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 Assembly Procedure

Assembly Agenda

(Tentative as of 5/20/19) 

Friday, June 14 

Registration Opens: 7:30 am – 9:00 am 


  • Worship Band: 8:50 am – 9:00 am

  • Opening Eucharist: 9:00 am – 10:00 am

  • ELCA Video: 10:00 am – 10:10 am

  • Blue Stone Ministry : 10:10 am – 10:15 am

  • LSS-SW and LSSN Videos, Servant of Christ Award: 10:15 am – 10:25 am

  • Break: 10:25 am – 10:40 am

  • Breakout Sessions/Workshops: 10:40 am – 12:00 pm

  • Lunch: 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm

  • Milestone Anniversary/Retirement Celebrations: 12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

Communicate Jesus 

  • Ministry Reports: : 1:15 pm – 1:25 pm

  • Plenary Session #1: 1:25 pm – 2:00 pm: 

  • Recognize Outgoing Synod Council & Install Synod Staff: 2:00 pm – 2:15 pm

  • Ministry Reports: 2:15 pm – 2:25 pm: 

  • Break: 2:25 pm – 2:40 pm 

  • Breakout Sessions/Workshops: 2:40 pm – 3:50 pm

  • Ministry Reports: 3:50 pm – 4:00 pm

  • Bishop’s Report: 4:00 pm – 4:15 pm

  • Ministry Reports: 4:15 pm – 4:20 pm 

  • Plenary Session #2: 4:20 pm – 4:30 pm

  • Resolution Discussion: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

  • Diakonia Graduation & Dinner: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Saturday, June 15 


  • Global Leadership Summit Video: 8:20 am – 8:30 am

  • Plenary Session #3: 8:30 am – 8:40 am

  • Ministry Videos: 8:40 am – 8:45 am

  • Bishop’s Report: 8:45 am – 9:45 am

  • Election Report: 9:45 am – 9:55 am

  • Reserve for 2nd election: 10:00 am – 10:10 am

  • Report of the Treasurer: 10:10 am – 10:30 am

  • ELCA Report: 10:30 am – 11:00 am: 

  • Reserve for Election Results: 11:00 am – 11:10 am

  • Installation of Synod Council: 11:10 am – 11:15 am

  • Celebration Eucharist/Commissioning and Sending: 11:15 am – 12:15 pm

  • Lunch: 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm

Rules of Procedure

CONSTITUTION S7.32.: Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of the Synod Assembly, unless otherwise ordered by the Assembly.


  1. The first items of business upon the call to order of the assembly must be the adoption of the Rules of Procedure and Agenda. 

  2. Any change in the adopted agenda proposed by a voting member from the floor requires a two-thirds vote, as specified by Robert’s Rules of Order.


  1. Member badges are non-transferable and shall be worn while the assembly is in plenary sessions.

  2. Seating for voting members shall be at designated places.

  3. Youth who are voting members shall be seated at places designated for voting members.

  4. Non-voting members are restricted to assigned seating; with the exception of youth visiting members who may sit at places designated for voting members but may not vote. 

  5. Voting may be conducted by voice vote, show of hands, or written ballot. If a show of hands is used for voting, those in favor of the question shall raise a green card; and those opposed a red card. 

  6. Abstentions do not represent votes and thus are not counted (Robert’s Rules, p. 45). If a voting member wishes to have her or his abstention on a question recorded by name, he or she privately may request that the secretary do so in the published minutes of the assembly.


  1. Resolutions submitted by the Synod Council or the Bishop shall be presented directly to the Assembly as a motion made and seconded.

  2. Resolutions from congregations, conferences, or voting members shall be submitted to the Committee of Reference and Counsel for presentation to the Assembly.

  3. The deadline for resolutions from congregations, conferences, or voting members shall be 30 days prior to the call to order for the assembly.

  4. Any resolution submitted on an urgent matter after that deadline shall require for possible assembly consideration the concurrence of the voting members by a majority vote.

  5. Debate on any single resolution shall be limited to 20 minutes. That time limit may be extended once for 10 minutes by majority vote of the assembly before the vote on a resolution.

  6. The Committee of Reference and Counsel shall receive, review, and prepare resolutions, in consultation with the submitters of resolutions, for presentation to the Synod Assembly, and may edit or consolidate resolutions for clarity and procedural purposes.

  7. A voting member of the Assembly may move to substitute the original resolution in place of the revised version of the resolution submitted by the Committee of Reference and Counsel.

  8. A resolution submitted to the Committee of Reference and Counsel by a voting member who is not present to speak to the resolution at the time of its consideration by the Assembly will be considered only after decisions on all other resolutions have been completed and as time allows.

  9. At the discretion of the Chair, a request for a written ballot on any resolution may be taken.

  10. At the discretion of the Chair, the agenda may be adjusted for circumstances, except that a change in an Order of the Day, as listed in the adopted agenda, shall require – upon recommendation of the Chair – a majority vote of the assembly.

  11. Any duly submitted resolution that is not considered during the course of the assembly due to time limitations will be referred automatically to the Synod Council for the council’s consideration at its next regular meeting.


  1. Members wishing to address the Assembly shall proceed to one of the designated floor microphones and wait until recognized by the Chair.

    • Please address the chair as “Bishop” or “Mr. / Ms. Vice President” (when the Vice President is presiding).

  2. When recognized by the Chair, a speaker should: 

    • (a) state his or her name and the congregation or capacity which entitles him or her to speak (e.g., “I am a voting member,” or “I am a member of the Synod Council,” or “I am a voting youth member of the assembly.”), 

    • (b) give a clear indication whether she or he is speaking “for” or “against” the motion.

  3. If any voting member wishes to make a motion and offer an amendment to a resolution on the floor, such a voting member must state the motion (or offer the amendment) immediately after recognition by the chair and prior to speaking on the motion (or the proposed amendment).

  4. All motions and amendments (except those of an incidental or procedural nature) shall be delivered to the Chair in writing at the time of the presentation. (Forms are available on the podium and with the Secretary of the Synod.)

  5. During debate, no person shall speak more than twice for no more than two minutes on the same motion. The Chair will not recognize a member who wishes to speak for a second time on a motion unless all others who wish to speak have been heard.

  6. A person speaking to a question during debate may not—at the conclusion of the statement—move to close debate on the matter under discussion.


  1. Anyone wishing to revise the proposed Mission Plan for 2020–2021 (February 1, 2020-January 31, 2021) must give notice to the Synod Council prior to the end of the Second Plenary Session of the assembly. 

    • (a) The Chair will give notice to the assembly at the next plenary session of the intent to revise the Mission Plan.

    • (b) The person(s) proposing a revision shall meet with designated members of the Synod Council and explain the proposed change.

  2. The Synod Council will report a recommendation regarding the proposed revision to the Assembly.

  3. A revision to the Mission Plan that increases spending without the endorsement of the Synod Council requires a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

  4. A revision to the Mission Plan that does not have the endorsement of the Synod Council but does not increase total expenditures may be approved by a majority vote of the Assembly.


(other than as specified in the bylaws for the election of officers)

  1. A separate ticket shall be established for each position for which an election is to take place with the requirements for nomination and election designated on that ticket (e.g., lay female, lay male, clergy).

  2. A majority of the votes cast in relation to each ticket shall be required for election.  If no election occurs on the first ballot, the two persons receiving the greatest number of votes on that ballot shall be presented on the second ballot with a majority required for election. 


2019 Voter Orientation


The Synod Assembly is the highest legislative body of the synod. As a Voting Member of the Assembly, you play an important role in making decisions that shape and affect our ministry together. Participation in all of the Assembly—plenary sessions, forums and workshops, worship—can help you understand and process difficult issues.

Study Materials

  • The official Assembly documents are available on the Grand Canyon Synod website ( and Voting Members are asked to read and review these materials before the Assembly begins. (Please refer to “Assembly Resources” tab for material you may want to print and take with you to the assembly.)

  • Bylaw and constitution changes, elections, resolutions, and legislative matters are important items of business.

  • The GCS Constitution is included in the Pre-Assembly material. Becoming familiar with it will help you as a Voting Member.

  • Robert’s Rules of Order govern parliamentary procedures at the Assembly.

Attend Plenary Sessions

Plenary (business) sessions are sometimes prolonged. Important decisions, however, often come near the end of a session. Therefore, it is important for all Voting Members to remain until a session is recessed or adjourned.

Participate in Other Opportunities

Along with the business of the synod, the Assembly also provides participants with other unique experiences.

  • Worship: In addition to gathering for formal worship, the Assembly pauses during the plenary sessions to pray, sing, worship and glorify God.

  • Knowledge and Growth: Reports, presentations, workshops, forums, and displays offer opportunities to:

    • gain new or broader understanding of the mission and ministry of the whole church.

    • grow in faith, be renewed inspirit and refreshed for service.

  • Community Building: Organized fellowship opportunities, meal times, and interaction with Assembly participants from other parts of the church help to build community and strengthen the Body...the Church.

Procedures for Conducting Business

To be Counted and to be Heard

Voting Members, and only Voting Members are to be seated in the area designated “Voting Member.” You must sit in the “Voting Member” area to vote or to be counted in a quorum.

Floor microphones are placed on the assembly floor at strategic locations. Voting Members and Voice-Not Note Members are allowed to speak on the Assembly floor. To do so you must:

  • Go to a microphone and wait to be recognized by the chair

  • The chair will seek to recognize alternate pro and con speakers on matters under debate (bring your green card to speak for, red card against, white card to make a motion or ask a question)

  • When speaking, first identify yourself by name and congregation/ministry

  • Remember that speaking time will be limited – be brief and to the point

  • Refrain from any personal attacks, questioning of motives, or otherwise casting aspersions on others present or not present

  • You may speak twice for no more than two minutes on any issue under debate (unless limited by the assembly), but you may not speak the second time until all who want to speak the first time have had the opportunity to speak

When you debate/speak:

  • Direct all debate to and through the chair

  • Speak only to the immediately pending question, for example, a resolution, an amendment or main motion

  • You may amend an amendment, but there may only be a primary and a secondary amendment under consideration at any one time

  • You may speak briefly to an issue and then offer a motion if you wish; the chair will let you know if the motion is in order at the time, or if you must make the motion at another time

  • The correct way to stop debate is to “Move the Previous Question,” or, move “that we stop debate and move immediately to a vote on the pending questions” (Calling the question” is improper); a motion to stop debate requires a 2/3 vote

  • You have the right and responsibility to know at all times what motions or items are being debated and/or voted on; therefore, it is okay and encouraged, if you are note sure, to make an inquiry of the chair just what is under debate or to inquire as what proper procedure might be

When voting:

  • Except for voting on the credentials report at the opening of the assembly, you will use your voting cards or ballots to vote; if another voting method is used, the chair will give you directions as to how to proceed

  • Raise the proper voting card when asked by the chair, and keep it raised until the chair directs you to lower it

  • If you disagree with the chair’s interpretation of the vote, you may move to have a counted vote

To Make a Motion:

If you wish to make a motion or amendment to a motion (other than one of a procedural nature), you must first give a written copy to the Secretary. Forms for making a motion or amendment to a motion are available at the dais.

What Can Be Done with a Motion?

You may debate and issue that has been properly placed before the Assembly. The maker of a motion is entitled to speak first.

When a motion has been made and seconded, and a Member has been recognized, the Member may:

  • Speak in favor

  • Speak in opposition

  • *Move to amend and, when seconded, speak to the amendment

  • *Move to refer the motion to a committee

  • Ask the chair for a point of information

  • *Move the previous question

    • (*Starred motions require a second)

Motions to amend are usually stated in one of the following forms:

  • To amend by:

    • Striking (deleting);

    • Strike out and insert (deleting and adding);o Inserting (new words to be included).

  • To amend by:

    • Substituting. If the amendment calls for much substitution or deletion, a substitute motion may be submitted.

Familiarize yourself with the Assembly Procedures.

If you have questions regarding procedure, ask the Synod Council Secretary, who will either answer your questions or find the answers.