Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40


CONSTITUTION
PEACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
WAVERLY, NEBRASKA

Preamble

It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). 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 2:42), witness to all people, (Acts 1:8), help each other grow in the Lord through the study of His Word, (Ephesians 4:11-14), serve the needs of all people in Christian love, (Ephesians 4:7-16, Mark 10:42-44, John 13:35, Galatians 6:10), administer The Office of the Keys as His Church, (John 10:21-23, Matthew 18:15-20), and maintain decency and order, (I Corinthians 14:40), in the Church.

Therefore we, the members of Peace Lutheran Church of Waverly, Nebraska, 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.

1.0 Name
The name of the congregation shall be Peace Lutheran Church, Waverly, Lancaster County, Nebraska.

2.0 Purpose
The purpose of this congregation shall be to give honor and glory to God, to carry out His will, to assist in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, to manifest the unity of our faith in Jesus Christ as God and Savior, to foster Christian fellowship and love, to extend a helping hand in human need, and to achieve our objectives by the preaching of the Word of God, by the administration of the sacraments and by the religious instruction of all its members according to the confessional standard of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

3.0 Confessional Standard
This congregation accepts without reservation:

3.1 The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the inspired and inerrant Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice.

3.2 All of the confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580 as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God, to wit: the three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed), the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther, the Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther and the Formula of Concord.

4.0 Membership

4.1 Membership
The membership of this congregation includes the following:

4.1.1 Baptized members are all who have been baptized in the name of the Triune God and who are under the spiritual care of the pastor of this congregation including the children who have not yet been confirmed.

4.1.2 Communicant members are those baptized members who have been confirmed in the Lutheran faith, accept the confessional standard of Section 3 of this Constitution, are familiar at least with the contents of Luther's Small Catechism and are not members of organizations whose principles and conduct conflict with the Word of God.

4.1.3 Voting members are communicant members who have reached the age of 18, have read this Constitution and have signed the voting register.

4.2 Reception

4.2.1 Baptized members are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and through the consent of one or both parents or a legal guardian in the case of children who have been baptized in another Christian congregation.

4.2.2 Communicant members are received through the rite of confirmation, through transfer from a sister congregation, through profession of faith or reaffirmation of faith. Their reception shall be affirmed by the Elders and the Pastor.

4.3 Duties
Members of the congregation shall conform their entire lives to the rule of God's Word, and to that end make diligent use of the means of grace, exercise faithful stewardship of God's many gifts and talents, impart and accept fraternal admonition as the need of such admonition becomes apparent and be readily available for service in the kingdom of Christ within and beyond the congregation.

4.4 Termination

4.4.1 Members in good standing desiring to join another congregation in fellowship shall request a transfer from the Elders, who are authorized to grant such transfers.

4.4.2 Members who have moved away from the area and who do not respond to letters of encouragement to transfer their membership, may, after one year, be removed from the roll of the congregation by the Elders.

4.4.3 Members joining congregations outside of our fellowship shall be removed from the roll of the congregation by the Elders.

4.4.4 Members whose whereabouts are unknown and whose address cannot be established by reasonable effort within one year may be removed from the roll of the congregation by the Elders.

4.4.5 Any member who conducts themselves in an un-Christian manner may be admonished according to Matthew 18:15-20. If the admonished remains impenitent, upon the recommendation by the Elders they may be excommunicated. Each case shall be presented individually to the members of the voting congregation for a decision; such a decision shall be by unanimous vote.

4.4.6 Any member who deliberately absents themselves from the congregation, rejects admonition and refuses to meet with the Elders or any appropriate group designated by the Elders to discuss this case, has thereby excluded themselves. Such a person shall be removed from the membership roll by reason of self-exclusion upon the recommendation of the Elders and upon a majority vote by the voting members of the congregation.

4.4.7 The status of excommunication or self-exclusion terminates membership, but does not deny the right to use the church facilities for worship. As soon as evidence of penitence and a desire to be received into fellowship again has been demonstrated, such a person shall be received as quickly as possible by resolution of the Elders and by majority vote of the voting members of the congregation. A person whose communicant membership has been terminated has forfeited all rights of a member and all claims upon the property of the congregation as such, so long as such person is not reinstated as a member.

5.0 The Ministry of the Word

5.1 This congregation shall establish the pastoral office, which shall be conferred only on such a Minister of Religion, Ordained who professes and adheres to the confessional standard set forth in Section 3 of this Constitution, who is qualified for his work, who has been endorsed by the Synod and who is a member of the Synod.

5.2 The office of the Minister of Religion, Commissioned shall be conferred only on such as profess and adhere to this confessional standard set forth in Section 3 of this Constitution, who are qualified for their work, and who have been endorsed by the Synod.

5.3 Any called worker may be removed from office by the voting members of the congregation by a two-thirds majority ballot vote, (as determined in 17.6 of the Bylaws), in Christian and lawful order, for one of the following reasons: persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect or inability to perform the duties of the office.

5.4 The voting congregation may request the resignation of any Minister of Religion, Ordained; Minister of Religion, Commissioned, or elected leader from their incompetence.

6.0 Authority of the Voting Congregation

6.1 Matters brought before the voting congregation shall be decided by a majority vote unless otherwise specified by this Constitution or By-laws. Matters of doctrine and conscience shall be decided only on the basis of the Word of God.

6.2 The right of calling and the right of removing a Minister of Religion, Ordained; or Minister of Religion, Commissioned shall be vested in the members of the voting congregation and shall not be delegated otherwise.

6.3 The right of excommunicating or exercising authority in self-exclusion of a member shall be vested in the members of the voting congregation and shall not be delegated otherwise.

6.4 The voting congregation shall have the authority to elect members of the Board of Ministries, (the governing body of this congregation), the Elders, the Communications Secretary and the Treasurer as prescribed in the By-laws.

6.5 The voting congregation shall have the authority to make decisions relating to expenditures from the operating fund in excess of $5,000.00, or, for any expenditure which requires the congregation to take a loan to fund a specific project.

6.6 The voting congregation shall have the authority to approve the annual budget as proposed by the Board of Ministries.

7.0 Authority of the Board of Ministries

7.1 The Board of Ministries shall be the governing body of this congregation and shall be empowered by the voting congregation to administer and manage affairs specifically defined in this Constitution and By-laws.

7.2 The Board of Ministries has the authority to set policy and direct ministry in a way which upholds the Mission, Vision and Values of the congregation.

7.3 The Board of Ministries has the authority to act on behalf of the congregation with exception to those matters defined in 6.0 Authority of the Voting Congregation.

7.4 The Board of Ministries has the authority to establish a fiscal year budget based on the Board's focus on ministry which upholds the Mission, Vision and Values. The established fiscal year budget shall be presented to the voting congregation for approval.

7.5 The Board of Ministries shall be responsible for all special gifts given to the congregation. The Board shall manage these gifts through the Peace Lutheran Special Gifts Fund as prescribed in the By-laws of that Fund.

7.6 The Board of Ministries shall have no authority beyond that which has been conferred upon them, and whatever power may have been delegated to them, may at any time be altered or revoked by the voting members of the congregation.

8.0 Synodical Membership

8.1 This congregation shall be a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as long as the Synod conforms to the congregation's confessional standard set forth in Section 3 as determined by a two-thirds majority vote of the congregation at a meeting called for that purpose.

8.2 The congregation shall send its pastor(s), other called workers and lay delegate to the District Conventions of the Synod. It shall, to the best of its ability, work with the Synod and assist it in the building of the Kingdom of God.

9.0 Division

9.1 If at any time a division should take place on account of doctrine, the property of the congregation and all benefits connected therewith shall remain with those communicant members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Section 3 of this Constitution as determined by the adjudication procedures of the Synod.

9.2 If division takes place for any other reason, the property shall remain with the majority of the communicant members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Section 3 of this Constitution, as determined by the adjudication procedures of the Synod.

9.3 In the event the congregation should dissolve, the property and all rights connected therewith shall be transferred to that District of the Synod in which the congregation held membership at the time of dissolution, subject to their acceptance thereof.

10.0 Property Rights

If at any time any party or parties or organization shall purchase or donate any real property, furnishings, equipment, or other personal property to the congregation such items shall become the sole property of the congregation and such party or parties or organizations shall relinquish all rights and control as to the use and disposition of said items.

11.0 Meetings

An annual meeting of the voting congregation shall be held as set forth in the Bylaws. Special meetings may be called at any time with the purpose, place, date and time of the meeting being announced at least 14 days prior to the scheduled meeting.

12.0 Quorum

Thirty percent (30%) of registered voting members at a validly called meeting of the voting congregation shall constitute a quorum, (for exceptions to this rule, refer to 17.6 in the Bylaws). To determine a quorum, voting membership shall be the total number of registered voters as of September 1st of each calendar year.

13.0 Limitations on Holding Office

According to the Synodical Handbook of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, women may not serve as pastor or as an elder of the congregation. Women may hold voting membership in the congregation, can serve as ministry team leaders or members of a ministry team, may serve as a Director or Chairperson on the Board of Ministries, and may serve as Treasurer or Communications Secretary.

14.0 By-laws

This congregation may adopt such Bylaws as may be required for the accomplishment of its purpose.

15.0 Amendments

15.1 Amendments to provisions of this Constitution except Sections 2, 3, 5, 8 & 13 may be adopted at a meeting of the voting members of the congregation provided: the proposed amendment has been submitted to the Board of Ministries and has been communicated in writing to the members of the voting congregation at least 90 days prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendment will be acted upon.

15.2 In addition to the above requirements, proposals to amend Sections 2, 3, 5, 8 and 13 shall require that previous notice of such amendment and discussion of the same shall be presented at two (2) meetings of the voting congregation before the meeting at which the proposed amendment is to receive action. Due notice of the fact that a vote will be taken shall be given to all voting members of the congregation no less than 90 days prior to the voting meeting. Any changes in these articles shall not destroy the essential meaning of the same. Whether or not this has occurred shall be decided, if challenged, by the Adjudication procedure of the synodical District in which the congregation holds its synodical membership.

BY-LAWS

16.0 Procedures for Calling Ministers of Religion, Ordained or Commissioned

16.1 Whenever a called worker is to be called, every member of the congregation shall have the privilege of making one or more nominations. The congregation shall also ask the President of the Synodical District or his designated representative for recommendations.

16.2 In the case of calling all Ministers, Ordained or Commissioned, the Elders should serve as or appoint a call committee to serve this function.

16.3 In the screening process, the call committee shall submit all names to the District President for information and evaluation. After receiving the information and recommendations from the District President, the call committee shall narrow the list to five preferred candidates.

16.4 At a special meeting of the voting congregation for the purpose of calling, the preferred list may be amended by means of a two-thirds vote of those present. At that point, the voting congregation shall be asked to agree to be satisfied with the preferred list of five candidates selected.

16.5 Balloting shall proceed by means of secret ballot vote. A majority is needed in order to determine the disposition of the call, with the vote then to be made unanimous if possible.

16.6 It is recommended the Circuit Counselor or his representative shall be present to advise and counsel at the call meeting.

17.0 Meetings of the Voting Congregation

17.1 The voting members of the congregation shall meet annually in the month of November.

17.2 The election of members of the Board of Ministries, the Communications Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Elders shall take place at the November annual meeting to be effective January 1st of the following calendar year.

17.3 Special meetings of the voting congregation may be called by the Chairperson of the Board of Ministries, the Elders, or a minimum of ten percent (10%) of the voting congregation through the Chairperson of the Board. The percentage required shall be determined by the total number of registered voters as of September 1st of each calendar year. Special meetings will be called as stipulated in the Constitution.

17.4 Every meeting of the voting congregation shall be announced 14 days prior to the scheduled meeting. This notice is to include the proposed agenda.

17.5 There shall be no voting by proxy. A voter who is absent from the meeting forfeits the right to vote.

17.6 For amending the Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution, the By-laws, the purchase or sale of real property or capital improvements in excess of a value of $5,000.00, or for the removal from office a Minister of Religion, Ordained or Commissioned, or some other member from office, a simple majority of all registered voting members shall be required for a quorum and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast shall be required for adoption of a resolution. In the absence of a majority, those present may fix the date for an adjourned meeting for which at least five days written notice shall be given. The members who are present at such adjourned meeting shall constitute a quorum.

17.7 Termination of communicant membership automatically terminates voting membership.

17.8 The order of business and agenda shall be set by the Chairperson of the Board of Ministries in consultation with the Pastor and the Board of Ministries. All proceedings shall be conducted with decency and in good order and with strong evidence of our Christian love for each other. In questions of parliamentary procedure not covered by the Constitution and the By-laws the current revised Robert's Rules of Order shall prevail.

18.0 Officers

18.1 The officers of this congregation consist of the Chairperson of the Board of Ministries, the Communications Secretary and the Treasurer.

18.2 The Chairperson of the Board of Ministries, the Communications Secretary and the Treasurer shall be legal representatives of this congregation and shall upon proper authorization by either the Board of Ministries or the Voting Congregation, (depending who has jurisdiction in the matter), sell, mortgage, lease, or otherwise convey or dispose of the property of the congregation; sign legal documents, make contracts and represent the congregation in court if necessary.

19.0 The Board of Ministries

The purpose of this Board is to encourage and facilitate ministries as a response to God's love for us. Ministy is being defined as to give, to help, to serve, or attend to those in need of care, comfort and compassion.

19.1 Membership - The Board of Ministries shall consist of the Pastor and seven (7) Directors, with one Director being elected by the Board as Chairperson. The Chairperson shall preside over meetings. The Pastor shall serve an advisory role and not have voting rights. The Communications Secretary will record minutes and the Treasurer will be expected to attend meetings regularly to report the state of Church finances although the Treasurer are voting members of the Board.

19.2 The Board of Ministries shall meet in regular session as required. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or any three (3) members of the Board by giving notice of such meeting to all members of the Board verbally or in writing no less than 24 hours before such meeting. Four (4) Directors must be present to constitute a quorum.

19.3 Duties

  • To uphold the Mission, Vision and Values of the Church through discipleship, worship and service to God's Kingdom.
  • Establish goals and objectives for ministry which will assist ministry leaders and teams to focus on carrying them out.>
  • Serve as mentors in preparing future Church leaders.
  • Provide training to equip ministry team leaders for ministry.
  • Hear reports from ministry team leaders on results of ministry programs holding them accountable to the Mission, Vision and Values of the Church.
  • Encourage individuals to form ministry teams to carry out ministry for the good of God's Kingdom. Allow those closest to the ministry itself to make decisions to carry out the ministry. Do everything possible to support the ministry financially as needed.
  • Establish an annual budget to financially support expenses and ministry opportunities.
  • Encourage ministry teams to communicate and work together in their efforts to accomplish their goals.
  • Encourage all congregation members to attend Board meetings to express their opinions and feelings relating to current Church business and ministry opportunities.
  • Approve all revisions to position responsibilities descriptions.

20.0 The Elders

The Elders shall consist of at least six (6) members elected by the voting congregation. Additional members may be added by following the procedure for Nomination and Election if it is determined by a vote of the Elders to be necessary to carry out their duties. The Elders shall elect their own Chairman on an annual basis. Regular meetings as required will be held to carry out their duties as prescribed in the position responsibilities description manual. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor, Chairman, or by at least two (2) members of the group by providing a verbal or written notice within 24 hours of such meeting taking place. This group is supervised and is held accountable by the Pastor.

21.0 Nomination and Election

21.1 Candidates for the Board of Ministries, the Communications Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Elders shall be solicited from two different sources. The preliminary list of candidates will be selected as a result of the leadership mentoring process designed to prepare future leaders for position responsibilities. The second source of candidates will come as an invitation from the leadership for additional nominations to be given consideration. The nomination process will require a personal meeting between the nominated individual and the respective leadership group to make sure they understand their responsibilities if elected. Once the final list of candidates has been compiled, the list shall be published 14 days prior to the election taking place at the regular annual meeting in November of each year. No person shall be nominated without consent.

21.2 All elected leadership positions shall be elected by a majority ballot vote. They shall be placed into office in a public service of the congregation and shall assume their office on January 1st of the following calendar year.

21.3 An individual who is serving in a leadership role can hold only one elected position per term.

21.4 Positions held by members of the Board of Ministries will be for a two (2) year term with an unlimited opportunity for re-election. The elected terms for the Board Directors shall be staggered with four (4) Director positions coming up for election at the regular annual meeting one year and the other three (3) Director positions coming up for election the following year. The Board of Ministries shall elect their own Chairperson on an annual basis. In the event that no successor has been elected when the respective term expires, such individual in that position shall continue until a successor is elected. If a person can no longer serve prior to the expiration of their term, the Chairperson has the authority to appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term.

21.5 Positions held by members of the Elders will be for a two (2) year term with an unlimited opportunity for re-election. The elected terms for the members of the Elders shall be staggered with one-half of the positions coming up for election at the regular annual meeting one year and the remaining positions coming up for election the following year. The Elders appoint their own Chairman on an annual basis. In the event that no successor has been elected when the respective term expires, such individual in that position shall continue until a successor is elected. If a person can no longer serve prior to the expiration of their term, the Chairman has the authority to appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term.

21.6 The positions of Communications Secretary and the Treasurer will be for a two (2) year term with an unlimited opportunity for re-election. The elected terms for these positions shall be staggered with the Communications Secretary coming up for election at the regular meeting one year and the Treasurer coming up for election the following year. Rules regarding continuing service when no successor can be found and filling unexpired terms also apply to these positions as with the Board of Ministries and the Elders.

22.0 Standing Committees

22.1 Auditing Committee

This committee shall consist of three voting members of the congregation who are appointed by the Chairperson of the Board of Ministries for a term of three (3) years with one member appointed each year. Their duties are outlined in the Position responsibilities description manual.

23.0 Amendments

23.1 Amendments of Articles of Incorporation

The Corporation, which is, and will continue to remain a corporation, may amend its Articles of Incorporation from time to time in any and as many respects as may be desired so long as the Articles of Incorporation as amended contain only such provisions as are lawful under the Non-Profit Corporation Act of the State of Nebraska, as amended. (21-1933)

Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation shall be in the following manner:
The Board of Ministries shall adopt a resolution setting forth the proposed amendment, and direct that it be submitted to a vote at a meeting of the voting congregation, which may either a regular or special meeting. Written or printed notice setting forth the proposed amendment shall be given to each member entitled to vote at such meeting within the time and in the manner provided in the Non-Profit Corporation Act of the State of Nebraska, as amended, for the giving of notice of meetings of voting members. The proposed amendment shall be adopted upon receiving at least a two-thirds majority of the vote of those present and voting. Any number of amendments may be submitted and voted upon at any one meeting.

23.2 Amendments to the By-laws

The proposed amendment to the By-laws must be presented to the Board of Ministries and then presented to the voting congregation in writing at least 90 days prior to a regular meeting of the voting congregation where the proposed amendment will be acted upon. At the next regular meeting, (or special meeting if called), of the voting congregation, the proposed amendment will be voted upon and may be adopted upon a two-thirds majority of those present if it is declared a quorum.

Amended as of 9-7-04