The following is the Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran
Conference & Ministerium as adopted and Constituted on September 7, 1999 by
the Joint Boards of the Central PA. Ev. Lutheran Ministerium & General parish
We, the Evangelical Lutheran Congregations and
Ministerium Pastors connected with the Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium,
for ourselves and our successors, do hereby adopt and subscribe the following National
I Name. Incorporation.
The name, style, and title of this body shall be, The
"Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium of North America: a mustard seed
Synodical federation, fellowship, and association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran
congregations and pastors", henceforth referred to in this document and all bylaws
referred as ELCM. The ELCM shall be an Incorporated Synodical federation, fellowship, and
association of centrist Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors in North America
and shall make provision in the Bylaws for Indemnification for Officers, Board and
II Doctrinal Foundation
ELCM receives and holds the Canonical Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments as the infallible and immutable Word of God and as the only rule of
faith and practice; and it receives and holds the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and the
Small Catechism of Luther as correct exhibitions of the faith and doctrine of our Church
as founded upon the Word.
ELCM recognizes the Apology of the Augsburg Confession,
The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, the Smalkald Articles, The Apology to
the Augsburg Confession, the Large Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord (Solid
Declaration & Epitome) as true expositions of Holy Scripture and Lutheran doctrine
with great historical and interpretative value.
[Webmaster Note: In listing the writings of the
Christian Book of Concord such as the as the Apology, Smalkald Aricles, Formula etc. as
Secondary Symbols we are not suggesting or implying that these are merely
"informative" in nature. In this heading and listing we follow the practice of
the very early Constitutions which were part of the Eastern Lutheran Traditions (PA &
New York Ministeriums, the congregations that preceded them, and the General Council,
& ULCA). The listing of Primary Confessions and then Secondary Symbols was based upon
the fact that the Apology and Formula were expositions of The Unaltered Augsburg
Confession; The Large Catechism was an Exposition and expansion of the Small Catechism,
and the Smalkald articles were a post Augustana. The early Eastern Lutherans held to the
Augsburg Confession and Small Catechism as primary perhaps because the Swedes and other
Scandinavians felt many of the other Confessional items were addressing specific German
problems? We in ELCM hold to a Quia understanding of all the writings contained in the
Christian Book of Concord but follow the method of listing the items as Primary and
Secondary Symbols again primarily because most of the other writings are commentary and
expansion upon the first two. It is somewhat analogous to the distinction maintained by
the Lutheran Reformers between the Homologmena Books of the New Testament and the
Antelogommena Books. We reject the Quatenus approach to the Confessions held by ELCA.
Back to Top
IV Delegates and Voting
a. A General Conference (Convention) of ELCM shall
consist of all rostered member congregations and of all rostered member Clergy which are
now connected with it, or may hereafter join themselves thereunto, and who shall subscribe
the Doctrinal and Constitutional foundations of this body and be duly acknowledged as
b. There shall be three categories of membership for
each component of ELCM. These categories shall be:
c. Each voting member congregation shall
be entitled to one (1) vote and each voting member Pastor shall be entitled to one (1)
vote at all general Conferences of ELCM on the National level and at any Synodical or
District ELCM General Conferences to which the congregation or Pastor is a member.
d. All other categories of membership shall be entitled
to the privilege of voice only.
e. All voting at General Conferences of ELCM, its
regional entities, governing boards, commissions and committees unless otherwise
stipulated in the Bylaws, shall be in accord with the rule of general consensus.
f. Any principle of majority rule shall always be in
terms of a "Super majority" and shall only be included in the By-laws as a
provision for situations in which impasse has developed regarding matters deemed essential
in the normal operation of ELCM or one of its regional entities
Back to Top
a. Voting representatives of member congregations (who
shall to the best of their ability always be representative of their respective
congregation) and voting member pastors of ELCM shall, at each Triennial General
Conference meeting of ELCM, choose by ballot, from among their number, a President, a Vice
President, and a Secretary; and shall choose from among their own number or elsewhere, a
Treasurer. The voting member pastors shall choose from the roster of Member Pastors by
ecclesiastical ballot one of their number to serve in the office of ELCM Dean.
b. These officers shall continue in office until the
next meeting of the Triennial General Conference of ELCM, and serve until such time as
others have been chosen to hold office in their stead.
c. The same person is at all times re-eligible to serve
in office subject only to the limit of consecutive terms specified in the Bylaws; but no
one may be elected to an office of ELCM President or Dean except rostered ordained Pastors
of ELCM who are under Official Call to an ELCM congregation.
d. The Vice President of ELCM shall be an active Lay
leader of a voting member congregation of this ELCM.
e. The respective offices of Secretary and Treasurer
may be held by either lay or clergy providing only that the laity are active members of
voting member congregations and that the clergy are rostered Ministerium members of ELCM
serving under Official Call to a member congregation of ELCM.
f. The Dean of ELCM shall be an rostered member pastor
of ELCM who is under Official Call to an ELCM member congregation.
g. The persons holding these elected offices in ELCM at
the National level shall together with the Presidents and Vice Presidents of ELCM Member
Synods constitute the Executive Board of ELCM.
a. The President of ELCM shall act as chairman of the
General Conference of ELCM; and may take part in the General Conference discussions and
voting as any other member, but shall not originate motions.
b. The President shall subscribe all letters, written
advice, resolutions, and proceedings of the ELCM. In extraordinary cases, and by request
of 1/4 of the rostered member pastors and rostered member congregations, or by the request
of 1/3 of the member ELCM regional Synod's, he shall convene a special ELCM General
Conference session for the purpose of dealing with matters specifically addressed by the
respective request (s).
c. In case the business of the Secretary becomes too
burdensome for one person to execute, he shall with the concurrence of the Secretary,
appoint an Assistant Secretary, and make known to him what portion of labor he is to
a. The Secretary shall keep a journal of the
proceedings, write, attest [Attestation is understood to be verification. It is not an act
of veto authority] , and take care of all the documents and writings, publish the time and
place of the meetings of ELCM in the papers of ELCM, at least two months beforehand, and,
in case of a special meeting, shall give written notice thereof to the member
congregations and member pastors of ELCM.
a. The Treasurer shall receive and disburse all moneys
of this ELCM, and shall keep a faithful account of the same, which must be submitted at
each meeting of ELCM. At its pleasure he may also be required to give bond and security
for the faithful performance of his trust. He shall pay out moneys only in pursuance of a
resolution of General Conference or of the ELCM Executive Board, or upon an order of the
President, attested by the Secretary.
a. The Dean of ELCM shall be the chairman of the
Ministerium of ELCM, shall :
1. serve as a Confessor to the pastors of ELCM,
2. represent the interests and concerns of the
Ministerium at all Executive Board and General Conference meetings of ELCM,
3. chair a board composed of the Deans of the ELCM
4. and serve as the Chaplain at all Executive Board and
General Conference meetings of ELCM.
Back to Top
ELCM shall have the authority to advise, recommend,
represent, and propose to the member Synod (s), member congregations, and member pastors
regarding all interests of ELCM. The powers more specifically entrusted to ELCM are
chiefly the following:
a. ELCM shall review and examine the proceedings of the
member Regional and State Synods that are formed by congregations and pastors connected
with it, in order that it may obtain a knowledge of the existing state of ELCM; and in
order that it may publish the statistics of ELCM and reports on the state of religion in
and among the member synods & member congregations, with such plans and
recommendations for the promotion of the kingdom of Christ at home and abroad, as it shall
deem proper to recommend.
b. The member Regional and State Synods and Intra State
and Regional organizations of ELCM shall transmit to it, regularly, several copies of the
proceedings of their annual General Conference meetings and report on the ministry of the
a. ELCM in co-operation with its member Synods shall be
charged with the duty of providing the books or writings (or the recommendation thereof )
to be used in the public worship of ELCM, and in the catechetical instruction of the
young, such as Liturgies, Hymn-books, and Catechisms.
a. ELCM working together with its member Synods shall
make provision for
1. Theological training of candidates for ministry;
2. General missionary and benevolent operations of
ELCM, such as Home and Foreign Missions, Church Extension (etc.);
3. Providing a church publication and literature;
4. Establishing and having oversight of other
benevolent and charitable institutions as deemed needed.
b. ELCM shall use all its advisory power and means to
unite, foster and make efficient these operations of ELCM.
a. To accomplish the various constitutional and
conference mandates, ELCM shall, whenever deemed practical and expedient, create and
perpetuate such Boards of Managers, Committees, Agencies, Commissions and Special Task
forces as it may consider necessary in order to efficiently to carry forward the various
operations of ELCM, and further shall determine the number of members of each, and the
time of their continuance in office, and shall assign to each its appropriate work and
duties. Any such entities created shall always be subject to and under the supervisory
control of the General Conference and Executive Board of ELCM. As such entities are
created and established the description of purpose, duties and functions shall be made a
part of the Bylaws to the Constitution .
b. Each Board, Committee, Agency, Commission, and
Special Task force thus created, acting under the control and by the authority of ELCM,
shall make the regulations necessary for the management of its own affairs, shall appoint
its own officers, shall keep full and correct minutes of its proceedings, and shall make
report of the same at each meeting of the General Conference and Executive Board.
c. For the greater security of the funds and property
which may at any time be entrusted to these Boards any one or all of them shall at the
request of ELCM, through Conference or Executive Board action, obtain acts of
incorporation, and the Treasurers of the same shall give suitable bonds for the faithful
performance of their duties.
a. ELCM shall have authority to institute and create a
treasury for the efficient advancement of its purposes.
b. The Treasury shall be funded chiefly by the
voluntary remittances of congregations and by gifts and grants by individuals or
institutions desiring to further the work of Christ on earth through ELCM.
a. ELCM shall also advise the adoption of such rules
and procedures among its member Synods as may prevent unpleasant and unfriendly collisions
that might otherwise arise out of any difference of opinion existing among them, or from
any other cause; and it shall employ its powers, prayers, and means for the prevention of
schisms among us chiefly by working toward consensus in light of Scripture and the
b. ELCM shall seek to establish unity with other
Christians based solely in full agreement on Scripture and Doctrine.
a. ELCM may give advice or opinion, when complaints
shall be brought before the General Conference or Executive Board by Synods, Ministeriums,
Congregations, or individual pastors or laymen, concerning doctrine or discipline. They
shall not however have authority to impose decisions upon others.
a. ELCM through its officers, Executive Board, and or
its General Conference may grant advisement and counsel, should such be sought of ELCM by
Synods, Ministeriums, Districts, Congregations, or individual pastors or lay members of
rostered congregations. They shall not however have authority to impose decisions upon
b. Congregations and Individual members of
congregations shall follow a good order procedure of first seeking advice and counsel from
the District of the Synod to which they are members through either the office of District
President and the office of District Ministerium Dean. Districts would present requests
for advice and Counsel to the Synod President or Synod Dean. Synods would appropriately
seek advice and Counsel from the the ELCM President or ELCM Ministerium Dean. Appeals from
Congregations or Individual pastors that have worked through the proper order come before
ELCM for final advisement , counsel and adjudication.
1. In matters necessitating adjudication a special
Board of adjudication shall be composed of the General Conference presidents of the
respective District, the respective Synod, and of ELCM and the Ministerium Deans of the
respective District, respective Synod, and of ELCM. Final recommendations of advice and
counsel of this board of adjudication shall be by unanimous consensus.
Back to Top
VII Orders of Business,
Quorums, Organizational Principles, and Meetings
The Order of business shall be governed and shall be
regulated by the By-Laws of this congregation and by the Articles of basic principles
stipulated in preface to this Constitution.
A representation of a simple majority of the rostered
member congregations and rostered member pastors of ELCM shall constitute a Quorum for the
transaction of business of at a General Conference of ELCM.
The regularly scheduled ELCM General Conference shall
appoint , by ballot, the time and place of the next Triennial General Conference meeting
of this Church; observing at all times, however, that one meeting, at least, be held every
Back to Top
a. ELCM shall establish By-Laws as deemed necessary,
provided only that such do not contradict the spirit and intent of this Constitution.
a. No alteration of this Constitution shall be made
except by the approval of 9/10 (90%) of the member congregations and member pastors of
ELCM. An exact copy of intended alterations as approved by a General Conference must be
sent by the Secretary to the member Pastors and member Congregations in connection with
this body, with the request that they submit a vote of "NO" in writing and
stating clearly the reasons for such a vote should they not favor the proposed alteration.
A period of 60 days from the date of the notice being mailed is allotted for the reception
of votes of "NO". All votes of "No" are to be submitted to the ELCM
Secretary with signature affixed by either the rostered pastor so voting or by the
officers of the rostered congregation so voting.
a. The Bylaws and Prefatory organizational principles
shall contain Commentary on the Constitution and shall be the basis of the Formula for
Government of ELCM relating to Congregations, Pastors, Districts, Synods, Ministeriums,
Membership reception, Missions, and so forth.
Back to Top