Article I Membership
A. Admission in Membership
1. Baptized Membership
a. Holy Baptism may be administered at the request of anyone who ever has been instructed in the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
b. Baptism may be administered to infants and children brought by their parents or guardians and thus be received into membership.
2. Communicant Membership
a. By confirmation:
The act of confirmation itself being the reception into the church membership of a person who has been instructed in the Church faith and has become acquainted with the Lutheran Confessions, especially Luther’s Small Catechism, and in this rite publicly confesses his adherence to this faith, such confirmands, upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders, shall be added to the communicant membership roll at the next regular meeting of the Church Council.
b. By Transfer:
Persons coming with a communicant letter of transfer from a congregation in fellowship with our Synod, provided they conform in all respects to the requirements of membership of this congregation, shall be recommended for communicant membership by the pastor and the elders at a regular meeting of the Church Council.
c. By Profession of Faith:
Others applying for membership shall give satisfactory evidence of qualification for communicant membership to the pastor and at least one elder, and upon their recommendation through the Board of Elders be received as communicant members at the next meeting of the Church Council.
3. Voting Membership
Voting membership shall be effected by the application of a communicant member submitted to the Church Council. Upon acceptance by the Council, at a Voters’ Meeting, the Voter applicant will sign the Constitution, before exercising their right to vote.
4. Membership Roll
The addition of any name to our Baptized, Communicant, or Voter Roll shall take place only by the approval of the Church Council.
B. Termination of Membership
1. Termination of Baptized Membership:
One who has been baptized and later refuses to receive instruction and confirm the faith given to him in baptism, shall be admonished according to Matt. 18, and if necessary, excluded from the congregation.
2. Termination of Communicant Membership:
a. Active communicant members desiring to join a congregation in fellowship with us shall present the request for transfer in writing to the Pastor and Elders, upon whose recommendation such transfer of membership shall be acted upon by the Church Council.
b. Joining other Churches:Communicant members who have joined a congregation outside our own fellowship shall, upon recommendation of the pastors and elders, have their names deleted by resolution of the Church Council.
c. Whereabouts Unknown:
The names of members with whom we have lost contact for a period of one year shall, upon the recommendation of the pastors and elders, be removed by the Church Council and forthwith such membership shall be terminated.
d. Excommunication and Self-Exclusion:
Any member who conducts himself in an unchristian manner shall be dealt with according to Matt. 18:15-20. Excommunication shall be acted on by the Voters Assembly upon recommendation of the Board of Elders.
One whose membership has been terminated forfeits all rights of membership, and all claims upon the property of the congregation as such, or upon any part thereof, are relinquished as long as he is not reinstated into membership.
3. Termination of Voting Membership:
a. A voting member who is absent from meetings of the Voters’ Assembly for four consecutive regular meetings without excusing himself to the Chairman, shall, upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders, be removed from voting status by the Church Council. Such a person may be reinstated for active voting membership status by reapplying to Church Council.
b. Active voting members in good standing who, by circumstance, become ill, homebound, or in a Nursing Home, may retain their active voter status upon recommendation of Pastor(s) and Elders and approved by the Church Council.
4. The removal of any name from our baptized or communicant Rolls shall take place only by the approval of the Church Council.
Article II Meetings
A. The regular meetings of the Voters’ Assembly shall be held annually in the month of November.
B. Special meetings of the Voters’ Assembly may be called by the Chairman of the Congregation or the Church Council.
C. Every Voters’ meeting (regular or special) shall be announced (by word or in the bulletin) at a prior Sunday service, and upon notification of all registered voters at least one full week prior to the meeting.
D. A quorum of the Voters’ Assembly shall consist of three times the membership of the Church Council.
E. Absentee Voting:
Active Voting Members who are ill, homebound, in a Nursing Home, or may miss a Voters’ Meeting for a valid reason or circumstance, as determined by the Chairman of the Congregation, may submit an absentee vote to the Chairman of the Congregation prior to a scheduled Voters’ meeting.
(1) Active Voting Members are members who have been have been previously diligent in their participation in Church affairs, this will include Active Voting Members who may have to miss a scheduled vote due to vacation, work, or other valid circumstances.
(2) An Absentee Ballot will be made available by the Chairman of the Congregation prior to a scheduled vote. The Absentee Ballot will consist an envelope and the unmarked ballot inside. The members’ name will be printed on the envelope.
(3) The Absentee Voting Member must fill out their ballot and place it the envelope, seal it, and sign and date the envelope under their printed name and return it to the Chairman of the Congregation prior to a scheduled Voters’ Meeting.
(4) An Elder or an Active Voting Member friend can take an Absentee ballot (with envelop) to our homebound or Nursing Home members and return these ballots to the Chairman of the Congregation prior to the scheduled Voters’ Meeting.
(5) During the voting procedure, the Absentee Ballots will be separated from the envelope. The envelope, with the members’ name, will go the Chairman for recording onto the ‘voting roster’, and their vote recorded in confidentiality by the Recording Secretary or designated vote counter.
Article III Calling of Pastor
1. Any Pastor who is a graduate of one of the recognized Seminaries or Colleges of our Church, and/or is in good standing in our Synod, may be nominated for the office of Pastor of this congregation.
2. The Congregation shall solicit the suggestions of the District Presidents to fill the office of Pastor.
3. Any communicant member may nominate a candidate for office of Pastor.
4. A Call Committee of three Elders, three Council members and three Congregation members will present a list of candidates for the office of Pastor to the Voters’ Assembly.
5. The Church Council will select the Call Committee. The Call Committee will elect its’ Chairman.
1. The election of a Pastor from a list of candidates shall be by ballot in a meeting of the Voters’ Assembly.
2. A 2/3 majority of the Voters present shall elect a candidate; the election shall, if possible, be made unanimous.
Article IV Election of Congregational Officers
A. Suitable candidates for the office of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Board of Elders, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board of Missions, Chairman of Board of Christian Education, Chairman of the Board of Stewardship, Chairman of the Board of Hospitality, and chosen by a nominating committee of three appointed by the Chairman in consultation with the Church Council. The nominating committee shall present at least one candidate for each vacancy.
B. The slate of candidates shall be publicized in the November issue of “The Candle” and presented to the Voters’ Assembly in the November meeting. Additional nominations may be made by the floor.
C. The annual election shall take place in the November meeting. A majority of the Voters present shall elect a candidate to office.
D. Additional members of all boards and committees (excluding the Board of Elders) shall be selected by the respective Board Chairman and approved by the Church Council.
E. The above officers and board chairman shall be installed into office on the first Sunday in January or as soon thereafter as possible.
F. In the event of a vacancy in any elective office, the Church Council shall appoint a qualified person to fill the unexpired term. This appointment is to last only until the next election.
G. No elected Church Officer shall succeed himself in office more than once. No elected Board Chairman shall succeed himself in office more than twice.
H. Any active voting member shall be eligible to fill the elective offices of this congregation except the Board of Elders, which must be male members.
I. No person shall hold more than one elective office.
Article V Pastor, Elders, Church Council and Their Duties
The Pastor of the congregation shall serve the church by providing spiritual leadership and pastoral care, and shall assist the various officers, boards and committees in providing administrative oversight and organizational direction to the congregation, with a broad program of worship, music, preaching, teaching and fellowship. He shall act faithfully to:
1. Administer the Word of God in its full truth and purity as contained in the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and as set forth in the confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as found in the Book of Concord;
2. Administer the holy Sacraments in accordance with their divine institution;
3. Perform the functions of a pastor in an evangelical manner; to aid, counsel and guide members of all ages and social conditions; to visit the sick and the dying; to admonish the indifferent and the erring.
4. Guard and promote faithfully the spiritual welfare of the members of the congregation, in particular to instruct the catechumens, both children and adults, in the Word of God and thus prepare them for the communicant membership in the church;
5. Provide surveillance of Trinity’s Finances and Funds to ensure ministry priorities are funded;
6. Works with the church council to make sure ministry priorities are funded;
7. Promote and guide mission activity of the congregation as it is related to the local community and to endeavors of the Synod and its districts; in particular to train workers and guide them in evangelism and to enlist the support of the congregation for mission work;
8. Serve as an ex officio member of all Boards helping the congregation adopt administrative policies and procedures that will help it carry out the mission of the Christian congregation;
9. Serve the congregation as an example of Christian conduct; to endeavor earnestly to live in Christian unity with the members of the congregation, fellow workers, and sister congregations in the Synod; and by the grace of God to do everything possible for the edification of the congregation and the up-building of the church in Christ.
The Board of Elders shall have the authority and responsibility to aid and assist the Pastor for the spiritual welfare and activities of the congregation members, individually and corporately.
1. The congregation will elect Elders to oversee the spiritual life of the congregation and its individual members and in the cultivation of a spirit of peace, love and harmony among the members of the congregation.
2. The Elders shall be elected by the congregation for a three-year term. No Elder shall succeed himself in office more than twice. It shall elect its own Chairman annually.
3. While the entire Board of Elders is responsible for the spiritual welfare and activities of the congregation, both individually and corporately, as a matter of convenience each geographic Elder is assigned members in a geographic zone and then becomes the Elder for these parishioners. Such geographic boundaries may change from time to time but no congregational member will be without an Elder assigned.
4. The Elders shall act as the Salaried Personnel Committee on behalf of the congregation, and will annually review all staff personnel appraisals and compensation, and make appropriate recommendations on compensation to the Budget Committee.
5. The Board of Elders shall perform additional duties and responsibilities as described in the position description for Board of Elders and perform any other duties which may be assigned by the congregation.
C. Church Council:
The Church Council shall have power to administer and manage all of the congregation’s internal and external affairs not specifically reserved to the voting members, as hereinabove set forth. The establishment and conduct of all institutions and societies within the congregation shall at all times be subject to the approval and supervision of the Church Council.
1. The Church Council shall be made up of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Recording
Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Chairman of the Board of Elders, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board of Christian Education, Chairman of the Board of Missions, Chairman of the Board of Hospitality, and Chairman of the Board of Stewardship.
2. The Church Council shall ordinarily meet once a month. A majority of members will constitute a quorum.
3. It shall be the duty of the Church Council to:
a. Conduct the internal and external affairs of the congregation except those matters reserved exclusively to the Voters’ Assembly by Article VI A of the Constitution.
b. Exercise surveillance and approve expenditures from Trinity’s Future/Building/ or Emergency Funds. Authorize ministry expenditures that do not exceed the budget.
c. Establish effective communications between various Boards and Committees to avoid duplications and make for more effective administration.
d. Annually appoint all officers and committee members, designating Chairman, whose election has not been provided for in the Constitution, such as Sunday School Superintendent, Memphis Circuit Mission Council Representatives, Counters, LCEF Representative, Librarian, Nursery Coordinator, Publicity Chairman, Church Historian, Photographer, and any others as may be established by the congregation.
e. Act in matters committed to it by the Voters’ Assembly.
f. In years ending in 0 and 5, appoint a Task Force to perform a Church Assessment to be reviewed by the Church Council and presented to the Voter’s Assembly.
g. Annually, in September, appoint a Budget Committee to prepare next year’s budget
recommendation for the Church Council.
h. Be responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget to the congregation.
i. Recognize emergencies and take necessary actions.
Article VI Executive Officers and Their Duties
Serves as the chief executive of the congregation; exercises general administrative responsibility for the entire organization of the congregation; and is responsible for ensuring that all elected or appointed officers, boards and committees function and carry out their duties and responsibilities.
1. The presiding officer of the congregation shall be a Chairman who shall be elected for a three-year term.
2. It shall be the duty of the Chairman to:
a. Preside at all meetings of the Voters’ Assembly and Church Council.
b. Serve as an ex officio member of all Boards and Committees, and see that they function efficiently.
c. Represent the congregation in matters of business and sign or countersign all legal documents.
d. Meet periodically with the pastor(s) and the vice chairman to review past progress and plan future efforts and priorities that are needed in the total program of the congregation.
e. Recommend to the voters’ assembly, in coordination with the church council, qualified person(s) acceptable to the Church Council to perform the annual review of the financial records of the congregation.
f. Be responsible for notifying members of the Voters’ Assembly of the date, time and place of regular and special meetings of the voters’ assembly.
g. Perform whatever duties shall be assigned to him by the congregation.
Serves as the second-level executive of the congregation and works with all elected and appointed officers, boards and committees to assist them in carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities.
1. The Vice-Chairman shall be elected for a three-year term.
2. It shall be the duty of the Vice-Chairman to:
a. Perform the duties of the Chairman in his absence or at his request.
b. Fill an unexpired term of the Chairman.
c. Serve as an ex officio member of all Boards, and see to it that they function efficiently.
d. Oversee the development of all position/job descriptions and review them annually.
e. Perform whatever duties shall be assigned to him by the congregation.
C. Recording Secretary:
Keeps accurate minutes of the congregation’s meetings and voters’ assemblies, or other meetings as needed.
1. The Secretary shall be elected for a three-year term.
2. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to:
a. Keep accurate minutes of the Voters’ Assembly and Church Council in books which shall be and remain the property of the congregation.
b. Conduct all official correspondence of the voters’ assembly.
c. Be custodian of the official seal of the congregation. [Need to keep]
d. Maintain the roll of voting members.
e. Periodically report significant actions of the church council to the congregation.
f. Receive all other records, reports and minutes, approved job descriptions and properly store them in the church archives.
g. Perform such other duties as shall be assigned to him/her by the congregation.
Serves as the chief financial officer of the congregation and shall be responsible for the overall financial program of the congregation in accordance with policies approved by the church council and the voters’ assembly.
1. The Treasurer shall be elected by the congregation for a three-year term.
2. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to:
a. Be responsible for the safekeeping of all funds, securities and fiduciary documents of the congregation.
b. Be the disbursing agent of the congregation. All checks shall be issued under the authority and supervision of the treasurer, who shall be responsible for the establishment of appropriate fiscal controls over congregational funds.
c. Establish a Finance Committee to assist in overseeing all church funds.
d. Establish an Endowment Fund Committee to oversee Trinity’s Endowment Funds.
e. Supervise the Bookkeeper in keeping an accurate record of the receipts and disbursements of the congregation in books which shall be and remain the property of the congregation.
f. Promptly pay all bills authorized by the congregation and/or the Church Council.
g. Make monthly reports to the Church Council and an annual report to the congregation.
h. Submit the financial books for review at the end of the fiscal year.
i. Perform such other duties as shall be assigned to him by the congregation.
E. Financial Secretary:
Oversees all contributions received by the church.
1. The Financial Secretary shall be elected for a three year term.
2. It shall be the duty of the Financial Secretary to:
a. Verify the counting and deposit of all contributions.
b. Record all individual contributions in books which shall be and remain the property of the congregation.
d. Make semi-annual reports to each giving unit in the congregation of its contributions.
e. Perform such other duties as shall be assigned to him by the congregation.
Article VII Executive Boards and Their Duties
The Executive Boards will consist of the Board of Elders, Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Education, Board of Missions, Board of Stewardship, and Board of Hospitality. Chairman of the Executive Boards (except for the Board of Elders) shall be elected for a one-year term. Members of boards and committees, and church staff shall perform the duties as provided in the constitution and by-laws. The congregation shall also have the right to detail and expand upon those responsibilities by development of position/job descriptions approved by the church council. The Vice Chairman of the Congregation is responsible for maintaining and overseeing all job descriptions for the congregation.
Article VIII Order of Business
The following shall be the normal order of business for regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly:
1. Opening Devotion
2. Topic Study or presentation
3. Welcoming of Guests
4. Presentation of new members – signing the Constitution
5. Report of Pastor(s), Officers and Boards
a. Report of Pastor(s)
b. Report of Chairman
c. Report of Church Council
d. Report of Treasurer
e. Report of Financial Secretary
f. Report of Board of Elders
g. Report of Board of Trustees
h. Report of Board of Christian Education
i. Report of Board of Missions
j. Report of Board of Stewardship
k. Report of Board of Hospitality
m. Report of Standing Committee(s)
n. Other Reports
6. Old Business
7. New Business
10. Closing Prayer
Article IX Changes and Amendments
Changes and amendments to these By-Laws may be proposed at any meeting of the Voters’ Assembly. A two-thirds majority vote of a Voters’ Assembly quorum shall be required for adoption.
Article X Parliamentary Practice
All parliamentary procedures not covered by the Constitution and By-Laws shall be determined by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Revised November 2018