Proposed HCEL Constitution DOWNLOAD

The Constitution and By-Laws of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church


We, baptized members of the Church of Christ, responding in faith to the call of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, desiring to unite together to preach the Word, administer the Sacraments and carry out God’s mission, do hereby adopt this Constitution and agree to be governed by its provisions, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Article 1—Name and Incorporation

The name of this congregation shall be Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church.

This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Article 2—Mission Statement
The mission of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be 
Loving God… loving others… serving the world…”

Article 3—Statement of Faith

This congregation accepts the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declaration of the faith of the congregation.

We Believe That Jesus Is Lord.
Matthew 22:34-40, John 14:6, Philippians 2:9-11.
Jesus is the head of the Church. Unity among the various expressions of the body of Christ is best achieved through focusing on Jesus, who alone is able to draw all people to himself. Jesus is the complete and ultimate expression of God and is part of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We Stand On The Word Of God.
John 1:1, 1:14, II Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4, Psalm 1.
The Bible is our authority and sole guide for life and faith. We accept on faith that all of the Scripture is inspired by God.

We Desire Genuine Worship.
I Peter 2:9, John 4:23-24, Psalm 98:4-9, Psalm 105:1-4.
Worship establishes and encourages a right relationship between God and his people.  Worship is
essential for the believer and central to the life of the Church. In it we cast our eyes to the cross, we come under the instruction of God’s Word, and we are strengthened by the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, bound together as Christ’s body.

We Are Called By God.
Matthew 4:19, I Corinthians 12:12, 27, Ephesians 4:11-16.
We believe in “the priesthood of all believers” (I Peter 2:4-10). All of God’s people are called to
ministry and the body of Christ must recognize and affirm that call. God has gifted every believer through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to serve the cause of Christ Jesus in the world.

We Are Free In Christ.
Romans 8:1-2, Galatians 5:1, John 8:31-36.
Because of what Jesus has done for us we are free. In this congregation it is OK to have fun, it is OK to make mistakes, and it is OK to say “no.” We are free to serve God as the Lord leads us and not out of guilt, obligation or duty. We serve God in response to what the Lord has already done for us; we serve him joyfully.

We Will “Go And Make Disciples.”
Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 19:10, Acts 1:8.
Jesus gave his disciples this command—“Go and make disciples of all nations.”Therefore, the Church exists primarily for the sake of those who don’t yet belong. We will seek to invite every person to consider a living and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, for he is the only way to salvation and
eternal life. (John 14:6)

We Celebrate That God Is Changing
. John 8:1-11, II Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:15.
We believe that God changes lives and that he alone has the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to create faith and help us live lives that are pleasing to him. As believers, we accept that there is
nothing in this world that ever stays the same except the solid rock of our salvation. We can, therefore learn to adjust and adapt to our changing surroundings. We worship Jesus as our Lord, not our tradition, not our history and not ourselves.

Article 4—By-laws

This congregation may adopt By-laws. No By-law may conflict with this constitution.

By-laws may be adopted or amended at any legally called meeting of the congregation by a majority vote of those voting members present and voting.

Changes to the By-laws may be proposed by any voting member provided, however that such additions or amendments be submitted in writing to the Church Council at least sixty (60) days before a regular or special meeting called for that purpose and that the Church Council notify the members of the proposal with its recommendations at least thirty (30) days in advance of the
congregational meeting.

Article 5—Amendments

Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by the Church Council or 10 (ten) percent of the congregational members. Proposals must be filed in writing with the Church Council sixty (60) days before formal consideration by the congregation at a regular or special meeting called for that purpose. The Church Council shall notify the members of the proposal with their recommendations at
least thirty (30) days in advance of the meeting.

A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:
a.  Be approved at a properly called meeting by a majority vote of those present and voting;

b.  Be amended by a majority vote of those present and voting if a proposed amendment fails to be      approved at the first meeting;

c.  Be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of       those present and voting;  and

d.  Have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the Constitution.

Article 6—Continuing Resolutions

The congregation council may enact Continuing Resolutions which describe the function of the various committees or organizations of this congregation.

Continuing Resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a two-thirds(2/3) vote of all voting members of the Church Council.

By-laws of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church

Part I—Statement of Faith

1. Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be a Lutheran congregation, which holds that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authoritative norm and guide for faith and life.

2.  Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church accepts the confessional writings in the Book of Concord as a true witness to the Gospel; the Book of Concord includes the Small Catechism and the Large

Part II—Affiliation

1. Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church shall live out its Statement of Faith as a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).

2. Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church may end its affiliation with Lutheran Congregations
in Mission for Christ (LCMC) with agreement of a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a legally called congregational meeting.

3.  Concurrent with the motion to cease LCMC affiliation there must be a simultaneous proposal to establish a new affiliation.  This action shall be part of the same motion presented at the legally
called congregational meeting.

Part III—Membership in Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church

1. Members shall be individuals, approved by the Church Council, who by baptism, confirmation, and/or affirmation of their faith evidenced their agreement with the “Statement of Faith” in Part I of these By-laws.

2. Voting members shall be all confirmed members of the congregation who have attended worship at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church and have made a contribution of record to Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church during the preceding 12 months prior to any scheduled congregational

3. Discontinuance of membership:

a. By transfer—Any member requesting a transfer to another congregation shall receive a transfer.

b. By request—Any member requesting that their name be removed as a member.

c. Due to inactivity—At the end of the calendar year, if a member has not attended or made a
contribution of record to Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church during the preceding 12 months, that member may be deleted, upon approval by the Church Council.

Part IV—Disciplining Members

1. Chapter 18 in the New Testament Book of Matthew shall guide the congregation for any disciplinary matter of any member.

2. The Church Council is charged with administration of any disciplinary hearing involving a

3. A member, who is requested to appear before the Church Council for possible discipline,
shall be advised in writing no less than ten (10) days prior to the hearing. The written notice shall include the time and place of the hearing and shall specify the exact reason for the possible discipline. If the member fails to appear at the time and place without a valid excuse, the Church Councilmay proceed with the hearing and may reach its conclusion in the member’s absence.

4. By a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote, the Church Council may impose one of the following:

a. Censure before the Church  Council or the congregation.

b. Suspension from membership until proof is provided of  sufficient repentance and amendment.

c. Dismissal from membership.

5. The member will be notified of the Church Council’s conclusion and any further action in writing within seven (7) days of the hearing.

Part V—The Pastoral Call

1. Only pastors who are in agreement with the “Statement of Faith” in Part I of these By-laws shall be called and retained as pastors of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church.

2. Authority to call a full-time pastor shall rest with the congregation.  Such a call shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a legally called congregational meeting.  A pastoral call shall be enacted in accord with the provisions of the LCMC guidelines for this process as listed on their website.

Part VI—Termination of Employment of a Full-Time Pastor

1. Termination of the employment of a full-time pastor shall require a two-thirds(2/3) majority vote at a legally called congregational meeting.

Part VII—Title to Property

1. Title to all real and personal property acquired by the congregation, its organizations or individuals for the use of the congregation, shall be held by the congregation as a corporation.

2. Real property shall not be purchased, disposed of or encumbered in any manner except by resolution adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a legally called congregational meeting.

3. Should the congregation be dissolved or fall into disuse, its real and personal property shall be liquidated to settle its debts and other  financial obligations. The remainder of funds, if any, shall be
distributed to non-profit Christian organization(s) as determined by the Church Council.

Part VIII—Meetings of the Congregation

1. The power and authority of the congregation shall be exercised through the congregational meeting, which shall be called and conducted in conformity with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania non-profit corporations law and the provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the congregation.

2. The quorum for all congregational meetings shall be ten (10) percent of total voting members.

3. Parliamentary procedures shall be in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

4. Voting

a. Unless specifically stated otherwise in the Constitution and By-laws of the congregation, any
action by the congregation must pass by a simple majority of the votes cast.

b. In order to vote, a member must be physically present and voting. The actual vote may be by
voice, hand count, standing count or secret ballot.

c. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall ONLY be allowed in the case of persons serving in
the military, students away from home, and members who are shut-in or reside in nursing homes.

d. Abstaining votes or invalid ballots will not be included in the calculation to determine whether      or not the proper affirmative majority has been attained.

5. The Annual Meeting:

a. The annual meeting shall be held in accordance with a schedule determined by the Church

b. It shall include, but not be limited to, an election of Church Council members as needed and
approval of the next calendar year’s Ministry Spending Proposal.

c. Announcement of the time and place of the annual meeting shall be made at all worship services
during the two (2) weeks preceding the date of the meeting and by a written notice mailed to every voting member at least ten (10) days before the meeting.

6. Special Meetings:

a. Special meeting of the congregation may be called by the Church Council, the President of the
Church Council, a full-time pastor or by written demand of at least ten (10) percent of the voting

b. Written notice stating the date, time, place and purpose of such special meeting shall be mailed      to every voting member at least ten (10) days before the meeting.

c. The pastor(s) shall be notified of the date, time, place and purpose of each special meeting.

d. The business transacted at a special meeting shall be limited to the purposes stated within the
notice of the meeting.

Part IX—General Provisions for the Church Council

1. The congregation shall elect the Church Council.

2. Only voting members of the congregation shall be eligible for membership on the Church Council.

3. A compensated staff member of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church may not serve as a voting member of the Church Council.

4. No member shall be eligible to serve more than two full terms consecutively.

5. If a vacancy occurs in the Church Council, the Church Council may fill the vacancy until the
next annual meeting.

6. A member of the Church Council who is absent without excuse from three (3) consecutive regular meetings shall be consulted by the President; if the member is absent from additional regular meetings without valid excuse, the Church Council may declare the office vacant.

7. A quorum for any regular or special meeting of the Church Council shall be a majority of the membership of the Church Council.

8. A special meeting of the Church Councilmay be called by a full-time pastor or by any member of the Church Council. Notice of such meeting shall be given not less than five (5) days prior to the meeting. The five (5) day notice may be waived by unanimous consent of the voting members of the Church

9. The pastor(s) shall be advisory member(s) of the Church Council, but without vote.

Part X— Church Council: Duties and Responsibilities

1. The Church Council shall determine the number of members on the Church Council, which shall be at least six (6) and not more than twelve (12). The term for each member shall be three (3) years, with approximately one third (1/3) of the terms expiring each year.

2. At its first meeting following the annual meeting of the congregation, the Church Council shall elect
the following officers to serve one-year terms: President and Vice-President who shall be voting members of the Church Council. A Secretary, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary shall be appointed
by the Church Council.

3. The Church Council shall have such authority and duty as is delegated to it by the Constitution, these By-laws, the resolutions of the congregation, and Pennsylvania non-profit corporation law, including, but not limited to, the authority and duty to:

a. Designate and grant authority to individuals to sign any legal documents on behalf of Holy
Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church including but not limited to, checks, drafts, notes and any other order of monetary payment for Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church.

b. Conduct regular monthly meetings, at such time and place as the Church Council may determine.

c. Provide for worship leadership, preaching and administration of the Sacraments of Baptism and      Holy Communion.

d. Approve hiring of compensated ministry staff other than the full-time pastor(s) and annually fix      and review their compensation.

e. Annually review the performance and compensation of the pastor(s).

f. Prepare and submit a Ministry Spending Proposal to the congregation for approval.

g. Report its activities to the annual meeting of the congregation and at such time as the Church      Council may decide.

h. Choose delegates to any group or meeting in which the congregation is entitled to representation.

i. Establish policies and committees necessary for the ongoing operations and programs of
Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church with input from the congregation as appropriate.

j. Assign other duties and responsibilities to the officer positions as necessary.

Part XI—Officers

1. The President shall preside at the meetings of the Church Council and of the congregation.

2. The Vice-President shall preside at the meetings of the Church Council and of the congregation in the absence of the President.

3. The Secretary shall oversee: (a) the keeping of the minutes of the Church Council, and (b) maintain of the records of the congregation.

4. The Treasurer shall handle the finances of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in conjunction with the direction of the Church Council.

Part XII—Amendment of By-laws

1. Amendments to the By-laws may be proposed to the congregation by the Church Council or by ten (10) percent of the voting members submitting to the Church Council a request for specified amendments.

2. Any proposed amendment must be readily available to the voting members at least twenty-one (21) days prior to a legally called congregational meeting. A general description of the proposed
amendment(s) and the date and time of the congregational meeting must be announced at all worship services during the twenty-one (21) days prior to the congregational meeting.

3. To become effective, any proposed amendment(s) must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a legally called congregational meeting.

XIII—Superseding of Prior Constitutions and Bylaws

This Constitution and By-laws supersede and replace all of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church’s prior Constitutions and Bylaws.

Part XIV—Adoption, Ratification and Effective  Date

1. This Constitution and Bylaws were adopted by Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church and became effective on April 28, 2013.