Each of this church’s expressions—congregations, synods and the churchwide organization—has a constitution.
Click titles below to download constitutions, bylaws, and continuing resolutions for the following:
- Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Constitution of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod
- Model Constitution for Congregations of the ELCA
The Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions reflect the theology and polity of this church as it organizes itself to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, share the sacraments, reach out to the neighbor with good news, and share the love of God in the world. Each expression of this church — churchwide, synod, and congregation — is held together in a relationship of interdependence that encourages each to respond to its context. These documents also demonstrate our commitment to seeing ourselves with others as part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
+ELCA Website, Office of the Secretary
Each churchwide assembly has amended the constitutions.
Links will bring you to the ELCA website to download Word Documents.
-2019 Amendments to the Model Constitution for Congregations
-2019 Enmiendas a la Constitución Modelo para Congregaciones
-2019 Recommended Amendments to the Constitution for Synods
-2019 Required Amendments to the Constitution for Synods
-Rationale for the 2019 Amendments
It is recommended that ELCA congregations and synods review the adopted amendments for their constitutions as soon as possible after each churchwide assembly to incorporate the required changes and to consider the recommended changes.
Guide for Use of the Model Constitution for Congregations is a helpful reference for congregations reviewing their constitutions. Congregations are encouraged to work with their synod’s Constitution Committee from the outset of their work; this may ensure a greater likelihood that the synod will approve the proposed changes (*C17.03., new *C16.03.).
The churchwide assembly meets every three years. Amendments to any synod constitution are approved by the synod assembly. Amendments to any congregation constitution are approved by the congregation at its regular meeting. These meetings are governed by parliamentary procedure. Basic information on parliamentary procedure can be found here.
Updating Your Constitution
Updating your Constitution
Each congregation shall provide a copy of its governing documents to the synod. All proposed changes in the constitution or incorporation documents of a congregation shall be referred to the synod with which the congregation is affiliated. The synod shall approve or disapprove the proposed changes within 120 days of receipt thereof, and shall notify the congregation of its decision; in the absence of a decision, the changes shall go into effect. The synod shall recognize that congregations may organize themselves in a manner which they deem most appropriate.
Click the titles below for the following resources:
- Constitution Hygiene (PowerPoint)
- Request for Assistance to Update Our Constitution (Word)
- Revising Congregation Constitutions (pdf)
- How Do We Change Our Constitution? (pdf)
- Integrating Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions (pdf)
- Codification Explanation (pdf)
- Procedures for Reviewing Constitutions (pdf)
If you have questions regarding congregation constitutions, please contact the synod office at 507-637-3904.