FAQ on 2020 Annual Conference Session

The following questions were asked during training sessions for the Annual Conference session, which will be held online Sept. 12.


Online Procedures and Proceedings

 What is the URL to log on to the conference on Saturday?
All registered clergy and lay members received an email with the URL. If you have not, please contact .

How do I access the morning worship session?
Clergy will log into the 9 a.m. session via Zoom. Laity will access it via livestream at www.bwcumc.org/livestream  

If we are a deaf participant, will the interpreter be able to voice us, or will we need to type our comments/questions?
Typing is probably best; just note you are Deaf and unable to speak in the submission of your comment/question. 

Will there be any time that members see each other on the video?
Attendees will not have their video shown unless they are a panelist for a specific presentation or session.

In the training, I lost my mute/unmute capability.
Attendees don’t have the ability to unmute themselves, .unless given permission by GNTV Media Ministry

Are we using Robert Rules of Order to pose questions?
Yes, we will follow parliamentary procedure. View the Rules of the Session including Parliamentary Procedure

Are the rules different in this online session?
The Rules Committee recommends specific changes given our virtual meeting format. The primary recommended difference is that speeches will be capped at two minutes, rather than the usual three minutes; and four people will now be able to speak in favor of, and four people can speak against. They also recommend not requiring a seconding of motions. Members will vote on this at the beginning of our plenary session. See a video on the recommended changes

What is a motion of personal privilege?
This is a period of time when a member can share information with the body. It is sometimes used for prayer requests or announcements that aren’t included in the agenda. 

Do personal privilege questions need to be stated before speaking to the bishop?
To speak to the conference, submit a question, points-of-order, or moment of personal privilege use the Q&A feature. You will then be recognized by the speaker at the appropriate time, given your submission is in order. Not everyone will be recognized and similar submissions may be grouped together. 

Will we be given a pdf "cheat-sheet" that we can use during the session?
Yes. There is a great cheat sheet online. See it here.

Secure Online Voting

Is our voter ID the same as the unique voting number we received?

What constitutes an invalid ballot?|
If a voter submits a ballot with an invalid ID or votes on a motion on which their voting category is not eligible to vote, their ballot is invalid. 

If someone enters an invalid ID, does it prevent them from submitting their vote?
If a voter enters an invalid ID that is outside the working range of the system, they will receive an “Invalid Voter ID” error. If an invalid ID is submitted inside the working range of the system, the ballot is submitted but will be automatically invalidated upon tabulation. 

How would a person know they have an invalid vote?
If an invalid voter ID is submitted, you should receive an “Invalid Voter ID” error message and your vote will not be submitted. You can vote again, so please double-check that you type your voter ID correctly.

If I start my ballot but do not successfully submit it, is it invalid?
Only submitted ballots can be marked invalid. If not submitted, it is not counted at all, and cannot be considered valid or invalid. 

Can I vote before the “please vote now” screen appears?
The ballot does not open to accept submissions until the vote is officially called, but you can vote before the “please vote now” message appears if the ballot is open.

How long will a ballot be open for voting?
You will see a countdown clock at the beginning of the ballot as is our custom. Ballots will be kept open for the first few ballots, but the voting usually goes a little quicker as people start to get the hang of the voting process. 

A person can push the buttons to vote more than once, so how do they know that only one vote was recorded?
The system is designed so that only the last vote registered by a single Voter ID will be recorded. The system overrides any duplicate votes with the most recent vote. It will only accept a single answer from any particular voter ID.

What do I do if I need more time to vote?
Use the Q&A feature to indicate to the conference staff of your request. The bishop may choose to allow more time for voting or to use the Raise Hand feature to indicate who needs more time. 

I already submitted my vote, but I need to change it.
You can submit your vote as many times as you need to. Only the last submission with your voter ID will be counted. If you submit your vote again, it will erase your first selection and replace it. 

After voting, how soon will the results be announced?
Typically, the results are announced between 60-90 seconds after the voting has been closed as an extra measure of security so that a validation process can be completed. 

I can’t see the submit or "Return to Start" button on my mobile device.
The Return to Start button can be found at the very top or bottom of the voting page in your browser window. Scroll all the way to the top or bottom of the page. 

Are votes confidential? Does my voter ID mean the conference knows how I vote?|
The unique voter IDs are privately assigned and distributed by the voting system administrator and select conference staff. Voter IDs are recorded with each ballot submission and used for validation purposes to ensure only the ballots cast by valid voters are counted. Records of the votes are maintained for post-session audit, but no voter information is made available outside of the voting system to ensure the security of each ballot cast. 

Can my husband/wife/partner and I use the same computer if we each have a different code?
Yes. You would just go through the process twice, once for each Voter ID. 

If we lose internet connectivity during a voting period, what will happen?
The voting system is not usually taxing on internet connections or devices. If possible, you could use a mobile device for the voting system so that mobile data could work in the case of an Internet outage on your WIFI network.

Q&A and Raise Hand Features

 How do I open the Q&A feature?
In your toolbar, there should be three buttons, Q&A, Raise Hand, and Chat. To access the Q&A feature please click on the Q&A button on the toolbar at the bottom of your Zoom Webinar window.

How do I enter my question?
You may type your question into the Q&A box on your screen. You will have to hit “Enter” or click “Send” to have your question saved in the Webinar. These questions can be seen by everyone who is participating in this call.

To make a motion, do I need to raise my hand? What is the difference between raising the hand and asking a Q &A? When should we use the “raise your hand” feature?|
Submit your question, motion, point of order, or statement, etc. in the Q&A first; if called upon, you will then raise your hand. You only raise your hand when you are called upon after submitting something in the Q&A feature. 

How do I know my hand is raised?
If the hand on your toolbar, at the bottom of your Zoom Webinar screen, is blue, then your hand is raised. To lower your hand, click on the Blue Hand. To raise your hand, click on the Grey Hand. 

Will we see all answers to others’ questions?
Attendees can see questions that have been answered along with the provided answers, but not all questions submitted. We will ensure that all questions get an answer via typed response. Some of these questions will be answered privately others publicly and still others by the presiding elder. 

Why has my question not been answered?
Similar to an in-person conference the bishop has the discretion to choose who they would like to recognize. This does not mean that you’ve said something wrong or disrespectful. Answering questions has always been at the discretion of the bishop. 

Why does my question only show up as “My Question,” and not with my name?
Zoom automatically labels your questions as “My Question” to make them easy to find and keep track of answers sent back to you. All submitted questions are entered with the attendee’s name, so leadership can see your name.

How will you know if a speaker is for or against?
The speaker will provide that information when they enter the subject in the Q&A.

Will the Q&A anonymous feature be disabled during the Annual Conference Session?
Yes. This helps us know who to recognize for motions/amendments/questions and such.

Who will be tracking the Q&A? submissions?
A team of trained BWC moderators. 

The Q&A is very small. Can the conference enlarge it, please?
You can change the shape of the Q&A by clicking and dragging one of the corners so that it becomes as large as you’d like it. We don’t have the ability to resize an individual’s Q&A window

The Annual Conference Session

 How many people are expected to attend the Annual Conference Session?
1,134 people have registered. 

What will be covered during the plenary session?
During the Annual Conference Session, the essential business to keep the Conference operational in the year ahead will be presented. This includes the proposed 2021 budget, some pension information, equitable compensation, and a few other items. See the text of the reports on which we'll vote.

The five resolutions submitted by groups and individuals at the 2019 Annual Conference Session will be considered at the 2021 Annual Conference session. The Nominations/Leadership report will be postponed until 2021 and most committee members will serve an additional year in their current ministry positions. Ordination will be held following the business of the conference. 

Will friends and families of those being ordained be allowed to attend in-person?
Ordinands and those being commissioned will be at the BWC Mission Center with Bishop Easterling. There is extremely limited space for just a few family members. Ordinands have been notified of the restrictions. The service will be livestreamed at www.bwcumc.org/livestream.

How long will the lunch break be?
It depends on the length of the clergy service. An hour is scheduled. The plenary session begins at 1 p.m.

Is there a laity session in the morning?
Laity are invited to opening proceedings and worship from 9 a.m. to 9:30, but then, only the clergy have a session for the remainder of the morning. A Laity Session is scheduled for Nov. 14 from 9-noon. 

When will the Board of Ordained Ministry report be available to the clergy?
A link to the report was emailed to the clergy. It is also online. See the “Information” portion of the report.  And, the voting portion of the report

Will the plenary session and ordination service be recorded and available at a later date?

From the Zoom Webinar FAQ page

 My video/camera isn't working.
Read tips on troubleshooting a camera that won't start or show video

There is an echo in my meeting.
Echo can be caused by many things, such as a participant connected to the meeting audio on multiple devices or two participants joined in from the same local. Learn about common causes of audio echo

My audio isn't working on my mobile device.
Read tips on troubleshooting audio that isn't working on your iOS or Android device. 

What if my computer doesn’t have a microphone?
If you wish to speak at the Conference, you will need a microphone. You do not need a microphone to listen and vote in the Conference business, only to speak.

How do I reset my password?
You can reset your password at https://zoom.us/forgotpassword. Read step by step instructions on how to fix common password issues.

What role do I have on my Zoom account?
You can find your role on your Account Profile page of the Zoom web portal. Learn more about the Account Profile page

Why can’t I hear the people on screen?
You will want to ensure that the volume on your computer, tablet, or phone is turned up. 

I’m an attendee; can anyone see me?
No. Webinar attendees cannot be seen by panelists or by fellow attendees, even if you have your video camera enabled. 

I can’t see the full screen.
If you are using a mobile device such as an iPad or other tablet, double-tap the Zoom window. It should zoom out for you to see the entire window. 

More questions?
Visit the Zoom Help Center at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us