New Providence Presbyterian Church - Maryville, TN
Monday, September 16, 2019
New Providence
Presbyterian Church
703 West Broadway Avenue
Maryville, TN 37801
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Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary procedure is a way of helping to determine the will of the body. The intention is to level the playing field to insure that all voices and opinions can be heard rather than just the loudest or most vocal members. The tool used most often in parliamentary procedure is Robert’s Rules of Order, developed by Henry Martyn Robert as a guide for conducting meetings and making decisions as a group. 
Robert retired as a brigadier general in the US Army. He had graduated fourth in his class at West Point, where he returned as an instructor, and then supervised fortifications construction. In all his assignments he had shown himself to be a promising soldier, competent leader, and an outstanding engineer. 
However, one day Robert, a deeply religious Baptist, was unexpectedly asked to chair a meeting at his church. He completely lost control of the meeting. He later wrote, "One can scarcely have had much experience in deliberative meetings of Christians without realizing that the best of [people], having wills of their own, are liable to attempt to carry out their own views without paying sufficient respect to the rights of their opponents." Embarrassed, he sought guidance from existing manuals of parliamentary procedure and found them to be next to useless, even occasionally absurd. Eventually, he went on to write Robert’s Rules of Order.
I. Parliamentary Procedure insures that:
1. The rights and unity of the body shall be preserved;
i. Unity is a visible expression of the Body of Christ; leads us to be patient and live/work with differences of opinion.
ii. Changing decisions already made, or limiting fundamental rights, usually requires a 2/3 vote.
2. The will of the majority shall prevail;
i. Even if I don’t like the decision, I agree to live with it.
3. The rights of the minority shall be protected.
i. Right to know what is going on (notice of meetings, presentation and approval of minutes)
ii. Right to attend meetings (notice, quorum requirement)
iii. Right to make motions (only requires motion and a second)
iv. Right to speak (Debatable motions must receive full debate, 2/3 requirement to cut off debate by “calling the question.”)
v. Right to vote (every member of body gets a vote)
vi. Right to hold office (only one person needed to nominate)
II. Use of Parliamentary Procedure
1. Rigor of use adjusts:
i. To size of body
ii. To degree of controversy and contention
iii. To need for formality
2. Use of motions
i. Facilitates dealing with one subject at a time
ii. Allows speakers to speak in support of or in opposition to the motion
3. Types of motions
i. Main motion – propose that an action be taken
ii. Subsidiary motion – to “perfect” main motion [Motion to Amend]
iii. Incidental motions – intended to clarify other motions
iv. Privileged motions – non-debatable [motion to adjourn]
4. Rules about quorum and order
i. Book of Order allows each council (governing body) to set its own quorum
5. Rules about speaking and closing debate 
i. Must be recognized by moderator
ii. Motion must be on the floor before debate begins
iii. Maker of the motion gets right of first debate
iv. Typically pro/con alternating
6. Rules about nominations and elections
i. Any member can be nominated (can self-nominate)
ii. All Presbyterian officers are elected by a majority of their peers