Governance - Constitution


Marion, Indiana


It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8);

In order that Christ’s mission for His church might be carried out according to His will, He has commanded that Christians unite in worship (Hebrews 10:24-25), practice fellowship with one another (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20), and serve the needs of all people in Christian love (Ephesians 4:7-16; Mark 10:42-44; John 13:35; Galatians 6:10);

Christians are also to administer the Office of the Keys as His church (I John 20:21-23; Matthew 18:15-20) and maintain decency and order in the Church (I Cor. 14:40);

Therefore we, a number of Lutheran Christians living in and near Marion, accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and By-Laws, in accordance with which all spiritual and material affairs of our congregation shall be governed.



Article 1: NAME

The name of this congregation shall be:

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church of Marion, Indiana, Inc.


This congregation accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and revealed Word of God, and all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580, as the correct presentation and true exposition of Christian Doctrine drawn from the Holy Scriptures, viz:

1. The Three Ecumenical creeds, viz., the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian

2. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession

3. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession

4. The Smalcald Articles

5. Luther’s Large Catechism

6. Luther’s Small Catechism

7. The Formula of Concord

No doctrine or practice in conflict, or inconsistent, with the above norms of our faith and life shall be taught or tolerated in this congregation.


This congregation shall be affiliated with The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod as long as the confessions and constitution of said Synod are in accord with the confession and constitution of this congregation as laid down in Article 2.

This congregation shall, to the best of its ability, collaborate with said Synod and assist it in effecting all sound measures intended for the building up of the Kingdom of God.


A. Baptized members of this congregation:

1. Are all members who have been baptized in the Name of the Triune God

and who are under the spiritual care of the Pastor of this congregation.

2. Are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, or through transfer, with the consent of one or both parents or guardians in the case of children.

3. Shall conform their lives to their Baptismal vows.

B. Communicant membership in this congregation may be held only by those who:

1. Are baptized in the Name of the Triune God,

2. Have declared their acceptance of the confessions of this congregation as contained in Article 2 of this Constitution.

3. Have been accepted into communicant membership in accordance with the By-Laws of this congregation and shall remain faithful to the responsibilities of membership as contained in these By-Laws.

4. Do not live in manifest works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), but lead a Christian life.

5. Are not members of a society or of any other organization in conflict with the Word of God and the conduct of a Christian (II Cor. 6:14-18).

C. The membership, and membership privileges, of each member shall remain in force so long as each member shall maintain his eligibility according to the provisions of this article and shall meet the requirements stated or implied in the disciplinary, or other provisions, of the By-Laws. A member who voluntarily severs his connection with this congregation, or who has been released or transferred, or who has been excommunicated or excludes himself according to the provisions of the By-Laws, shall be deemed to have terminated his membership in this congregation along with all rights and privileges of such membership.


A. Voting Membership

This congregation shall be represented by, and administer all its affairs through its voting members. Only communicant members, who are at least 18 years of age, shall be voting members of this congregation.

B. Ministry Teams

Responsibility and authority for the daily administration of congregational affairs shall be delegated to the following Ministry Teams:












One member of each Ministry Team shall serve as the Director of that Ministry Team. Either male or female members of the congregation may serve on the Ministry Teams, with the exception that only male members may serve on the Ministry Team of Elders.

C. Officers of the Congregation

The Officers of the congregation shall consist of an Executive Director, two Assistant Executive Directors, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, elected from among the voting members in accordance with the By-Laws of the congregation. Either male or female members, who are at least 21 years of age, may serve as Officers of the congregation.

The Executive Director of the congregation, (or the Assistant Executive Directors when acting in the Director’s capacity), shall have a voice on all Ministry Teams, but his right to vote shall be limited to such Ministry Team on which he may hold membership.

The Pastor of the congregation shall be, ex-officio, a member of all Ministry Teams and their associated committees, and may, at his discretion, attend any or all meetings related to congregational activity of any kind.

D. Parish Planning Council

The Parish Planning Council shall consist of the Pastor, the Executive Director, the Assistant Executive Directors, the Secretary, and the Treasurer of the congregation, and the Directors of the Ministry Teams listed in Section B of this article.

They shall hold a position on the Parish Planning Council by virtue of their call or election by the voting members of the congregation so long as their term of office continues.

E. Rights and Powers

This congregation, subject to the limiting provisions and regulations of this Constitution and its associated By-Laws, shall have ultimate power in the administration of its affairs. No duly elected officers of this congregation shall have any power or authority beyond that conferred upon them by the congregation acting through its voting members. Each Ministry Team, along with the Parish Planning Council, shall be responsible for the performance of such duties as the By-Laws specify, and for such additional duties as the voting members may delegate to them by special resolution. Such specifically delegated rights and powers, both of officers and Ministry Teams, shall be subject to revision or complete withdrawal by the voting members at their discretion.


Only such candidates shall be elected and called to serve as Pastor, or as a called church worker, who profess acceptance of, and pledge faithful adherence to, the confessions of this congregation as set forth in Article 2 of this Constitution.

The Pastor, who is called by the voting members, must be a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, must be ordained, and must be male. Called church workers must be members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

In the absence of adequate cause for dismissal, as defined in By-Laws of the congregation, the tenure of office of a called Pastor or called church worker shall be the remainder of his active life, or until the Lord calls him into another field of service.

Article 7: SOCIETIES

Societies may be organized within the congregation only with the expressed approval of the voting members, and all such societies shall be under the supervision of the Pastor and the appropriate Ministry Team under whose jurisdiction they function. Only communicant members of this congregation shall be officers of such societies or groups. Any decisions, enactment or performance of or by societies or groups shall be invalid if they conflict with this Constitution and its associated By-Laws. The Pastor, and/or the Executive Director, by virtue of his office, shall be the advisor for such societies or groups within the congregation.


If, at any time, a separation should take place within this congregation, the advice of the officers of District and Synod shall be sought. If, despite all efforts to compose differences in peace and love, a division into factions of the congregation shall occur, the property of the congregation and all benefits therewith connected shall remain with those members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Articles 2, 3, 4, and 6 of this Constitution.


All congregation matters shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the voting members present at a properly convened meeting of the voting members, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution and its associated By-Laws for dealing with certain situations or matters therein specifically mentioned and defined.

Article 10: BY-LAWS

The congregation may adopt such By-Laws as may be required for the accomplishment of its purpose.

Article 11: AMENDMENTS

A. This Constitution may be changed or amended, with the exception of the Articles listed in Section B of this article, by a three-fourths majority of the votes cast in a regular meeting of the voting members, provided that the intention to amend the Constitution and the wording of the amendments proposed shall be read to the congregation assembled for worship on two different Sundays prior to the date upon which the amendment is presented for action.

B. Articles 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 are hereby made irrevocable.

  June 2021  
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