Elk Horn Lutheran Constitution
Amended February 24, 2002
It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). That Christ's mission for His Church might be carried out according to His will, He has commanded that Christians unite in worship (Hebrews 10:24-25), practice fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42), witness to all people (Acts 1:8), help each other grow in the Word (Ephesians 4:11-14), serve the needs of all in Christian love (Ephesians 4:7-16, Mark 10:42-44, John 13:35, Galatians 6:10), and administer the Sacraments.
Therefore we, a number of Lutheran Christians, accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and Bylaws in accordance with which all spiritual and material affairs of our congregation shall be governed.
ARTICLE 1: NAME AND INCORPORATION
C1.01. The name of this congregation shall be: Elk Horn Lutheran Church.
C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the Elk Horn Lutheran congregation is herein after designated as "this congregation."
C1.03. This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Iowa.
ARTICLE II: CONFESSION
C2.01. This congregation accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and revealed Word of God, and all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580, as the correct presentation and true exposition of Christian Doctrine drawn from the Holy Scriptures.
1) The Three Ecumenical Creeds, viz.: the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
2) The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
3) The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
4) The Smalcald Articles
5) Luther's Large Catechism
6) Luther's Small Catechism
7) The Formula of Concord
C2.02.No doctrine or practice in conflict, or inconsistent, with the above norms of our faith and life shall be taught or tolerated in this congregation.
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 exist 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 church, therefore, derives its character and powers both from the sanction and representation of its congregations and from its inherent nature as an expression of the broader fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of believers and congregations in our day.
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 fulfill this purpose, 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) Teach the Word of God.
d) Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ, reaching out to all people.
e) Respond to human need, work for justice and peace, care for the sick and the suffering, and participate responsibly in society.
f) Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in their congregation.
g) Motivate its members to provide financial support for the congregation's ministry and the ministry of other parts of the church.
Chapter 5. POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION
C5.01. The powers of this congregation are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.
C5.02. The powers of this congregation are vested in the Congregational Meeting called and conducted as provided in this constitution and bylaws.
C5.03. Only such authority as is delegated to the Church Council or other organizational units in this congregation's governing documents is recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the congregation. The congregation is authorized to:
a) call a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
b) terminate the call of a pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
c) appoint or terminate the appointment of associates in ministry.
d) approve the annual budget;
e) acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, purchase, or other lawful means;
f) hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent with its purpose;
g) sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by any lawful means;
h) elect its [officers], Church Council, boards, and committees, and require them to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions.
Chapter 6. CHURCH AFFILIATION
C6.01. This congregation shall be affiliated with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
Chapter 7. PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
C7.01.Upon dissolution of the corporation, the church council, shall after paying and making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all of the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, education, religious, scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code as the church council shall determine.
Chapter 8. MEMBERSHIP
C8.01. Members of this congregation shall be those baptized persons on the roll of this congregation at the time that this constitution is adopted and those who are admitted thereafter and who have declared and maintain their membership in accordance with the provisions of this constitution and its bylaws.
C8.02. Members shall be defined as follows:
a) Baptized members are those persons who have been received by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in this congregation, or having been previously baptized in the name of the Triune God, have been received by certificate of transfer from other Lutheran congregations or by affirmation of faith.
b) Confirmed members are baptized persons who have been confirmed in this congregation, those who have been received by adult baptism or by transfer as confirmed members from other Lutheran congregations, or baptized persons received by affirmation of faith.
c) Voting members are confirmed members, Such confirmed members shall have communed and made a contribution of record during the current or preceding year.
d) Associate members are persons holding membership in other Lutheran [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 Church Council.
C 8.03. 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 teaching of the Lutheran church; and c. support the work of this congregation, and its missions, through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.
C8.04. Membership in this congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:
c) transfer or release;
d) disciplinary action by the Church Council.
C8.05. Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall remain persons for whom the church has a continuing pastoral concern.
Chapter 9. THE PASTOR
C9.01. Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least a two thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting regularly called for that purpose.
C9.02. Consistent with the faith and practice of the church, every pastor shall:
a) preach the word;
b) administer the sacraments;
c) conduct public worship;
d) provide pastoral care;
e) give pastoral leadership for meetings, activities and organizations;
f) lead and equip us in fulfilling our call to give faithful witness;
g) strive in word and action to be a worthy example in Christian living;
h) continue your education to provide opportunity for personal renewal, enrichment of devotional life, and development of pastoral effectiveness;
C9.03. 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.
C9.04. 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:
a) mutual agreement to terminate the call or the completion of a call for a specific term;
b) resignation of the pastor;
c) 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.
d) the physical or mental incapacity of the pastor;
e) disqualification of the pastor through discipline on grounds of doctrine, morality, or continued neglect of duty; or
f) the dissolution of the congregation.
C9.05. A pastor may be dismissed upon a request for the pastor’s resignation upon a resolution adopted by 2/3 by those voting members present at a regular or specially called congregational meeting.
C9.06. 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, and the Church Council. As occasion requires, the documents may be revised through a similar consultation.
C9.07. The pastor shall keep accurate parochial records of all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, communicants, members received, members dismissed, or members excluded from the congregation.
Chapter 10. CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
C10.01. The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held in January.
C10.02. A special Congregational Meeting may be called by the pastor, the Church Council, or the president of this congregation, and shall be called at the written request of 10% 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.
C 10.03. 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. 40 voting members shall constitute a quorum.
C10.05. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
C10.06. All actions by the congregation shall be by majority vote except as otherwise provided in this constitution.
C10.07. Robert's Rules of Order, last edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meeting of this congregation.
Chapter 11. OFFICERS
C11.01. The officers of this congregation shall be a president, secretary, and treasurer.
a) Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws.
b) The officers shall be voting members of the congregation.
c) Officers of this congregation, except the treasurer, shall serve similar offices of the Church Council and shall be voting members of the Church Council.
d) The congregation shall elect by written ballot officers of the congregation who shall serve for 3 years or until their successors are elected.
e) 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.
f) The treasurer shall be ex officio member of the Church Council without vote. The treasurer shall be custodian of all funds of the congregation, and shall disburse all such funds. He/she shall present a duly audited report to the annual congregational meeting and such other reports to the church council as may be required.
Chapter 12. CHURCH COUNCIL
C12.01. The voting membership of the Church Council shall consist of the pastor(s) and not more than 5 members of the congregation and the officers 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 members place on the Church 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 Church Council without cause.
C.02. The members of the Church Council except the pastor(s) shall be elected by written ballot and 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.
C.03. Should a members place on the Church Council be declared vacant, the Church Council shall elect, by majority vote, a successor until the next annual meeting.
C.04. The Church 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. The duties of the Church Council shall include the following:
a) To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do longrange 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.
e) To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life and ministry expected of all baptized persons.
f) To promote a congregation climate of peace and goodwill and as differences and conflict arise, to endeavor to foster mutual understanding.
g) To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness or absence of the pastor.
C.05. The Church 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 Iowa, except as otherwise provided herein.
C.06. The Church Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by this congregation, shall supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption.
C.07. The Church Council shall be responsible for this congregation's investments and its total insurance program.
C.08. The Church Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution [and] it bylaws [and continuing resolutions] are carried out.
C.09. The Church Council shall provide for an annual review of the membership roster.
C.10. The Church Council shall submit a comprehensive report to this congregation at the annual meeting.
C.11. The Church 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 onehalf of its members. Notice of each special meeting shall be given to all who are entitled to be present.
C.12. A quorum for any regular or special meetings of the Church Council shall be onehalf of its membership, including the pastor or interim pastor, except when such person requests 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. CONGREGATION COMMITTEES
C.01. The officers of this congregation, the chairpersons of the administrative committees and the pastor shall constitute the Church Council.
C.02. Only elected officers shall have both voice and vote. Each committee shall elect from its own membership a chairman who will also represent the committee on the Church Council.
C.03. Duties and responsibilities shall be published in a Handbook.
C.04. Each Administrative committee shall be under the direct supervision of the Chairperson of that committee.
C.05. The time and frequency of Committee meetings shall be at the discretion of the Chairperson and members, except that, for good and sufficient reason, the president of the congregation or the pastor may call a meeting of the committee any time.
C.06. Each Committee shall submit a report of its activities at the Annual meeting. Such report shall include specific recommendations (if any) for congregational action and/or approval.
C.07. Each Committee shall initiate and carry out such activities and programs within the
congregation as will enable it to effectively perform the functions and duties assigned to it.
C.08.Each Committee shall be empowered to administer all funds set set aside for its work by budget appropriation or by special resolution of the Annual meeting or special congregational meeting.
C.09. Each Committee shall submit a budget, for the following year, to the Stewardship & Finance committee prior to the Annual Meeting.
C.10. A Parish Education Committee shall consist of (6) elected members and pastor.
C.11. A Worship and Music Committee shall consist of at least (4) elected members, the pastor, a member of the Altar Guild and all staff pertaining to worship and music.
C.12. A Church Properties Committee shall consist of at (3) elected members and pastor.
C.13. A Deacons Committee shall consist of at least (3) elected members and pastor.
C.14. A Stewardship & Finance Committee shall consist of at least (3) elected members and pastor.
C13.15. A Nominating Committee shall be composed of five (5) members, two of which shall be elected by the church council from its own membership and three of which shall be elected by the annual meeting for a term of one year.
C 13.16. When a pastoral vacancy occurs, a Call Committee of six voting members shall be appointed by this congregation.
ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE CONGREGATION
C.01. This congregation at its meeting shall determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive reports concerning their membership, work, and finances.
DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS
C.01. Denial of the Christian faith as described in this constitution, conduct grossly unbecoming a member of the Church of Christ, or persistent troublemaking in this congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of a member. Prior to disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted following Matthew 18:1517.
Chapter 16. BYLAWS
C.01. This congregation may adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this constitution.
C.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.
C.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 Church Council at least 60 days before a regular or special Congregational meeting called for that purpose and that the Church Council notify the members of the proposal with its recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the Congregational meeting.
Chapter 17. AMENDMENTS
C.01. Amendments to this Constitution maybe proposed by at least 10 voting members or by the Church Council. Proposals must be filed in writing with the Church Council 60 days before formal consideration by this congregation at its regular or special meeting called for that purpose. The Church Council shall notify the members of the proposal with their recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.
C.02. A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:
a) be approved at a properly called meeting according to this constitution by a majority vote of those present and voting;
b) be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a twothirds majority vote of those present and voting; and
c) have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.
Chapter 18. CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS
C.01. The Church Council may enact continuing resolutions which describe the function of the various committees or organizations of this congregation.
C.02. Continuing resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a twothirds vote of all voting members of the Church Council.