Amending a Congregation Constitution? Guidance from the Synod Secretary

Group 236

Many of congregations are preparing amendments to their Constitutions to be voted on at upcoming congregational meetings.  Congregations may amend their Constitution in accordance with Chapter 16 Amendments.

During the amendment process, please consider the following:

  1. If making any change to a Congregation Constitution, please also make all changes necessary to bring it into conformity with the required provisions of the Model Constitution for Congregations as most recently amended by the Churchwide Assembly in 2022.  The 2022 model constitution is available on the ELCA website here.
    View Model Constitution
  2. Please send any proposed amendments to your constitution to the Synod Secretary before it is presented to the congregation as well as after the meeting.
    Per *C.16.03, “Any amendments … shall be sent by the secretary of this congregation to the synod. The synod shall notify this congregation of its decision to approve or disapprove the proposed changes; the changes shall go into effect upon notification that the synod has approved them.”

    Sending the document before being presented to the Congregation provides the opportunity to ensure what the congregation votes on can be approved by the Synod. We don’t want to disapprove the amendments after a congregation vote so please take this necessary step to ensure a smooth adoption of your new constitution. 
  3. Please send the entire document (preferably in Word format), not just the edited/changed portions, to both before and after your congregational meeting. Please send the entire document so all the provisions can be checked for conformity with the most recent Model Constitution. Sending the constitution to the Secretary after the meeting will comply with the clause noted above for synod approval.

    You can also email the Synod Secretary, Barbara Bilodeau, with any questions about this process!