Decision Making and Voting: Writing Congregational Bylaws

The following sample provisions concern voting. Congregations seeking a diverse membership may wish to stress a goal of consensual decision making and have a voting provision for cases in which a decision cannot be reached. The consensual decision-making process also can be used as the means of discussion preceding a vote, particularly when it is essential to record a vote of the congregation, such as in decisions about real property or calling a minister.

Sample Provisions

Example 1: Any action by the Board of Trustees may be decided upon by a majority of the votes cast by those present at the meeting unless otherwise specifically increased in Board of Trustees' policies.

Example 2: Except as otherwise specified in the Charter or Bylaws, a majority of those present at Membership or Board meetings shall be sufficient to pass resolutions and otherwise transact business.

Example 3: Decisions of the Steering Committee shall be made by consensus of all members present at a meeting. The Church is committed to operating by consensus. If, however, a consensus cannot be reached, the President shall so declare and actions shall be taken by majority vote of the Steering Committee members present.

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