Does anything sound as dry as a congregational constitution? Of course not! But first impressions don’t tell the whole story.

Your constitution is meant to be a living document, one that requires care and attention to remain healthy and relevant, providing guidance for living together as a community beholden to Christ. The problem is that your first impression, that it is dry and unapproachable, often creates a roadblock to revitalization.

Your synod is here to help. We can support your process from start to finish, giving you an opportunity to focus on important questions, not getting stuck in the mud of legalistic language.

Do We Need An Update?

In late 2022, the answer is almost certainly yes. The ELCA’s 2022 Churchwide Assembly approved changes to its Model Constitution, meaning that at least some provisions are out of date. If your constitution hasn’t been changed since 2019, the changes necessary can be substantial.

You may also need an update because of changed circumstances or priorities. Do you need a larger congregation council? A smaller one? An update gets you on the road to having the internal structures you need to be more effective in the important work – sharing God’s love in the world.

How Do We Start?

It’s simple. Just contact constitutions@gmselca.org (include your name, email, phone, and congregation) and we’ll help you start the process. Our goal is to make this as painless and efficient as possible.

Do you need some help to get started or have a few questions? Use our form to reach us and we’ll get back to you quickly.

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Each of this church’s expressions—congregations, synods and the churchwide organization—has a constitution.

Congregations

Amendments
Each churchwide assembly has amended the constitutions.

It is recommended that ELCA congregations  review the adopted amendments for their constitutions as soon as possible after each churchwide assembly to incorporate the required changes and to consider the recommended changes.

The churchwide assembly meets every three years. Amendments to any synod constitution are approved by the synod assembly. Amendments to any congregation constitution are approved by the congregation at its regular meeting. These meetings are governed by parliamentary procedure. Basic information on parliamentary procedure can be found here.

Please visit the ELCA.org website to learn more and see model constitutions from former years.