Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

April 19, 2017

By Robert Lyons*

A proposal at this summer’s annual conference would separate the Rules of Order into three documents and shorten it all from its current 144 pages to just 25 pages.
 
The proposal is the product of countless hours of work done by the Iowa Conference’s Rules of Order Committee over the past year. Committee members were joined by representatives of Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (Click here for more information about SLI) who encouraged the large-scale overhaul.
 


Click here to view a video discussion with Rev. Brian Oliver and Rev. Katie Dawson about the proposed changes to the Rules of Order.



“Our rule changes this year are in keeping with our conference’s strategic priorities and the SLI process,” explained Rev. Brian Oliver, the Chair of the Rules of Order Committee. “We have done a sweeping review and change of our Rules or Order to align them with our practices.”
 
In reviewing the Rules of Order this past year, it became clear to members of the committee that what had been one document really needed to be three: the Rules of Order, the Plan of Organization, and Standing Items.
 
Here is a helpful breakdown of what each document is:
Rules of Order – deals with how attendees to the Annual Conference are to conduct themselves.

  • Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass at Annual Conference

Plan of Organization – details the responsibilities and duties of the Conference’s committees and agencies and who is on them

  • Requires a simple majority vote to pass at Annual Conference

Standing Items – conference policies that are not part of the rules but are still under the purview of the Rules of Order Committee (i.e. some Board of Ministry and Conference financial policies)

  • Requires a simple majority vote to pass at Annual Conference

 Because of the extensive amount of revisions this year, the Rules of Order Committee is presenting the Rules of Order and Plan of Organization a little differently than in years past.
 
“In past years, we would present each change to the Rules of Order individually, showing strike-throughs and underlines where the rules had been changed,” said Oliver. “We will instead present the Rules of Order as one action item which you will be free to ask questions of and propose amendments to. We’ll then be voting on that document as a whole.”
 
For those who are interested, a marked-up version of the Rules of Order and the Plan of Organization with the traditional strike-throughs and underlines is available.  
 
Much of the proposed changes to the Plan of Organization and the Rules of Order are set to make the documents more efficient and effective in both how they are used and organized.
 
“A big change we made to the Rules of Order is in how it’s formatted. We’ve moved from an outline format, where you’ve got things like Point 1A, 1A.3, to a new system that incorporates numbering on the left-hand side,” said Rev. Katie Dawson, a member of the Rules of Order Committee since 2012. “We think this will help folks understand and use the rules better.”

“As for the Plan of Organization, we noticed a lot of repetitious content so we decided to have blanket statements in a number of areas that refer then to all the things that follow,” said Dawson. “We’re hoping this will make the document simpler and easier to use.”

The Rules of Order Committee is excited to bring these sweeping proposals before the representatives to this year’s Annual Conference at Hy-Vee Hall. If you have questions about the proposals, the Committee encourages you to reach out to any of their membership.


Click here for more information on this year’s Annual Conference.


*Robert Lyons is a student intern from Simpson College who is working with the Communications Ministry Team this semester.


Contacting us

The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
2301 Rittenhouse St. Des Moines, IA 50321 | (515) 974-8900 | communications@iaumc.org