January 27, 2008
Note that all items marked with an asterisk [*] are required. This reflects the existing requirements of the constitution and
bylaws of the ELCA. Here is the
PDF file of this constitution.
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 St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rock Island, Illinois.
C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the congregation named in C1.01 is
hereinafter designated as "this congregation."
C1.11. This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois.
Chapter 2. 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
*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
*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
*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 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
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 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
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
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 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
groups and shall review their actions. Such description shall be contained in continuing resolutions of the
*C4.05. This congregation shall, from time to time, adopt a mission statement which will provide specific direction for
Chapter 5. POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION
*C5.01. The powers of the 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 as provided in Chapter 9;
b. terminate the call of a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
c. appoint or terminate the appointment of associates in ministry in conformity with the applicable policy of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
adopt amendments to the constitution, as
provided in Chapter 17, and amendments to the bylaws, as specified
in Chapter 16;
e. approve the annual budget;
f. acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, purchase, or other lawful means;
g. hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent with its purpose;
h. sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by any lawful means;
i. elect its Congregation Council and committees as required by this constitution, and require them to carry
out their duties in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions; and
j. 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 Northern
Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
C5.05. This congregation
shall have a mission endowment fund that will operate as specified
in this congregationís continuing resolutions. The purpose of the
mission endowment fund is to provide for mission work beyond the
operational budget of this congregation.
Chapter 6. CHURCH AFFILIATION
*C6.01. This congregation shall be an interdependent part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (hereafter
referred to as ELCA) or its successor, and of the Northern Illinois Synod of the ELCA. This congregation is
subject to the discipline of the ELCA.
*C6.02. This congregation accepts the Confession of Faith and agrees to the Purposes of the ELCA and shall act in
accordance with them.
*C6.03. This congregation acknowledges its relationship with the ELCA 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 ELCA.
c. This congregation agrees to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of the ELCA 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 ELCA.
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 ELCA and with the constitution of the synod.
*C6.04. Affiliation with the ELCA 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 ELCA according to the procedures for discipline of
d. This congregation follows the procedures outlined in C6.05.
*C6.05. This congregation may terminate its relationship with the ELCA 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
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 ELCA 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 a member of the Lutheran Church in America it shall be required, in addition
to the provision in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the ELCA.
*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 Northern Illinois Synod of the
*C7.02. If this congregation is removed from membership in the ELCA according to its procedure for discipline, title of
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 Northern Illinois 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
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 ELCA.
C7.05. Notwithstanding the
provisions of *C7.02. and *C.7.03. above, where this congregation
has received property from the synod pursuant to a deed or other
instrument containing restrictions under provision 9.71.a. of the
Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, this congregation accepts such
a. Shall not transfer, encumber, mortgage,
or in any way burden or impair any right, title, or interest in the
property without prior approval of the Synod Council.
b. Shall - upon written demand by the Synod
Council, pursuant to ÜS13.23. of the constitution of the Northern
Illinois Synod - reconvey and transfer all right, title, and
interest in the property to the synod.
Chapter 8. MEMBERSHIP
*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. Such confirmed members, during the current or preceding
calendar year, shall have communed in this congregation and shall
have made a contribution of record to this congregation.
of this congregation who have satisfied these basic standards shall
have the privilege of voice and vote at every regular and special
meeting of the congregation.
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
*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, synod, and the churchwide organization of the ELCA 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. 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.
B8.05.01. Confirmed members who have not made a communion of record and made a contribution of record during the
current or preceding calendar year shall be designated as inactive members. Such designation shall be
confirmed formally by action of the Congregation Council at its first meeting each year. The individuals will then
be notified by registered letter that they are being placed on the inactive list and have lost their right of vote, but
can renew their active status at any time by a communion of record and a contribution of record.
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 this congregation to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and help of the bishop of
*C9.02. Only a member of the clergy roster of the ELCA 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 ELCA,
a. Every ordained minister shall:
1) preach the Word;
2) administer the sacraments;
3) conduct public worship;
4) provide pastoral care; 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 the congregation;
3) shall 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
4) endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the ELCA churchwide
organization and of the Northern Illinois 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
6) dissolution of the congregation; or
7) suspension of the congregation as a result of discipline proceedings.
b. When allegations of alleged 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
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 (a) 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 (b) 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 ELCA and the constitution of the Northern Illinois Synod.
f. If, following the appointment of the committee described in C9.05b. or d., it should become apparent that
the pastoral office cannot be conducted effectively in the congregation 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 without prejudice and with pay provided through a joint churchwide/synod fund and with
housing provided by the congregation.
*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 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
before beginning service in a call to another congregation or
employment in another ministry setting related to the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
*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.
*C9.11. 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. 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 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 congregation and 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.
*C9.13. 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.
*C9.14. The parochial records
of this congregation shall be maintained by the pastor and shall
remain the property of the congregation. The secretary of this
congregation shall attest in writing to the bishop of this synod
that such records have been placed in his or her hands in good order
by a departing pastor before the installation of that pastor in
another field of labor or the granting by the synod of retired
status to the pastor.
C9.20. Ecumenical pastoral ministry
C9.21. 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 as pastor of this congregation
under a contract between the congregation and the ordained minister
in a form proposed by the synodical bishop and approved by the
Chapter 10. CONGREGATION MEETING
C10.01. The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held at a time specified in the bylaws.
B10.01.01. The annual meeting shall be held in January on a date set by the Congregation Council.
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% of the voting members. The call for each special
meeting shall specify the purpose for which it is to 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 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. 10% of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.
C10.05. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
C10.06. All actions
the congregation shall be by majority vote of those voting
members present and voting, except as otherwise provided in this
constitution or by state law.
C10.07. Robert's Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meetings of this
Chapter 11. OFFICERS
C11.01. The officers of this congregation shall be a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.
a. Duties of the officers are 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.
d. The president, vice-president and secretary shall be elected from the membership of the Congregation
Council. The treasurer, if not a member of the Congregation Council, shall be accorded the privilege of
voice without vote in its meetings.
B11.01.01. The duties of the officers are:
a. The president shall be chair of the congregation and the Congregation Council.
b. The vice-president shall perform the duties of the president in his or her absence.
c. The secretary shall:
1) keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the congregation and Congregation Council in a volume
provided by the congregation, which shall be preserved permanently in its archives; and
2) keep a separate record of continuing resolutions.
d. The treasurer shall:
1) keep the books of account of the congregation;
2) receive all funds from the financial secretary and disburse them on proper orders;
3) make monthly remittance of benevolence receipts to the treasurer of the synod;
4) make a written report of all transactions to the Congregation Council monthly and to the congregation
at its annual meeting; and
5) be given proper surety, in amounts determined by the Congregation Council, for which the premiums
shall be paid by the congregation.
C11.02. At its first meeting after the annual congregation meeting, 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.
C11.03. No officer shall hold more than one office at a time. No elected officer except the treasurer shall be eligible to
serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
Chapter 12. CONGREGATION COUNCIL
C12.01. The voting membership of the Congregation Council shall consist of the pastor(s), the officers of the congregation, and not more than 12 nor fewer than
9 members of the congregation. Any voting members 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 forfeited if the member a) ceases to be a voting member of this congregation or b) is absent
from four successive regular meetings of the Congregation Council without cause. Consistent with the laws of
the state of Illinois, the congregation may adopt procedures for the removal of a member of the Congregation
Council in other circumstances.
C12.02. The members of the Congregation Council except the pastor(s) shall be elected by written ballot to serve for
3 years or until their successors are elected. Such members shall be eligible to serve no more than two full
terms consecutively. 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 forfeited, the Congregation Council shall elect, by
majority vote, a successor until the next annual meeting. Individuals who
have served less than one-half of a regular term shall be eligible for
nomination and possible election to a full term.
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 ELCA. 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
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 ELCA as well as cooperation
with other congregations, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran, subject to established policies of the synod and
i. To recommend and encourage the use of program resources produced or approved by the ELCA.
j. To seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel.
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 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
Illinois, 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 may enter into contracts of up to 5% of the current annual budget for items not
included in the budget.
d. The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by this congregation, shall supervise
the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption, and may incur obligations more
than 5% of the current annual budget in excess of the anticipated receipts only after approval by a
Congregation Meeting. 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 churchwide organization.
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
C12.06. The Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution, 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.
C12.10. The Congregation Council shall appoint a financial secretary with the duties specified in the bylaws.
B12.10.01. The financial secretary shall:
a. receive and keep record of all income from contributing members and other sources;
b. make a written report to the Congregation Council monthly and to the congregation at its annual meeting;
c. be given proper surety, in amounts determined by the Congregation Council, for which the premiums shall
be paid by the congregation.
C12.11. The Congregation Council shall normally meet once a month. 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 a majority 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.
Chapter 13. CONGREGATIONAL COMMITTEES
C13.01. The officers of the congregation and the pastor shall constitute the Executive Committee.
C13.02. A Nominating Committee of six voting members of this congregation, two of whom shall, if possible, be outgoing
members of the Congregation Council, shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of one year. Members
of the Nominating Committee are not eligible for consecutive reelection. Members of the Nominating Committee
shall not be nominated to the Council for the ensuing year and members of the Council who will be active in the
ensuing year shall not serve on the Nominating Committee.
C13.03. An Audit Committee of three voting members shall be elected by the congregation. Audit Committee members
shall not be members of the Congregation Council. Term of office will be three years, with one member elected
each year. Members shall be eligible for reelection.
C13.04. A Staff Support Committee (in the absence of a staff support committee, their duties shall be fulfilled by the
executive committee) shall be appointed jointly by the president and the pastor. Term of office shall be two
years, three members to be appointed each successive year. Committee members will hold no other office in
the congregation during their term.
C13.05. When a pastoral vacancy occurs, a Call Committee of six voting members shall be elected by the congregation.
Term of office will terminate at installation of the newly-called pastor.
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 continuing resolutions.
C13.08. The pastor of this
congregation shall be ex officio a member of all committees and
boards of the congregation. The president of this congregation shall
be ex officio a member of all committees and boards of the
congregation, except the Nominating Committee.
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 meeting
shall determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive reports concerning their membership, work, and
C14.02. Special interest groups, other than those of the official organizations of the ELCA, may be organized only after
authorization has been given by the Congregation Council and specified in a continuing resolution.
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 shall administer such
*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.
discipline against a member proceeds beyond counseling and
admonition by the pastor, charges against the accused member(s) that
are specific and in writing shall be prepared by member(s) of the
congregation who shall sign the charges as the accuser(s). The
written charges shall be filed with the pastor, who shall advise the
Congregation Council of the need to issue a written citation to the
accused and the accusers that specifies the time and place of the
hearing before the Congregation Council. The written charges shall
accompany the written citation to the accused. A member charged
with the offense shall appear before the Congregation Council after
having received a written citation,
at least ten days prior to the meeting. 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 memberís absence.
*C15.03. Should the allegations be sustained by a two-thirds majority vote of the Congregation Council 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 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 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, ďdue processĒ shall be observed as specified in
20.41.04. 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.
*C15.11. 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 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 Meeting
called for that purpose and that the Congregation Council notify the
congregationís members by mail of the proposal with
the councilís recommendations at least
30 days in advance of the Congregation Meeting.
*C16.04. Approved changes to the bylaws shall be sent to the synod.
Chapter 17. AMENDMENTS
*C17.01. Unless provision *C17.04.
is applicable, those sections of this constitution that are not
required, in accord with the Model Constitution for Congregations
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, may be amended in
the following manner. Amendments
may be proposed by at least five 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 a regular or special
Congregation Meeting called for that purpose. The Congregation
Council shall notify the congregationís members
of the proposal together with the councilís recommendations
at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.
amendment to this constitution, proposed under *C17.01.,
a. be approved at a legally called
Congregation 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
c. have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.
*C17.03. Any amendments to this
constitution that result from the processes provided in *C17.01.
and *C17.02. 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 Northern Illinois Synod of the
*C17.04. This constitution may be amended to
section into conformity with a section or sections, either required
or not required, of the Model Constitution for Congregations of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - as most recently
amended by the Churchwide Assembly - by a simple majority vote
of those voting members present and voting at any
legally called 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, together with the councilís recommendations, at
least 30 days prior to the meeting. Upon the request of
five voting members of the congregation, the Congregation Council
shall submit such notice. Following the adoption of an
amendment, the secretary of the congregation shall submit a copy
thereof to the synod.
Such provisions shall become effective immediately following a vote
Chapter 18. CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS
*C18.01. The congregation in a
legally called meeting or 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 majority vote of a meeting of the
congregation or a two-thirds vote of all voting members of the
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
*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
*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
Synod 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.