SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS LUTHERAN CHURCH
2011 CONSTITUTION DOCUMENT
We the baptized members of the Church of Christ, responding in faith to the call of the Holy Spirit through the
Gospel, desiring to unite together to preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God’s
mission do hereby adopt this constitution and solemnly pledge ourselves to be governed by its provisions. In
the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
* Indicates a Required Provision:
CHAPTER 1 – NAME AND INCORPORATION:
C1.01. The name of This Congregation shall be Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Clermont, Florida.
C1.02. For the purpose of the constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the congregation of Shepherd of
the Hills Lutheran Church of Clermont, Florida is hereinafter designated as “This Congregation.”
C1.11. This Congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida.
CHAPTER 2 – CONFESSION OF FAITH:
*C2.01. This Congregation confesses the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
*C2.02. This Congregation confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God
for the salvation of all who believe:
a. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose
life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
b. The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing
judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in
the history of Israel and centering in all fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by
God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering
in Jesus Christ. Through them God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and
fellowship for service in the world.
*C2.03. This Congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired
Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life.
*C2.04. This Congregation accepts the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the
faith of this congregation.
*C2.05. This Congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel,
acknowledging as one with in it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings
of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
*C2.06. This Congregation accepts the other confessional writings of the Book of Concord, namely the
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism,
the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the
*C2.07. This Congregation confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the
ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain
the Church for God’s mission in the world.
CHAPTER 3 – NATURE OF THE CHURCH:
*C3.01. All power in the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All actions of This Congregation
are to be carried out under his rule and authority.
*C3.02. The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship and as local congregations gathered for worship
and Christian service. Congregations shall find their fulfillment in the universal community of the
Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations. The Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America, therefore derives its character and powers both from the sanction and
representation if its congregations and from its inherent nature as an expression of the broader
fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges itself to be the historic continuity of the
communion of saints, in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of believers and congregations in our
*C3.03. The name Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA or “This Church”) as used herein refers in
general references to this whole church, including its three expressions – congregations, synods and
the churchwide organization. The name Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is also the name of
the corporation of the churcwide organization to which specific references may be made herein.
CHAPTER 4 – STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:
*C4.01. The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to
to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming and sanctifying activity in the world.
*C4.02. To participate in God’s mission, This Congregation as a part of the Church shall:
a. Worship God in proclamation of the Word and administration of the sacraments and through lives
of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, witness and service.
b. Proclaim God’s saving Gospel of justification by grace for Christ’s sake through faith alone,
according to the apostolic witness in the Holy Scripture, preserving and transmitting the Gospel
faithfully to future generations.
c. Carry out Christ’s Great Commission by reaching out to people to bring them to faith in Christ and
by doing all ministry with a global awareness consistent with the understanding of God as Creator,
Redeemer and Sanctifier of all.
d. Serve in response to God’s love to meet human needs, caring for the sick and the aged, advocating
dignity and justice for all people, working for peace and reconciliation among nations, and
standing with the poor and powerless, and committing itself to their needs.
e. Nurture its members in the Word of God so as to grow in faith, hope and love, to see daily life as the
primary setting for the exercise of their Christian calling, and to use the gifts of the Spirit for their
life together and for their calling in the world.
f. Manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining
with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.
*C4.03. To fulfill these purposes, This Congregation shall:
a. Provide services of worship at which the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are
b. Provide pastoral care and assist all members to participate in this ministry.
c. Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in
d. Teach the Word of God.
e. Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ, reaching out to all people.
f. Respond to human need, work for justice and peace, care for the sick and suffering, and
participate responsibly in society.
g. Motivate its members to provide financial support for the congregation’s ministry and the ministry of
other parts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
h. Foster and participate in interdependent relationships with other congregations, the synod and the
church-wide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
i. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships consistent with church-wide policy.
*C4.04. This Congregation shall develop an organizational structure to be described in the bylaws of this church.
Congregational Council shall prepare description of the responsibilities of each committee, task force,
or other organizational group and shall review their actions. Such descriptions shall be contained in
continuing resolutions in the section on the Congregation Council.
*C4.05. This Congregation shall, from time to time, adopt a mission statement which will provide specific
direction for its programs.
*C4.06. References herein to the nature of the relationship between the three expressions of this church –
congregations, synods and the churchwide organization – as being interdependent or as being in a
partnership describe the mutual responsibility of these expressions in God’s mission and the ful-
fillment of the purposes of this church as described in this chapter, and do not imply or describe the
creation of partnerships, co-ventures, agencies, or other legal relationships recognized in civil law.
CHAPTER 5 – POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION:
*C5.01. The powers of This Congregation are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.
*C5.02. The powers of This Congregation are vested in the Congregational Meeting called and conducted
as provided in this constitution and bylaws.
*C5.03. Only such authority as is delegated to the Congregation Council or other organizational units in
This Congregation’s governing documents is recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the
congregation. The congregation is authorized to:
a. Call a Pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
b. Terminate the call of a Pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
c. Call or terminate the call of associates in ministry, deaconesses, and diaconal ministers in conformity
with the applicable policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
d. Adopt amendments to the constitution, as provided in Chapter 17, and amendments to the bylaws,
as specified in Chapter 16, and continuing resolutions, as provided in Chapter 18;
e. Approve the annual budget;
f. Acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, purchase or other lawful means;
g. Hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent with its purpose;
h. Sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by lawful means;
i. Elect its Congregation Council, to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution, bylaws,
and continuing resolutions;
j. Terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as provided in Chapter 6.
*C5.04. This Congregation shall choose from among its voting members laypersons to serve as voting
members of the Synod Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as well as persons
to represent it at meetings of any conference, cluster, coalition, or other area subdivision of which it
is a member. The number of persons to be elected by the congregation and other qualifications
shall be as prescribed in guidelines established by the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
CHAPTER 6 – CHURCH AFFILIATION:
*C6.01. This Congregation shall be an interdependent part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or
its successor, and of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This Congregation is subject to the discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C6.02. This Congregation accepts the Confession of Faith and agrees to the Purposes of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America and shall act in accordance with them.
*C6.03. This Congregation acknowledges its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
a. This Congregation agrees to be responsible for its life as a Christian community.
b. This Congregation pledges its financial support and participation in the life and mission of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C6.03. ( cont’d. )
c. This Congregation pledges to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America in accordance with its call procedures except in special circumstances
and with the approval of the bishop of the synod. These special circumstances are limited either to
calling a candidate approved for the roster of ordained ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America or to contracting for pastoral services with an ordained minister of a church body with
which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officially has established a relationship of full
d. This Congregation agrees to consider associates in ministry, deaconesses, and diaconal ministers
for call to other staff positions in the congregation according to the procedures of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
e. This Congregation agrees to file this constitution and any subsequent changes to this constitution
with the synod for review to ascertain that all its provisions are in agreement with the constitution
and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and with the constitution of the synod.
*C6.04. Affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America may be terminated as follows:
a. This Congregation takes action to dissolve.
b. This Congregation ceases to exist.
c. This Congregation is removed from membership to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
according to the procedures for discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
d. This Congregation follows the procedures outlined in *C6.05.
*C6.05. This Congregation may terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
by the following procedure:
a A resolution indicating the intent to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and
conducted special meeting of this congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present.
Such a meeting may be held no sooner than 30 days after written notice of the meeting is received by
the bishop of the synod, during which time the congregation shall consult with the bishop and the
bishop’s designees if any. The times and manner of the consultation shall be determined by the bishop
in consultation with the congregational council. Unless he or she is a voting member of the congrega-
tion, the bishop and the bishop’s designees, shall have a voice but not vote at the meeting.
b. The secretary of This Congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the bishop that the special
meeting was legally called and conducted and certifying the outcome of the vote and shall mail a copy
of the resolution to the voting members of This Congregation. This notice shall be submitted within
10 days after the resolution has been adopted.
c. The bishop of the synod and the congregation shall continue in consultation as specified in paragraph
‘a’ above, during a period of at least 90 days after a receipt by the synod of the notice as specified in
paragraph ‘b’ above..
d. If This Congregation, after such consultation, still seeks to terminate its relationship, such action may be
taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members
present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the
meeting. Unless he or she is a voting member of the congregation, the bishop or the bishop’s designees,
if any, shall have a voice but not vote at the meeting.
e. A copy of the resolution, attesting that the special meeting was legally called and conducted and certify-
ing the outcome of the vote, shall be sent to the bishop within 10 days after the resolution has been
adopted , at which time the relationship between this congregation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America shall be terminated subject to paragraph ‘g’, ‘h’ and ‘I’ below. Unless this notification to the
bishop also certifies that the congregation has voted by a two-thirds vote to affiliate with another
Lutheran denomination, the congregation will be conclusively presumed to be an independent or non-
f. Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the bishop to the secretary of this church who shall
report the termination to the Churchwide Assembly.
g. Congregations seeking to terminate their relationship with this church which fail or refuse to comply
with each of the foregoing provisions in *C6.05., shall require to receive Synod Council approval before
terminating their membership in this church.
h. Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required in
addition to complying with the foregoing provisions in *C6.05., to receive synodical approval before
terminating their membership in this church.
i. Congregations established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be required in addition
to complying with the foregoing provisions in *C.6.05., to satisfy all financial obligations to this church
and receive Synod Council approval before terminating their membership in this church.
j. If a congregation fails to achieve the required two-thirds vote of voting members present at the congreg-
ation’s first meeting as specified in paragraph ‘a’ above, another special meeting to consider termination
termination of relationship with this church may be called no sooner than six months after that first meet-
ing. If a congregation fails to achieve the required two-thirds vote of voting members present at the con-
gregation’s second meeting as specified in paragraph ‘d’ above, another attempt to consider termination
of relationship with this church must follow all requirements of *C6.05. and may begin no sooner than
six months after the second meeting.
*C6.06. If This Congregation is considering relocation, it shall confer with the bishop of the synod in which it
is territorially located and the appropriate program unit of the church wide organization before any steps
are taken leading to such action. The approval of the Synod Council shall be received before any such
action is effected.
*C6.07. If This Congregation considers developing an additional site to be used regularly for worship, it shall
confer with the bishop of the synod in which it is territorially located and the appropriate program unit
of the church wide organization before any steps are taken leading to such action.
CHAPTER 7 – PROPERTY OWNERSHIP:
*C7.01. If This Congregation ceases to exist, title to the undisposed property shall pass to the Florida-Bahamas
Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C7.02. If This Congregation is removed from membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
according to its procedure for discipline, title to the property shall continue to reside in This
*C7.03. If a two-thirds majority of the voting members of this congregation present at a legally called and
conducted special meeting of This Congregation vote to transfer to another Lutheran church body, title to
the property shall continue to reside in This Congregation., provided the process for termination o
relationship in *C6.05., has been followed Before This Congregation takes action to transfer to another
Lutheran church body, it shall consult with representatives of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
*C7.04. If a two-thirds majority of the voting members of This Congregation present at a legally called and
conducted special meeting of This Congregation to become independent or relate to a non-Lutheran
church body, and have followed the process for termination of relationship in *C6.05., title to property of
This Congregation shall continue to reside in This Congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council.
The Synod Council , after consultation with This Congregation by the established synodical process, may
give approval to the request to become independent or relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case
title shall remain with the majority of This Congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title
shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America.
CHAPTER 8 – MEMBERSHIP:
*C8.01. Members of This Congregation shall be those baptized persons on the roll of this congregation at the
time that this constitution is adopted and those who are admitted thereafter and who have declared and
maintained their membership in accordance with the provisions of this constitution and its bylaws.
*C8.02. Members shall be classified as follows:
a. Baptized Persons: are those who have been received by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in This
Congregation or having been baptized in the name of the Triune God, have been received by
Certificate of transfer from other Lutheran congregations or by affirmation of faith.
b. Confirmed Members: are baptized persons who have been confirmed in This Congregation, those
who have been received by adult baptism or by transfer as confirmed members from other Lutheran
congregations, or baptized persons received by affirmation of faith.
c. Voting Members: are confirmed members. Such confirmed members, during the current or preceding
calendar year, shall have communed in This Congregation and shall have made a contribution of
record to This Congregation.
d. Associate Members: are persons holding membership in other Christian congregations who wish
to retain such membership but desire to participate in the life and mission of This Congregation while
being members of the other congregations. They have all the privileges and duties of membership
except voting rights and eligibility for elected offices or membership on the Congregational Council
of This Congregation.
*C8.03. All applications for confirmed membership shall be submitted to and shall require approval of the
*C8.04. It shall be the privilege and duty of members of This Congregation to:
a. make regular use of the means of grace, both words and sacraments;
b. live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran Church;
c. support the work of This Congregation, the synod, and the church-wide organization of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as
*C8.05. Membership in This Congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:
c. Transfer or Release
d. Disciplinary Action by Congregational Council or
e. Removal from the roll due to inactivity, where a confirmed member who does not, for a period of time
receive Holy Communion, support the church financially, and does not appear a desire to participate
in the life and worship of the Congregation, and shall be contacted by the Pastor, Evangelism Board
or members of the Congregation and encouraged by them to active membership. If after that the
second year the confirmed member does not actively participate, then that person shall be removed
from the active rolls of the Congregation.
f. A child, neither of whose parents or guardians is a member of the Congregation, may be removed
from the rolls of Baptized members, if the child fails to participate in the life and worship of the
Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall remain as persons for whom
The church has a continuing pastoral care.
CHAPTER 9 – THE PASTOR :
*C9.01. Authority to call a Pastor shall be in This Congregation by at least a two-thirds majority ballot vote of
members present and voting at a meeting legally called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the
officers, or a committee elected by the Congregation to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and
help of the Bishop of the Synod.
*C9.02. Only a member of the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a candidate for
for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended for the congregation by the synodical
bishop may be called as a Pastor of This Congregation.
*C9.03. Consistent with the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
a. Every ordained minister shall:
1. preach the Word;
2. administer the sacraments;
3. conduct public worship;
4. provide pastoral care, and
5. speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and
proclaiming God’s love for the world.
b. Each ordained minister with a congregational call shall, within the congregation:
1. offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead;
2. supervise all schools and organizations of this congregation;
3. install regularly elected members of the Congregational Council, and
4. with the council, administer discipline.
c. Every Pastor shall:
1. strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation and abroad;
2. seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel;
3. impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through distribution of its periodicals
and other publications, and
4. endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the church-wide
organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Florida-Bahamas
Synod of the ELCA.
*C9.04. The specific duties of the Pastor, compensation, and other matters pertaining to the services of the
Pastor shall be included in a letter of call, which shall be attested by the Bishop of the Synod.
*C9.05. a. The call of a congregation, when accepted by a Pastor, shall constitute a continuing mutual
relationship and commitment, which, except in the case of the death of a Pastor, shall be terminated
only following consultation with the synodical bishop and for the following reasons:
1. mutual agreement to terminate the call or the completion of a call for a specific term;
2. resignation of the Pastor, which shall become effective, unless otherwise agreed, 30 days after
the date on which it was submitted;
3. inability to conduct the pastoral office effectively in the in the Congregation in view of local
conditions, without reflection on the competence or the moral and spiritual character of the Pastor;
4. the physical or mental incapacity of the Pastor;
5. disqualification of the Pastor through the discipline on grounds of doctrine, morality, or continued
neglect of duty;
6. the dissolution of the Congregation, or termination of a parish arrangement or
7. suspension of the Congregation as a result of discipline proceedings.
b. When allegations of physical or mental incapacity of the Pastor or ineffective conduct of the pastoral
office have come to the attention of the Bishop of the Synod, the bishop in his or her sole discretion
may , or when such allegations have been brought to the synod’s attention by an official recital of
allegations by the Congregation Council or by a petition signed by at least one-third of the voting
members of the Congregation, the Bishop shall, investigate such conditions personally in company
with a committee of two ordained ministers and one layperson.
c. In case of alleged physical or mental incapacity, competent medical testimony shall be obtained.
When such disability is evident, the bishop of the synod with the advice of the committee shall
declare the pastorate vacant. Upon restoration of the disabled Pastor to health, the Bishop of the
Synod shall take steps to enable the Pastor to resume the ministry, either in the Congregation last
served or in another field of labor.
d. In the case of alleged local difficulties that imperil the effective functioning of the Congregation,
all concerned persons shall be heard, after which the Bishop of the Synod together with the
committee described in *C9.05.b, shall decide on the course of action to be recommended to the
Pastor and the Congregation. If they agree to carry out such recommendations, no further action
shall be taken by the synod. If either party fails to assent, the Congregation may dismiss the Pastor
at a legally called meeting after consultation with the Bishop, either (a) by a two-thirds majority
vote of voting members present and voting where the Bishop and the committee did not recommend
termination of the call, or (b) by a simply majority vote of voting members present and voting where
the Bishop and the committee recommend termination of the call.
e. If in the course of proceedings described in *C9.05.d., the committee concludes that there may be
grounds for disciplinary action, the committee shall make recommendations concerning disciplinary
action to the synodical Bishop who may bring charges, in accordance with the provisions of the
constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the constitution of the
f. If following appointment of the committee described in *C9.05.b. or *C9.05.d., it should become
apparent that the pastoral office cannot be conducted effectively in the congregation(s) being served
by the ordained minister due to local conditions, the Bishop of the Synod may temporarily suspend
the Pastor from service in the congregation(s) without prejudice and with pay provided through a
joint synodical and church-wide fund and with housing provided by the congregation(s).
*C9.06. At a time of pastoral vacancy, an interim Pastor shall be appointed by the Bishop of the Synod with
the consent of the Congregation or the Congregation Council.
*C9.07. During the period of service, an interim Pastor shall have the rights and duties of This Congregation of
a regularly called Pastor and may delegate the same in part to a supply Pastor with the consent of the
Bishop of the Synod and This Congregation or Congregational Council. The interim Pastor and any
ordained Pastor providing assistance shall refrain from exerting influence in the selection of a Pastor.
Unless previously agreed upon by the Synod Council, an interim pastor is not available for a regular call
to the congregation served.
*C9.08. This Congregation shall make satisfactory settlement of all financial obligations to a former Pastor
before calling a successor. A Pastor shall make satisfactory settlement of all financial obligations to
This Congregation before beginning service in a call to another congregation or employment in another
ministry setting related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
*C9.09. When a Pastor is called to serve in company with another Pastor or Pastors, the privileges and
responsibilities of each Pastor shall be specified in documents to accompany the call and to be drafted
in consultation involving the Pastors, the Congregation Council, and the Bishop of the Synod, As
occasion requires, the documents may be revised through similar consultation.
*C9.11. With the approval of the Bishop of the Synod, the Congregation may depart from *C9.05.a., and call a
Pastor for a specific term. Details of such calls shall be in writing setting forth the purpose and
conditions involved. Prior to the completion of the term, the Bishop or a designated representative of
the Bishop shall meet with the Pastor and representatives of the Congregation for a review of the call.
Such a call may be terminated before its expiration in accordance with the provisions of *C9.05.a.
*C9.12. The Pastor of This Congregation:
a. shall keep accurate parochial records of all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials,
communicants, members received, members dismissed, or members excluded from This
b. shall submit a summary of such statistics annually to the synod;
c. shall become a member of this congregation upon receipt and acceptance of the letter of call. In a
parish of multiple congregations, the pastor shall hold membership in one of the congregations.
*C9.13. The Pastor(s) shall submit a report of his or her ministry to the bishop of the synod at least 90 days
prior to each regular meeting of the Synod Assembly.
*C9.14. The parochial records of This Congregation shall be maintained by the Pastor and shall remain the
property of the congregation. The secretary of This Congregation shall attest in writing to the bishop
of this synod that such records have been placed in his or her hands in good order by a departing
Pastor before the installation of that Pastor in another field of labor or the granting by the synod of
retired status to the Pastor.
CHAPTER 10 – CONGREGATION MEETING;
C10.01. The annual meeting of This Congregation shall be held at a time as determined by the Congregational
C10.02. A special Congregation Meeting may be called by the Pastor, the Congregation Council, or the
President of the Congregation upon the written request of 10% of the voting members. The call for
each special meeting shall specify the purpose for which it is to be held and no other business shall
C10.03. Notice of all meetings of This Congregation shall be given at the services of worship on the preceding
two consecutive Sundays and / or by mail to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the date
of the meeting. The posting of such notice in the regular mail, with the regular postage affixed or paid,
sent to the last known address of such member shall be sufficient. Electronic notice of meetings may be
provided in addition to notice by regular mail.
C10.04. A quorum shall consist of 15% of the voting members who have been officially and properly notified
of a congregational meeting as specified in C10.03.
C10.05. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.
C10.06. All actions by the Congregation shall be by majority vote except as otherwise provided in this
constitution or by state law.
C10.07. Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meetings of This
CHAPTER 11 – OFFICERS:
C11.01. The officers of This Congregation shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
a. Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws. (see C11.01.1.)
b. The officers shall be voting members of This Congregation.
c. Officers of this congregation shall serve similar offices of the Congregation Council and shall be
voting members of the Congregation Council.
d. The Congregation Council shall elect its officers, the President, Vice President, Secretary and
Treasurer from the elected membership of the Congregation Council.
C11.02. The Congregation Council shall elect its officers and they shall be the officers of This Congregation.
The officers shall be elected by written ballot and shall serve for (1) one year, or until their successors
are elected. Their terms shall begin at the annual meeting upon their election and end at the next
C11.03. No officer shall hold more than one office at a time. No elected officer shall be eligible to serve more
than (4) four consecutive terms in the same office.
** The Congregation Council may exercise by invitation with discretion the option to annually extend
the term of office for the Church Congregation Treasurer.
CHAPTER 12 – CONGREGATION COUNCIL:
C12.01. The voting membership of the Congregation Council shall consist of the Pastor(s), the officers of This
Congregation, and not more than twelve (12) members of This Congregation. Any voting member of
This Congregation may be elected, subject only to the limitation of the length of continuous service
permitted in that office. A members place on the Congregation Council shall be declared vacant if the
a. ceases to be a voting member of This Congregation, or
b. is absent from three successive regular meetings of the Congregation Council without cause.
C12.02. Congregation Council chairpersons shall be elected at the annual meeting of This Congregation.
Their term of office shall be for two full (2 year) consecutive terms of office beginning after their election.
Newly elected Congregation Council members shall be installed on the first Sunday after their election.
If nominee is running unopposed for a position, then they may be elected by verbal acclamation. If
more than one person is on the ballot or slate for an elected position then they may be so elected
by a written ballot.
C12.03. Should a member’s place on the Congregation Council be declared vacant, the Congregation Council
shall elect, by a majority vote, a successor until the next annual meeting.
C12.04. The Congregation Council shall have general oversight of the life and activities of This Congregation and
in particular its worship life, to the end that everything be done in accordance with the Word of God
and the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The duties of the Congregation
Council shall include the following:
a. To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do long range-planning, to set goals and priorities,
and to evaluate its activities in light of its mission and goals.
b. To seek to involve all members of This Congregation in worship, learning, witness, service and support.
c. To oversee and provide for the administration of This Congregation to enable it to fulfill its functions
and perform its mission.
d. To maintain supportive relationships with the Pastor(s) and staff and help them annually to evaluate the
fulfillment of their calling or employment.
e. To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life and ministry expected of all baptized
f. To promote a congregational climate of peace and goodwill, and as differences and conflicts arise to
endeavor to foster mutual understanding.
g. To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness and absence of the Pastor.
h. To emphasize partnership with the synod and church-wide organizations of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America as well as cooperation with other congregations, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran,
subject to established policies of the synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
i. To recommend and encourage the use of program resources produced or approved by the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
j. To seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel.
C12.05. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the financial and property matters of This Congregation
as per E.L.C.A. and Florida- Bahamas Synod Guidelines.
a. The Congregation Council shall be the board of directors of This Congregation, and as such shall be
responsible for the maintaining and protecting its property and the management of its business
and fiscal affairs. It shall have the powers and be subject to the obligation that pertain to such boards
under the laws of the State of Florida, except as otherwise provided herein.
b. The Congregation Council shall not have the authority to buy, sell, or encumber real property unless
specifically authorized to do so by a meeting of the congregation.
c. The Congregation Council may enter into contracts of up to $5,000.00 for items not included in the
d. The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by This Congregation, shall
supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption, and may incur
obligations of more than 5% of the unified budget in a excess of the anticipated receipts only after
approval by a Congregation Meeting. The budget shall include This Congregation’s full indicated
share in support of the wider ministry being carried on in partnership with the synod and church-
e. The Congregation Council shall ascertain that the financial affairs of This Congregation are being
conducted efficiently, giving particular attention to the prompt payment of all obligations and to the
regular forwarding of benevolence monies to the synodical treasurer.
f. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for This Congregation’s investments and its total
C12.06. The Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution, its bylaws, and continuing
resolutions are carried out.
C12.07. The Congregation Council shall provide for annual review of its membership roster.
C12.08. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the employment, and supervision of the staff of this
Congregation. Nothing in this provision shall be deemed to affect the congregation’s responsibility for the
call, terms of call, or termination of call of any employees who are on the roster of this church.
C12.09. The Congregation Council shall submit a comprehensive report to This Congregation at the annual
C12.11. The Congregation Council shall normally meet once a month. Special meetings may be called by the
or the Pastor or the President, and shall be called by the President at the request of at least one-half
of its members. Notice of each special meeting shall be given to all who are entitled to be present.
C12.12. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of a majority of the members of the
Congregation Council, including the Pastor or Interim Pastor, except when the Pastor or Interim Pastor
requests or consents to be absent and has given prior approval to the agenda for a particular regular
or special meeting, which shall be the only business considered at that meeting. Chronic or repeated
absence of the Pastor or Interim Pastor who has refused approval of the agenda of a subsequent regular
or special meeting shall not preclude action by the Congregation Council, following consultation with
the Synodical Bishop.
CHAPTER 13 – CONGREGATION COMMITTEES:
C13.01. The Executive Committee:
The officers of This Congregation and the Pastor shall constitute The Executive Committee.
C13.02. The Nominating Committee:
A Nominating Committee of six voting members of This Congregation, two of whom, if possible shall be
outgoing members of the Congregation Council, shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of
one year. Members of the Nominating Committee are not eligible for consecutive reelection.
C13.03. The Audit Committee:
An Audit Committee of three voting members shall be elected by the Congregation Council. Audit
Committee members shall not be members of the Congregation Council. Term of office shall be three
years, with one member elected each year. Members shall be eligible for reelection.
C13.04 The Mutual Ministry Committee:
A Mutual Ministry Committee ( in the absence of a mutual ministry committee, the duties shall be
filled by the executive committee ) shall be appointed by the President, ( Vice President ) and the Pastor.
Term of office shall be two years, with members to be appointed each successive year.
C13.05. The Call Committee:
When a pastoral vacancy occurs a Call Committee if six voting members shall be elected by This
Congregation. Term of office will terminate upon installation of a newly called Pastor.
C13.06. Other committees and / or task force groups of This Congregation may be formed as the need arises by
decision of the Congregation Council.
C13.07. Duties of each individual named committee and Special or Temporary committees of This Congregation
are specified, defined and outlined in the Continuing Resolutions document.
C13.08. The (Senior) Pastor of This Congregation shall be ex officio a member of all committees and boards
of The Congregation. [ The President of This Congregation shall be ex officio a member of all
committees and boards of The Congregation, except the Nominating Committee.]
CHAPTER 14 – ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE CONGREGATION :
C14.01. All organizations within This Congregation shall exist to aid in ministering to the members of This
Congregation and to all persons who can be reached with the Gospel of Christ. As outgrowths and
expressions of This Congregation’s life, the organizations are subject to its oversight and direction.
This Congregation, at its meeting, shall determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive
reports Concerning their membership, work, and finances.
C14.02. Special interest groups, other than those of the official organizations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America, may be organized only after authorization has been given by the Congregation Council [ and
specified in a continuing resolution.]
CHAPTER 15 – DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS AND ADJUNCATION :
*C15.01. Denial of the Christian faith as described in this constitution, conduct grossly unbecoming a member of
the Church of Christ, in This Congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of a member. Prior to any
disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted following Matthew 18: 15-17, proceeding through
these successive steps:
a. a private admonition by the Pastor
b. admonition by the Pastor in the presence of two or three witnesses
c. citation to appear before the Congregation Council.
If for any reason, the Pastor is unable to administer the admonitions required by item (a.) and (b.)
hereof, the President (if not the Pastor) or Vice President shall administer such admonitions.
*C15.02. The process for discipline of a member of a member of the Congregation shall be governed as prescribed
by the chapter on discipline in the ‘Constitution Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions Of The Evangelical
Lutheran Church In America’. If discipline against a member proceeds beyond counseling and
admonition by the pastor, charges against the accused member(s) that are specific in writing shall be
prepared by member(s) of the congregation who shall sign the charges as the accuser(s) . The written
charges shall be filed with the Pastor, who shall advise the Congregation Council of the need to issue a
written citation to the accused and the accusers that specifies the time and place for a hearing before
the Congregation Council. The written charges shall accompany the written citation to the accused.
The written citation that specifies the time and place of the hearing before the Congregation Council
and requests the presence of a member charged with the offense shall be sent at least ten days prior
to the meeting. If the member charged with the offense fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, the
Congregation Council may proceed with the hearing and may pass judgment in the members absence.
*C15.03. Members of the Congregation Council who participate in the preparation of written charges or who pre-
sent evidence or testimony in the hearing before the Congregation Council are disqualified from voting
upon the question of the guilt of the accused member. Should the allegations be sustained by a two-
thirds majority vote of the members of the Congregation Council who are not disqualified, but who are
present and voting, and renewed admonition prove ineffectual, the council shall impose one of the
following disciplinary actions:
a. censure before the council or congregation.
b. suspension from membership for a definite period of time, or
c. exclusion from membership in this congregation.
Disciplinary actions (b.) and (c.) shall be delivered to the member in writing.
*C15.04. The member against whom the disciplinary action has been taken by the Congregation Council shall
have the right to appeal the decision to the Synod Council. Such right may not be abridged and the
decision of the Synod Council shall be final.
*C15.05. Disciplinary actions may be reconsidered and revoked by the Congregation Council upon receipt of :
a. evidence that injustice has been done, or
b. evidence of repentance and amendment.
*C15.06. For disciplinary actions in This Congregation, ‘due process’ shall be observed as specified in 20.41.04
in the ‘Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’.
*C15.07. No member of the Congregation shall be subject to discipline for offenses that the Congregation Council
has previously heard and decided, unless so ordered by the Synod Council after an appeal.
*C15.11. When there is disagreement among factions within the Congregation on a substantive issue that cannot
be resolved by the parties, members of This Congregation shall have access to the Synodical Bishop
for consultation after informing the chair of the Congregation Council of their intent. If the consultation
fails to resolve the issue(s), the Consultation Committee of the Synod shall consider the matter. If the
Consultation Committee of the Synod shall fail to resolve the issue(s), the matter shall be referred to
the Synod Council, whose decision shall be final.
CHAPTER 16 – BYLAWS :
*C16.01. This Congregation may adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this constitution.
*C16.02. Bylaws may be adopted or amended at any legally called meeting of this Congregation with a quorum
present by a majority vote of those voting members present and voting.
*C16.03. Changes to the bylaws may be proposed by any voting member provided, that such additions or
amendments be submitted in writing to the Congregation Council at least sixty (60) days before a regular
or special Congregation Meeting called for that purpose, the Congregation Council shall notify the members
of the proposal with its recommendations at least thirty (30) days in advance of the Congregation Meeting.
*C16.04. Approved changes to the bylaws shall be sent by the Secretary of the Congregation to the Synod.
CHAPTER 17 – AMENDMENTS :
*C17.01. Those sections of this constitution that are not required, in accord with the Model Constitution for
Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, may be amended in the following manner.
Amendments may be proposed by at least twenty (20) voting members or by the Congregation Council.
Proposals must be filed in writing with the Congregation Council sixty (60) days before formal consider-
ation by this Congregation at its regular or special meeting called for that purpose. The Congregation
Council shall notify the members of the proposal together with the council’s recommendations at least
thirty days in advance of the meeting.
*C17.02. An amendment to this constitution, proposed under *C17.01., shall :
a. be approved at a legally called Congregation Meeting according to this Congregation by a majority
vote of those present and voting.
b. be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of those present
and voting, or
c. have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.
*C17.03. Any amendments to this constitution that result from processes provided in *C17.01 and *C17.02 shall be
sent by the Secretary of This Congregation to the Synod. The amendment shall become effective within
one-hundred and twenty (120) days from the date of receipt of the notice by the Synod, unless the Synod
informs this Congregation that the amendment is in conflict with the constitution and bylaws of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or the constitution of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the ELCA.
*C17.04. This constitution may be amended to bring any section into conformity with with a section or sections,
either required or not required, of the Model Constitution for Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America as most recently amended by the Churchwide Assembly Such amendments may be
approved by a simple majority vote of those voting members present and voting at any legally called
meeting of the congregation without presentation at a prior meeting of the congregation, provided that the
Congregation Council has submitted by mail notice to the congregation of such an amendment or amend-
ments, together with the council’s recommendations, at least 30 days prior to the meeting. Upon the request
of a majority of the congregation, the Congregation Council shall submit such notice and call such a meet-
ing. Following the adoption of an amendment, the Secretary of the Congregation shall submit a copy thereof
to the Synod. Such provisions shall become effective immediately following a vote of approval.
CHAPTER 18 – CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS :
*C18.01. The Congregation Council may enact continuing resolutions. Such continuing resolutions may not
conflict with the constitution or bylaws of this Congregation.
*C18.02 Continuing resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a majority vote of all voting members present
and voting at a legally called meeting of this Congregation.
CHAPTER 19 – INDEMNIFICATION :
*C19.01. Consistent with the provisions of the laws under which this Congregation is incorporated, this Congre-
gation may adopt provisions providing indemnification for each person who, by reason of the fact that
such person is or was a Congregation Council member, officer, employee, agent, or other member of
any committee of this Congregation, was or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending,
or completed civil, criminal, administrative, arbitration, or investigative proceeding.
CHAPTER 20 – PARISH AUTHORIZATION :
[ * Required provision should This Congregation decide in its church life to become a part of
or unite into partnership with one or more other congregations recognized by the
Florida – Bahamas Synod to form a parish ]
*C20.01. This Congregation may unite in partnership with one or more other congregations recognized by the
Florida – Bahamas Synod named in *C.6.01 to form a parish. Except as provided in *C20.02 and *C20.03,
a written agreement, developed in consultation with the synod and approved by the voting members of
each congregation participating in the parish, shall specify the powers and responsibilities that have
been delegated to a Parish Council.
*C20.02 Whenever a letter of call is being recommended for an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America or a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended to
the congregation by the synodical bishop to serve the congregations of the parish, such letter of call
shall be first approved by a two-thirds vote at congregational meetings of each of the congregations
forming the parish. If any congregation of the parish should fail to approve extending this call, the
other congregations(s) in the same parish may have the right to terminate the parish arrangement.
*C20.03 Any one of the congregations of a parish may terminate the call of a pastor as provided in S14.13.d
Of the synodical constitution of the Florida-Bahamas Synod named in *C6.01. In such case, the other
Congregation(s) in the same parish shall have the right to terminate the parish arrangement.
*C20.04 Whenever a parish arrangement is terminated, the call of any rostered person serving that parish is
Terminated. Should any congregation that formerly was part of the parish arrangement desire to
Issue a new call to that rostered person, it may do so in accordance with the call process of this
In accordance with Chapter 17; Section *C17.01., of our Constitution, the attached changes are incorporated into
this document by the voting members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Clermont, Florida by a two-thirds
majority vote present at its Congregational Meeting. It is the wish and desire of each voting member that these
changes are approved so that Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Clermont, Florida has the best organizational
structured and written constitution possible, both for our present size congregation as well as for our future growth.
ENACTED by a two- thirds majority vote of the Congregational membership of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran
Church of Clermont, Florida present at the Congregational Meeting held on the 30th day of January, 2012.
EXECUTED by the President of the Congregation on the _____ day of _____________________.
Laura Dilley, President
Shepherd Of The Hills Lutheran Church
ATTESTED by the Secretary of the Congregation on the ______ day of ____________________.
Karen Russell, Secretary
Shepherd Of The Hills Lutheran Church