- Cheat Sheet for Updating Your Congregation’s Constitution
- Highlighted changes for Model Constitution for Congregations of the ELCA
The Congregational Constitutions resource guides congregations in updating, amending, or replacing their congregational constitution. The constitution of your congregation needs to be regularly updated after every churchwide assembly. Amendments to the constitutions for congregations can be found on the ELCA webpage (www.elca.org/constitution). Look for “Model Constitution for Congregations” to see the whole constitution, or “Amendments to the Model Constitution for Congregations” to see the most recent changes to a previous version.
The Model Constitution for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America originally was adopted by the Constituting Convention of this church in Columbus, Ohio, on April 30, 1987. This was done as required by the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The current edition of the Model Constitution for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America contains changes (amendments) adopted by all previous Churchwide Assemblies.
The model is consistent with the requirements of the constitutional governing documents of the ELCA’s churchwide organization and synods.
Required provisions: Sections of this constitution marked by an asterisk [*] are required when a congregation amends its governing documents. These sections must be used without alteration or amendment of the text in any manner (neither additions nor deletions). This is in keeping with provision 9.52. in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This provision stipulates that when a congregation of this church “wishes to amend any provision of its governing documents, the governing documents of that congregation shall be so amended to conform to 9.25.b.” in the churchwide constitution. The provisions herein marked by an asterisk are those that are indicated as required in ELCA constitutional provision 9.25.b.
Review by synod: In keeping with provisions that apply to all congregations of this church, each congregation is to provide a copy of its governing documents to the synod. As specified by ELCA bylaw 9.53.03. (numbering as listed in the 1991 and subsequent editions):
All proposed changes in the constitution or incorporation documents of a congregation shall be referred to the synod with which the congregation is affiliated. The synod shall notify the congregation of its decision to approve or disapprove the proposed changes; the changes shall go into effect upon notification that the synod has approved them.
Constitution Committee reviews and approves the constitutions of both this synod and the congregations of the synod. It also serves as a resource to those considering updating or revising their constitutions.