NEW HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH: BYLAWS
ARTICLE I: DEFINITIONS
Pastors: Individuals qualified according to Article VI of the constitution and called according to Article VI of these bylaws.
Staff: Non-member individuals, who are not clergy, who are employees of New Hope.
Church Council: Church officers and at least 3 members and no more than 6 members of the congregation, at least 18 years of age, elected by a duly called congregational meeting according to Article IX of these bylaws.
Congregational meeting: A meeting of the voting members of the congregation.
Voting Member: An individual who is a confirmed “member in good standing.”
Fiscal Year: The fiscal year of the church will be according to the calendar year, January 1st through December 31st.
ARTICLE II: PRINCIPLES
The mission, vision, and values of the congregation are embodied in the Preamble and Article II of the constitution and in the following principles:
Section 1. Mission Statement
New Hope Lutheran Church, LCMC
Sharing the Gospel
Participating in the Lord’s Supper
Reaching out to others as Christ loves and commands us to do
Section 2. Vision Statement
New Hope Lutheran Church, LCMC,
focusing on scripture,
Bring the true word of God and Jesus Christ to the Fox Valley area,
making His love and forgiveness known to all.
Support Christian Missions in the Fox Valley area and throughout the world.
Follow the example of Jesus Christ in loving and caring for others.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,
just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
ARTICLE III: ORGANIZATION
Section 1. Powers of the Congregation The powers of the congregation are vested in decisions of the duly called congregational meeting made in accordance with the constitution and bylaws.
Section 2, Quorum and Voting
Unless otherwise specified in the constitution and bylaws, a quorum for a duly called congregational meeting will consist of ten percent of the congregation’s voting members. No voting member may cast a vote by proxy. Unless otherwise specified in the constitution or bylaws, a quorum of the voting members present and voting at a duly called congregational meeting will decide all motions presented by a simple majority vote. Robert’s Rules of Order will govern all meetings of the duly called congregational meeting, the Church Council, and all committees established by these By-Laws.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Admission of Baptized Members Children, one or both of whose parents or guardians are members of the congregation, will be received as members of the congregation upon receiving Christian baptism (as a duly recorded ministerial act performed under the auspices of the congregation).
Children, whose parents or guardians are not members of the congregation, will be received as baptized members upon receiving a Christian baptism (as a duly recorded ministerial act performed under the auspices of the congregation). If, for good reason, they are to be enrolled as baptized members of another congregation, notice of the baptism will be sent to that congregation.
Children, who have received a Christian baptism in another congregation, will be received as baptized members of the congregation upon, receipt of their baptismal record, or admission of one or both parents or guardians to membership, or by consent of one or both parents or guardians, or by decision of the Pastor.
Adults, not having been baptized, will be received as baptized members of the congregation when they have received instruction, given evidence of having an adequate understanding and acceptance of the teachings of the Word of God as confessed by the congregation in its constitution and bylaws, confessed their faith, and received Christian baptism (as a duly recorded ministerial act performed under the auspices of the congregation).
Section 2. Admission of Confirmed Members Applicants for membership, presenting a letter of transfer showing them to be confirmed members in good standing in another Lutheran congregation, will be admitted to confirmed membership upon acceptance of their letter of transfer by the Pastor.
Applicants for membership, without a letter of transfer who present evidence of confirmation in a Lutheran congregation will be admitted to confirmed membership upon acceptance by the Pastor.
Baptized adults, not previously confirmed members of a Lutheran congregation, will be received as confirmed members of the congregation after having received instruction, given evidence of adequate understanding of the teachings of the Word of God as confessed by the congregation in its constitution and bylaws, and having publicly affirmed their faith.
Adults, received as baptized members according to the provisions of Section 1 of this Article, will be received as confirmed members, upon recommendation of the pastor whether or not they have participated in the rite of confirmation (affirmation of baptism).
Children, who are baptized members of the congregation, will be admitted to confirmed membership through participation in the rite of confirmation (affirmation of baptism).
Section 3. Voting Members The Church Council will maintain a current roster of the congregation’s confirmed voting members, which are “Members in Good Standing” in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and bylaws. The roster will be available at all duly called Congregational meetings.
Section 4. Associate Members Associate members are those individuals having a membership in another Christian congregation, who wish to retain such standing and yet desire to participate in the life, mission, and vision of this congregation. They may become “Members in Good Standing” of this congregation entitled to voice and vote as determined by the pastor.
Section 5. Discontinuance of Membership Members who move will be encouraged to transfer their membership to a congregation in their new location. Confirmed members, who are in good standing and desiring to change membership to another congregation, will be given a letter of transfer upon request.
Confirmed members, not a “Member in Good Standing” will be visited by a pastor and/or appropriately appointed members of the congregation to encourage them to active membership. If, during the second year these members remain unresponsive, their names will be removed from the member “in good standing” roster of the congregation. For one additional year, they will be retained on a list of those individuals who are in special need of the congregation’s prayer and concern.
Members, unable to maintain “Member in Good Standing” status because of physical or mental incapacity, will be given special consideration.
Members, as determined by the Church Council who have resigned (clearly in a verbal manner or in writing), been dismissed, transferred to another congregation by letter of transfer, or who are known to have become members of another congregation without having requested a letter of transfer, will have surrendered all membership rights in this congregation.
The applicable sections of this Article will govern the reactivation of individuals into membership.
ARTICLE V: COMMUNION PARTICIPATION
The congregation will regularly provide Holy Communion to its members. Participation in Holy Communion will be open to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Holy Communion to children will be given upon agreement between the parents and the pastor. The pastor will provide Holy Communion instruction at any age to all who desire. It will be made known to prospective participants that the belief of the congregation is:
Participation in the Lord’s Supper is the reception of “the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given with bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us to eat and drink.” We hold that a person is well prepared and worthy who believes these words, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is neither prepared nor worthy, for the words “for you” require simply a believing heart.
The congregation will maintain a record of a member’s participation in Holy Communion as one of the requirements to maintain a “Member in Good Standing” status.
ARTICLE VI: PASTORAL CONTRACT/CALL
Section 1. The president of the Church Council, within a reasonable time of receiving the 2 week notice of an impending contracted pastoral termination, will call for a special meeting of the Church Council. Upon approval by the congregation at a duly called Congregational meeting shall enter into a contract with a LCMC approved pastor until the time that the congregation is in a position to call a pastor. The contract will be specific about the duties that are required of the contracted pastor and will be valid until mutual agreement terminates the contract. The congregation will determine when they will move from a contracted pastor to a called pastor according to Section 2 of this Article.
Section 2. The president of the Church Council, within seven days of the occurrence of a pastoral vacancy or within a reasonable time of receiving notice of an impending pastoral vacancy will call for a special meeting of the Church Council. It will select from the congregation at large not less than five or more than seven voting members to serve on a Call Committee. The LCMC has a Call Package available for reference in the call process. The Call Committee will review the pastoral staffing needs of the congregation, identify and interview pastoral candidates and make its recommendation to the Church Council and to a duly called Congregational Meeting as to the issuance of a Letter of Call. The Call Committee’s duties will end upon acceptance of the Letter of Call or other determination by the duly called Congregational Meeting.
At a duly called Congregational Meeting, called for that purpose, a two-thirds vote by a quorum of the voting members present and voting is required to approve a Letter of Call to a pastor.
A pastor accepting the congregation’s Letter of Call will be loyal and faithful to the Word of God and the congregation’s constitution and bylaws. The Church Council, or its designees, will conduct an annual evaluation of each pastor called to serve the congregation.
Section 3. If a pastor of the congregation receives a Letter of Call from another congregation, he or she will notify the Church Council within two days of receiving the call and before arriving at his/her decision to accept or reject the call.
Section 4. For the purpose of terminating a pastoral call, at a duly called Congregational Meeting scheduled for that purpose, a two-thirds vote by a quorum of the voting members present and voting, is required to request a pastor’s resignation. If approved, the pastor will vacate his or her position at the time specified by the congregation’s decision. For the purpose of this paragraph, a quorum is fifteen per cent.
Section 5. In the absence of a pastor, through a vacancy or other reason, the Church Council of the congregation may secure the services of a pastor who is qualified according to the constitution and bylaws to perform pastoral duties.
ARTICLE VII: DULY CALLED CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
Section 1. Meetings The annual meeting of this congregation will be help the last Sunday in January. Members will be notified of the annual meeting by mail and/or publications and by an announcement at each Sunday worship service not less than four consecutive weeks prior to it being held.
The president of the Church Council, any three of its members, a Pastor, or ten qualified voting members of the congregation may call a special meeting of the congregation. The purpose of the special meeting must be disclosed in all notifications made to the congregation and no other business may be transacted during the meeting except on that for which the meeting was called. The congregation must be notified by mail and by an announcement at Sunday worship not less than two weeks prior to a special meeting of the duly called Congregational Meeting.
Section 2. Order of Business All annual duly called Congregational Meetings will follow the order prescribed below unless two-thirds of the voting members present vote otherwise. All special meetings of the duly called Congregational Meeting will follow the order through number six and then consider the business for which the meeting was called.
1. Call to Order
2. Scripture reading and prayer
3. Appointment of parliamentarian and declaration of a quorum
4. Acceptance of the Agenda
5. Acknowledgment of new members qualified to vote
6. Approval of minutes of previous meeting
7. Treasurer’s report
8. State of congregation report by President of Church Council
9. Report by pastor(s)
10. Special reports
11. Unfinished business
12. New business
ARTICLE VIII: ELECTIONS
Section 1. Nomination Procedure The Nominating Committee will consist of three voting members with two chosen annually by the Church Council, and one elected annually at a meeting of the duly called Congregational Meeting. They will serve for one fiscal year for the purpose of nominating qualified confirmed members for full or partial terms on the Church Council and the succeeding fiscal year’s Nominating Committee. A pastor will serve as convener and advisor of the Nomination Committee.
The Nominating Committee will consider the gifts of each qualified confirmed member and notify the congregation of the names of the nominees chosen. The notification must be made not less than three weeks prior to the duly called Congregational Meeting at which the election will be held. All elections will be conducted at either an annual or special meeting of the congregation called for that purpose.
Following the notification to the members of the congregation, any qualified voting member may submit to the nominating committee additional names of qualified confirmed “Members in Good Standing”, who have given their consent prior to submission, to be placed into nomination. This must occur a minimum of two weeks prior to the duly called Congregational Meeting at which the election will be held. The Nominating Committee, in prayer and consultation with the Pastor(s), will consider the confirmed member’s participation in the life and worship of The Congregation, his or her conformance to the guidelines established by the nominating committee, and his or her willingness to serve. The Congregation must be notified of any additional nominees not less than one week prior to the duly called Congregational Meeting at which the election will be held.
Section 2. Election Procedure At the annual meeting of the congregation, the nominated candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be considered elected to the applicable positions on the Church Council, and the Nominating Committee. Elections will be conducted by a written ballot; unless a quorum of the voting members present approve a motion for a unanimous ballot in the event the candidates nominated do not exceed the number of positions to be filled.
Section 3. Installation Confirmed members newly elected to a full term on the Church Council and the nominating committee will be installed during a worship service the first Sunday following their election. A confirmed member elected to a partial term will be installed during a worship service the first Sunday after his or her election.
ARTICLE IX: CHURCH COUNCIL
Section 1. Purpose: The Church Council is called and elected to promote and advance the mission and vision of the congregation as embodied in the constitution and bylaws of The Congregation and to implement the expressed will of the congregation in decisions made by a duly called Congregational Meeting. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will endeavor to coordinate and liberate the ministries of The Congregation for the total furtherance of the work of Christ’s Kingdom.
Section 2. Organization: The Congregation at its annual meeting will elect a President, Vice President, Treasurer, a Secretary, and three to eight at-large members of the congregation to serve as the church council. The Pastor will serve as a non-voting ex officio advisor to the Church Council.
Section 3. Term of Office The term of each position on the Church Council is three years terminating at the installation of a successor. However, at the first meeting of the duly called Congregational Meeting held after the adoption of these bylaws, one position will be elected for a term of one year, one position for a term of two years, and one position for a term of three years. At the completion of each of these initial terms, successors will be elected to terms of three years. A voting member may not serve more than two consecutive three-year terms with a partial term not counting towards the two-term limit.
Section 4. Officers The President of the Church Council will preside at all meetings of the Duly called Congregational Meeting and Church Council. In the absence of the president, the vice president will preside.
The Vice-President will preside at all Congregational meetings and council meeting in the absence of the President.
The Secretary, with an assistant chosen by the Church Council, is responsible for congregational records and recording the minutes of all meetings of the Church Council and all duly called Congregational Meetings.
The Treasurer following accepted accounting principles, will be responsible for the oversight and maintenance of all financial records of The Congregation.
Section 5. Meetings The Church Council will meet at least once a month. As additionally needed, the President, the Pastor or any three members of the Church Council may call a special meeting. To make official decisions, a quorum is five members physically present or participating by a telecommunication devise.
Section 6. Report and Audit The president will present a state of the congregation report at the annual meeting of the Congregation. The Church Council will annually appoint an Audit Committee consisting of any two qualified confirmed members of the congregation, other than the treasurer, to audit the financial records of the congregation. The audit report will be submitted to the annual meeting of the congregation.
Section 7. Vacancies If after prayerful consideration any member of the Church Council is unable to fulfill his or her commitment to their position, they are to submit their resignation. If a member is absent three or more consecutive meetings without a reasonable explanation, the remaining members of the Church Council may declare the position vacant.
If a vacancy occurs on the Church Council for any reason, the Nominating Committee will follow the procedures in Section 1 of this Article and will submit the name of a qualified nominee (or nominees, if applicable) to the Church Council, which will then appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term. The appointment, unless the unexpired term is completed, must be ratified by majority vote at the next annual or special meeting of the congregation that is held.
ARTICLE X: DISCIPLINE
A member, who advocates doctrines that are contrary to Holy Scripture and the Confessions of the Church, or who is guilty of conduct grossly unbecoming of a member of the Body of Christ, will be subject to discipline. The Church Council, on behalf of the congregation will administer the discipline. The disciplined member has the right of appeal to a meeting of the congregation. All discipline of a member will be exercised in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18.
ARTICLE XI: CONFLICTING LOYALTIES
The buildings and property of the congregation will be open to all people who share in its worship, instruction, pastoral care, and fellowship. However, the congregation rejects all fellowship with organizations, secret or open, which are avowedly religious and which do not confess faith in accordance with the constitution and bylaws of the congregation.
Adopted by Congregation on October 3, 2010