RULES FOR ELECTION OF ELDERS AND DEACONS
IN THE FREE REFORMED CHURCH OF ROCKINGHAM
Elders and Deacons shall be elected in accordance with Article 3 of the Church Order by the consistory, with the cooperation of the congregation. Throughout these rules the term “consistory” includes the deacons.
In the first week of October the consistory shall give the congregation the opportunity nominate brothers whom they consider suitable for the office of elder and/or deacon. These nominations must be accompanied by reasons for suitability and must be signed by the nominator.
During the second week of October the consistory shall draw up a list of candidates. The list is to have twice the number of the vacancies to be filled, so that the male communicant members may elect one half of that number.
The congregation will be informed of the names of the candidates by an announcement from the pulpit on the Sunday following that consistory meeting.
On the following Sunday the consistory shall call the congregation together so that under its guidance and after calling upon the Name of the Lord the election may take place.
At this meeting all male communicant members present must sign the attendance register.
Before the election takes place, the secretary shall read out the list of candidates drawn up by the consistory. He shall also read out articles 4, 6 and 12 of these rules. He shall satisfy himself as to the accuracy of the number of members participating in the election and the number of votes cast. The official report of this election shall be entered in the ordinary minute book of the consistory and duly approved and signed.
The candidates who receive the most votes will be declared elected, provided that:
· they receive a number of votes greater than half the valid votes cast divided by the number of vacancies, and
· the number of votes they receive is equal to or greater than two-fifth of the number of people who participated in the election.
Voting paper wrongly filled in are valid to the extent to which they clearly indicate a valid choice. Thus if two names are required, but only one is marked, then one valid vote is recorded.
Before the votes are counted, the minimum number of votes required for a candidate to be elected must be determined (two-fifth of the number of people who participated in the election). Fractions will be rounded upwards. 1
If, after voting, the number of candidates elected is insufficient to fill the vacancies, an additional ballot will be held between those candidates who did not receive a sufficient number of votes. If, in any subsequent ballot, no additional candidate is elected, the number of candidates from which a choice is to be made shall be reduced to twice the number of vacancies remaining to be filled by eliminating those candidates who gained the least votes.
The Consistory shall appoint each elected candidate at the first consistory meeting after the election, and shall inform him of his appointment. If the appointee asks to be relieved of his appointment, and the consistory grants this request, the consistory will appoint the candidate with the next highest number of votes, provided that he has received more than one half of the valid votes cast (Art 6a).
The names of the appointed brothers shall be publicly announced to the congregation so that the congregation may give its approbation. If no valid objections are lodged, the appointees shall be ordained on the first Lord’s Day in December according to the Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons.
Retiring office-bearers shall not be re-electable unless the consistory deems it to be in the interest of the Church that they remain in consistory. In this case the consistory may either place their names on the list of candidates which is submitted to the congregation, or consistory may extend their term of office.
The consistory shall decide when interim vacancies shall be filled. When interim election are held, the consistory shall adhere to the stimulations in these rules except where they refer to specific calendar dates.
Those elected to fill interim vacancies will serve for the remainder of the terms of the brothers they replaced. If however that period is less than one year their term shall be extended by the normal period of three years.
Objections of a formal nature against procedure at the election shall be lodged at the same meeting.
If at any time the consistory considers it desirable to deviate from these rules it may do so, as long as it does not deviate from Articles 1, 5 and 12.