In January 2020, the congregation ratified some significant changes to our Constitution to bring it inline with the then-current ELCA Model Constitution for congregations. Updating a constitution is no small task, and we are grateful to those who were involved in the process for their efforts and leadership.
You can find our current constitution here. One of the changes made in the 2020 update was with regard to the Annual Meeting of the congregation. C10.01 (Chapter 10, Provision 01) states that the bylaws will designate at least one congregational meeting per year as the Annual Meeting. Bylaw C10.01.01 says that the annual meeting of the congregation will be in November. Pretty straightforward, right? Yes, it is. BUT, that one little bylaw has implications for other parts of our constitution and practices as a congregation.
Specifically, there are two instances of how C10.01.01 impacts how we operate as a congregation, and they are described below.
C11.01 is the constitutional provision that states what officer positions of this congregation will exist, and they are president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The officers, with the exception of the treasurer, are selected by the congregation council. The treasurer is directly elected by the congregation “...at the annual congregational meeting.” (emphasis added).
The distinction of when the treasurer is elected is important, because the treasurer can be, or not be, a member of the council. So, when we elect a treasurer at our congregational meetings, we are electing someone who has voice but not vote on the council, essentially an ex officio member. However, the person elected as the treasurer can also be elected as a member of the council, with both voice and vote.
As part of the 2020 constitution update, C12.02 dictates that the members of the congregation council shall be elected at a legally called meeting of the congregation held in the month preceding Pentecost (i.e., April or May). So essentially what has happened is that the decision to move council elections to the spring, away from the annual meeting, has resulted in an incongruence between when an officer position is elected, and when the new council members’ terms start and end.
To rectify this issue, the current council has approved a bylaw revision to C10.01.01 and presents it to the congregation for consideration and adoption at the May 15, 2022 Congregational Meeting. The bylaw is presented below, with the words to be changed underlined.
C10.01.01 The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held on a Sunday in November.
C10.01.01 The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held on a Sunday in the month
But wait, there’s more! Making this bylaw change will impact Continuing Resolution C05.04.A08, which says that the congregation will, at its annual meeting, elect folks to attend synod-wide meetings, such as Synod Assembly. By adopting the proposed language of C10.01.01, we will need to repeal and replace continuing resolution C05.04.A08, because waiting until April or May to select our Synod Assembly reps is far too late.
Therefore, the council proposes repealing continuing resolution C05.04.A08 and replacing it with C05.04.A22. The language is below, again with changed language underlined:
C05.04.A08 The congregation shall, at its Annual Meeting, elect laypersons to serve as voting
members of the Synod Assembly and at meetings of any conference, cluster, coalition, or other area subdivision of which it is a member. The term of duty shall be one year, with no limit on serving successive terms. If a duly elected layperson is unable to perform these duties, the Congregation Council may, by simple majority vote, appoint another voting member of the congregation to serve for the remainder of that term.
C05.04.A22 The congregation shall, at a legally-called meeting, elect laypersons to serve as
voting members of the Synod Assembly and at meetings of any conference, cluster, coalition, or other area subdivision of which it is a member. The term of duty shall be one year, with no limit on serving successive terms. If a duly elected layperson is unable to perform these duties, the Congregation Council may, by simple majority vote, appoint another voting member of the congregation to serve for the remainder of that term.
With these bylaw and continuing resolution changes, our goal is to bring our governing documents into alignment with our current practices. If you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of the council by emailing email@example.com
- Adam Erickson
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.