Dear Siblings in Christ:
Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! We pray you are well and safe during this challenging time of ministering to God’s people. We have all been required to do ministry in new and inventive ways. We continue to be amazed at all the wonderful ways the ministers and congregations in this presbytery have met those challenges. You are an inspiration to us.
As you know, the Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan scheduled for March 14, 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so we could assure the health and well-being of our members. It seems clear that the CDC and governmental officials are not able to predict when it will be safe for us to gather in numbers larger than ten. Looking ahead, the Leadership Team would like to make provisions for the presbytery to meet at its regularly scheduled stated meeting on June 9, 2020 by electronic means using ZOOM technology, if we are unable to meet safely in person.
The Bylaws of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan do not offer a provision by which the presbytery can meet electronically. Before we can meet as an entire presbytery by ZOOM, we first would need to change the Bylaws. Currently, the Bylaws of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan offer the following provisions:
|60:30||Any three (3) minister members and the elder members present, provided that at least three (3) churches are represented by elders, shall constitute a quorum. [G-3.0304]|
|80:10||These bylaws may be amended at any stated meeting of the Presbytery by a majority of the members present provided written notice of the amendments was given at the previous meeting. Proposed amendments shall be posted on the official web site and submitted to the Stated Clerk and the Leadership Team through the Administration Ministry Team for counsel and review. The reviewing body shall report its recommendations at the next stated meeting of the Presbytery.|
We have conferred with our presbytery attorney, Mr. Ken Tiews, who reviewed the Presbytery of Lake Michigan Bylaws, the PC(USA) Book of Order, and the most current version of Robert’s Rules, and, in conversation with presbytery leaders, has concurred with the following process:
- Two stated meetings will be called on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portage with the first scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and the other scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Both meetings will be held for the sole purpose of revising the Bylaws of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan to allow for electronic meetings.
- The meetings will occur sequentially on the same date.
- The only items on the docket for the 10:00 am meeting will be worship, which is required at each meeting of the presbytery, and notification of intent to change the bylaws as detailed below to allow for meetings of the presbytery by electronic technology. (Please see sample docket below)
- The only items on the docket for the second meeting will be worship and consideration of the recommendation to approve the bylaws change.
- Since the governor’s office has mandated that no more than ten people can gather, those at the meeting will be the following:
- Moderator Dru Wrasse (Ruling Elder at Buchanan First),
- Vice Moderator Seth Weeldreyer (Teaching Elder at Kalamazoo First),
- Cal Bremer (Teaching Elder – Transitional Co-Leader),
- Fran Lane-Lawrence (Teaching Elder – Transitional Co-Leader/ Stated Clerk),
- and two other Ruling Elders from two different congregations close to Kalamazoo, MI to fulfill the bylaw requirements for a quorum at presbytery meetings.
- The period between April 13, 2020 and May 2, 2020 will be open for discussion and questions about this proposal and the proposed bylaws change.
- A ZOOM link will be made available so members of the presbytery can observe the stated meetings on May 2, 2020, if they wish.
The following is a sample docket:
DOCKET of the STATED MEETING
The Presbytery of Lake Michigan
May 2, 2020
Westminster Presbyterian Church – Portage, MI
10:00 OPENING OF THE STATED MEETING
- Declaration of Quorum
- Approval of the Docket [ACTION]
- Opening Worship
10:15 Plenary Business I
- To approve the recommended change to the bylaws [ACTION]
- To amend the Presbytery By-Laws, Article VI, by adding the following section 60.50 Meetings of the Presbytery may be conducted electronically at the discretion of the Leadership Team or as approved by Presbytery at a previous stated meeting
Please direct questions and comments about the proposed bylaws change to the following individuals:
- Elder Dru Wrasse – Presbytery Moderator at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. Seth Weeldreyer – Presbytery Vice Moderator at email@example.com
- Rev. Cal Bremer – Transitional Co-Leader at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence – Transitional Co-Leader/ Stated Clerk at email@example.com
Thank you in advance for your participation and consideration.
Peace in the Name of our Risen Lord,
Rev. Cal Bremer
Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence
Transitional Co-Leader/Stated Clerk
To view this letter in a PDF format click below: