TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 Name and Incorporation
CHAPTER 2 Confession of Faith
CHAPTER 3 Nature of the Church
CHAPTER 4 Statement of Purpose
CHAPTER 5 Powers of the Congregation
CHAPTER 6 Church Affiliation
CHAPTER 7 Property Ownership
CHAPTER 8 Membership
CHAPTER 9 The Pastor
CHAPTER 10 Congregation Meeting
CHAPTER 11 Officers
CHAPTER 12 Congregation Council
CHAPTER 13 Congregation Committees
CHAPTER 14 Organization within the Congregation
CHAPTER 15 Discipline of Members and Adjudication
CHAPTER 16 Bylaws
CHAPTER 17 Amendments
CHAPTER 18 Continuing Resolutions
Revised & Approved: JANUARY 2006
Amended: May 2006
Council President: _________________________
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CHURCH
of the EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
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.
Chapter 1. NAME AND INCORPORATION
C1.01. The name of this congregation shall be CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CHURCH .
C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws,
the congregation of Concordia Lutheran Church is hereinafter designated as "this congregation."
C1.03. This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State
of North Dakota.
Chapter 2. CONFESSION OF FAITH
*C2.01. This congregation confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy
*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.
Chapter 3. 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. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 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.
Chapter 4. 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
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
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 churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
i. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships consistent with churchwide 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 group and shall review their actions. [Such descriptions shall be contained in continuing resolutions in the section on the Congregation Council.]
*C4.05. This congregation shall, from time to time, adopt a mission
statement which will provide specific direction for its programs.
Chapter 5. POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION
*C5.01. The powers of this congregation are those necessary to fulfill its
*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 this congregation's governing documents is recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the congregation. The congregation is authorized to:
a. call a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
b. terminate the call of a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
c. call or terminate the call of associates in ministry, deaconesses, and diaconal ministers in conformity with the applicable policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
d. approve the annual budget;
e. acquire real and personal property by 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 its Congregation Council and boards, and require them to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution and bylaws and continuing resolutions; and
i. terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as provided in Chapter 6.
*C5.04. This congregation shall choose from among its voting members
laypersons to serve as voting members of the Synod Assembly as well as persons to represent it at meetings of any conference, cluster, coalition, or other area subdivision of which it is a member. The number of persons to be elected by the congregation and other qualifications shall be as prescribed in guidelines established by the Western North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
Chapter 6. CHURCH AFFILIATION
*C6.01. This congregation shall be an interdependent part of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America or its successor, and of the Western North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This congregation is subject to the discipline 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, deaconesses, and diaconal ministers for call 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 and 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 this 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 termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the secretary of this church and published in the periodical of this church.
g. Since this congregation was established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in *C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C6.06. If this congregation considers relocation, it shall confer with the
bishop of the synod in which it is territorially located before any steps are taken leading to such action. The approval of the Synod Council shall be received before any such action is effected.
Chapter 7. PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
*C7.01. If this congregation ceases to exist, title to undisposed property
shall pass to the Western North Dakota 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 legally 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 Western North Dakota Synod.
*C7.04. If a two-thirds majority of the voting members of this congregation
present at a legally 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 this 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 this 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.
Chapter 8. MEMBERSHIP
*C8.01. Members of this congregation shall be those baptized persons on the
roll of this 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. Such confirmed
members shall have communed and shall have made a contribution of record to the mission of the church during the current or preceding calendar 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; or persons who wish to retain a relationship with this congregation while being members of other congregations. They have all the privileges and duties of membership except voting rights and eligibility for elected offices or membership on the Congregation Council of this congregation.
*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, the synod, and the churchwide organization of 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
c. transfer or release;
d. disciplinary action by the Congregation Council; or
e. 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.
Chapter 9. THE PASTOR
*C9.01. Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least
a two-thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting legally called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the officers, or a committee elected by the Congregation Council in accordance with the bylaws of this Congregation for the purpose of recommending 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 a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended for the congregation 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,
a. Every ordained minister shall:
1) preach the Word;
2) administer the sacraments;
3) conduct public worship;
4) provide pastoral care to all who are in need; and
5) speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the
poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God's love for the world.
b. Each ordained minister with a congregational call shall, within the congregation:
1) offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead;
2) supervise all schools and organizations of this congregation;
3) install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council; and
4) with the council, administer discipline.
c. Every pastor shall:
1) strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad;
2) seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel;
3) impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through distribution of its periodicals and other publications; and
4) endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) and of the Western North Dakota 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, which shall be attested by the bishop of the synod.
*C9.05. 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:
1) mutual agreement to terminate the call or the completion
of a call for a specific term;
2) resignation of the pastor, which shall become effective,
unless otherwise agreed, 30 days after the date on which it was submitted;
3) inability to conduct the pastoral office effectively in
the congregation in view of local conditions, without reflection on the competence or the moral and spiritual character of the pastor;
4) the physical or mental incapacity of the pastor;
5) disqualification of the pastor through discipline on
grounds of doctrine, morality, or continued neglect of duty;
6) the dissolution of the congregation; or
7) suspension of the congregation as a result of discipline
b. When allegations of physical or mental incapacity of the pastor or ineffective conduct of the pastoral office have come to the attention of the bishop of the synod, the bishop in his or her sole discretion may, or when such allegations 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, the bishop shall, investigate such conditions personally in company with a committee of two ordained ministers and one layperson.
c. In 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 a 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 that 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 congregation may dismiss the pastor at a legally called meeting after consultation with the bishop, either
1. by a two-thirds majority vote of the voting members present and voting where the bishop and the committee did not recommend termination of the call, or
2. by a simple majority vote of the voting members present
and voting where the bishop and the committee recommended termination of the call.
e. If, in the course of proceedings described in *C9.05.d., the
committee concludes that there may be grounds for disciplinary action, the committee shall make recommendations concerning disciplinary action to the synodical bishop, who may bring charges in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and bylaws Of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the constitution of this synod.
f. If, following the appointment of the committee described in
*C9.05.b. or d., it should become apparent that the pastoral office cannot be conducted effectively in the congregation(s) being served by the ordained minister due to local conditions, the bishop of the synod may temporarily suspend the pastor from service in the congregation(s) without prejudice and with pay provided through a joint synodical and churchwide fund and with housing provided by the congregation(s).
*C9.06. At a time of pastoral vacancy, an interim pastor shall 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 in the congregation 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 drafted 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.
*C9.10. 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. 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 a call may also be terminated before its expiration in accordance with the provisions of *C9.05.a.
*C9.11. The pastor of this congregation:
a. shall keep accurate parochial records of all baptisms,
confirmations, marriages, burials, communicants, members received, members dismissed, or members excluded from the congregation;
b. shall submit a summary of such statistics annually to the synod; and
c. shall become a member of this congregation upon receipt and acceptance of the letter of call. In a parish of multiple congregations, the pastor shall hold membership in one of the congregations.
*C9.12. The pastor(s) 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.
C9.13. Ecumenical pastoral ministry
C9.14. Under special circumstances, subject to the approval of the
synodical bishop and the concurrence of this congregation, an ordained minister of a church body with which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officially has established a relationship of full communion, may serve temporarily under contract as pastor of this congregation.
Chapter 10. CONGREGATION MEETING
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 by the president of the congregation upon the written request of ten(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 the preceding two consecutive Sundays and by mail to all families with 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. Twenty-five (25) voting members shall constitute a quorum.
C10.05. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
C10.06. All actions by the congregation shall be by 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.
Chapter 11. OFFICERS
C11.01. The officers of this congregation shall be a president, vice
president, and secretary.
a. Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws.
b. The officers shall be voting members of the congregation.
c. Officers of this congregation shall serve similar offices of the Congregation Council and shall be voting members of the Congregation Council.
d. When the Congregation Council elects its officers, the president, vice president, and secretary shall be selected from the elected membership of the Congregation Council.
C11.02. The Congregation Council shall elect its officers and they shall be the officers of the congregation. The officers shall be elected by written ballot and shall serve for one year or until their successors are elected. Their terms shall begin at the January council meeting. The immediate past president will initially conduct the January reorganization meeting until officers are elected.
C11.03. No officer shall hold more than one office at a time. No elected
officer shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
Chapter 12. CONGREGATION COUNCIL
C12.01. A. The Congregation Council shall consist of twelve (12) members
elected each for a term of three (3) years, but elected in
such a manner that after the first election approximately one-
third are elected each year. The Pastor shall be an advisory
(non-voting) member of the Church Council.
B. No member of the Congregation Council shall serve two (2)
consecutive terms. An unexpired term of less than two (2)
years shall not be considered a term of office.
C. 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 or b) is absent from three (3) successive regular meetings of the Council without cause. A member having two (2) consecutive unexcused absences from regular meetings shall be notified by the secretary.
D. Should a member’s place on the Congregation Council be
declared vacant, the Congregation Council shall elect, by
majority vote, a successor to fill out the term.
E. The Congregation Council shall not transact any business
unless a majority of its members is present.
F. Meetings of the Congregation Council shall be held monthly, on
a date determined at its first meeting after election.
G. A special meeting of the Congregation Council may be called by
notice given at a public service or mailed to each member ten
(10) days in advance. A special meeting may be called by the pastor or the president or by any three (3) members of the Congregational Council.
The members of the Congregation Council except the pastor shall be
elected at a legally called meeting of the congregation during the month of November. Their term of office shall be for three (3) years, with the term of office beginning at the January Council meeting. Newly elected Congregation Council members shall be installed at worship the Sunday prior to the date they assume office.
C12.03. 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 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 organization 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
j. To seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare
for the ministry of the Gospel.
C12.04. 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 North Dakota , 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.
d. The Congregation Council shall as far as possible operate within the limits of the approved annual budget of the congregation. Any expenditure in excess of the total voted budget of the congregation must be approved by the congregation.
e. 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 the synodical treasurer.
f. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for this
congregation's investments and its total insurance program.
C12.05. The Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this
constitution, and its bylaws, and continuing resolutions are carried
C12.06. The Congregation Council shall provide for an annual review of the
C12.07. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the employment and
supervision of the salaried lay workers of this congregation.
C12.08. The Congregation Council shall submit a comprehensive report to this
congregation at the annual meeting.
C12.09. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the establishment of the salary and benefits for the pastor of this congregation.
Chapter 13. CONGREGATION COMMITTEES
C13.01. The officers of this congregation shall constitute the Executive Committee, and the pastor shall serve as an advisory (non-voting) member.
C13.02. A Nominating Committee of six voting members of this congregation,
two of whom shall be outgoing members of the Congregation Council,
shall be elected at the annual election for a term of one year. Members of the Nominating Committee are not eligible for more than two (2) consecutive terms.
C13.03. The Congregation Council shall elect an Audit Committee of three (3) voting members. Audit Committee members shall not be members of the
Congregation Council. Term of office shall be three years, with one member elected each year. Members shall not be eligible for consecutive reelection.
C13.04. When a pastoral vacancy occurs, a Call Committee of six voting
members shall be elected by the Congregation Council. Term
of office will terminate upon installation of the newly called pastor.
C13.05. Other committees of this congregation may be formed, as the need
arises, by decision of the Congregation Council.
C13.06. Duties of committees of this congregation shall be specified in the
bylaws and continuing resolutions.
Chapter 14. 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 annual meeting shall receive reports concerning their membership, work, and finances.
C14.02. Special interest groups, other than those of the official
organizations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, may be organized only after authorization has been given by the Congregation Council.
Chapter 15. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS AND ADJUDICATION
*C15.01. Denial of the Christian faith as described in this constitution,
conduct grossly unbecoming a member of the Church of Christ, or persistent trouble-making 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.
If, for any reason, the pastor is unable to administer the admonitions required by a. and b. hereof, the president (if not the pastor) or vice president shall administer such admonitions.
*C15.02. The process for discipline of a member of the congregation shall be
governed as prescribed by the chapter on discipline in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A member charged with the offense shall appear before the Congregation Council after having received a written notice, at least ten days prior to the meeting, specifying the exact charges that have been made against the member. If the
member charged with the offense fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, the Congregation Council may proceed with the hearing and may pass judgment in the member’s absence.
*C15.03. Members of the Congregation Council who participate in the
preparation of the written charges or who present evidence or testimony in the hearing before the Congregation Council are disqualified from voting upon the question of the guilt of the accused member. Should the allegations be sustained by a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the Congregation Council who are
not disqualified but who are present and voting, and renewed admonition prove ineffectual, 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
c. exclusion from membership in this congregation.
Disciplinary actions b. and c. shall be delivered to the member in
*C15.04. The member against whom disciplinary action has 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 of the Synod Council shall be final.
*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.
*C15.06. For disciplinary actions in this congregation, "due process" shall
be observed as specified in 20.41.03. in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C15.07. No member of a congregation shall be subject to discipline for
offenses that the Congregation Council has previously heard and decided, unless so ordered by the Synod Council after an appeal.
*C15.09. When there is disagreement among factions within this congregation on a substantive issue that cannot be resolved by the parties, members of this congregation shall have access to the synodical bishop for consultation after informing the chair of the Congregation Council of their intent. If the consultation fails to resolve the issue(s), the Consultation Committee of the synod shall consider the matter. If the Consultation Committee of the synod shall fail to resolve the issue(s), the matter shall be referred to the Synod Council, whose decision shall be final.
Chapter 16. BYLAWS
*C16.01. This congregation may adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this
*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 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 by the secretary of
this congregation to the synod.
Chapter 17. AMENDMENTS
*C17.01. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by at least ten (10)
voting members or by the Congregation Council. Proposals must be filed 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 the proposal with the council's recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.
*C17.02. A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:
a. be approved at a legally 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 Western North Dakota Synod of the ELCA.
*C17.04. Whenever the Model Constitution for Congregations is amended by the
Churchwide Assembly, this constitution may be amended to reflect any such amendment by a simple majority vote at any subsequent meeting of the congregation without presentation at a prior meeting of the congregation, provided that the Congregation Council has submitted by mail notice to the congregation of such an amendment or amendments at least 30 days prior to the meeting. Following the adoption of an amendment, the secretary of the congregation shall submit a copy thereof to the synod, consistent with *C17.03.
Chapter 18. CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS
*C18.01. The Congregation Council may enact continuing resolutions. Such
continuing resolutions may not conflict with the constitution or bylaws of this congregation.
*C18.02. Continuing resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a two-thirds
vote of all voting members of the Congregation Council.
Chapter 19. INDEMNIFICATION
*C19.01. Consistent with the provisions of the laws under which this
congregation is incorporated, this congregation may adopt provisions providing indemnification for each person who, by reason of the fact that such person is or was a Congregation Council member, officer, employee, agent, or other member of any committee of this congregation, was or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed civil, criminal, administrative,
arbitration, or investigative proceeding.
Chapter 20. PARISH AUTHORIZATION
*C20.01. This congregation may unite in partnership with one or more other
congregations recognized by the synod named in *C6.01. to form a parish. Except as provided in *C20.02. and *C20.03., a written agreement, developed in consultation with the synod and approved by the voting members of each congregation participating in the parish, shall specify the powers and responsibilities that have been delegated to a Parish Council.
*C20.02. Whenever a letter of call is being recommended for extension to an
ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended to the congregation by the synodical bishop to serve the congregations of a parish, such letter of call shall be first approved by a two-thirds vote at congregational meetings of each of the congregations forming the parish. If any congregation of the parish should fail to approve extending this call, the other congregation(s) in the same parish shall have the right to terminate the parish arrangement.
*C20.03. Any one of the congregations of a parish may terminate the call of a
pastor as provided in S14.13.d. of the synodical constitution of the synod named in *C6.01. In such case, the other congregation(s) in the same parish shall have the right to terminate the parish arrangement.
BYLAWS OF CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CHURCH
SECTION I - COMMUNION PARTICIPATION
1. Participation in Holy Communion shall be open to all who have sincere repentance. Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and an earnest desire to amend our sinful lives, together with an acceptance of the Scriptural teaching regarding the Real Presence of Christ with His Body and Blood in the Sacrament. Registration forms, written, or oral announcements shall be so devised as to make prospective participants aware of these requirements.
2. If questions regarding communion participation arise, the executive committee of the council shall make the necessary decisions.
3. The congregation with pastoral participation, shall provide instruction in communion to baptized members beginning at the fifth grade level or earlier at the request of the parents and with discretion of the pastor.
SECTION II - CONFLICTING LOYALTIES
1. This congregation rejects all fellowship with organizations, secret or open which are avowedly religious or practice forms of religion without confessing faith in the Triune God and In Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God incarnate to be our only Savior from sin, and thus teach salvation by works.
2. Ceremonies of non-Christian religious organizations shall not be permitted in the church or on the church premises of this congregation.
3. The pastor of this congregation shall take no part in any such ceremonies even if conducted outside of the church premises, such as the cemetery, mortuary, etc.
SECTION III - MEMBERSHIP
A. ADMISSION TO BAPTIZED MEMBERSHIP
1. Children, one or both of whose parents or guardians are members of this congregation, shall, upon receiving Christian baptism, be thereby received as baptized members of this congregation.
2. Children, neither of whose parents or guardians are members of this congregation shall, upon Christian baptism be received as baptized members of this congregation. In the event that another congregation is involved, notice of the baptism shall be given to that congregation.
3. Children baptized in other congregations (and baptized adults mentally incompetent for confirmation) shall be received as baptized members of this congregation upon admission of one or both parents or guardians to membership, or by consent of one or both parents or guardians, or by action of the Congregation Council.
4. Unbaptized adults who have received instruction and 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 be received as baptized members of this congregation.
B. ADMISSION TO CONFIRMED MEMBERSHIP
1. Baptized adults, not previously members of the congregation, who have received instruction and given evidence of having adequate understanding and acceptance of the teachings of the Word of God as confessed by the Lutheran Church shall be admitted to confirmed membership through the rite of confirmation.
2. Adults received as baptized members according to the provisions of Section III, A, 4 of the Bylaws shall be recognized as confirmed members, whether or not, at the discretion of the pastor, they participate in the rite of confirmation.
3. Children, who are baptized members of the congregation, shall be admitted to confirmed membership through preparation for and participation in the rite of confirmation.
4. Applications for membership presenting letters of transfer showing them to be confirmed members in good standing in other Lutheran Churches shall be admitted to confirmed membership on acceptance of their letters of transfer by the Congregation Council and the report of their names to the congregation.
5. Applicants for membership, who present evidence of confirmation in a Lutheran Church but do not have letters of transfer, shall be admitted to confirmed membership when the Congregation Council has determined that they meet the standards of Christian faith and life indicated in the constitution and bylaws, and when they have reaffirmed their faith before the congregation.
C. ADMISSION TO VOTING MEMBERSHIP
1. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for determining the voting membership in accordance with the qualifications specified in the constitution and bylaws.
D. DISCONTINUANCE OF MEMBERSHIP
1. Members who move away shall be encouraged to transfer. Any confirmed member in good standing desiring to change his/her membership to another Lutheran church shall, upon request, be entitled to a letter of transfer.
2. Members who fail to attend church services, or to partake of communion, or to contribute to the congregational treasury for a period of two years shall be considered inactive. Efforts shall be made to encourage their participation in the congregational life. If an inactive member lives away from the community, a transfer shall be encouraged.
3. Members who have been dismissed, or who have resigned, and members who have transferred to other Lutheran congregations, or who are definitely known to have become members of other congregations without transfer, shall thereby have lost membership in this congregation and all rights appertaining thereto.
SECTION IV - THE PASTORAL CALL
1. The congregation through its properly elected call committee shall issue a Letter of Call in a form approve by The Church, to the pastor elect. Calls to clergy to positions of assistance to the pastor shall be issued, in consultation with the pastor, in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.
2. The call shall be for an indefinite time, except that calls for a limited time may be issued to pastors who are qualified for emeritus status and are otherwise eligible for call.
3. Since the pastor ministers to the congregation primarily in the public preaching of the Word and in the administration of the Sacraments, and since both pastor and congregation are partied to the call, no pastor shall announce his decision on any subsequent call without first having consulted with the congregation or at least with its Congregation Council. Should the pastor thereupon resign to accept another call, his resignation shall be presented to the congregation and mutually satisfactory arrangements sought for termination of his services, normally within 30 days.
4. Every pastor serving this congregation shall have an undivided loyalty to the faith and purpose of the Church according to Chapter 5, 2, and 4 of this constitution. Any question concerning such loyalty shall be adjudicated according to the recommended procedure of the Church.
5. No one shall be permitted to officiate in the pastoral office of this congregation who is not a member in good standing of the ELCA, or who is not acceptable according to the standards of the ELCA, and who does not have the approval of the pastor.
6. Clergy qualified according to Section IV – 5 of the Bylaws may occasionally perform pastoral functions in this congregation with the approval of the Congregation Council and its pastor, or in case of a vacancy in the pastorate, with the approval of the Congregation Council and the Synod Bishop.
SECTION V - THE ANNUAL MEETING
1. Announcement of the time and place of the annual meeting of the congregation shall be made at two (2) public services immediately preceding the meeting, and said services to be at least a week apart, and in such publications as the congregation or the pastor may periodically issue; or by special written notice to the voting members mailed at least ten (10) days in advance. The Annual meeting shall be scheduled for a Sunday in January.
2. The current roster of voting, confirmed, and baptized members shall be determined prior to each annual meeting.
3. The order of business at the annual meeting shall be:
a. Opening devotion
b. Approval of the minutes
c. Reports of the pastor, the Congregation Council, the treasurer, committees, and others
d. Approval of budget
e. Unfinished business
f. New business
g. Closing prayer
4. In the following cases, voting shall be by ballot:
a. To adopt or amend the articles of incorporation constitution, or by-laws of the congregation
b. To request a pastor’s resignation
c. To sever membership in Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
d. To dispose of, encumber, or purchase real property
e. When requested by ten or more voting members present.
5. Except as otherwise provided in the constitution and bylaws, all
matters shall be decided by majority vote of those present and voting.
6. No one shall be declared elected unless he/she has received a majority
of the votes cast.
7. If more than one ballot is required in an election, it shall be in order by proper motion to limit the balloting after the first ballot to the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes on the first ballot and after the second ballot, to limit the balloting to the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes.
8. In all matters not specifically provided for herein, procedure shall be according to current edition of Robert’s “Rules of Order.”
SECTION VI - THE CONGREGATION COUNCIL
A. COMMITTEES OF THE CONGREGATION COUNCIL
1. Congregation Council shall appoint committees as deemed necessary for continuing the mission of this church.
2. The Congregation Council shall define responsibilities, functions and duties of these committees. Designated council members not less frequently than once every 3 years shall do a review of the responsibilities, functions and duties.
3. The Congregation Council shall review and encourage rotation of committee membership periodically.
B. DUTIES OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES OF THE CONGREGATION COUNCIL
1. The president shall preside over meetings of the Congregation Council and of the congregation unless Robert’s “Rules of Order” dictate otherwise.
2. The vice president shall preside in the absence of the president, unless Robert’s “Rules of Order” dictate otherwise.
3. The secretary shall keep the minutes of the Council and of the congregation and shall oversee preservation of the archives.
4. The Council shall appoint the treasurer and the treasurer shall be bonded if required by the Congregation Council or congregation and shall be custodian of all funds of the congregation; shall disburse all such funds in accordance with the decisions of the congregation or the Congregation Council. He/she shall present an audited report to the annual congregational meeting and such other reports to the Congregation Council, as may be required.
C. OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CONGREGATION COUNCIL
1. The Congregation Council shall be empowered to secure such help as is needed to carry on the work of the congregation, such as parish secretary, custodian, intern, music directors, etc. and shall fix their salaries.
2. Adjustments in the salary and benefits of the pastor shall be the responsibility of the Congregation Council, subject to the congregation’s approval of the budget.
3. Use of property:
a. The property of the congregation shall be for the use of the congregation in its normal function as a Lutheran Church and shall not be used in any way not in harmony with the purpose of the congregation.
b. Buildings which are the property of the congregation not be lent or rented to any group or individual not affiliated with the congregation or with the ELCA unless application for such use has been approved by the Congregation Council or by a two-thirds majority in the case of a request for occasional use, or by a two-thirds majority in the case of a request for regular use.
SECTION VII - NOMINATING COMMITTEE
1. The Nominating Committee shall be composed of six members, two of which shall be elected by the Congregation Council from its outgoing membership and four of which shall be elected at the annual election of the congregation. The pastor shall serve as convener and as an advisory (non-voting) member.
2. 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 and shall secure the consent of each candidate to serve if elected.
3. The candidates of the nominating committee shall be made known to the congregation in conjunction with the announcement of the special or annual meeting at which the election is to take place.
4. In addition to the candidates submitted by the nominating committee, additional nominations may be made from the floor.
5. In addition to the other duties of the committee, as herein before set forth, such committee shall act as the “Resolution Committee”, and shall review and give recommendations on any and all resolutions proposed to be taken before the congregation at any of its regular or special meetings. Resolutions shall be dated upon adoption, discontinued after 3 years and maintained in the Red Policy Manual.
6. In addition to the requirements of the congregational membership stated in Chapter 8 of the constitution, consideration for membership on the Congregational Council may include faithfulness in congregational life.
SECTION VIII - REPORTS OF ORGANIZATIONS
1. All committees and organizations handling funds within the congregation shall submit reports to be published in the annual report of the congregation.
SECTION IX - MINISTERIAL RECORDS
1. The pastor shall be responsible for keeping accurate records of membership and ministerial acts. These shall remain the property of the congregation.
SECTION X - ANNUAL ELECTION
1. The Annual election, held in November, shall be considered an extension of the annual meeting.