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“The constitution of an organization contains the fundamental principles which govern its operation. The bylaws establish the specific rules of guidance by which the group is to function.” I found this explanation of constitutions and bylaws with a quick Google search. Our congregation, of course, has a constitution and bylaws which govern our operation and give guidance to how we function. Our constitution, like all other constitutions of ELCA congregations, is based on the ELCA Model Constitution for Congregations. Some parts of this model constitution are required for all congregations. These required sections, for example, ensure that the process of calling a pastor is consistent throughout the synod. The sections not required allow congregation to shape to fit their own context; for example, deciding the size of their Congregation Councils and details concerning Annual Meetings. 

Over the past few months, Central’s Council has been discussing some potential changes to our constitution and bylaws. This conversation began because of some required updates that were made at the 2019 and 2022 Churchwide Assemblies. As the Council discussed these routine updates to our congregation, we also discussed some other changes we thought would be helpful. These changes are:

  • having one Annual Meeting instead of two Semi-Annual Meetings,
  • having a treasurer and financial secretary instead of two co-treasurers,
  • having the Council elect its president, vice president, and secretary; and appoint the treasurer, financial secretary, and ministry coordinators,
  • reducing the Congregation Council from ten members to nine,
  • having the Nominating and Audit Committees appointed instead of elected,
  • redefining the Ministry Coordinators’ responsibilities,
  • adopting an inactive member procedure.

Some of the above changes would require changes to our constitution and others to our bylaws. Changes to our constitution require two votes at two congregation meets. Changes to our bylaws and the required updates to our constitution can require only one vote.

At its May meeting, the Council voted unanimously to recommend the above updates and changes. As required by our constitution, we are notifying the congregation of these recommended changes 30 days prior to our upcoming Semi-Annual Meeting on June 30. All the proposed changes, along with a copy of our current constitution and bylaws, are available on our website under the “Resources” tab or by CLICKING HERE. On Sunday, June 2, following worship, there will be a Congregation Forum in the Friendship Room at which these proposed updates and changes will be discussed.


Pastor Jim