June 2 Congregational Meeting

constitution And Bylaw Proposals

On June 2, 2019 the Congregation will meet to vote on the following four sets of proposals to the St. Peter’s Constitution and Bylaws.  

We encourage all members to please review these proposals prior to the meeting and contact Leslie McCarthy if they have questions or concerns.

In the interest of expediting the voting and keeping the meeting brief, we would like to address as many questions as possible prior to the meeting.  

Please be aware that this notice is being provided less than 30-days prior to the meeting, as is required by the Constitution. If any Congregational member has formal objection to this and feels they have not been provided enough opportunity to review the proposals prior to the meeting, please let Leslie McCarthy (Constitutional Committee Chair), Beth Soslow (Council President) or one of the pastors know.  

For your reference, the current 2016 Constitution is available here.

Proposal #1 – The Constitution Committee’s Proposed Amendments

These proposed amendments, downloadable as a PDF here, were previously presented at the November 2017 and November 2018 Annual Meetings. Only the sections that contain changes are included, as well as any adjacent sections needed to provide context to understand the proposed change. New proposed language is underlined, new proposed deletions are shown with a “strike-though.” Where there are sections with substantive change there is a brief note explaining the reasons for the proposed change.

Proposal #2 – Increasing Council’s Permitted Expenditures

The following change is proposed to Chapter 12, pertaining to Council’s permitted expenditures outside the approved budget:

Delete C12.05(d) and replace 12.05(c) with the following language:

“The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by this congregation and shall supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption. The Congregation Council may enter into contracts for items not included in the approved budget in a cumulative amount not to exceed 4% of the approved budget. The Congregation Council may enter into contracts for items not included in the approved budget in a cumulative amount that exceeds 4% of the approved budget only after approval by a Congregation Meeting. The budget shall include this congregation’s full-indicated share in support of the wider ministry being carried on in partnership with the synod and churchwide organization.”

This chapter currently permits the Council to enter into contracts outside the budget only if it does not exceed 2% of the annual budget.  This proposal would increase this amount to 4% of the annual budget.

Proposal #3 – Requiring Indemnification

The Constitution currently contains a provision that provides the church “may adopt provisions providing indemnification.” (C.19.01). This section is required by the ELCA.  The following proposed By-Law goes a step further to require the Church indemnify council members, officers, employees, rostered leaders and congregation members who are volunteering to further the church’s ministries, as long as their actions do not include willful misconduct, recklessness or self-dealing.  Generally, churches provide indemnification to such individuals through a liability insurance policy.

Insert By-Law B19.01.01 as follows:

“In order to strengthen the requirements of C19.01, the congregation, through Congregational Council action, will adopt provisions providing indemnification for each person who, by reason of the fact that such person is or was a congregation council member, officer, employee, ELCA rostered reader called by this congregation, or other congregation member representing this congregation in the authorized execution of its ministries, was or is threatened to be made a part of any threatened, pending, or completed civil, criminal, administrative, arbitration, or investigative proceeding. Indemnification, however, shall not be provided in any case where the conduct giving rise to the claim for indemnification constituted willful misconduct, recklessness, or self-dealing.”

Proposal #4 – Procedure for Resolving Substantive Disagreements

Currently the Constitution contains the following required provision pertaining to the resolution of disagreements among members of the congregation:

When there is disagreement among factions within this congregation on a substantive issue that cannot be resolved by the parties, members of this congregation shall have access to the synodical bishop for consultation after informing the chair of the Congregation Council of their intent. If the consultation fails to resolve the issue(s), the Consultation Committee of the synod shall consider the matter. If the Consultation Committee of the synod shall fail to resolve the issue(s), the matter shall be referred to the Synod Council, whose decision shall be final. (C15.11)

The following proposed Bylaw B15.11.01 adds to the above procedure by requiring the involvement of Congregation Council as the first step in resolving any substantive disagreement:

Insert Bylaw B15.11.01 as follows:

Notwithstanding the provisions to C.15.11, above, prior to contacting the synodical bishop for consultation, members of the Congregation shall first contact the Congregation Council, in writing, outlining the substantive issue.  Congregational Council shall then be tasked with the responsibility of determining if the issue is “substantive” for the Congregation, as well as, if so determined, deciding said issue amongst the factions within the Congregation.  A majority vote of the Congregational Council shall be final regarding both the nature of issue and its resolution.  If, however, a majority vote of Congregation Council is unable to be reached in such a matter, the members of the Congregation shall then have access to the synodical bishop as per the process set forth in C15.11.


Thank you for reading. Please remember to join us for the meeting on June 2 at 9:00am. Please know that we need at least 150 voting members to meet our quorum. The proposed amendments and the reference version of the constitution are available for download below.

Rev. Sarah Teichmann

Rev. Sarah Teichmann

Pastor of Christian Formation

I love working in a staff where we are able to use each other’s strengths for the glory of God. I am energized by the lay leaders of the church and the creative ways they can extend the mission of Jesus to congregational members and our community.

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