Constitution

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

 

OF

 

TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

CONGREGATION

 

AUBURN, DEKALB COUNTY, INDIANA

 

September 2014

 

-PREAMBLE-

 

Whereas Christians should practice fellowship with those who profess the true faith (Acts 2: 42, Hebrews 10:24-25); and

 

Whereas they should endeavor to keep the unity of faith (Ephesians 4:3-6, I Corinthians 1:10); and whereas as a body they should administer the office of the keys (John 20: 21-23, Matthew 18:17-20); and

 

Whereas in such a body all things should be done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14: 40);

 

Therefore, we, the undersigned, herewith adopt the following Constitution and its By-Laws according to which all affairs of the congregation, both spiritual, and material, shall be conducted.

 

 

ARTICLE I

 

-NAME-

 

The name of the congregation shall be Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church U.A.C. (Unaltered Augsburg Confession) of Auburn, DeKalb County, Indiana.

 

 

ARTICLE II

 

-PURPOSE-

 

The purpose of this body shall be that of a religious organization, established and maintained not for profit, but for disseminating the confessional standard of the Lutheran Church as set forth in the Declaration of Creed.

 

 

 

ARTICLE III

 

-DECLARATION OF CREED-

 

This congregation as a body and all its members as individuals accept without reservation:

 

  1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice;
  2. All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God to wit: The Three Ecumenical Creeds (The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Athanasian Creed), the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.  The Apology thereof, the Smalcald Articles, The Large Catechism of Luther, The Small Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord.

 

 

ARTICLE IV

 

-BAPTIZED MEMBERSHIP-

 

Baptized members are all members who have been baptized in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19-20), including the children on the membership rolls who have not yet confirmed their baptismal vows.

 

-COMMUNICANT MEMBERSHIP-

 

  1. Conditions of Membership:

 

Those only can become, be, or remain members of this congregation who:

 

  1. Are baptized;
  2. Declare their acceptance of and adherence to the Declaration of Creed as contained in Article III of this Constitution (Hebrews 10:23);
  3. Are familiar with Luther’s Small Catechism and declare their acceptance thereof (1 Peter 3:15);
  4. Do not live in manifest works of the flesh (Galatians 5: 19-21), but lead a Christian life;
  5. Are not members of a secret society (lodge), or of any organization conflicting with the Word of God and the conduct of a Christian (2 Corinthians 6: 14-18).

 

  1. Reception of Members:

 

  1. Application of communicant membership presenting a letter of transfer from an LCMS or other congregation in fellowship with LCMS shall be accepted as communicant members.
  2. Applicants for communicant membership affiliated with another Lutheran Church not in fellowship with LCMS, shall give satisfactory evidence of their qualification for membership in an interview with the Pastor.
  3. Other applicants shall receive an adequate course of instruction in the chief parts of the Christian Religion and shall declare their acceptance of the doctrines of the Lutheran Church; whereupon they shall be received as communicant members.

 

  1. Duties of Members:

 

It shall be the duty of every communicant member:

 

  1. To attend public worship diligently and to partake of Holy Communion frequently.
  2. To provide the proper Christian instruction of their children of school age by way of a parish school if and when a school has been established; or by way of the Sunday school; summer school and catechetical instruction.
  3. To contribute according to ability toward maintenance of church and school, if there be such, and toward defraying any other expenses of the congregation.
  4. To submit and conform to the rules and regulations established by the congregation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE V

 

-SUFFRAGE AND ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE-

 

  1. All communicant members who have attained the age of eighteen years and have declared their acceptance of this constitution and its by-laws and have signed the membership book in a regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly shall be entitled to vote.

  2. Only such communicant members who have proven themselves sincere members of this congregation shall be eligible to an office in the congregation. The office of Chairman, Senior Elder, and Elder will be restricted to male members of voting age.

     

     

    ARTICLE VI

     

    -RELEASE AND WITHDRAWL-

     

  3. Members desiring to join another LCMS congregation shall obtain a letter of transfer from the Pastor and/or the Senior Elder, who shall report to the congregation.

  4. Members who move from this locality without a transfer and for a period of one year have not fulfilled their duties, (cf. Article IV, C) shall thereby have forfeited their membership.

  5. Baptized members who join another church forfeit their right of membership in our congregation.

     

     

    ARTICLE VII

     

    -CHURCH DISCIPLINE-

     

  6. It shall be the duty of the Elders in accordance with Article V of the by-laws to discipline an erring member in accordance with the various steps prescribed in Matthew 18:15-17.

  7. Persons unwilling to submit to this divine rule shall be declared as having excommunicated themselves.

  8. Manifest and unrepentant sinners shall be excommunicated by action of the Voters’ Assembly after fruitless admonitions.

  9. Excommunicated persons forfeit all rights and privileges of membership.

  10. Excommunicated persons who repent and ask for forgiveness shall be reinstated into membership.

     

     

     

    ARTICLE VIII

     

    -AUTHORITY OF THE CONGREGATION-

     

  11. The Voters’ Assembly shall be the governing body of this congregation and shall be empowered to administer and manage all its affairs

  12. The Voters’ Assembly shall have no authority to enact or decide anything contrary to the Word of God and the Symbols of the Church.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ARTICLE IX

     

    -OFFICE OF PASTOR AND TEACHER-

     

    The congregation shall confer the office of pastor or teacher upon such pastors and teachers as candidates who:

     

  13. Unreservedly pledges their acceptance of and adherence to the Declaration of Creed contained in Article III of this Constitution;

  14. Are members of or in fellowship with, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to which this congregation belongs;

  15. Have been properly and rightfully called by the congregation.

     

     

     

     

     

    ARTICLE X

     

    -REMOVAL FROM OFFICE-

     

  16. A pastor, teacher, or officer may be removed from office in a Christian and lawful order by a two-thirds majority ballot vote of the Voters’ Assembly.

  17. Valid reasons for removal from office are persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect of official duties, as also evident and protracted inability because of health or otherwise to perform the functions of the sacred office.

     

     

     

    ARTICLE XI

     

    -IN RELATION TO SYNOD-

     

  18. The congregation shall hold membership in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod as long as the Synod continues to follow the confessional subscription according to Article II of the LCMS Constitution.

  19. The congregation has the obligation to uphold the resolutions of Synod.

  20. The congregation shall consider itself in duty bound to support the work of the Synod in accordance with its ability.

  21. The congregation shall send its pastor, teacher(s) and lay delegate to the conventions of such Synod.

     

     

     

    ARTICLE XII

     

    -SOCIETIES-

     

  22. The Voters’ Assembly shall be the governing body for the establishment and conduct of all congregational organizations.Societies within the congregation or related directly to the congregation shall be subject to the overall authority and general oversight of the Voters’ Assembly.

  23. Only communicant members of the congregation, or such as have taken steps to become so, or members of another LCMS congregation shall be eligible for membership in such societies.

  24. Each society is required to present to the voters a year-end financial report, a proposed new year’s budget, a summary of previous year’s accomplishments, and present year goals. This report is to be given by a current society officer.

     

     

     

    ARTICLE XIII

     

    -BOOKS AND FORMS-

     

  25. Lutheran hymn-books or liturgies approved by this congregation and in agreement with the Lutheran Confession and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod shall be used.

  26. In addition to the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism, soundly Lutheran books and literature shall be used for the purpose of religious instruction.

     

    ARTICLE XIV

     

    -AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS-

     

  27. Article III, IX, AND XIII of this Constitution and all such other articles or sections as pertain to Scriptural doctrine and practice shall be unalterable and irrepealable.

  28. Alteration or repeal of any alterable or repealable article or section of this Constitution and its By-Laws shall require that in two consecutive constitutionally called meetings following the proposed alteration or repeal the change be read and that two-thirds majority of the voters present cast their vote in favor of such alteration or repeal.

     

     

     

    BY-LAWS

     

    ARTICLE I

     

    -VOTERS’ ASSEMBLY-

     

  29. Regular meetings of the Voters’ Assembly shall be held a minimum of four times per year at an hour designated by the Voters’ Assembly. These meetings shall be made known by Sunday bulletin and/or by verbal announcement

  30. Special meetings may be called by order of the Church Council, or in especially urgent cases, by the Pastor or by the President of the Congregation. They shall be made known, if at all possible, at least by way of one Sunday bulletin or verbal announcement previous to such meeting.

  31. The Church Council shall be convened by the President previous to the regular Voters’ Assembly, to prepare a schedule of business for the Voters’ Assembly and prepare the annual budget. The council may make recommendations for action by the Voters’ Assembly.

     

    ARTICLE II

     

    -OFFICERS AND BOARDS-

     

  32. The Officers of the Congregation shall be:

    1. President

    2. First Vice-President – Senior Elder

    3. Second Vice President – Senior Trustee

    4. Recording Secretary

    5. Financial Officer

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

  33. The Boards of the Congregation are:

    1. Elders

    2. Trustees

    3. Deacons

    4. Evangelism

    5. Parish Education

    6. Stewardship

    7. Financial

    8. Preschool

       

  34. The Church Council members shall be:

    1. The officers of the Congregation

    2. The chairmen of the various boards

    3. The pastor, ex-officio member

       

  35. The Board of Elders shall consist of seven elected members; one Senior Elder and Six Elders to represent the congregations divisions.

  36. The Board of Trustees shall consist of two Trustees, a Senior Trustee and a Junior Trustee.

  37. The Board of Deacons shall consist of eight elected members; a Senior Deacon and seven Deacons.

  38. The Evangelism Board shall consist of one elected member, who shall also act as chairman. The chairman shall appoint 2 additional members for this Board.

  39. The Board of Parish Education shall consist of one elected member, who shall act as chairman, and who shall work with the Christian Education Coordinator and the Pastor serving as an advisory member. The chairman shall appoint 2 additional members for this Board.

  40. The Stewardship Board shall consist of one elected member, who shall also act as chairman. The chairman shall appoint 2 additional members for this Board.

  41. The Financial Board shall consist of the senior deacon, the head elder, and the financial officer

  42. The Preschool Board shall consist of four voting members and one non-voting member (Pastor)

     

     

    ARTICLE III

     

    -TERMS AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND BOARDS-

     

  43. All officers and board chairmen of the congregation are elected for two-year terms. There will be a two-term limit for any officer serving consecutive terms in any one office. After the two-term limit is completed, the officer may be elected to another office.

  44. The Senior Elder shall be the First Vice-President during his term of office as Senior Elder. The terms of approximately half the Elders shall expire each year.

  45. The Senior Trustee shall serve as Second Vice-President during his term of office as Senior Trustee. The term of one Trustee shall expire each year. The Junior Trustee will become Senior Trustee when the Senior Trustee’s term expires.

  46. The election of all above named Officers and Boards shall be held by ballot in the fourth meeting of the year.. A majority of votes cast shall constitute election.

  47. Chairmen of various boards, listed previously, are empowered to appoint additional members as are deemed necessary.

  48. Delegates to Synod, representatives to Circuit Meetings, auditing committee, etc., may be chosen by acclamation of the Voters’ Assembly.

  49. Nomination Committee – A Nominating Committee of three hold-over officers shall be chosen by acclamation in the third meeting of the year. The Pastor and the president shall be ex-officio members of the Nominating Committee. Nominating Committee shall prepare a ballot for the fourth meeting of the year, placing two names on the ballot for each officer to be elected. The names on this ballot are to be made known by way of the Sunday Bulletin previous to the election. The slate of names shall be approved or may be augmented by the Voters’ Assembly in the election meeting. The Nominating Committee shall also act as the Election Committee, conducting the election, counting the ballots, etc.

  50. The resignation of any officer shall be discussed with the Board of Elders and the Pastor by the person intending to resign. The discussion shall take place previous to the resignation’s formal presentation and discussion at either the Church Council or Voters’ Assembly.

  51. Any officer, having three unexcused absences from official meetings shall be considered for removal from office. A record of attendance of officers shall be kept.

  52. A vacancy occurring in any office may be filled at any properly convened meeting of the Voters’ Assembly by ballot election.

  53. Approximately half of all elected officers shall have completed their terms of office each year.

  54. The congregation has the authority to create and adjust permanent and ad hoc boards as needed.

     

     

    ARTICLE IV

     

    -DUTIES OF OFFICERS-

     

    The President shall:

     

    Be the Executive Officer of the Congregation’s total program; assure that all elected and appointed Officers, Boards, and Committees are carrying out their duties and responsibilities as described in the policy manual; also encourage them to review their duties and responsibilities annually as stated in the By-Laws of the Constitution.

     

     

    The Senior Elder shall:

     

    Serve as the Chairman of the Board of Elders and oversee the duties of the elders as described in the policy manual.

     

     

    The Senior Trustee shall:

     

    Serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and oversee the duties of the trustees.

     

     

    The Recording Secretary shall:

     

    Keep a permanent and accurate record of all Church Council and Voters’ Assembly meetings, maintain a list of all voting members, and the membership of official committees.

     

    Have the minutes of all Voters’ Assembly meetings reproduced, and the copies distributed to the congregation.

     

     

    The Financial Officer shall:

     

    Keep an accurate recording of congregational receipts and disbursements and perform duties as described in the policy manual.

     

    Make prompt payment of salaries, including payroll taxes, and bills, as authorized by the congregation.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ARTICLE V

     

    -DUTIES OF VARIOUS BOARDS-

     

    The Board of Elders shall:

     

    Assist the pastor in the spiritual life of the congregation and carry out the duties as described in the policy manual.

     

     

    The Board of Trustees shall:

     

    Responsible for the physical properties of the congregation and carry out the duties as described in the policy manual.

     

    Make required contracts; sign documents; appear in court; and transact such business as assigned by the voters.

     

    The Board of Deacons shall:

     

    Assist the Pastor to promote a reverent worship of God by preparing a setting appropriate for worship, serving as a host (usher) in God’s house, maintaining order, witnessing Christ in friendly greeting and conversation, furthering good public relations and carrying out the duties as described in the policy manual.

     

    The Board of Evangelism shall:

     

    Plan, promote, and carry out an evangelism program in the congregation and in the community as outlined in the policy manual.

     

     

     

    The Board of Education shall:

     

    Assist the Pastor to oversee the spiritual education of the congregation as outlined in the policy manual.

     

    The Stewardship Board shall:

     

    Promote a spirit of Biblical stewardship in support of our Gospel ministry and carry out the duties as outlined in the policy manual.

     

    The Financial Board shall:

     

    Be responsible for the reception, recording, and deposit of all funds of the congregation and the overseeing of any person hired by the congregation for such duties as outlined and described in the policy manual. 

     

     

    ARTICLE VI

     

    -QUORUM-

     

    A quorum for the Voters’ Assembly shall consist of the voters present. Any proposal of business, to be adopted, must have a favorable majority of votes from among the voters present. There will be only one exception to this statement: that is concerning Constitutional amendments (see Article XIV of this constitution).

     

     

     

     

     

    ARTICLE VII

     

    -ORDER OF BUSINESS-

     

  55. Devotional

  56. Roll Call

  57. Reading and adopting of minutes

  58. Reception of members (granting letters of transfer and/or release)

  59. Financial Reports

  60. Reports of Boards and Committees

  61. Unfinished Business

  62. New Business

  63. Adjournment with Prayer

     

    ARTICLE VIII

     

    -THE RIGHT OF CALLING-

     

    The Voters’ Assembly of this congregation shall have the exclusive right to call ordained ministers.  The right to call commissioned ministers also belongs to the congregation and ordinarily shall not be delegated to a smaller body and never to an individual.

     

    Calling procedure:

     

    A: The Chairman of the Congregation in consultation with the Senior Elder, will appoint and serve with 6-10 members who represent the demographics of the congregation including age, gender, and years of membership.  The Senior Elder will serve as chair.

     

    B.  Every member of the congregation may suggest names of pastors to be submitted to the district for review.

     

    C.   After the reviewed call list is received from District, the call committee will pare down the list to a minimum of 3 candidates.

     

    D.  The call committee shall present biographical sketches of the final candidates for review at the Call Service.

     

    E.  The candidate receiving majority vote (51% of voters present) will be extended the Call.  If majority is not reached on the first vote, ballot voting will continue until majority is reached.

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