Virtual Annual Meetings
Representatives of our Diocesan Convention Planning Team present a forum on how to run your church’s annual meeting via Zoom. Recorded on December 14, 2020.
Frequently asked questions from the forum.
Can the Vestry approve the Supplemental Special Rules of Order during a regular meeting?
Yes, they can and it is a good idea for them to do so.
Our church has a free Zoom account without all of the capabilities discussed in the video. Do we need a paid account to hold our meeting?
Yes, you will want to upgrade to a paid account. Paid accounts allow for meetings of more than 40 minutes, provides cloud storage for recording your meeting, allows participants to call in by telephone, and allows you to stream your meeting. The cost of the basic plan for up to 100 participants in your meeting is just $149.90/yr. Additional features and room for up to 300 participants are available for $199.90/yr.
We have members who don’t use email or even a computer, how can they participate?
While it is possible for those who don’t use a computer or smartphone to participate by phone, they will not be able to vote by phone. They can be called upon individually for a verbal vote but they would lose anonymity by doing so.
What keys are used for interacting on Zoom via telephone?
There is no option for voting when connecting via telephone. The only features accessible via telephone are mute/unmute (*6) and raise hand (*9). If the individual has email, they can email a communications contact who can serve as a link.
Many of our regular Zoom participants are youth. What is the minimum age to be allowed to vote?
The minimum age for a parishioner to vote is 16.
How do we limit poll responses to those who are eligible to vote?
Anyone who joins via Zoom will be able to vote in a poll. If necessary to limit voting, only those eligible to vote should be allowed to join via zoom. Visitors can livestream if that is offered.
When there is more than one family member eligible to vote how do they do so?
Each eligible voter must be logged in to the Zoom meeting on a separate device in order to be able to vote. If this is not possible, a communications contact can serve as a link to record additional votes.
If we have a set slate and are voting as a whole rather than for separate individuals, can we do this with a yes/no or raised hand response?
In order to preserve anonymity, it is better to do a simple poll.
How long do we have to keep a poll vote open before closing it?
Under NJ State statutes for annual parish meetings, polls have to remain open for 30 minutes, however it it can be confirmed that every eligible voter has voted, the poll can be closed. In order to be able to complete voting in a timely fashion, you can put all of your elections into one poll. You will not be able to launch any additional polls while one is open but the poll can be left open while you are conducting other business.
If our slate of elections is very simple, can we vote by verbal acclamation?
It is not advisable to vote via verbal acclamation. You will want to have a record of the votes cast which you will have with a poll as opposed to verbal acclamation.
If our voting is too complex for a simple poll, can you recommend a voting company for us?
OpaVote.com is an inexpensive option if you have complicated voting or if you have non-voting attendees and need to issue credentials only to those who are eligible to vote.
For questions where we want to use the yes/no response or the raised hand, where do we find them and how do we control them?
The Participants window can be opened from the bottom of the Zoom window and each participant can select yes/no or raise their hand from here. Participants can also deselect their response in the same way. The host and co-hosts have the ability to clear these either individually or as a group after responses have been collected.
Our church usually uses both Zoom and Facebook for Sunday worship. If we use Facebook to livestream for non-voting attendees, can we delete the meeting when it is finished?
Yes, any Facebook post you make you can delete after the fact. Alternatively, livestream to YouTube and set the meeting to be unlisted. This allows the video to remain but only those who have the link will be able to find it.
If we do not livestream our meeting can a recorded version be offered afterwards?
Yes, be sure you’re recording the meeting in Zoom. You will then have a video that you can download to a local computer and upload to YouTube or Facebook.