a session where” and at the end of this sen­tence the words “may be present.”
    • B.  Add point 3.: ” A notice of motion may be given during the discussion.”
  • I.  1. Delete the word “main.”

The PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR SYNOD be adopted in the following redaction.

Convening and Constitution of Synod

  • A.   The convening Church shall set the date on which Synod shall meet, (cf. Art. 50 C.O.).
  • B.  The convening Church shall send the first Provisional Agenda to all the Churches at least six months prior to convocation.
  • C.  All material submitted to the convening Church shall be sent to all delegates as well as to the alternate delegates.
  • D.  All appeals should ordinarily be at the convening Church at least one month before Synod convenes, in thirty copies.
  • E.   The minister of the convening Church or its counsellor shall act as chairman until Synod has been constituted.
    • 1.   He shall call the meeting to order in an ecclesiastical manner, (cf. Art. 32 C.O.).
    • 2.   He shall have the credentials examined as to whether Genera l Synod can be constituted.
  • F.   Officers of Synod shall be chosen by ballot in this order: chairman, vice-chairman, first clerk, and second clerk. Election to office is to be by majority of valid votes cast.

II  Duties of the Officers

  • A.   The Chairman
    • 1.   The chairman shall see to it that business is transacted in the proper order and is expedited as much as possible, and that members observe the rules of order and decorum. (cf. Art. 35, Art. 43, C.O.).
    • 2.   He shall call the meeting to order at the appointed time, call the roll and shall see to “i t that each session is properly opened and closed.
    • 3.   He shall welcome fraternal delegates or other guests and respond to greet­ings received or appoint other members for this purpose.
    • 4.   He shall place before Synod every motion that is made and seconded, in ac­ cord with the accepted order; and he shall clearly state every question before a vote is taken, so that every member may know on what he is voting.
    • 5.   If the chairman feels the need to speak on a pending question, he shall relin­quish the chair to the vice-chairman for that period of time. While holding the chair, he may speak to state matters of fact or to inform Synod regarding points of order.
    • 6.   He shall have, and duly exercise, the prerogative of declaring a motion or per­ son out of order. If his ruling is challenged, it shall be submitted to Synod for decision by majority vote.
    • 7.   The chairman shall retain his right to vote on any question
    • 8.   In case of a point of order, the chairman must make a ruling at once. This
    • ruling may be reversed by a majority of Synod, if any member is dissatisfied with the ruling of the chair and appeals to the floor.
    • 9.   The chairman shall close the Synod with appropriate remarks and with prayer. (Art. 32 C.0.).
  • B.   The Vice-Chairman
    • 1.   The vice-chairman shall, in the absence of the chairman, assume all his duties and privileges.
    • 2.   The vice-chairman shall render all possible assistance to the chairman as cir­cumstances require.
    • 3.   He shall prepare the Press Release.
  • C.  The First Clerk
    • 1.   Every morning, after the roll call, he shall read the Acts of the previous day.
    • 2.   He shall keep a proper record of the business of Synod. This record should ordinarily contain:
      • a.   The opening and closing of sessions and roll call.
      • b.   All motions whether carried or defeated.
      • c.   All final reports of committees and all decisions of Synod.
      • d.   Any document or part of debate or address that Synod by a majority vote has decided to insert in the Acts.
    • 3.   He shall not include in the Acts any motion that was withdrawn.
  • D.   The Second Clerk
    • 1.   The second clerk shall serve in the absence of the first clerk.
    • 2.   He shall render assistance to the first clerk as circumstance requires.
    • 3.   He shall handle outgoing mail on behalf of Synod.

III Synodical Committees

  • A. Advisory Committees of Synod
    • 1.   The officers of Synod shall propose advisory committees with a convener to serve for the duration of Synod.
    • 2.   The officers of Synod shall propose an arrangement of matters on the agenda to the appropriate committees.
    • 3.   All reports shall be distributed in ample time before they are presented for dis­cussion.
    • 4.   The committee reporter shall present the reports.
    • 5.   If there is a minority report as well as a majority report, both reports shall be given into discussion, but the majority report shall be voted upon first.
    • 6.   During the discussion, the task of defending the report shall rest primarily with the reporter of the committee. Other committee members shall receive the priv­ilege of the floor to elaborate on or clarify any point.
    • 7.   In order to facilitate the discussion on a pending issue, the chair shall ordinarily call for the discussion in two parts (rounds) – in the first part opportunity is given to members to express remarks related to the issue in question. In the second or following parts, members may react to the discussion or the issue in question.
    • 8.   The discussion may be extended by discretion of the chairman or by a deci­sion of Synod.
    • 9.   If anyone has been requested to advise Synod on any matter, he shall address Synod on this point only when asked to do so by the chair.

IV Rules of Order

  • A.   Closed Sessions of Synod
    • 1.   A closed session shall ordinarily mean a session where members of Synod and office-bearers may be present. This shall be used in delicate or unusual situations.
    • 2.   A closed-restricted session shall, as a rule, mean a session where members of Synod only may be present. This shall only take place when Synod judges that such a course is dictated by due regard for personal honour or the wel­fare of the Churches in extremely delicate situations.
  • B.   Main Motions
    • A main motion is one which presents a certain subject for consideration or action.
      • 1.   A main motion is acceptable under the following conditions:
        • a.   The mover has been recognized by the chair.
        • b.   The motion has been seconded.
        • c.   The motion is also presented in writing.
      • 2.   A main motion is not acceptable if another main motion is before Synod or if it conflicts with any decision already made by Synod.
      • 3.   A notice of motion may be given during the discussion.
  • C.   A Motion to Amend
    • This is a proposal to alter a main motion in language or in meaning before final action is taken on the motion.
      • 1.   A motion to amend may propose any of the following: to strike out, to insert, or to substitute certain words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs.
      • 2.   A motion to amend is not a proper amendment if it nullifies the main motion or is not germane to it.
      • 3.   A motion to amend an amendment is permissible and is called a secondary motion.
  • D.   Call for a Division of the Question
    • At the request of one or more members of Synod, a motion consisting of more than one part must be divided and voted upon separately. unless Synod decides that this is not necessary.
  • E.   Objection to Consideration of a Question
    • If any member is not satisfied with the ruling of the chair, the matter is referred to Synod for a decision.
  • F.   Right of Protest
    • It is the right of any member to protest against any decision of Synod. Protest should be registered immediately, or during the session in which the matter con­cerned was acted upon. Protests must be registered individually and not in groups. Members may, if they feel the need, ask to have their negative vote recorded. Such requests must be made immediately after the vote is taken.
  • G.   Motion to Bring Matters Once Decided Again Before Synod
    • Any member of Synod, for weighty reason s, may move to have a matter reconsidered, which was previously decided. The purpose of this motion is to propose a new discussion and a new vote.
  • H.   Discussion
    • 1.   To obtain the floor, a speaker must be recognized by the chair.
    • 2.   If any member has spoken twice on a pending issue, others who have not yet spoken twice shall, as a rule, be given priority by the chair.
    • 3.   When the chairman believes that a motion under consideration has been debated sufficiently, he may propose cessation of debate. If a majority of Synod sustains his proposal, discussion shall cease and the vote shall be taken.
    • 4.   Any member of Synod, when he deems a matter to have been debated sufficiently, may move to close the discussion. Should a majority be in favour, the vote shall be taken, but only after those who have already requested the floor have been recognized.
  • I.     Voting
    • 1.   The chair shall call the roll (in any order) when a vote is taken.
    • 2.   Voting about persons shall be by ballot.
    • 3.   Voting about delicate matters and other matters of a critical nature shall also be by ballot.
  • J.    Revision
    • These Synodical Guidelines may be suspended, amended, revised or abrogated by a majority vote of Synod.