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Briefly suspending meeting immediately after it has been called to order

Nicholas Long

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The following is an excerpt from an E-mail from one of the planners who participated in a telephone call with the senior minister and the lay leader who will conduct the meeting:

The special meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, November 10 during what will be the only service that Sunday.  The service will start at 10:00 am and will proceed as usual until after the meditation.  At that point the meeting will be called to order.  After the meeting, the service will conclude with a prayer and a hymn.

The meeting is to be conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules -- with a parliamentarian selected by the leader to be present 

My question: Is there a process by which after the meeting is called to order, a member can rise to ask that the meeting be suspended until the conclusion of the service, followed by a 15 minute break to allow time for visitors and guests to leave and then call the meeting back to order?

  • How does the member interrupt the chair? [e.g., point of personal privilege]
  • What if the chair does not recognize the member -- how can the member gain the floor without being ejected from he meeting?
  • What does the member say [e.g., I move to suspend the meeting in order for the worshipers to complete the worship service and the meeting resume 15 minutes after the closing hymn]


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How's this sound...

[Meeting called to order]

Then right away...

Member (M): Mr. Chairman! [Moderator, President, whatever]  I move that we recess the meeting until 15 minutes after the close of the Service.

[With luck} "Second"

Chair states motion.  Debate follows where member M can explain why.

Vote eventually.  Majority Decides.

The above presumes that the Chairman knows the rules and follows them properly.   If he/she doesn't, start raising appropriate points of order -- see page 247ff.   Be sure to have some friends with you to back you up in an appeal.

Tell the chair what you plan to do -- no point in blindsiding him.  That way he can check the rules and be ready to do things properly.

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