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Two Types of Petitions
Most motions considered at an annual conference session come in the form of written petitions. Once adopted, these petitions may be in one of two forms:
A Binding Action presents a request for action by the annual conference. It uses declarative language such as “shall” or “expects,” and assumes that action will be taken by the appropriate board, committee, or agency of the annual conference.
A Non-Binding Resolution presents a position – either political, social, theological, or otherwise – and is not binding either on the Annual Conference or the wider church. It uses language such as “recommends” or “urges,” and is not considered to be binding or enforceable.
“Action” / “Rationale” / “Evaluation”
Action: This section states clearly and concisely what you are asking the annual conference to do.
Rationale: This section presents the motivation and reasons for the Action.
Evaluation: This section sets the criteria for how we will know when we have accomplished the intended Action.
For all petitions, only the “Action” section may be debated and amended. The “Rationale” and the “Evaluation” are presented for information as a resource for the conversation. By focusing our conversation just on what we want to do as an annual conference, we avoid unnecessary distractions and strengthen our mutual commitment to our Beloved Community.
All petitions are effective on January 1, 2024, and terminate on December 31, 2027, unless otherwise stated. Annual petitions should give a termination date of June 30, 2024. Late petitions to the Mountain Sky Conference may be considered at a subsequent annual conference.
The Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) will review all petitions for financial impact to the annual conference. Comments from CFA will become part of the petition as presented. These comments are not debatable, and will not be construed as either acceptance or veto of the petition.
The following requirements must be followed for all petitions:
Submit the petition electronically in a timely fashion on the correct form.
Use Times New Roman font, 10 point.
Number all lines in the Action, Rationale, and Evaluation.
Focus on one issue per petition.
Provide all information requested on the form (or use “n/a” if the information in a section does not apply).
Send all documents referred to in the petition when the petition is submitted.
Avoid the use of abbreviations or acronyms.
Petitions longer than the space allowed in the form may use additional sheets, provided that all lines and pages are numbered consecutively. Incomplete petitions or petitions not submitted as described above will be returned and may risk missing the petition deadline.
Petitions will be ruled invalid that asks the Mountain Sky Conference:
To refrain from doing something it is not presently doing.
To reaffirm a position previously taken.
To change the current Book of Discipline.
Multiple Petitions Addressing the Same Issue
Petitions addressing the same issue, either from similar or divergent points of view, may be considered at the same annual conference. Some petitions may be combined to promote good conversation or clarity of intent. If necessary, one petition will be designated as a “Main Motion” and other petitions will be designated as “Amendments.” In some cases, special parliamentary procedures will be developed to consider multiple petitions.
The Petition Advocate is the contact person for the petition before and during the annual conference session and is responsible for overseeing the presentation of the petition in hearing groups and in plenary sessions. Petition Advocates may designate other persons to make presentations in support of the petition.
Hearing Groups and Legislative Committees
Petitions may be assigned to a small group which will make recommendations for action by the plenary session, either through a consent calendar or on the floor. Some petitions may be assigned to more than one small group for information and conversation with all legislative action on those petitions coming in the plenary session.
All petitions submitted by the May 11, 2023 deadline will be posted online prior to the annual conference session. Changes may be made to petitions posted online until 12:00 p.m. MDT (noon) on June 12, 2023. After that time, changes must be made in consultation with the Chair of Legislative Process. Changes posted online will be numbered in a consecutive fashion.
Rev. Sarah Clark, Chair of the Legislative Process & Petitions Coordinator