Every congregation in the ELCA is required to have a constitution approved by its synod. A constitution is a very valuable document. It describes the core elements of our common faith, defines how a congregation is organized, and sets forth procedures for conducting the congregation’s business. Although we always hope to avoid conflicts, a constitution also plays a critical role in settling disputes should they arise.
A congregation’s constitution is based on a Model Constitution for Congregations from the ELCA. Every three years, the ELCA holds a Churchwide Assembly (the most recent of which was in August), and one of the products of that assembly are changes in the Model Constitution. The changes from the 2022 assembly are now available and should be incorporated into the constitution of each congregation in the Pacifica Synod.
Here is the process to follow:
1. Go to the Constitutions page on the ELCA website. Download “2022 Amendments to the Model Constitution for Congregations”.
2. Ask your Congregation Council to present these amendments for approval at your congregation’s next congregation meeting. The process for making amendments is described in Chapter 16 of your constitution. It requires action by the Council and advance notice to members before a vote is taken.
3. If the 2022 amendments are the only changes to your constitution, you do not need synod approval. All you need to do is forward your updated constitution to the Pacifica Synod office at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you make any changes in addition to the 2022 amendments, then you need to submit your revised document to the synod office for review and approval.
Note: If your current constitution is not based on the 2019 Model Constitution, then you need to bring your constitution up to date, using the 2022 Model Constitution.
4. If you have any questions about this process, contact Bob Michelet, chair of the Pacifica Synod Constitution Review Committee at email@example.com
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