The main work of the congregation council on December 12 was to review and recommend actions on our constitution and bylaws in preparation for our semi-annual congregation meeting. The following actions were taken.

  • A motion to approve an amended policy on use of our parking lot by guests was passed. The policy can be found HERE.
  • The semiannual meeting of the congregation was set for noon on Sunday, January 28.
  • A motion to recommend approval of our revised constitution was passed. The draft which will be voted upon by the congregation includes the changes approved at our June congregational meeting, with minor changes required by the St. Paul Area Synod. This will be the second and final vote, as required by ELCA rules. An explanation of the changes will be sent to all members next week. A full draft of the new constitution will be available upon request.
  • Two motions recommending changes to our bylaws were passed. These will also be voted on by the congregation at thee January semiannual meeting.
    •  1) Remove the following language “Committee Chairs shall participate in their respective committees as required by the Continuing Resolutions” [Rationale: The language on committee chairs in the bylaws was intended to apply to the congregational life areas and is no longer needed.  Where similar language may be needed it can be included in the continuing resolutions.]
    • 2) Add by bylaw to the section of the constitution on organizational structure (C4.04). The bylaw would establish three “spheres of focus to” to replace the six areas of congregational life which were removed from the bylaws in January, 2022. These proposed bylaws, numbered as required in the new constitutional format are:

C4.04BL01In fulfilling it’s duties as described in Chapter 12, the congregation council establishes three spheres of focus.
 BL01.1Internal Engagement – Building the Church
 BL01.2External Engagement – Loving the World
 BL01.3Mission Support
 BL01.4Each sphere of focus shall encompass the committees, teams and workgroups whose work is largely related to that sphere of focus.
 BL01.5The work of each sphere of focus will be coordinated by a leader appointed by the congregation council.

Rationale:  Our old bylaws (and current continuing resolutions) describe a committee structure based on six areas of congregational life (service and advocacy, worship, community life, property, education and stewardship). Each of these congregational life areas was to be to represented on the congregation council by a member elected to lead a committee responsible for that area. That model was not working well. Last year we changed our bylaws to remove that requirement and instead elect members to serve “at large”.

By reducing the number of areas to three and removing the requirement that the leaders serve on the council we will be better able to maintain consistent, effective leadership.  While the details of how our current committees and teams would fit into this structure remained to be described in continuing resolutions, most of our current ministries clearly relate to one of the three spheres.

In November the council began looking at how we might regroup our committees and teams and set guidelines for how they function. We said last month that for each of the committees defined in our continuing resolutions, and for teams that have been created that are not described in the resolutions, we plan to define:

  1. scope of responsibility
  2. leadership selection/appointment
  3. member selection/appointment
  4. operating rules (Robert’s etc)
  5. spending authority
  6. communication/reporting process

To that list, we can now include which of the three spheres they fit into.

Although changes in our continuing resolutions do not require a vote of the congregation they will require your review and input, especially if you are actively involved in any of our ministries.  Please contact any member of the council with your ideas.