Zion Lutheran Church Constitution

Draft Version of Zion Constitution for Congregational Vote at 2024 Annual Meeting

It has been nearly 20 years since the constitution was amended, and many of the provisions proscribed by the ELCA have changed in that time. The way Zion operates has also changed substantially during that time. For these reasons, the CPC has been discussing a revision to our constitution for years. The idea is not to transform how we operate but rather to ensure that our written rules reflect who we are and who we aspire to be as a congregation and church.

Overview of how the document is organized and structured

·       Any section marked with an asterisk (e.g., *C2.01) is mandatory in every ELCA constitution. We are not able to edit those sections. This is true for much of the constitution. And though the language for many of these sections has changed from the previous constitution, most will not have much impact on how we operate as a church. The preamble, all of chapters 2-8 and 15-20 (except bylaws and continuing resolutions), and most of chapter 9 are mandatory text. We cannot edit these sections.

·       Any section not marked with an asterisk (e.g., C1.01) is not mandatory and is either specific to Zion or suggested language from the ELCA. We can and did edit these sections, and a few were written specifically by Zion to reflect how we operate.

·       Bylaws and continuing resolutions previously appeared at the end of the document. To keep all information on any given topic in one place, the bylaws and continuing resolutions are now inline with the sections of the constitution that they modify. This was recommended by the Synod, and it is very useful.

·       Standard passages of the constitution have a 2-part identifying number. For example, C12.03 is Chapter 12, Section 3.

·       Bylaws have a 3-part identifying number. For example, C12.03.01 is the first bylaw that clarifies Chapter 12, Section 3. It appears in the document immediately following section C12.03. (For information on the function of bylaws, see Chapter 17 of the constitution.)

·       Continuing resolutions are identified by a letter and two-digit year at the end of their identifying number. Section C12.04A23 is the first continuing resolution that clarifies Chapter 12, Section 4. The letters increase sequentially, and the number “23” indicates the year the continuing resolution was adopted. (For information on the function of continuing resolutions, see Chapter 18 of the constitution.)

Substantive changes to the constitution

·       Section C9.16 designates the lead pastor of the church as the head of staff for Zion. This formalizes what is already practiced on a practical level and provides better opportunities for staff members’ professional growth and responsiveness to staff needs.

·       Sections C12.01 and the associated bylaw C12.01.01 define the addition of an at-large, youth member to the CPC. This seat would be reserved for a youth in the church and would remain vacant if no youth were available. Details are in the document.

·       Sections C12.04A23 – C12.04K23 define the current structure of the CPC boards. In relatively recent history, two boards (Youth and Children and Family) merged, and the Outreach board was created. You may wish to review this section to understand the missions and responsibilities of each board.

The constitution, of course, includes a lot more information, but little else in the document represents a departure from the way we have operated over time.