Proposed New Constitution – 2011

                     SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS LUTHERAN CHURCH

                      2011 CONSTITUTION DOCUMENT    

  

PREAMBLE:

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

          Church.

*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.                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        p. 1

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

          day.

*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 

              administered.   

          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

              their congregation.

          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.

                                                                                                        p. 2  

*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;  

              and

           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

          in which:

          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. 

                                                                                                         p. 3                                                                                                                                                                       

 *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

              communion.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

          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-

              Lutheran church.

          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.

                                                                                                            p. 4

*C6.05.   (Cont’d.)

          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 

          Congregation. 

*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.

                                                                                                           p. 5

*C*.02.    (Cont’d.)

          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

          Congregational Council.

*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;

              and

          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

              biblical stewards. 

*C8.05.   Membership in This Congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:

          a.  Death

          b.  Resignation

          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.

              and

          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 

              Congregation.

              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.

                                                                                                              p. 6

*C9.03.  (Cont’d.)

                                                                                                           

         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

              synod.

                                                                                                                p. 7

*C9.05.    (Cont’d.)

           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 

              Congregation;

          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 

           Council.

                                                                                                          p. 8

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

           be transacted.

 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

           Congregation.

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 

            annual meeting.   

                                                                                                                                                                                        

 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 

            member:

        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.

                                                                                                            p. 8

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

              members.

         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 

              budget.

         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-

              wide organization.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

         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 

              insurance program.

 

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.

                                                                                                          p. 9

C12.09.    The Congregation Council shall submit a comprehensive report to This Congregation at the annual 

            meeting.

                                                                                                          

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.] 

                                                                                                          p. 10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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.

*C15.10.  Adjudication.

                                                                                                        

*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.

                                                                                                      

                                              

                                                                                                           p. 11

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.

                                                                                                            p.12                                                                                                            

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 

            church. 

                                                                                                               p. 13

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

CONCLUSION :

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                                                                                             

                                                                                Clermont, Florida

ATTESTED by the Secretary of the Congregation on the ______  day of ____________________.

                                                                      ___________________________________

                                                                             Karen Russell, Secretary                

                                                                      Shepherd Of The Hills Lutheran Church

                                                                                 Clermont, Florida

  

                     

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                           

    

   

     

   

  

   

       

 

    

    

   

                                                                                                  

    

   

     

   

   

    

                  

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