Congregational Constitution Changes!!
To: Rostered leaders and Congregation Presidents of the Western Iowa Synod
From: Rev. Jim Mossman, Synod Secretary
Re: Amendments to Model Constitution for Congregations
Friends in ministry,
At its Churchwide Assembly last month the ELCA made a number of amendments to the model constitution for congregations. It is part of our responsibility as congregational leaders to ensure that our governing documents are kept in order and up to date. Many provisions in the model constitution are required of all congregations and are informed by ongoing review and experience across the denomination, requiring our periodic attention.
As Secretary, I want to encourage all our congregations to update your constitutions at your upcoming annual meetings. The process for bringing your congregation’s constitution up to date with the latest model is quite simple. Revisions that match the language of the latest Model Constitution can be passed in one vote at your regular meeting (see C16.04). Some of the constitutional language is required of all congregations, other chapters are open to adaptation to local use. (Proposals that modify the language of the Model where permitted require two votes on identical motions at separate properly called meetings).
Below are links to both the full revised 2019 Model constitution for congregations and a document with the Amendments made last month to the 2016 constitution. If your congregation’s constitution was updated since the 2016 Churchwide Assembly, you may simply use the listed amendments. If you have not undertaken a more comprehensive review in recent years, you may adopt the language of the 2019 model constitution in a single vote. Please send your revised document so that it may be on file with the synod.
You may also want to undertake a review of your optional provisions and your by-laws.
This work is more extensive and is best done in collaboration with the synod. I am organizing a constitution review team of some knowledgeable people to support congregations in their task. If you are ready to start this work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping governing documents up to date is not the easiest or most exciting of tasks. However we find that in situations where we most need a well founded constitution, it is almost always too late to make useful revisions. It is also the case that this document is part of your compliance with state incorporation laws. It is not just busywork, but necessary for the care of the body of Christ. Thank you for your attention to this matter.