The Episcopal Diocese of Maine’s Resolutions Committee is now accepting candidate resolutions for the 2023 Diocesan Convention! Proposed resolutions may be submitted at any time by any parish or individual before the deadline of September 15, 2023. Effective this year, all resolutions coming before the convention will be orchestrated through the resolutions committee.
This brief guide along with the online submission form noted below will help those submitting resolutions consider important questions and formulate the resolution into language suitable for debate.
What is a resolution?
A resolution is a proposed action or decision that is to be considered by a legislative body at a diocesan convention. The legislative vote is taken only on the substance of the resolution, which follows the word “Resolved” in the working or body of the resolution. Reasons, intentions, and justifications for resolutions may be included in a statement of explanation that follows the resolution in a separate section. This information provides legislative history for future interpretation, but it is not included in the formal resolution.
Questions to ask before proposing a resolution
- Does it violate or attempt to change the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church?
- Does the resolution violate the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Maine unless it is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution and Canons?
- What will be the result of the resolution?
- Resolutions should do something beyond expressing sentiments. Interrogate the thinking to discern and crystallize succinctly what specific actions are being requested and formulate those into “Resolved” statements. If you can’t, maybe a resolution is not appropriate.
- Does the proposed action or actions fall under an area of an established diocesan committee or ministry? If so, consider coordinating co-sponsorship of the resolution with them.
- Are there financial implications for the diocese or for congregations? If so, it will be helpful for delegates voting on the resolution to understand both implementation costs as well as any annual costs to continue the action. Be prepared to provide cost estimates in the supplemental section of the online submission form.
- Who is responsible for the action being resolved?
- Who will be able to present and discuss the proposed resolution at town hall meetings and on the convention floor?
- Who will report on the resolution’s progress and/or conclusion at the 2024 convention?
How to write a resolution
- The most important element is the body of the resolution made up of the “Resolved,” or set of “Resolved”s. This is what describes the action of the resolution. Next is the “Supplemental Information”, which offers additional explanation and rationale for the resolution.
- Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised recommends that reasons for a motion not be in the motion or in a preamble but be included in a supplemental explanation. This makes it clear that only the substance of the resolution is being acted on as part of convention business.
- A resolution must require specific action. The resolution should be phrased so that it will result in some action by an identified person or body of the Church.
- If a resolution contains more than one resolve clause, the two or more are joined together with a semicolon followed by the words “and be it further”. (See below resolution example with this phrasing highlighted in blue.)
- If you reference a report, study or other document that is not generally known, you must provide an attachment or URL in the supplemental section of the online form.
- Do not use “whereas” clauses. Instead, include an “Explanation” that focuses attention on the substance of the resolution.
Sample resolution language from previous conventions
- Sample policy resolution
- Sample resolution to change Constitution or Canon If your resolution is proposing a canonical change, words to be deleted are lined through. Words to be added are underlined (or in italics if desired). The explanation should show the intent of and the effect of the proposed amendment.
How and where to submit a resolution
Use the electronic form below. To ensure proper attention, only resolutions submitted via the form will be considered.
Any questions to:
- The Rev. Tracy Shaffer, Deacon and resolution committee chair ~ Email ; Cell 973-287-9926
- Teresa Pinney, Assistant Director of Communications and staff resolution committee liaison ~ Email ; Cell 207-239-8436
What happens after the proposed resolution is received?
Once the online form is submitted, staff will direct the resolution to the resolutions committee. The resolutions committee will contact the submitter and discuss any suggested changes and obtain any clarifications if needed. While the committee does not comment on the merits of the resolution, suggestions may be offered to help the submission take its best form for convention consideration.
A draft version of the resolution will be made available to delegates at scheduled town hall Zoom sessions. The submitter will be asked to present the resolution and answer questions as well as to entertain recommendations from those in attendance.
The submitter will work with the resolutions committee to incorporate any changes to the draft resolution resulting from these town hall dialogues. From this, a final version will be made available to delegates prior to the convention for their review and reference during convention debate and voting. Submitters or another spokesperson should be prepared to present the resolution at the convention and engage delegates through the final disposition of the resolution.
What happens once the resolution is adopted?
After adoption, the resolution is officially recorded by the convention secretary and published in the online post-convention recap communique to further share it with the churches. You will be contacted by the resolutions committee or the appropriate diocesan staff person to help you start initiating action supporting the resolution if needed. All resolutions need to be statused at next year’s convention via a follow up report to the delegates.