Rollag Lutheran Constitution as a .pdf
We, baptized members of the Church of Christ, responding in faith to the call of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, desiring to unite together to preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God’s mission, do hereby adopt this constitution and solemnly pledge ourselves to be governed by its provisions. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
NAME AND INCORPORATION
C1.01. The name of this congregation shall be Rollag Lutheran Church.
C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the Rollag Lutheran congregation is hereinafter designated as “this congregation.”
C1.03. This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the state of Minnesota.
CONFESSION OF FAITH
C2.01 This congregation confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
C2.02 This congregation confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
a. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
b. The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
C2.03 This congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life.
C2.04 This congregation accepts the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.
C2.05 This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
C2.06 This congregation accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.
C2.07 This congregation confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God’s mission in the world.
NATURE OF THE CHURCH
C3.01 All power in the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All actions of this congregation are to be carried out under His rule and authority.
C3.02 The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship and as local congregations gathered for worship and Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment in the universal community of the Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations. This church, therefore, derives its character and powers both from the sanction and representation of its congregations and from its inherent nature as an expression of the broader fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of believers and congregations in our day.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
C4.01 The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world.
C4.02 To participate in God’s mission, this congregation as a part of the Church shall:
a. Worship God in proclamation of the Word and administration of the sacraments and through lives of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, witness and service;
b. Proclaim God’s saving Gospel of justification by grace for Christ’s sake through faith alone, according to the apostolic witness in the Holy Scripture, preserving and transmitting the Gospel faithfully to future generations;
c. Carry out Christ’s Great Commission by reaching out to all people to bring them to faith in Christ and by doing all ministry with a global awareness consistent with the understanding of God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of all;
d. Serve in response to God’s love to meet human needs, caring for the sick and the aged, advocating dignity and justice for all people, working for peace and reconciliation among the nations, and standing with the poor and powerless, and committing itself to their needs;
e. Nurture its members in the word of God so as to grow in faith and hope and love, to see daily life as the primary setting for the exercise of their Christian calling, and to use the gifts of the Spirit for their life together and for their calling in the world;
f. Manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.
C4.03 To fulfill these purposes, this congregation shall:
a. Provide services of worship at which the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are administered;
b. Provide pastoral care and assist all members to participate in this ministry;
c. Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in their congregation;
d. Teach the Word of God;
e. Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ, reaching out to all people;
f. Respond to human need, work for justice and peace, care for the sick and the suffering, and participate responsibly in society;
g. Motivate its members to provide financial support for the congregation’s ministry and the ministry of other parts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
h. Foster and participate in interdependent relationships with other congregations, the synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the America;
i. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships consistent with church-wide policy.
C4.04 This congregation shall develop an organizational structure to be described in the bylaws. The Congregation Council shall prepare descriptions of the responsibilities of each committee, task force, or other organizational groups and shall review their actions. Such description shall be contained in the bylaws and/or in the continuing resolutions of the Congregation Council.
C4.05 This congregation shall, from time to time, adopt a mission statement which will provide specific direction for its progress.
POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION
C5.01 The powers of this congregation are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.
C5.02 The powers of this congregation are vested in the Congregation Meeting called and conducted as provided in this constitution and bylaws.
C5.03 Only such authority as is delegated to the Congregation Council or other organizational units in the congregation’s governing documents is recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the congregation. The congregation is authorized to:
a. Call a pastor;
b. Terminate the call of a pastor;
c. Appoint or terminate the appointment of associates in ministry in conformity with the applicable policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
d. Approve the annual budget;
e. Acquire real and personal property b y gift, devise, purchase, or other lawful means;
f. Hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent with its purpose;
g. Sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by any lawful means;
h. Elect it s officers, Congregation Council, boards, and committees, and require them to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions; and
i. Terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as provided in Chapter 6.
C6.01 This congregation shall be an interdependent part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or its successor, and of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
C6.02 This congregation accepts the Confession of Faith and agrees to the Purposes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and shall act in accordance with them.
C6.03 This congregation acknowledges its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in which:
a. This congregation agrees to be responsible for its life as a Christian community.
b. This congregation pledges its financial support and participation in the life and mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
c. This congregation agrees to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in accordance with its call procedures except in special circumstances and with the approval of the bishop of the synod.
d. This congregation agrees to consider associates in ministry for appointment to other staff positions in the congregation according to the procedures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
e. This congregation agrees to file this constitution and any subsequent changes to this constitution with the synod for review to ascertain that all of its provisions are in agreement with the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or with the constitution of the synod.
C6.04 Affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America may be terminated as follows.
a. This congregation takes action to dissolve;
b. This congregation ceases to exist;
c. This congregation is removed from membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America according to the procedures for discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
d. This congregation follows the procedures outlined in C6.05.
C6.05 This congregation may terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by the following procedure:
a. A resolution indicating the desire of this congregation to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of this congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present.
b. The secretary of this congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the synodical bishop and shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of the congregation. This notice shall be submitted within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted.
c. The bishop of the synod shall consult with this congregation during a period of at least 90 days.
d. If this congregation, after consultation, still desires to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present, at which meeting the bishop of the synod or an authorized representative shall be present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.
e. A certified copy of the resolution to terminate its relationship shall be sent to the synodical bishop, at which time the relationship between this congregation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be terminated.
f. Notice of such termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the secretary of this church and published in the periodical of this church.
C6.06 If this congregation is considering revocation, it shall confer with the bishop of the synod before any steps are taken leading to such action. The approval of the Synod Council shall be received before any such action is effected.
C7.01 If this congregation ceases to exist, title to undisposed property shall pass to the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
C7.02 If this congregation is removed from membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America according to its procedure for discipline, title to property shall continue to reside in this congregation.
C7.03 If a two-thirds majority of the voting members of this congregation present at a regularly called and conducted special meeting of this congregation vote to transfer to another Lutheran church body, title to property shall continue to reside in this congregation. Before this congregation takes action to transfer to another Lutheran church body, it shall consult with representatives of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod.
C7.04 If a two-thirds majority of the voting members of this congregation present at a regularly called and conducted special meeting of this congregation vote to become independent or relate to a non-Lutheran church body, title to property of this congregation shall continue to reside in this congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by the established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
C8.01 Members of this congregation shall be those baptized persons on the roll of the congregation at the time that this constitution is adopted and those who are admitted thereafter and who have declared and maintain their membership in accordance with the provisions of this constitution and its bylaws.
C8.02 Members shall be classified as follows:
a. Baptized members are those persons who have been received by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in this congregation, or, having been previously baptized in the name of the Triune God, have been received by certificate of transfer from other Lutheran congregations or by affirmation of faith.
b. Confirmed members are baptized persons who have been confirmed in this congregation, those who have been received by adult baptism or by transfer as confirmed members from other Lutheran congregations, or baptized persons received by affirmation of faith.
c. Voting members are confirmed members having attained the age of 18. Such confirmed members shall have communed or made a contribution of record during or preceding year.
d. Associate members are persons holding membership in other Christian congregations who wish to retain such membership but desire to participate in the life and mission of this congregation. They have all the privileges and duties of membership except voting rights, eligibility for elected offices or membership on the Congregation Council of this congregation, and the privilege of free burial.
C8.03 All applications for confirmed membership shall be submitted to and shall require the approval of the Congregation Council.
C8.04 It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:
a. Make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;
b. Live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran Church; and
c. Support the work of this congregation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.
C8.05 Membership in this congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:
c. Transfer or release;
d. Becoming a member of another congregation without transfer;
e. Disciplinary action by the Congregation Council; or
f. Removal from the roll due to inactivity as defined in the bylaws
Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall remain persons for whom the church has a continuing pastoral concern.
C9.01 Authority to call a pastor shall be in the congregations sharing financial support of the pastor by at least a two-thirds majority combined ballot vote of members present and voting at meetings regularly called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the officers, or a committee elected by this congregation to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and help of the bishop of the synod.
C9.02 Only a member of the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or who has been recommended for it by the synodical bishop may be called as a pastor of this congregation.
C9.03 Consistent with the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, every ordained minister shall preach the Word, administer the sacraments, conduct public worship, provide pastoral care, and shall speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God’s love for the world. Each ordained minister with a congregation call shall, within the congregation, offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead; supervise all schools and organizations of the congregation; shall install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council, and with the council administer discipline. Every pastor shall seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel and strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad; shall impart knowledge of this church and its wide ministry through distribution of its periodicals and other publications; and shall endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and of the synod of the ELCA.
C9.04 The specific duties of the pastor, compensation and other matters pertaining to the service of the pastor shall be included in a letter of call.
a. The call of a congregation, when accepted by a pastor, shall constitute a continuing mutual relationship and commitment which, except in the case of the death of the pastor, shall be terminated only following consultation with the synodical bishop and for the following reasons.
(i) Mutual agreement to terminate the call or the completion of a call for a specific term of years;
(ii) Resignation of the pastor;
(iii) Inability to conduct the pastoral office effectively in the congregation in view of local conditions, without reflection on the competence or the moral or spiritual character of the pastor.
(iv)The physical or mental incapacity of the pastor;
(v) Disqualification of the pastor through discipline on grounds of doctrine, morality or continued neglect of duty; or
(vi)The dissolution of the congregation.
b. In the case of alleged physical or mental incapacity of the pastor or ineffective conduct of the pastoral office, it shall be the responsibility of the bishop of the synod, when such difficulties are personally known or have been brought to the synod’s attention by an official recital of allegations by the Congregation Council, or by a petition signed by at least one-third of the voting members of the congregation, to investigate such conditions personally in company with a committee of two ordained ministers and one layperson.
c. In the case of alleged physical or mental incapacity competent medical testimony shall be obtained. When such disability is evident, the bishop of the synod with the advice of the committee shall declare the pastorate vacant. Upon the restoration of the disabled pastor to health, the bishop of the synod shall take steps to enable the pastor to resume the ministry, either in the congregation last served or in another field of labor.
d. In the case of alleged local difficulties which imperil the effective functioning of the congregation, all concerned persons shall be heard, after which the bishop of the synod together with the committee described in C9.05.b. shall decide on the course of action to be recommended to the pastor and the congregation. If they agree to carry out such recommendations, no further action shall be taken by the synod. If either party fails to assent, the congregations which have called the pastor, may dismiss the pastor by a two-thirds majority combined vote of the voting members present at the regular called meetings after consultation with the bishop.
e. The foregoing procedure shall never be invoked when questions of doctrine, morality, or continued neglect of duty are involved, all such cases being treated as disciplinary matters.
f. If in the course of the proceedings, it should become apparent that the pastoral office cannot be conducted effectively in the congregation begin served by the ordained minister due to local conditions, the bishop of the synod may temporarily suspend the pastor from service in the congregation without prejudice and with pay provided through a joint church-wide/synod fund and with housing provided.
C9.06 At a time of pastoral vacancy, an interim pastor may be appointed by the bishop of the synod with the consent of this congregation or the Congregation Council.
C9.07 During the period of service, an interim pastor shall have the rights and duties of a regularly called pastor and may delegate the same in part to a supply pastor with the consent of the bishop of the synod and this congregation or Congregation Council. The interim pastor and any ordained pastor providing assistance shall refrain from exerting influence in the selection of a pastor.
C9.08 This congregation shall make satisfactory settlement of all financial obligations to a former pastor before calling a successor. A pastor shall make satisfactory settlement of all financial obligations to this congregation.
C9.09 When a pastor is called to serve in company with another pastor or pastors, the privileges and responsibilities of each pastor shall be specified in documents to accompany the call and to be drafter in consultation involving the pastors, the congregation council, and the bishop of the synod. As occasion requires, the documents may be revised through a similar consultation.
C9.11 With the approval of the bishop of the synod the congregation may depart from C9.05.a. and call a pastor for a specific term of years. Details of such calls shall be in writing setting forth the purpose and conditions involved. Prior to the completion of a term, the bishop or a designated representative of the bishop, shall meet with the pastor and representatives of the congregation for a review of the call. Such call may also be terminated before its expiration in accordance with the provisions of C9.05.a.
C9.12 The pastor shall keep accurate parochial records of all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, communicants, members received, members dismissed, or members excluded from the congregation, and shall submit a summary of such statistics annually to the synod.
C9.13 The pastor shall submit a report of his or her ministry to the bishop of the synod at least 90 days prior to each regular meeting of the Synod Assembly.
C10.01 The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held at a time specified in the bylaws.
C10.02 A special Congregation Meeting may be called by the pastor, the Congregation Council, or the president of this congregation, and shall be called at the written request of 10 percent of the voting members. The call for each special meeting shall specify the purpose for which it is to be held and no other business shall be transacted.
C10.03 Notice of all meetings of this congregation shall be given at the services of worship on he preceding two consecutive Sundays or by mail to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the date of the meeting. The posting of such notice in the regular mail, with the regular postage affixed or paid, sent to the last known address of such members shall be sufficient.
C10.04 Seven voting members shall constitute a quorum.
C10.05 Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
C10.06 All actions other than the election of officers and council members by the congregation shall be by a simple majority vote except as otherwise provided in this constitution.
C10.07 Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meetings of this congregation.
C11.01 The officers of this congregation shall be a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.
a. Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws.
b. The officers shall be voting members of the congregation.
c. Officers of the congregation shall serve similar offices of the Congregation Council and shall be voting members of the Congregation Council.
C11.02 The congregation shall elect its officers and they shall be the officers of the congregation. The officers shall be elected by written ballot and their term of office shall be specified in the bylaws. Their terms shall begin at the close of the annual meeting at which they are elected.
C11.03 No officer shall hold more than one office at a time on the congregation council.
C12.01 The voting membership of the Congregation Council shall consist of elected members of the congregation and the officers of the congregation. The pastor shall have voice, but no vote. Any voting member of the congregation may be elected, subject only to the limitation on the length of continuous service permitted in that office. A member’s place on the Congregation Council shall be declared vacant if the member a) ceases to be a voting member of this congregation; b) is absent from three successive regular meetings of the Congregation Council without cause; or c) resigns from office.
C12.02 The members of the Congregation Council except the pastor(s) shall be elected by written ballot. Their term of office shall be specified in the bylaws. Their terms shall begin at the close of the annual meeting at which they are elected.
C12.03 Should a member’s place on the Congregation Council be declared vacant, the Congregation Council shall elect, by majority vote, a successor until the next annual meeting.
C12.04 The Congregation Council shall have general oversight of the life and activities of this congregation, and in particular its worship life, to the end that everything be done in accordance with the Word of God and the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The duties of the Congregation Council shall include the following:
a. To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do long-range planning, to set goals and priorities, and to evaluate its activities in light of its mission and goals;
b. To seek to involve all members of this congregation in worship, learning, witness, service, and support;
c. To oversee and provide for the administration of this congregation to enable it to fulfill its functions and perform its mission;
d. To maintain supportive relationships with the pastor(s) and staff and help them annually to evaluate the fulfillment of their calling, appointment, or employment;
e. To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life and ministry expected of all baptized persons;
f. To promote a congregational climate of peace and goodwill and as differences and conflicts arise, to endeavor to foster mutual understanding;
g. To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness or absence of the pastor;
h. To emphasize partnership with the synod and churchwide units of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as well as cooperation with other congregations, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran, subject to established policies of the synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
i. To recommend and encourage the use of program resources produced or approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
C12.05 The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the financial and property matters of this congregation.
a. The Congregation Council shall be the board of directors of this congregation, and as such shall be responsible for maintaining and protecting its property and the management of its business and fiscal affairs. It shall have the powers and be subject to the obligations that pertain to such boards under the laws of the State of Minnesota, except as otherwise provided herein.
b. The Congregation Council shall not have the authority to buy, sell, or encumber real property unless specifically authorized to do so by a meeting of the congregation.
c. The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by this congregation and shall supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption. Incurring obligations in excess of the anticipated receipts shall be addressed in the bylaws. The budget shall include this congregation’s full indicated share in support of the wider ministry being carried on in partnership with the synod and church-wide organization.
d. The Congregation Council shall ascertain that the financial affairs of this congregation are being conducted efficiently, giving particular attention to the prompt payment of all obligations and to the regular forwarding of benevolence monies to synodical treasurer.
e. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for this congregation’s investments and its total insurance program.
C12.06 The Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution and its bylaws and the continuing resolutions are carried out.
C12.07 The Congregation Council shall provide for an annual review of the membership roster.
C12.08 The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the appointment and supervision of the salaried lay workers of this congregation.
C12.09 The Congregation Council shall submit a comprehensive report to this congregation at the annual meeting.
C12.11 The Congregation Council shall normally meet at least 4 times each year. Special meetings may be called by the pastor or the president, and shall be called at the request of at least one-half of its members. Notice of each special meeting shall be given to all who are entitled to be present.
C12.12 A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of one-third of the members of the Congregation Council, including the pastor or interim pastor, except when such person requests or consents to be absent and has given prior approval to an agenda of routine matters which shall be the only business of the meeting.
C13.01 The officers of this congregation and the pastor shall constitute the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
C13.02 A NOMINATING COMMITTEE of 3 voting members of this congregation shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of one year. One additional member shall be appointed by the Congregation Council. The pastor shall also be a member of this committee.
C13.03 An AUDIT COMMITTEE of three voting members shall be elected by the congregation at the annual meeting. Audit Committee members shall not be members of the Congregation Council. Term of office will be one year. Members shall be eligible for reelection.
C13.04 A STAFF SUPPORT COMMITTEE (in absence of a staff support committee, their duties shall be fulfilled by the executive committee) shall be appointed jointly by th president and the pastor. Term of office shall be two years. Committee members will hold no other office in the congregation during their term. This committee shall include one member from each church financially supporting the pastor.
C13.05 When a pastoral vacancy occurs, a CALL COMMITTEE shall be appointed by the Congregation Council. Term of office will terminate at installation of the newly-called pastor. The number of voting members on the call committee will be determined in consultation with the congregation councils of congregations which will share financial responsibility for support of the pastor. Call Committee membership shall be reasonably apportioned between congregations based upon proportional congregation membership.
C13.06 Other congregational committees may be formed as the need arises, by decision of the Congregation Council.
C13.07 Duties of congregational committees shall be specified in the bylaws and/or continuing resolutions.
ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE CONGREGATION
C14.01 All organizations within this congregation shall exist to aid it in ministering to the members of this congregation and to all persons who can be reached with the Gospel of Christ. As outgrowths and expressions of this congregation’s life, the organizations are subject to its oversight and direction. This congregation at its meeting shall determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive reports concerning their membership, work and finances.
C14.02 Special interest groups, other than those of the official organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, may be organized only after authorization has been given by the Congregation Council.
DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS
C15.01 Denial of the Christian faith as described in this constitution, conduct grossly unbecoming a member of the Church of Christ, or persistent troublemaking in this congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of a member. Prior to disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted following Matthew 18:15-17, proceeding through these successive steps; a) private admonition by the pastor, b) admonition by the pastor in the presence of two or three witnesses, and c) citation to appear before the Congregation Council.
C15.02 A member of charged with the offense shall appear before the Congregation Council having received a written notice, specifying the exact charges that have been made against the member, at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
C15.03 Should the allegations be sustained by a two-thirds majority vote of the Congregation Council, the council shall impose one of the following disciplinary actions:
a. Censure before the council or congregation;
b. Suspension from membership for a definite period of time; or
c. Exclusion from membership in this congregation. Disciplinary actions b. and c. shall be delivered to the member in writing.
C15.04 The member against whom disciplinary action had been taken by the Congregation Council shall have the right to appeal the decision to the Synod Council. Such right may not be abridged and the decision (Something missing here…)
C15.05 Disciplinary actions may be reconsidered and revoked by the Congregation Council upon receipt of a) evidence that injustice has been done or b) evidence of repentance and amendment.
C16.01 This congregation may adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this constitution.
C16.02 Bylaws may be adopted or amended at any legally called meeting of this congregation with a quorum present by a majority vote of those voting members present and voting.
C16.03 Changes to the bylaws may be proposed by any voting member provided, however, that such additions or amendments be submitted in writing to the Congregation Council at least 60 days before a regular or special Congregation Council at least 60 days before a regular or special Congregation Meeting called for that purpose and that the Congregation Council notify the members of the proposal with its recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the Congregation Meeting.
C16.04 Approved changes to the bylaws shall be sent to the synod.
C17.01 Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by any voting member or by the Congregation Council. Proposals must be files in writing with the Congregation Council 60 days before formal consideration by this congregation at its regular or special meeting called for that purpose. The Congregation Council shall notify the members of that proposal with their recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.
C17.02 A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:
a. Be approved at a properly called meeting according to this constitution by a majority vote of those present and voting;
b. Be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting; and
c. Have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.
C17.03 Any amendments to this constitution shall be sent by the secretary of this congregation to the synod. The amendment shall become effective within 120 days from the date of the receipt of the notice by the synod unless the synod informs this congregation that the amendment is in conflict with the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or the constitution of the (Something missing…)
C18.01 The Congregation Council may enact continuing resolutions which describe the function of the various committees or organizations of this congregation.
C18.02 Continuing resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a two-thirds vote of all voting members of this Congregation Council.
Because we are forgiven children in the family of God who have been chosen to carry on Christ’s mission in the congregation, community, and in our world, we resolve to do the following actions of ministry:
Study the Word, keep the commandments, and live in obedience to God’s will as it is found in Scripture;
Witness to the Word of God both here and in distant lands;
Use our own individual gifts and talents to build the Christian family and church on a firm foundation;
Welcome strangers into our midst;
Love and respect each person in Jesus’ name; and,
Receive the Sacraments in accord with God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions. We will do all this trusting that God is faithful, and knowing that with His love in our hearts, by the help of the Holy Spirit, what we do will bear fruit.
B2.01 This congregation rejects all fellowship with organizations, secret or open, which are avowedly religious or which practice forms of religion without confessing faith in the Triune God and Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God incarnate to our only Savior from sin.
B2.02 Ceremonies of lodges or other such organizations shall not be permitted in the church or on the church premises of this congregation.
B2.03 The pastor of this congregation shall take no part in any such ceremonies even if they are conducted outside of the church premises.
ADMISSION TO BAPTIZED MEMBERSHIP
B3.01 Children, one or both of whose parents or guardians are members of this congregation shall, upon receiving Christian baptism, be received as baptized members of this congregation.
B3.02 Children, neither of whose parents or guardians are members of this congregation shall, upon Christian baptism duly recorded as a ministerial act performed under the auspices of this congregation, be received as baptized members of this congregation unless there is understanding that, for good reason, they will be enrolled as baptized members of another congregation, in which case notice of the baptism shall be sent to the congregation in which the child is to be enrolled as a baptized member.
B3.03 Children baptized in other congregations shall be received as baptized members of this congregation upon admission of one or both parents or guardians, or by action of the Congregation Council.
B3.04 Unbaptized adults who have received instruction ad have given evidence of having an adequate understanding and acceptance of the teachings of the Word of God as confessed by the Lutheran Church, shall, upon confession of faith and Christian baptism duly recorded as a ministerial act performed under the auspices of the congregation, be received as baptized members of this congregation.
B4.01 Worthy participation in Holy Communion requires sincere repentance, faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, and an earnest desire to amend one’s sinful life, as well as acceptance of the scriptural teaching regarding the Real Presence of Christ with His Body and Blood in the Sacrament. Registration forms or oral announcements shall be so devised as make prospective participants aware of these requirements.
B4.02 Record of participation in Holy Communion shall be entered upon the books of the congregation. If a member of another congregation communes, notice shall be sent to his or her pastor.
B4.03 Admission to first Communion involves the understanding attitudes, and action patterns necessary to receive the sacrament with benefit. This congregation will therefore invite to Holy Communion those children who have attained the age of ten and who have been instructed in preparation for the sacrament and who then in the pastoral judgment of the congregation possess the competence to partake of Holy Communion in a worthy manner.
TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
B5.01 Members who move away shall be encouraged to transfer their membership. A confirmed member in good standing desiring to change membership to another Lutheran congregation shall, upon request, receive a Letter of Transfer.
B5.02 A confirmed member who has lost the right to vote in accord with C8.02. c., shall not be counted in the membership statistics of the congregation. However, such person’s name and record shall be kept in the files for a period of five years thereafter. Such a person shall be encouraged to take part in the congregational life, or to transfer elsewhere, as the situation may indicate to be advisable. If such person resumes activity within the five year period, he or she shall be restored to the active membership list; if not, he or shall be dismissed from the congregation and, if possible, shall be notified of this action.
B5.03 Children, neither of whose parents or guardians are active members of the congregation shall be dropped from the baptized membership roll if they fail to participate in the Christian education program of the congregation. However, such person’s name shall be kept in the files until said child attains the age of 18. If the child participates once again in the Christian education program of the congregation, he or she shall be restored to the active membership list.
B6.01 When the congregation has voted to call a pastor, it shall issue a Letter of Call to the pastor elect, in a form approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It shall be attested by the signature of the Bishop of the Synod. Calls to clergy to positions of assistance to the pastor shall be issued in consultation with the pastor and in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.
B6.02 If the pastor receives a call to another congregation, he or she shall consult with this congregation, or at least with the Congregation Council, before coming to a decision. He or she should attempt to reach a decision as quickly as possible, normally within three weeks. He or she shall thereupon notify this congregation and the Synod Bishop. When the call has been accepted, the pastor shall terminate his or her ministry and transfer to his or her new field of service as quickly as feasible, but no sooner than three weeks following notification of resignation.
B6.03 The congregation requires that its pastor shall be loyal to the faith and purpose of this congregation as state in Chapters 2 and 4 of this constitution.
B6.04 Clergy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not presently serving this congregation, may occasionally perform pastoral functions in this congregation with the approval of the Congregation Council and its pastor, or, in the case of a vacancy in the pastorate, with the approval of the congregation and the Synod Bishop.
B6.05 Ordained clergy of other Christian denominations may preach and/or conduct or assist in conducting worship services with the approval of the pastor and the Congregation Council.
B6.06 The pastor shall be responsible for keeping accurate records of membership and of his or her ministerial acts which shall remain the property of the congregation. He or she shall report these statistics to the congregation annually, and, when leaving the congregation, he or she shall complete the records of his or her ministry up to the time of departure.
B7.01 The current roster of voting, confirmed, and baptized members shall be determined prior to each annual meeting by the council.
B7.02 The order of business at the annual meeting shall be:
a. Opening devotion;
b. Approval of the minutes of the previous meeting;
c. Reports of pastor, Congregation Council, Treasurer, committees, others;
e. Approval of budget;
f. Unfinished business;
g. New business;
h. Closing prayer.
B7.03 In the following cases voting shall be by written ballot:
a. To elect the members of the Congregation Council;
b. To adopt or amend the articles of incorporation; constitution, or bylaws;
c. To call a pastor or to request his resignation;
d. To sever membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
e. To dispose of, encumber, or purchase real property;
f. When requested by a voting member present.
B7.04 Candidates receiving the most votes shall be declared elected.
B7.05 The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held in the month of January.
B7.06 All Committees and organizations handling the funds within the congregation shall submit accounts to the parish secretary or the pastor at least 10 days prior to the annual meeting.
B8.01 Church officers shall have been a member of the congregation for at least one prior to election.
B8.02 This congregation shall have a president. The president’s term of office shall be one year. The president shall serve no more than 3 consecutive terms.
a. The president of the congregation shall preside at all meetings of the voting membership.
b. The president shall to the best of his or her ability, enforce the constitution and bylaws of the congregation and carry out the expressed will of the congregation as embodied in the resolutions of the voting membership.
c. All boards, committees, auxiliaries, groups, etc. in the congregation shall be responsible to the president, and he or she shall be welcome at any and all meetings of such groups, either or in person or as represented by such person or persons as he or she may appoint.
d. The president shall preside over the meetings of the Congregation Council and shall endeavor to coordinate the functions, plans, and activities of the congregation in all its parts for the total furtherance of the work of Christ’s Kingdom.
e. The president shall be concerned about the spiritual, emotional, and physical health and welfare of the Pastor(s) and his or her family (adequate compensation, housing, free time, vacation, assistance in times of illness), and to that end specifically review these items once a year, together with the presidents and treasurers of other congregations to the parish, the parish president, and the parish treasurer.
f. Together with the pastor, every other year, the president shall appoint one person to the staff support committee as directed by C13.04.
g. The president shall help prepare a parish budget and a congregation budget.
B8.03 This congregation shall have a vice-president. The vice-president’s term of office shall be one year. The vice-president shall serve no more than 3 consecutive terms.
a. The vice-president of the congregation in the absence of the president shall act for and in the stead of the president.
b. The vice-president shall be available for whatever duties he or she may be assigned as the representative of the president.
B8.04 This congregation shall have a secretary. The secretary’s term of office shall be one year. The secretary shall serve no more than 3 consecutive terms. The secretary shall:
a. Be present at all voters’ meetings of the congregation and at all meetings of the Congregation Council and shall enter the minutes of all meetings of said groups in a permanent record book over his or her signature;
b. Conduct all official correspondence of the Congregation Council under the supervision of the president;
c. Notify Congregation Council members of upcoming meetings;
d. Post a notice of upcoming congregation meetings;
e. In general the secretary shall perform all duties as the voting membership or Congregation Council may delegate.
B8.05 This congregation shall have a treasurer. The treasurer’s term of office shall be 3 years. The treasurer shall serve no more than 2 consecutive terms. The treasurer shall;
a. Be responsible for accurate recording of congregational receipts and disbursements and budgeted and actual expenditures according to proper accounting procedures and, as deemed advisable, shall suggest improved methods for congregational consideration;
b. Present a written, duplicated financial report at congregation meetings and a preliminary report at Congregation Council meetings;
c. Submit permanent financial records for annual audit;
d. Be responsible for regular remittance of offerings for missions and church agencies and for prompt payment of salaries and bills authorized by the congregation or the Congregation Council;
e. Coordinate the flow of money from the congregation treasury to the parish treasury in such a way that an adequate balance is retained for the payment of salaries and other regularly recurring congregation expense;
f. Sign checks for payment of bills, salaries, or other financial commitments of the congregation or Congregation Council;
g. Receive from the financial secretary a report of all monies received through worship services, special offerings or any other source and duly record same.
B8.06 The congregation shall elect at the annual meeting a financial secretary. The term of office shall be one year. The financial secretary shall serve no more than 6 consecutive terms. The financial secretary shall not serve on the Congregation Council, but shall;
a. Be responsible for the accurate counting, recording and depositing of all worship offerings in a local financial institution. The financial secretary shall record all contributions by members for whatever purpose;
b. Be responsible for the issuance of regular statements to members, showing their offering to date;
c. Report to the Congregation Council, as directed, the names of those who have not made a recorded contribution over a given period of time;
d. Furnish the treasurer an accurate and prompt report of all worship offering receipts;
e. Be responsible for the expediting and safe deposit and keeping of all funds;
f. Be responsible for requisitioning and distribution of offering envelopes;
g. Report receipts to the congregation as directed by the Congregation Council.
B9.01 The Congregation Council shall consist of the president, the vice-president, the secretary, the treasurer, the deacons, and the trustees. The pastor shall have voice, but no vote. One representative from the congregation’s Women of the ELCA and one from the youth organization shall be entitled to voice, but no vote, on the Congregation Council.
B9.02 The duties of the Congregation Council shall include the following;
a. Fulfill the duties as cited in Chapter 12 of the constitution;
b. Set the dates and times for the congregation annual meeting during the month required;
c. Appoint a member to the nominating committee as required and at the time appointed;
d. Appoint one deacon to serve on any Christian education committee as its chairperson;
e. Assist, as necessary, the church officers, the trustees, the deacons and the various committees in fulfillment of their responsibilities;
f. Serve with the Congregation Council of the other churches sharing financial responsibility for the pastor’s salary, in order that a Rollag, Gran and Park “Parish Council” might be constituted;
g. Be entitled, though not required, to ratify or reject all recommendations and decisions made separately by the deacons and trustees in fulfillment of their state responsibilities;
h. The Congregation Council may enter into contracts without congregation approval for amounts of to 10% in excess of the annual budget for items not included in the budget.
B10.01 This congregation shall have 6 deacons who will serve on the Congregation Council together with the congregation officers and the trustees. Deacons shall be elected by the congregation for 3 year terms. Deacons shall be eligible to serve 2 consecutive terms.
B10.02 The basic objectives of the deacons are the spiritual welfare of the pastor(s) and congregation members, individually and corporately, and the supervision of everything pertaining to congregational worship and evangelism.
B10.03 That the objectives of the deacons may be carried out, the deacons either corporately or through specifically designated individuals, shall:
a. Pray for and encourage the pastor(s) and other spiritual leaders in their work;
b. Foster a climate of evangelism that encourages congregation members to share Christ with others;
c. Study and adopt or adapt suggestions by the evangelism departments of the Conference, the Synod, Region, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
d. Be genuinely concerned for those moving into the community and for those (both members and prospects) moving into other areas. Invite prospective members and attend worship and instruction classes;
e. Be conscious of the atmosphere of friendliness sin the congregation toward members and visitors and suggest ways and means of improvement;
f. Encourage periodical dinners, fellowship nights, etc. which will serve the cultivation, reception, orientation, and integration of new families or individuals;
g. Provide for assistance with communion distribution, reading of Scripture, and guest speakers as required;
h. Supervise the organists and any music committee of the congregation;
i. Provide for any necessary ushering staff;
j. Set the time, schedule and number of communion services in conjunction with the pastor(s) and the congregation;
k. At the request of the pastor(s) assist in counseling and in finding peaceful and God-pleasing solutions to problems within the congregation;
l. Maintain discipline within the congregation according to Scripture, the Lutheran confessions, and Chapter 15 of the Constitution of this congregation, and exercise discipline when required;
m. Ensure that the congregation functions in accordance with the established doctrine of the Church as listed in Chapter 2 of the Constitution;
n. Determine eligibility for membership of all individuals and families applying for membership in this congregation according to Chapter 8 of the Constitution;
o. See to the prompt transfer of all members who move away and of new Lutheran families moving into the community;
p. Engage in member conservation and discipleship training;
q. Engage in continual review of communion and church attendance of all members, make calls on delinquents, and follow-up on all newborn children in the congregation until they are baptized;
r. Engage in visitation of all aged, and shut-ins in the congregation annually;
s. In cases of severe financial need or emergency within the congregation and community, make specific recommendations to the Pastor(s) and the Congregation Council for assistance;
t. Be concerned about and supervise thorough instruction of youth and adults in confirmation, in Sunday School, and for church membership in accordance with the policies and aims established for the Christian Education Committee;
u. Plan and carry out, together with parents of youth, a year-round program for the young people of the congregation;
v. Provide direction and leadership in the congregation’s ongoing ministry to the hungry, the homeless, the destitute, the oppressed, the sick and the aged;
w. Provide direction and leadership within the congregation which will encourage study and involvement in affairs of the world and society to which Scripture and our faith may speak.
B11.01 This congregation shall have 6 trustees who will serve on the Congregation Council together with the congregation officers and the deacons. Trustees shall be elected by the congregation for 3 year terms. Trustees shall be eligible to serve 2 consecutive terms.
B11.02 The basic objectives of the trustees are to initiate programs for the development of good stewardship attitudes in the members of the congregation in regard to time, talents and treasures, and to ensure the financial stability of the congregation and its work through a developed program. The trustees shall also be concerned for the proper maintenance and repair of church property, the representation of the congregation in all legal matters, and the general protection of the congregation against loss or damage of whatever nature.
B11.03 That the basic objectives of the trustees may be carried out, the trustees, either corporately or through specifically designated individuals, shall:
a. Study the Scriptural principles regarding the total stewardship calling of the Christian—as a member of a family, as a neighbor and citizen, and as a congregation member—and share these insights with congregation members.
b. Contact and encourage new members for service to the congregation and endeavor to stir up the talents of present members for use in Christ’s work;
c. Consider a program annually to confront every member personally with basic Biblical stewardship principles and practices;
d. Determine anticipated receipts and recommend a budget for adoption by the congregation;
e. Evaluate and make recommendations for memorials and other gifts of love by individuals and the congregation as a whole;
f. Screen all outside appeals for funds and make the appropriate recommendations to the congregation or initiate the necessary action appropriate to such an appeal;
g. Review, accept, or decline all offers of non-solicited gifts to the congregation;
h. Evaluate various programs for endowments, remembrance of the congregation in wills, bequests, and the like, and suggest ways of implementation;
i. Be concerned, together with the treasurer and financial secretary, for safe deposit and recording of all funds, regular remittance of offerings for missions and church agencies, and prompt payment of salaries and bills as authorized by the congregation, the Congregation Council, and the appropriate committees;
j. Evaluate the offerings of the congregation regularly, and share these evaluations with the members of the congregation;
k. Annual review the budgeting procedures of this congregation in conjunction with the treasurer and financial secretary and recommend to the congregation any necessary improvements or revisions;
l. Make an annual inspection of church properties and equipment and recommend to the congregation needed repairs, improvements, or replacements;
m. Carry out all resolutions of the congregation on purchases, repairs, replacement of church property and equipment;
n. Determine and engage, with council approval, adequate custodial help;
o. Prepare for the custodial help a detailed list of the required maintenance of the facilities and equipment of the congregation;
p. If custodial services are contracted for, annually review and recommend salaries for all custodial help;
q. Determine and establish, with the approval of the congregation, regulations and fees governing the use of church property and equipment;
r. Make and issue keys for church property, and keep and review annually a list of the keys issued;
s. Supervise, control and recommend adequate storage facilities for all church property, equipment, and supplies and the orderly maintenance of the same;
t. Annual check the adequacy of all types of insurance for church property and equipment and negotiate insurance contracts;
u. Check all property twice a year for fire hazards;
v. Enlist work crews for special repair, improvement, cleaning, painting decorating, landscaping and other projects;
w. Arrange for immediate repairs of urgent nature and all normal repairs and alterations for which budget funds have been allocated;
x. Obtain legal information necessary for the wise consideration of contracts, deeds, and the like by the congregation;
y. Make an annual inventory of official documents in safekeeping, and enter its completion in the official minutes of the congregation;
z. Be ultimately responsible for the cemetery and oversee the affairs of the cemetery committee.
B12.01 The pastor shall serve as the convener of the nominating committee described in C13.02.
B12.02 The nominating committee shall seek out prospective office holders on the basis of character, ability and commitment (1 Timothy 3:8-13, Acts 6:2-5, Exodus 18:17-23), who will accomplish God’s purpose through our congregation.
B12.03 The nominating committee shall seek God’s will for prospective nominees for each office under consideration.
B12.04 The members of the nominating committee shall serve for the year following their election. They shall nominate one or more candidates for each office to be filled at the annual meeting and shall secure the consent of each candidate to serve if elected.
B12.05 The candidates of the nominating committee shall be made known to the congregation in conjunction with the announcement of the annual meeting at which the election is to take place.
B12.06 In addition to the candidates submitted by the nominating committee, additional nominations may be made from the floor.
An auditing committee shall be established as provided for in C13.03. The Auditing Committee shall audit all financial records of the congregation proper, and present its report to the annual meeting in writing.
B14.01 There shall be a cemetery committee composed of 3 members selected by the congregation for 3 year terms. Committee members may serve an unlimited number of consecutive terms.
B14.02 The cemetery committee shall serve at the direction of the trustees and the Congregation Council, but is charged with the responsibility of managing the church cemetery and cemetery funds. The cemetery committee shall:
a. Arrange for mowing and cemetery upkeep;
b. Recruit and provide necessary assistance to a sexton who will coordinate grave site locations;
c. See that the rules adopted by the congregation, pertaining to the cemetery, are followed;
d. Arrange for the financial support necessary for cemetery maintenance;
e. Provide an annual report to the congregation;
f. Submit, upon request, an up-to-date financial report to the congregation, trustees, Congregation Council, or congregation auditing committee;
g. Submit a request for funds to the Congregation Council when necessary.
B15.01 There shall be a music committee composed of 3 members, elected for 3 year terms, by the congregation. Committee members may serve an unlimited number of consecutive terms.
B15.02 The music committee shall serve at the direction of the deacons and the Congregation Council, but is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the music ministry of the congregation. The music committee shall:
a. Arrange for special music during Sunday worship;
b. Arrange for a choir and a choir director;
c. See to the tuning of the pianos and maintenance of the organ;
d. Seek financial support from the Congregation Council to assist the organist and choir director to attend music seminars and workshops as may be helpful;
e. Respond to the requests, as made, by the congregation, deacons, Congregation Council, or the pastor.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
B16.01 There shall be a Christian Education Committee composed of 4 members. The Congregation Council shall appoint one deacon to serve as chair-person of the committee. Three additional members shall be elected by the congregation for terms of 3 years each. These members elected by the congregation may serve 2 consecutive terms. The pastor shall be invited to participate on this committee.
B16.02 This committee will serve at the direction of the deacons and the Congregation Council, but is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the education program of this congregation. Specific duties shall be decided upon in consultation with the Congregation Council.
B16.03 There shall be a Sunday School superintendent, and if deemed necessary by the Congregation Council or the Christian education committee, an assistance superintendent. Specific duties shall be decided upon by the Christian education committee. Superintendents and assistant superintendents shall be appointed by the Christian education committee.
B16.04 The superintendent and the assistance superintendent shall participate in an advisory role on the Christian education committee.
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