Basic Principles 
Prefatory to the Constitution

Basic Principles Prefatory to the Constitution
Adopted by the Congregational boards of the Central Pa. Ev. Lutheran Ministerium & Gen. Parish on Sept 7, 1999.
The principles that follow are those that formed the basis for the Constitution (s), Bylaws, and life of the Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium in all of its expressions. The official adoption of the Constitution and these basic Organization & Procedural Principles now constitutes them as Article I of the Bylaws.

Principle 1. Biblical and Confessional Principle 12. Local Congregations and Local Parish Ministry
Principle 2. The Congregation as central focus Principle 13. ELCM Clergy
Principle 3. The Imperative of Mission. Principle 14. The Congregational Call Process of ELCM
Principle 4. Freedom is essential to Mission and Oneness in Christ. Principle 15. The Call Process as it relates to Pastors
Principle 5. Equality is essential in our Life as a Synodical federation, fellowship and association. Principle 16. ELCM Decision making
Principle 6. Unanimous Consensus. Principle 17. Communication and Notification of Actions
Principle 7. Affirmation Procedures Principle 18. The Privilege of voting "NO" to Entity actions.
Principle 8. Voting & Voice at General Conferences. Principle 19. Composition & Nature of General Conferences & Ministeriums
Principle 9. Balance between Laity (Congregations) and Clergy Principle 20. Interim officers and Board of Constitutional interpretation.
Principle 10. ELCM , Member Synods, and Member Districts Principle 21. Organizational Principles and Articles of Incorporation
Principle 11. Structuring Intent - Balance between National and Regional


Article I - ELCM Bylaws & Formula of Governance

Principle 1. Biblical and Confessional

a. In all matters within ELCM a "High View of Holy Scripture shall be maintained" as the official position of ELCM, namely that the Canonical Scriptures are the Word of God from beginning to end.

b. Rejected is the understanding that the Canonical Scriptures merely "Contain the Word of God".

c. However, since in the earliest Centuries of Christianity there is evidence of a range of understanding based on the interpretation of Scripture; and since "we all see in a mirror but dimly" ELCM shall allow for a range of views that are a spectrum from Moderate to Middle Conservative as long as these unequivocally affirm that the Canonical Scripture is indeed the true and entirely trustworthy Word of God (Law and Gospel)..

d. We hold that the Lutheran Symbolical writings of the Book of Concord are a correct exposition of Holy Scripture and understand the Lutheran Confessions in the "Quia" sense as a correct exegesis of Scripture. In other words, we adhere to the Confessions because we believe they faithfully expound the Holy Scriptures. We are not of the "Quatenus" understanding that the Lutheran Confessional witness is valid "only in so far as it proclaims the Gospel". e. We do not believe that the true Gospel is reduce-able from the text of Holy Scripture. The proclamation of God's Word of Law is essential if we are to truly hear His Word of Gospel.
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Principle 2. The Congregation as central focus

a. The congregation is viewed as the basic center, place, and organizational unit of Christian ministry.

b. We understand, however, that no human organization called "Church" is synonymous with the "Una Sancta". We hold that the One, Holy , Christian and Apostolic Church knows no human organizational boundaries.

c. We believe that it is in the local congregation, however, that accountability for the preaching of the true Word of God and the right administration of the Sacraments best takes place.

d. We freely admit and acknowledge that congregations are not perfect organizations but that in the congregation the Word and Sacraments are kept closest to people.

e. The Congregation is understood not as a society of pure and perfect persons but as a Hospital for sinners, as the Workshop of the Holy Spirit of God where he works to "Call, Gather, Enlighten, and Sanctify" by the means of Grace: "The Word and Sacraments".

f. Our Congregational polity focus is kept in balance, we believe, through a high view of the Office of Ministry minus hierarchical trappings wherein the Pastor of a congregation is not viewed as the hired hand of the congregation but as the Under-shepherd to Christ Jesus.
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Principle 3. The Imperative of Mission.

a. Our Lord sends his disciples forth for Mission. "As the Father has sent me even so I send you". The Great Commission of Jesus to his disciples is our only necessary Mission Statement: "Go ye Therefore into all the world and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (Spirit), and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded".

b. Congregations are intended as the basic place for this Mission. The establishment of new congregations thus is viewed by ELCM as an imperative.

c. All churchly structure and organization beyond the congregation, we believe, is intended to be of service to the congregations and their pastors in order to enhance the basic Mission effort through specific congregations and for the planting of new congregations as centers for the preaching and teaching of the Word of God and the administration of the Sacraments.

d. We understand ourselves to be organized for Mission. "The Church must be planted" or "Ecclesia Plantada" is our Motto just as it was in the day of The Rev. H. M. Muhlenberg.
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Principle 4. Freedom is essential to Mission and Oneness in Christ.

a. Freedom in Christ is, we believe, an essential part of being in Christ for Pastors and Congregations of ELCM. "For Freedom Christ has set you Free".

b.Again and again history has been witness to the people of God falling into bondage to various forms of Ecclesial slavery. Freedom in Christ, we believe, was an essential ingredient in the life and praxis of the new testament church and thus is viewed as a most important ingredient in our Life together as a Synodical federation, fellowship and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors..

c. Each congregation, in accord with the stipulations set forth in its own constitution is viewed by ELCM as the final decision making authority in all things pertaining to its life and ministry.

d. Congregations thus own and have full title to and governance of all property and assets without question and in accord with their respective constitutions.

e. Congregations shall have the unquestioned right to freely withdraw at any time based upon their own congregations constitutional process from our Synodical federation, fellowship and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors.
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Principle 5. Equality is essential in our Life as a Synodical federation, fellowship and association.

a. ELCM at all levels and in all expressions is understood to be a Synod of Evangelical Lutheran congregations and Pastors in federation, in fellowship and in association as equals in Christ . Before our Lord we all kneel equally as unworthy sinners. He in His Mercy and Grace covers us equally with his robe of righteousness and lifts us up as equal "children of God and heirs with him of the Kingdom".

b. Christ Jesus is the one and only true head of the Church. Those called to leadership in our midst are not to be like "the Lords of the Gentiles who love to lord it over others". We thus reject hierarchical formulations and orderings.

c. In ELCM the smallest congregation shall be given equal vote to the largest congregation. The pastor of the smallest congregation shall be given equal status to the pastor of the largest congregation.

d. Member congregations and pastors shall not be viewed as owned by ELCM or by its officers but are free in Christ. We reject all notions of higher and lower orders of Clergy.

e. We hold that there exists but one ordained office of Word and Sacrament Ministry. ELCM is understood as a Synoding (walking together) of clergy who are equal in Christ and a Synoding of congregations who are equal in Christ regardless of size. It bears repetition that Christ Jesus is the one and only head of our Synodical federation, fellowship, and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors.
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Principle 6. Unanimous Consensus.

a. In our decision making we shall strive for "unanimous Consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions".

b. While "Unanimous Consensus" is often more difficult to obtain than a decision by a majority vote, we believe that the "Unanimous Consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Confessions" principle enhances the Mission purpose and efforts of our Synodical federation, fellowship and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors. We believe that the principle of "Unanimous Consensus" in light of Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions will also guard well against new and strange doctrines, directions, and philosophies subverting the teachings and understandings first given to us through the Apostolic witness.

c. "Unanimous Consensus" also guards, we believe, against the development of Clericalism and Hierarchy or the domination by highly organized special interest elements within that might form within our Synodical federation, fellowship and association.

d. We view "Unanimous Consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions" to be of special importance in arriving at Doctrinal understandings held by this ELCM.
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Principle 7. Affirmation Procedures .

a. A practice of "Official action affirmation" shall be our procedure used following sessions of the various ELCM decision making bodies, namely: General Conferences & Executive Boards of the ELCM entities. This "Official action affirmation" shall be known among us as the Muhlenberg voting procedure.

b. The voting procedure of this affirmation process was utilized by The Rev. H. M. Muhlenberg and appears to have come from the New Amsterdam Colonial Dutch Lutherans. It was utilized by him to bring peace and harmony to the various Congregations he visited and came to supervise as part of his ministry and Mission efforts.

c. In this procedure a public posting or communication of all official actions by General Conferences, Boards and Councils to the respective membership constituency shall immediately follow all such meetings. This posting or communication shall then allow respective member pastors or congregational members of each respective jurisdiction a period of time to vote "NO" to any Official action taken. A minimum required number of "NO" votes will prevent any official action from being implemented and will require continued deliberation and discussion.

d. This procedure principle shall give the benefit of the doubt (unlike majority vote procedures at specifically called or regularly scheduled meetings) to the often truly satisfied and silent super majority of each entity rather than to a determined minority who by other models would make it appear that they were representative of the true super majority sentiment on a particular issue throughout this Synodical federation, fellowship and association.

e. This procedure principle shall allow for the halting of any Official action of ELCM by member congregation and member pastors when such action is indeed contrary to the views of even a substantial minority of our Synodical federation, fellowship and association.

f. This procedure allows for those pastors and congregations voting at General Conferences to change their respective votes on a matter of importance within a period of time following official action at a General Conference.
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Principle 8. Voting & Voice at General Conferences.

a. Each rostered member congregation shall be granted one vote as votes are taken on issues before the respective General Conferences (Conventions). Where a delegation of members from a congregation (should more than one person attend) attends a General Conference all members are granted the privilege of voice but the congregation is granted only one vote in specific voting regardless of the number of persons composing its delegation. Delegations shall caucus to determine how to cast the vote of the congregation.

b. It shall be the norm in our life that approval of a matter (with the exception of actions deemed necessary for the continued operation of the entity which shall be determined by super majority votes) shall be determined by Unanimous Consensus. There, thus, shall be no need for larger congregations to have a greater voting power than smaller congregations

c. Each rostered member pastor (retired and active) shall be granted one vote on in specific voting.

d. Matters that are in controversy shall not be pushed through the General Conferences, Executive boards, Congregational Boards (Councils) or Congregational voters meetings of ELCM entities by majority votes but are intentionally approved only when all have been convinced of the merit of a particular direction or action in light of Scripture and the Confessions.

e. "They were all of one mind" is we believe a very important new testament principle which we shall try to make very much a part of our Synoding together the ELCM.

f. All who are Baptized into Christ and who have been Confirmed and who are active members of a rostered member congregation of ELCM shall have the right to vote in their congregation and are eligible to cast the vote entitled to their respective congregation in General Conferences (Conventions) of the respective expressions providing they have been so authorized by their congregation.

g. Likewise all who are Baptized and Confirmed and active are eligible to hold office in the leadership of congregations and in the various expressions of ELCM beyond the congregation.
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Principle 9. Balance between Laity (Congregations) and Clergy

a. It shall be a principle among us to strive to maintain a balance between the Laity (congregations) and Clergy (pastors) at all levels of this church; in membership and in leadership.

b. The Laity shall not be excluded from the real decision making of ELCM by Clericalism nor shall the members of our clergy roster be demoted to a status similar to that of "hirelings of the laity or congregation".

c. Thus a rostered pastor called (elected to Office) by a General Conference, or by a member congregation shall be the elected President of the respective entity and shall preside at respective General Conference and General Voter meetings.

d. Provision shall be made that a member of ELCM laity who is in good standing in an ELCM rostered congregation shall be elected to Office as Vice President of a General Conference. The Lay vice president may be given the responsibility of presiding at all respective Executive Board meetings held between sessions of the respective General Conferences.

e. The focus of parish ministry or ministry in the congregational setting shall be the primary principle throughout the Constitution and the Bylaws. Only pastors serving congregations for example may be elected to office. It shall be a basic principle that we desire pastors of congregations to serve in our leadership and that we do not desire "Professional Bureaucrats" detached from basic ministry in the congregation.

f. It is a basic principle among us that the Clergy are given a very important Advisory role (preaching, teaching, admonishing, exhorting, etc.). This is first and foremost through the Office of Pastor in a congregation and additionally through the Ministerium (s) of our Synodical federation, fellowship and association.

g. The officers of the Ministeriums, especially each "Dean", shall be given an important advisory and caring function (as Confessor to Pastors, Lay leaders, Chaplain, Preacher, teacher, admonisher, and exhorter) in the respective ELCM expressions .

h. We value the leadership of the Pastors God has raised up in our midst but we also believe that God has called the laity to be active in the life of the Church as well. Our "Unanimous Consensus" and the balance between Laity and Clergy in the leadership of the ELCM principle intends to enhance the Great Commission given to all disciples by our Savior.

i. Congregations and Pastors shall be free to withdraw from ELCM at any time. When such happens it shall be a basic principle that those withdrawing are to be granted a peaceful release upon request and without any hostile action directed toward them at any time during or following their decision - either during a time of deliberation or following their leave taking. Indeed it shall be a basic principle that we intend to pray for those leaving our fellowship, wish them well, and if at all possible maintain ongoing contact with them.
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Principle 10. ELCM , Member Synods, and Member Districts

a. ELCM, its member Synods, and its member Districts shall be understood to be composed of its rostered Congregations and its rostered Pastors.

b. The principle of balance between the congregations and the pastors shall be basic in the life of ELCM , its member Synods, and member Districts.

c. The advisory principle shall also be basic to ELCM , its member Synods, and its member Districts. Just as Pastors of congregations are to preach and teach and administer the Means of Grace to the people of God not imposing or seeking to force consciences in the church so also in ELCM and its member Synods. Neither ELCM nor its member Synods nor its member Districts shall seek to impose or to force actions or views upon member congregations and member pastors from positions of organizational power.

d. ELCM, its member Synods, and its member Districts in a way similar to pastors are given the essential authority to preach and teach, to exhort and to encourage, to admonish and to advise based upon the Word of God alone. Congregations and Pastors through their Muhlenberg "NO" voting procedure prerogative shall be given the authority to hold all who preach and teach including their respective District, respective Synod, and ELCM accountable to the Word of God and the Confessions of the Church.

e. Just as the ELCM, each of its member Synods, and each of the member Districts of a Synod have the essential authority to preach and teach, to exhort and to encourage, to admonish and to advise based upon the Word alone the Ministerium of each entity of ELCM shall elect as its chief Officer a Dean who shall exercise the same function to the General Conference to the respective District, Synod, or ELCM.

f. The Elected and Called "Deans" throughout our ELCM structures shall be given the task of pastoring other pastors and the General Conferences within the respective prescribed jurisdictions but it shall be a basic principle that they shall do so without the "Organizational Power" that has again and again in church history proved so frequently destructive and hurtful to the Mission of the Church. [The only authority of a Dean is to be the Word of God and its exposition in the Lutheran Confessions. ] This shall also be the only authority basis of General Conferences and Officers of ELCM, its member Synods, and member Districts.

[Web masters note - a Pastor Mark Tiede brought the bracketed section in item f above to our attention. It was not intended to read as it is presently found. An editorial amendment is thus being recommended to the pastors and congregations of ELCM so that the bracketed segment of item 10f. would read as follows: "The Dean's only authority and power comes from the preaching of God's Word and the teaching of its exposition as set forth in the Lutheran Confessions".]
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Principle 11. Structuring Intent - Balance between National and Regional

a. The Structuring of ELCM shall intentionally provide for National leadership but also shall carefully guard against a centralization of authority and power. Thus the regional Synods shall be accorded key responsibilities that are often granted to only National church organizations. This is according to the principle of keeping authority in the Word of God close to the Congregations and to the various Regional areas.

b. The member Synods shall be given the primary role of examining, approving, and receiving new pastors and new congregations, residing within their geographical boundaries, who make application for rostered membership in ELCM. This principle is intended to guard against any "Inquisitional nature of Colloquy and Examination process" that can accompany an overly centralized process."

c. ELCM shall not be in fear the entry of persons or congregations who are not quite at the same point of understanding as the bulk of Congregational and Pastoral members. This freedom from such fear shall be based in the voting system of ELCM which is founded in "unanimous consensus understanding in light of Holy Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions". Thus the entrance of congregations or of pastors holding to orientations other than those already determined cannot overturn the areas of prior agreement that have already attained unanimous consensus in the ELCM unless and until all are convinced of the validity of new understandings and interpretations in light of Scripture and in light of the Confessions.
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Principle 12. Local Congregations and Local Parish Ministry

a. In matters pertaining specifically to the ministry of a local congregation and its Pastor the officers of the various levels of this ELCM beyond the Congregation shall have advisory oversight authority only.

b. Primary oversight shall be exercised first and foremost by the District. The Synod shall provide advisory oversight to Districts and be available for appeal by congregations, pastors, and Districts. ELCM shall provide advisory oversight to Synods and shall be the final level of Appeal for congregations, pastors, Districts and Synods.

c. District Ministerium Deans shall be the primary persons to engage in consultation and advisement regarding difficulties within a Congregation or for a Pastor, followed by consultation and advisement by the District General Conference President. If a situation is unresolved then the next level of appeal shall be the Synodical Dean followed by consultation if needed with the Synodical General Conference President; the final level of consultation would then be with the ELCM Dean and then the ELCM General Conference President. Should there be failure of resolution each of the respective Deans and General Conference Presidents involved shall constitute a final board of adjudication and shall make recommendation to the District Executive Board and General Conference of proposed action giving final advisement and counsel in the matter. A pastor or congregation failing to heed the action of the District Executive Board and General Conference may then be removed from the respective ELCM membership roster. However previous to any finalization of such removal the right of appeal first to the Synodical General Conference and finally to the ELCM General Conference shall be unabridged.

d. It is a basic principle that Advisory authority shall always be exercised first and foremost by the elected leaders of the respective ELCM entity closest to the congregation and/ or pastor.

e. Working through troubles in light of Scripture and the Confessions shall be a major principle. The congregations are encouraged to make serious use of the provisions of their constitutions. True solutions must reside with the people of God in a congregation for otherwise if solutions are imposed from outside the congregation the problems, we believe, continue to repeat themselves again and again.

f. Should all reason and advisement based in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions fail the Entities of this ELCM shall have the authority to recommend that a District General Conference remove from the Roster of ELCM either a pastor and/or a congregation. Any such action by a District General Conference shall be taken by a super majority vote of 80 % of the Congregations and Pastors of the respective District.
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Principle 13. ELCM Clergy

a. Pastors of this church body are viewed as "Called by God" through the election of a congregation and their subsequent ordination and as such are understood to be under-shepherds to Jesus Christ. Once ordained a Pastor is not re-ordained. It is a basic principle with us that an ordained pastor of ELCM is not to be viewed as a hireling of a congregation. A Pastor is answerable first and foremost to God for the faithful proclamation of His Holy Word. He is duty bound to preach the full Word of God and to present His preaching and teaching in harmony with the Confessional Lutheran exposition of God's Word.

b. A Pastor is understood to be a full member of the congregation(s) served beginning from the date of the Pastor's Official acceptance of a Call from of that congregation (s). In issuing "a Call", a congregation elects the pastor by a super majority vote (a minimum of 2/3) to be the President of the congregation beginning upon a date certain as stipulated in the Call. If a pastor accepts this elected Call he then becomes the president of the congregation(s) and as such is thereafter bound to and guided by the constitution of the electing congregation and to all terms and agreements stipulated in the Official Call Document. Election to the Presidency of a Congregation does not grant the Pastor a presiding role at Board or Council meetings unless the Constitution of the respective congregation so states .

c. Congregations may legitimately challenge a pastor if he deviates from the clear Word of Scripture or should he turn adiaphoron (non-essential) concerns into tests of Christian Faith.

d. ELCM or a member Synod may issue an official Call to a pastor to serve in special ministry or in a mission setting that has not yet organized as a fully chartered congregation. In such cases the President of ELCM or the President of the member Synod issuing the Special Call shall be deemed to be the Supervising Pastor and the pastor accepting a Special Call shall be viewed as an Associate or Assistant to the President of ELCM or the President of the member Synod. The Executive board or the respective entity shall be the governing board to which a Pastor on special Call makes regular report.

e. Pastors may be removed from the roster of ELCM by action initiated by the District General Conference on the advice of the Deans and Presidents of District, Synod and National ELCM.

    1. If such advised action is approved by the District General Conference the Pastor shall have the right to appeal the decision to the General Conference of the Synod to which he is a member. If the District action is upheld by an 80% majority of the Synodical General Conference the Pastor in Question may appeal to decision to either the ELCM Executive Board (when the General Conference is not in session) or the General Conference of ELCM whose decision in the matter shall be final based upon an 80% majority.

    2. If a Pastor is removed from the ELCM roster the congregation being served by the pastor in a rostered ELCM member shall be advised to act to revoke the call given the pastor.

    3. The Congregation (s) shall however, in accord with the respective constitution(s), have the final decision to retain or revoke the call of a pastor who is no longer a rostered member of ELCM .
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Principle 14. The Congregational Call Process of ELCM

a. Congregations shall have the unabridged freedom to send call committees to interview any pastors they desire and to extend a call to any pastor approved by the congregation. However, in the call process a congregation shall seek the advise and counsel of the President and Dean of the respective ELCM Synod and of the President and Dean of the District of which they are members.

b. It is thus a basic principle of ELCM that two Presidents and two Deans may suggest names of Pastoral candidates for a vacant Pastorate.

c. It is a basic principle, however, that congregations shall have the freedom to send Call Committees to interview any rostered member of the ELCM Ministerium they desire to interview.
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Principle 15. The Call Process as it relates to Pastors

a. It shall be a basic principle that an ELCM rostered pastor shall have the unabridged freedom to submit his name for consideration for an Official Call to any vacant rostered member congregation of ELCM.

b. Each pastor submitting his name for Official Call consideration in a vacant rostered member congregation shall make his intended action known to the President and Dean of the Synod and to the President and Dean of the District to which the Congregation is a member. The pastor shall seek the advise and counsel of the Presidents & Deans of these respective ELCM entities.

c. A Pastor may submit his name for consideration to a congregation even when the Presidents and Deans of the two entities have made recommendation of other rostered Pastors.

d. An officer of the District shall be present at the Congregational voting to extend an Official Call and shall give attestation that the call was extended in accord with the Constitution of the Congregation.
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Principle 16. ELCM Decision making

a. The normative principle for all decision making at all levels of the ELCM shall be unanimous consensus (agreement) in light of Holy Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions. This process of decision making is understood to emphasize the very nature of our Synodical federation, fellowship, and association, namely that of "walking together" and striving to be of one mind.

b. An alternative form of decision making shall be provided in the Formula of Governance for situations in which an impasse develops but such shall be viewed always as the exception and shall be invoked only in matters necessary to the efficient and continuing functioning of the ELCM. Such an alternative shall be enacted only by a Super Majority of 80% of the member pastors and member congregations.
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Principle 17. Communication and Notification of Actions

a. It shall be a basic principle that all actions of the various General Conferences (Conventions) and Executive Boards (National, Synodical, and District) beyond the local congregation shall be published and distributed to all member congregations and pastors of the respective ELCM jurisdiction within three months of each meeting thus enabling those in opposition to vote "NO" to actions with which they have basic disagreement.
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Principle 18. The Privilege of voting "NO" to Entity actions.

a. Rostered member congregations and pastors of the ELCM shall have the unabridged privilege of submit votes of "NO" in regard to any and all actions enacted by a General Conference (Convention), or Executive Board of any respective jurisdiction of ELCM of which they are a member. For example all ELCM congregations and all Pastors have the right to submit votes of "No" regarding any and all decisions and actions of the national entity of ELCM but only pastors and congregations who are members of a specific Synod may submit votes of "No" regarding actions of that Synod .

b. Any vote of "NO" by a rostered member congregation or a rostered member pastor shall include an explanation of the reasoning for the vote, shall be based upon Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, and shall be signed either by the respective pastor submitting the vote or by the primary officers of a congregation submitting the vote.

c. If 1/10 of the member rostered pastors and congregations composing the membership of a respective ELCM expression beyond the local congregation submit votes of "No" on a given matter then that matter shall not be deemed enacted and shall be added to the agenda for either a specially called General Conference or to the agenda of the next regularly scheduled General Conference of the respective ELCM expression (ELCM, Synod, or District).

d. In matters of Doctrinal formulation or change in understandings of the same there shall be a required unanimous consensus (agreement) by all nationally rostered member congregations and rostered member pastors in order for the matter in question to become part of or to be deleted from the ELCM Doctrinal corpus.
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Principle 19. Composition & Nature of General Conferences & Ministeriums

a. The General Conference (s) [convention (s) ]of ELCM or one of its synods shall be composed of Lay delegations from rostered member congregations with no limit to the number of laity attending and of all rostered member pastors residing within the respective geographical jurisdiction of the ELCM entity.

b. The General Conference (Convention) shall be the legislative and governing body of each respective expressions of ELCM (National, Synodical, or District). We repeat as already stated for emphasis that all actions by a General Conference or the respective Executive Board shall be advisory to the member congregations and member pastors of the respective jurisdiction.

c. The Ministerium shall be composed of all rostered ELCM pastors in a particular Expression of ELCM. Each respective Ministerium shall be advisory to the respective General Conference and its Executive Board as well as to the Congregations of its specific Geographical or Non Geographical expression of ELCM.

d. The Executive Board (s) elected by the respective General Conference (s) shall be understood to be the ongoing General Conference in miniature (legislative body) of the respective ELCM entity during the period of time between General Conferences of each expression.

    1. As such each Executive Board shall make full report to the General Conference of its specific expression detailing all deliberations, actions and recommendations.

e. In General Conference and Executive Board deliberations when a matter is under debate and has not achieved "unanimous consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions", the majority and minority views shall be published to the member congregations and pastors of the respective ELCM expression so that all may benefit by the full discussion and be enabled to prayerfully reflect upon the matter in question.
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Principle 20. Interim officers and Board of Constitutional interpretation.

a. A special ELCM Board of Constitutional & Bylaw Interpretation shall be established to be composed of pastors and lay delegates initially constituting and approving the constitutions and bylaws for the National ELCM This Board shall be in existence for a 12 year period in order that as questions arise concerning original intent and understandings those involved in the original adoption may speak a definitive word addressing all concerns and misunderstandings regarding the constitution or its bylaws. The Board shall issue only Unanimous Consensus responses to areas of question and misunderstanding.

b. The Officers chosen at the time of the constituting of ELCM for Incorporation shall remain in office for an initial period of 3 years at which time new Officers may be chosen or the Constituting officers of ELCM retained in Office. Where there are not sufficient persons to initially fill all offices these may positions shall be filled as additional persons become available upon official election by the Constituting delegates. Persons elected in the first 3 years of ELCM life to fill such vacant offices shall serve until the original 3 year time period has expired .

c. Whenever a new Synod is organized a special Synodical Board of Constitutional & Bylaw Interpretation shall be established to be composed of pastors and lay delegates approving the constitutions and bylaws for the Synod. This Board shall be in existence for a 12 year period in order that as questions arise concerning original intent and understandings those involved in the original adoption may speak a definitive word addressing all concerns and misunderstandings regarding the constitution or its bylaws. Such special Synodical Boards shall issue only Unanimous Consensus responses to areas of question and misunderstanding.

e. Whenever a new Synod is formed the same procedure principal outlined here in 19 b. shall be applied to the officers of the new Synod even though the Synods shall normally hold their General Conferences on an Annual basis.

f. In the event that ELCM should disband or cease to operate any assets or real property of ELCM shall be distributed to any entity or expression of ELCM that continues to function. If such would not be in existence any assets and real property of ELCM shall be distributed to a Lutheran Synod, Federation, Association, or Fellowship which holds to understandings similar to ELCM Centrist Confessional Lutheran positions.
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Principle 21. Organizational Principles and Articles of Incorporation

a. Upon adoption these organizational principles shall be submitted as part of the Articles of Incorporation of the Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium of North America with offices at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1320 Rte 764, Duncansville Pennsylvania 16635.
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