Article IV, Section 1 is amended to read:
Section 1. Requirements and Limits. Any person who is in sympathy with the purpose of the Church may become a Member of the Church by signing the Membership Register in the presence of the Minister or an Officer or Trustee and providing his or her name, current postal address, and current electronic mail address, if any, to the Secretary. Any Member who takes an active interest in the Church by attendance at its services, by taking part in its activities, or by financial contribution, shall be deemed a Voting Member of the Church, except that:
(a) Waiting Period. There shall be a waiting period of thirty days between becoming a Member and having voting privileges and no one with membership of less than six months' duration shall be entitled to vote on disposition or acquisition of real property or on hiring or dismissal of the Minister.
(b) Age Requirement. Only Members who are sixteen years of age or over shall be entitled to vote in any meeting of the Church.Every Member shall promptly inform the Secretary of any change in his or her electronic mail address or postal address.
Article V, Section 2 is amended to read:
Section 2. Notice and Special Meetings. Notice of the Annual Meeting shall be given from the pulpit and to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery not less than ten days prior to such meeting. Special Meetings of the Church may be called by the Board of Trustees at any time and shall be called by the Board at the request in writing of no fewer than ten Members of the Church, provided that notice be given from the pulpit and to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery at least seven days prior to such a Meeting and that the object and business of the Meeting be distinctly stated in the call.
Article V, Section 4, subsection (b) is amended to read:
(b) Notice of Nominations; Nomination by Petition. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to cause a list of the nominations to be given to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery on or before the fifteenth day of March. Any ten Members entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting may make other nominations and deliver the same to the Secretary not later than the first day of April, and it shall be the duty of the Secretary to cause a list of such nominations, together with the names of the Members proposing the same, to be given to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery at least ten days prior to the annual meeting.
Article VI, Section 4, first paragraph is amended to read:
If the position of any Trustee or Officer shall become vacant, the Nominating Committee shall, as soon as possible, recommend a successor to the Board of Trustees, and a majority of the remaining Officers and Trustees shall appoint a successor to serve until the next Congregational Meeting. The successor appointed by the Board of Trustees shall be announced to the Membership from the pulpit and by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery as soon as possible after the appointment. [Note:This amendment was added subsequent to the Board's endorsement.]
Article XIII, Section 4 is amended to read:
Section 4. Quorum and Notice for Congregational Decisions on Ministry. All Congregational meetings provided for in this Article shall require a quorum of at least twenty-five Voting Members, or forty percent of the total voting membership, whichever is larger, and notice given to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery not less than twenty days prior to the date of the meeting.
Article X is amended to read:
In addition to other duties provided for in the bylaws, the Secretary shall keep an accurate up-to-date list of the Members of the Church, with their postal addresses and electronic mail addresses, and accurate minutes of all business transacted at Meetings of the Church and of the Board of Trustees, and shall cause to be posted on a bulletin board provided for the purpose in the Church or Parish House a current list of committees with the names of their chairpersons. The Secretary shall have custody of all Church records in accordance with law. The Board of Trustees shall establish procedures for maintenance of the Church records and for access thereto.
Article XV is amended to read:
Amendments to this Constitution and Bylaws may be considered only upon recommendation of the Board of Trustees or upon petition signed by no fewer than ten Voting Members of Church, and may be made with the consent of two-thirds of the Members present and voting at any Meeting of the Church, provided that copies of the proposed changes shall have been provided to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery at least ten days prior to the Meeting at which the changes are to be voted upon. - - - - - - - - - - - -
The language "to each Member of the Church by electronic mail, United States mail, or personal delivery not less than ten days prior to such meeting" should be understood to mean that, for those members being notified by U.S. mail, that mail should be postmarked not less than ten days before the meeting date. United States mail would presumably normally be used only for the minority of members who lack e-mail. When notice is sent on the same day to some by U.S. mail and to others by e-mail, the e-mail recipients will probably receive the notice earlier. Logically it would make sense to have different notice deadlines for the different methods, but this would be an additional complication in the drafting, and is not necessary so long as we are not shortening the existing notice periods.
If we do adopt e-mail notices as the norm, it will be important for whoever is sending notices to remember that some members lack e-mail and need the U.S. mail notice. It will also be important to keep track of changes in e-mail addresses, which occur with much greater frequency than changes in postal addresses. It would be good practice to send notices several days earlier than the prescribed deadlines, to allow time for detection of undelivered e-mails, which could then still be covered by the other notice methods within the prescribed deadlines.
Presumably the Secretary would ordinarily use the single address for the e-mail notices. Therefore the webmaster as well as the Secretary should be promptly informed of any e-mail address changes. I would plan to suggest that any member who uses two different e-mail addresses consider having both of them included in the members e-mail list; though that that will result in receiving all messages twice, it will also provide some insurance against lapse in the validity of one address.
Alice Sturgis, The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed. revised by the American Institute of Parliamentarians (2001), says at pages 102-103, "Notice of a meeting must be sent to the postal or electronic address of all members, stating clearly the date, the time, and the place of the meeting, and should be signed by the secretary." Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed. (2000), so far as I can tell, does not specifically discuss e-mail notice; a posting on an online forum on the Robert's Rules website states, "I think the consensus on this forum is that, unless your bylaws (or a special rule) authorizes the use of e-mail for notices, the default is postal mail."
-P.Ax. Mar.27, 2009