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Quorum: Writing Congregational Bylaws
Governance for Congregations, Bylaws & Policies

Generally, congregational meetings are not on everyone's top-ten list of ways to exercise their religious convictions, and many congregations struggle to entice members to attend and enact the business of the congregation. Sometimes this concern prompts the setting of a low quorum requirement. A low quorum, however, might make it easy for the congregation to approve decisions and enact programs that are not accepted by a significant proportion of the congregation. The congregation must choose the percentages carefully and, once again, check the statutes and regulations governing churches in its jurisdiction for restrictions or qualifications that must be met concerning the setting of the quorum for a meeting.

Sample Provisions

Example 1: Twenty (20) percent of the membership shall constitute a quorum.

Example 2: A quorum of the Congregation for the purposes of voting shall be constituted of thirty percent (30%) of the Members eligible to vote in person or by absentee ballot.

Example 3: A Committee of the Whole quorum shall consist of at least thirty-five (35) percent of the membership. Members present at a duly called and held meeting at which a quorum is initially present may continue to do business notwithstanding the loss of a quorum at the meeting provided that any action taken after the loss of a quorum is approved by at least a majority of the members required to constitute said quorum.

Example 4: Twenty percent (20%) of the Voting Members shall be required to constitute a quorum at all Congregational Meetings except as otherwise noted. The encumbrance, sale or transfer of any real property of the Church shall be authorized only upon the two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Church at which a quorum of fifty-one percent (51%) of the Voting Members shall be required.

Example 5: If twenty percent (20%) of the Voting Members are not present at the meeting called by the Board, the meeting may be postponed until such time as is convenient to the Board and until the required percentage of Voting Members is in attendance.

Example 6: A quorum at any regular or special congregational meeting shall consist of twenty-five percent (25%) of the voting membership.

Example 7: Twenty percent (20%) of the voting membership shall constitute a quorum, except that a forty percent (40%) quorum shall be necessary in order to make decisions about the calling or dismissal of a minister or the purchase or sale of capital property.

Example 8: For the purpose of establishing quorum requirements, the Association active membership residing within fifty (50) miles of the church shall be considered as the base upon which the quorum is computed. Twenty percent (20%) of the membership, as above defined, shall constitute a quorum for all Regular Meetings. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the membership, as above defined, shall constitute a quorum for all Special Meetings. If a quorum is not present at a meeting, action may nonetheless be taken on any question properly brought before the assembled members if such action shall be supported by the same absolute number of votes as would be required for action at the meeting at which a quorum is present. The Moderator may, in the absence of a quorum, designate a new meeting date and time, again notifying the membership as defined in these bylaws.

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