Time to Amend Your Congregation’s Constitution!

At last August’s ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans many amendments were made to the ELCA Model Constitution for Congregations. Most of these amendments were introduced as a result of the Assembly’s decision to merge the three lay rosters (i.e. associates in ministry, diaconal ministers and deaconesses) into a single roster of Ministers of Word and Service. These provisions should be added to your congregation’s constitution even if you don’t currently have a person on one of the lay rosters serving under Call.

To access the Model Constitution go to: http://www.elca.org/en/About/Churchwide/Office-of-the-Secretary/Constitutions

THE GOOD NEWS is that if your council (or a constitutional review committee appointed by the council) proposes amendments solely to bring the congregation’s constitution into conformity with the Model Constitution, there only needs to be one vote at your Annual Meeting (or at a special meeting of the congregation) with a majority of the voting members present to approve. The amendments go into effect when adopted and do not need synod approval. To pursue this approach to amending your congregation’s constitution, you do need to give voting members at least 30 days’ notice of the congregational meeting at which your constitution will be amended.

But please note: if your council or constitutional review committee proposes a change or changes to any of the Model Constitution’s non-required provisions (ones that aren’t preceded by an asterisk * in the Model Constitution) then C16.01. is the appropriate provision to follow in amending the congregation’s constitution.

Questions about the amendment process? Please contact Bishop Larry Wohlrabe at wohlrabe@cord.edu or 218.299.3019.