April 21, 2020
Dear CVUU Members,
As we continue through the COVID -19 pandemic, we are adjusting our CVUU Congregational decision making. This spring we scheduled three congregational meetings for voting purposes:
- The candidating week, congregational discernment and vote on our Settled Minister
- The Election Meeting, April 26, for the election of CVUU Board Officers and Directors
- The Annual Meeting, June 7, for the election of members of the Nominating Committee and the adoption of our FY 21 Budget.
Governor Northam’s order to stay at home and not gather in large groups has already affected our sermons and coffee hour, and it is also changing our democratic process. I’d like to address each of these three congregational decision-making processes during COVID-19.
A letter was mailed to you last week outlining the process we will be using to select a Settled Minister. Briefly, we will hold the planned April 26 to May 3 candidating week virtually. We will hold a second candidating week in person when it is safe for us to return to in person gatherings. This candidating week will conclude with full congregation discussion, discernment and voting on whether to call Rev Viola Abbitt for Settled Ministry with CVUU. If you have questions, please contact a member of the Ministerial Search Team: Tasha Dockery, David Hutcheson, David Kidd, Martha Shore, Kevin St George, Brian Schiller, Tracy Navarra-Davis and Lindsay Pryor.
The CVUU Board has been meeting regularly and has considered a variety of options to meet our democratic process which will continue with the business of the congregation. Our guidelines included: all CVUU members must be offered an opportunity vote, the voting process must be fair, our Bylaws and Policies and Procedures Manual will be followed as possible, and we must work within an unknown timeline determined by the virus as we all maintain safe practices.
The Board has decided to collapse the Election meeting and the Annual meeting into one meeting on June 28, 2020 after the regular service. This will be a virtual meeting on Zoom or call in for listening only. In keeping with our governing documents, the slates prepared by the Nominating Committee for the FY 21 Board Officers and Directors and the Nominating Committee will be mailed to the congregation 30 days in advance. The FY 21 proposed Budget will also be mailed 30 days in advance.
Discussion and voting will be achieved through Zoom. If you are dialing in we will give you a number to call after the meeting to vote anonymously. We will provide for mechanisms to comment, nominate candidates, and make suggestions during the meeting.
You will be voting on the following:
- Board Officers and Directors: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary and three Director positions. Nominating Committee provides a slate of candidates and their bios 30 days in advance.
- Nominating Committee members. Nominating Committee provides a slate of candidates and their bios 30 days in advance.
- FY 21 CVUU Budget. Board-adopted proposed FY 21 Budget will be mailed to you 30 days in advance.
- Amendment to the Bylaws which allows CVUU to receive an Internal Revenue Determination concerning our tax exemption. Description of the Amendment and why it is being requested will be mailed to you 30 days in advance
General definitions per the CVUU Bylaws which govern our actions
5.3 Members: A member in good standing is a person, sixteen (16) years or older, who has signed the membership book; participates in church activities; and has made and is fulfilling a current annual pledge
6.4 Voting: Twenty percent (20%) of the members in good standing constitutes a quorum at any congregational meeting, except as provided for in article 6.6.4. Only persons who have been members for at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting date and are members in good standing may vote at any congregational meeting. Majority vote shall determine the decision-making outcome except for bylaws amendments, public stands, and ministerial selection.
According to the Bylaws 6.4 Absentee ballots may be used for issues requiring affirmative or negative responses. If a change can be made from the floor an absentee vote cannot be made. In this case, a different candidate or change in the FY 21 Budget can be made from the floor so we will not have absentee ballots.
9.3 Nominating Committee: The Nominating Committee’s responsibilities include the drafting of a slate of qualified candidates for all vacant positions on the Board of Directors, the Finance Committee, and the Nominating Committee. Our Finance Committee members still have one year left on their term.
11.0 Amendments to the Bylaws- These bylaws may be amended or repealed at an annual or special meeting of the congregation with a quorum [twenty (20) percent of members in good standing present] and by an affirmative two-thirds (2/3) vote.
The wording of the proposed changes is to be contained in the notice of the meeting, which must be provided to the members at least thirty (30) days before an annual meeting, or ten (10) days before a special meeting.
This virtual meeting with comments and voting is a really big step for us. And one which requires additional work to get the details in place. We will be having a practice session before the June 28 date so we can all become comfortable with the approach. We will compile instructions so you can work through it before the practice meeting.
The objectives are to have an accessible, reliable and trustworthy meeting and voting process for all CVUU members. If the virtual voting paired with the dial in voting does not work well when we practice, we will have a backup plan to use.
Together, we are learning how to operate in our new environment. Thank you for your flexibility and willingness to try out new approaches.
Anne Odell, President