First Lutheran Church of Vista, Inc.
Name and Incorporation
Confession of Faith
Nature of the Church
Statement of Purpose
Powers of the Congregation
Organizations within the Congregation
Discipline of Members and Adjudication
* Indicates required provisions
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 First Lutheran
C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the
accompanying bylaws, the congregation of First Lutheran Church of Vista, Inc. is
hereinafter designated as "this congregation."
congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of California.
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
*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.
- Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was
made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new
- 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.
- 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.
*C2.04. 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.
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
*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
*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:
*C4.03. To fulfill these purposes, this congregation shall:
- Worship God in proclamation of the Word and administration of the
sacraments and through lives of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, witness, and
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*C4.04. 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
- Provide services of worship at which the Word of God is preached and the
sacraments are administered.
- Provide pastoral care and assist all members to participate in this
- Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in
their daily lives and in their congregation.
- Teach the Word of God.
- Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ, reaching out to all
- Respond to human need, work for justice and peace, care for the sick and
the suffering, and participate responsibly in society.
- Motivate its members to provide financial support for the congregation's
ministry and the ministry of other parts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
- Foster and participate in interdependent relationships with other
congregations, the synod, and the churchwide organization of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
- Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships consistent with
*C4.05. This congregation shall, from time
to time, adopt a mission statement which will provide specific direction for its
Chapter 5. POWERS OF THE
*C5.01. The powers of this congregation
are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.
*C5.02. The powers of
this congregation are vested in the Congregation Meeting called and conducted as
provided in this constitution and bylaws.
*C5.03. Only such
authority as is delegated to the Congregation Council or other organizational
units in this congregation's governing documents is recognized. All remaining
authority is retained by the congregation. The congregation is authorized to:
*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 this synod.
- call a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
- terminate the call of a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
- 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;
- approve the annual budget;
- acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, purchase, or other
- hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent
with its purpose;
- sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by
any lawful means;
- elect its officers, Congregation Council, and Ministry Team Leaders, and
require them to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution,
bylaws, and continuing resolutions; and
- terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
as provided in Chapter 6.
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 Pacifica
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
*C6.04. Affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America may be terminated as follows:
- This congregation agrees to be responsible for its life as a Christian
- This congregation pledges its financial support and participation in the
life and mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*C6.05. This congregation may terminate its relationship with
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by the following procedure:
- This congregation takes action to dissolve.
- This congregation ceases to exist.
- 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.
- This congregation follows the procedures outlined in *C6.05.
*C6.06. If this
congregation is considering 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The bishop of the synod shall consult with this congregation during a
period of at least 90 days.
- 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.
- 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
- Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the
secretary of this church and published in the periodical of this church.
- If this congregation was a member of the 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.
- If 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.
Chapter 7. PROPERTY
*C7.01. If this congregation ceases to
exist, title to undisposed property shall pass to the Pacifica 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 Pacifica
*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.
*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:
*C8.03. All applications for confirmed membership shall be
submitted to and shall require the approval of the Congregation Council.
- 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.
- 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.
- Voting members are confirmed members. Such confirmed members shall have
communed and made a contribution of record during the current or preceding
- Associate members are persons holding membership in other Christian
congregations who wish to retain such membership but desire to participate in
the life and mission of this congregation. They have all the privileges and
duties of membership except voting rights and eligibility for elected offices
or membership on the Congregation Council of this congregation.
*C8.04. It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this
*C8.05. Membership in this congregation shall be
terminated by any of the following:
- make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;
- live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings
of the Lutheran church; and
- 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
Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall
remain persons for whom the church has a continuing pastoral concern.
- transfer or release;
- disciplinary action by the Congregation Council; or
- removal from the roll due to inactivity as defined in the bylaws.
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 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
*C9.03. Consistent with the faith and practice of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
*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.
- Every ordained minister shall:
- preach the Word;
- administer the sacraments;
- conduct public worship;
- provide pastoral care; and
- speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed,
calling for justice and proclaiming God's love for the world.
- Each ordained minister with a congregational call shall, within the
- offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and
bury the dead;
- supervise all schools and organizations of this congregation;
- install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council; and
- with the council, administer discipline.
- Every pastor shall:
- strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and
- seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of
- impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through
distribution of its periodicals and other publications; and
- 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 Pacifica Synod of the ELCA.
*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.
- 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:
- mutual agreement to terminate the call or the completion of a call for a
- resignation of the pastor, which shall become effective, unless
otherwise agreed, 30 days after the date on which it was submitted;
- 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;
- the physical or mental incapacity of the pastor;
- disqualification of the pastor through discipline on grounds of
doctrine, morality, or continued neglect of duty;
- the dissolution of the congregation; or
- suspension of the congregation as a result of discipline proceedings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 by a two-thirds majority vote of the
voting members present at a regularly called meeting after consultation with
- 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.
- 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).
*C9.07. 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.
*C9.11. 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 a call may also be terminated before its expiration in
accordance with the provisions of *C9.05.a.
*C9.12. The pastor of
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.
- shall keep accurate parochial records of all baptisms, confirmations,
marriages, burials, communicants, members received, members dismissed, or
members excluded from the congregation;
- shall submit a summary of such statistics annually to the synod; and
- 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.
Chapter 10. CONGREGATION MEETING
C10.01. The annual and quarterly meetings of this congregation
shall be held at times 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 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 voting members at least
ten 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.
percent of the congregation's voting members shall constitute a quorum.
C10.05. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be
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
officers of this congregation shall be a president, vice president, secretary,
C11.02 This congregation 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 close of the
annual meeting at which they are elected.
- Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws.
- The officers shall be voting members of the congregation.
- Officers of this congregation shall serve similar offices of the
Congregation Council and shall be voting members of the Congregation Council.
- These officers must meet the legal age requirements for corporate officers
in the State of California.
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, except for the
Treasurer who may serve up to four consecutive terms in the same office. A term
of less than one year shall not be considered a term of office.
Chapter 12. CONGREGATION COUNCIL
C12.01. The voting membership of the Congregation Council shall
consist of the pastors, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, the officers
of the congregation, and four representatives of the congregation. Any voting
member of the congregation may be elected, subject only to the limitation on the
length of continuous service permitted in that office. A member's place on the
Congregation Council shall be declared vacant if the member a) ceases to be a
voting member of this congregation or b) is absent from four successive regular
meetings of the Congregation Council without cause. Consistent with the laws of
the state in which the congregation is incorporated, the congregation may adopt
procedures for the removal of a member of the Congregation Council in other
C12.02. The four representatives on the
Congregation Council shall be elected by written ballot to serve for two 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.
an elected member's place on the Congregation Council be declared vacant, the
Congregation Council shall elect, by majority vote, a successor until the next
C12.04. The Congregation Council shall have
general oversight of the life and activities of this congregation, and in
particular its worship life, to the end that everything be done in accordance
with the Word of God and the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America. The duties of the Congregation Council shall include the
C12.05. The Congregation Council shall be
responsible for the financial and property matters of this congregation.
- To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do long-range
planning, to set goals and priorities, and to evaluate and report on its
activities in light of its mission and goals.
- To seek to involve all members of this congregation in worship, learning,
witness, service, and support.
- To oversee and provide for the administration of this congregation to
enable it to fulfill its functions and perform its mission.
- To maintain supportive relationships with the pastor(s) and staff and help
them annually to evaluate the fulfillment of their calling or employment.
- To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life and
ministry expected of all baptized persons.
- To promote a congregational climate of peace and goodwill, and, as
differences and conflicts arise, to endeavor to foster mutual understanding.
- To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness or absence of the
- 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.
- To recommend and encourage the use of program resources produced or
approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- To seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of
Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution, its
bylaws, and the continuing resolutions are carried out.
- 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 California, except as otherwise provided
- 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 Council may enter into contracts of up to one percent of
the approved annual budget for items not included in the budget.
- The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by
this congregation and shall supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance
therewith following its adoption. 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.
- 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.
- The Congregation Council shall be responsible for this congregation's
investments and its total insurance program.
C12.07. The Congregation Council shall provide for an annual review of the membership
C12.08. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for
the employment 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.
Congregation Council shall normally meet once a month. Special meetings may be
called by the pastor or the president, and shall be called by the president 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.
quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of a majority of the
members of the Congregation Council, and must include the pastor or interim
pastor, except when the pastor or interim pastor requests or consents to be
absent and has given prior approval to the agenda for a particular regular or
special meeting, which shall be the only business considered at that meeting.
Chronic or repeated absence of the pastor or interim pastor who has refused
approval of the agenda of a subsequent regular or special meeting shall not
preclude action by the Congregation Council, following consultation with the
Chapter 13. CONGREGATION
C13.01. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of this congregation and the pastor(s).
C13.02. A Nominating Committee of five voting members of
this congregation shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of two
years. The Executive Committee shall nominate candidates for the Nominating
Committee. In alternating years, either three members or two members shall be
elected annually. Committee members may be elected for not more than two
13.03. An Audit Committee of three
voting members shall be elected by the Congregation Council for a term of two
years. The Executive Committee shall nominate candidates for the Audit
Committee. In alternating years, either one or two members shall be elected
annually. Audit Committee members shall not be members of the Congregation
Council. Committee members may be elected for not more than two consecutive
C13.04. A Mutual Ministry Committee of six voting
members shall be appointed jointly by the president and the pastors for a term
of two years. (In the absence of a mutual ministry committee, the duties shall
be fulfilled by the executive committee.) Three members shall be appointed each
year. Committee members may be appointed for not more than two consecutive
C13.05. A Call Committee of six voting members
shall be elected by this congregation when a pastoral vacancy occurs. The
Executive Committee shall nominate candidates for the Call Committee. Term of
office shall terminate upon installation of the newly called pastor.
C13.06. An Endowment Committee of five voting members
shall be elected by the congregation for a term of two years. The Nominating
Committee shall nominate candidates for the Endowment Committee. In alternating
years, either three or two members shall be elected annually. Committee members
may be elected for not more than two consecutive terms.
C13.07. Other committees of this congregation may be formed, as the need arises, by
decision of the Congregation Council.
C13.08. Duties of
committees of this congregation shall be specified in the bylaws.
Chapter 14. ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE
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 meetings shall
determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive reports concerning
their membership, work, and finances.
C14.02. Ministry Teams,
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 and specified in a continuing resolution. Ministry
Teams of this congregation shall be given general direction, spiritual and
pastoral support, and resources (as it is able) by the Congregation Council. At
the beginning of each fiscal year, each Ministry Team shall prepare an Action
Plan in accordance with the congregation's mission for review and approval by
the Congregation Council. Each Ministry Team shall provide regular monthly
reports to the Congregation Council concerning the progress of their Action
Plan. Ministry Teams shall coordinate their activities to increase opportunities
for mutual support.
C14.03. Duties of the Ministry Team Leaders
shall be specified in the Bylaws.
C14.04. Ministry Team Leaders
shall be voting members of the congregation.
and election procedures for Ministry Team Leaders shall be specified in the
Chapter 15. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS AND
*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 10 days
prior to the meeting, specifying the exact charges that have been made against
*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:
actions b. and c. shall be delivered to the member in writing.
- censure before the council or congregation;
- suspension from membership for a definite period of time; or
- exclusion from membership in this congregation.
*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.
*C15.11. 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 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 10 percent of the 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:
*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 Pacifica Synod of the ELCA.
- be approved at a legally called meeting according to this constitution by
a majority vote of those present and voting;
- be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a two-thirds
majority vote of those present and voting; and
- have the effective date included in the resolution. Such an effective date
must be stated in relation to the requirements of *C17.03. to allow time for
synodical review of the amendment. and noted in the constitution.
*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 which describe the function of the various committees or
organizations of this congregation.
resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a two-thirds vote of all voting
members of the Congregation Council.
*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.