|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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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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