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2022 Constitution Update Page


Jan 21 ’23 – MLC Constitution Accepted by Southeastern Synod ELC A

MLC’s Sep 18, 2022 Constitution, ratified on Nov 13, 2022 has now been approved by the Southeastern Synod Council following their January meeting on Jan 21, 2023.  MLC’s new Constitution is now in place as the governing document for Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, Alabama.

MLC Constitution Effective January 21, 2023 

Nov 13, 2022 – MLC Constitution Ratified by MLC’s Congregation

At it’s November 13 Congregation Meeting, MLC’s Congregation voted to ratify the approved Constitution which was approved by the Congregation on September 18, 2022.  The ratified constitution now will be sent to the Southeastern Synod for final acceptance.  This is expected to be completed in January of 2023.

Sep 18, 2033 MLC Constitution Draft Approved as Amended

At a Special Congregation Meeting on Sep. 18, 2022 the Congregation of Messiah Lutheran Church approved the current draft with an amendment presented at the meeting to reduce the quorum to 15% down from 20%.

Sep 18 2022 Approved Constitution

The next step for MLC’s approved draft of the constitution is for the Congregation to ratify it. This will be done at the November 13 Congregation Meeting. From there it will go to the Southeastern Synod for final approval.


Upcoming Dates:

Nov. 6 – Town Hall Meeting (Time/location TBD) to preview the agenda for MLC’s Nov. 13 Congregation Meeting.

Nov. 13 – Congregation Meeting 9:45 a.m. in MLC Sanctuary.  Two items currently anticipated on the agenda are:  1. Voting on MLC’s 2023 Plan for Mission (aka Budget) and 2. Ratification of MLC’s Constitution.

There will be a Temple Talk on this latest Draft Constitution and the Ministry Site Profile on Sunday, May 29.

Constitution Survey Results

Here are the results of the recent Constitution Survey.   81  Members responded.

 Survey Results

The relevant text for the survey is highlighted in yellow.

Updating the Messiah Lutheran Church Constitution

Background: At the third meeting of the Transition Team on March 30, 2022, Pastor Diana Bottin gave the committee the charge to update the MLC Constitution.

The MLC Constitution was last updated in 2012, with Pastor Ruth Hamilton, Lee Smith and John Shriver leading that work. John Shriver and Mary Ann Stasiak (both members of the Transition Team) volunteered to lead the current effort. John asked that Lee Smith be asked to join he and Mary Ann to form a Constitution Revision Subcommittee to update the Constitution. This was approved.
Current MLC Constititution (2012)
Model Constitution (ELCA 2019)
Suggestions, feedback, and questions can be submitted to the members of the Constitution Revision Subcommittee at any time (Mary Ann Stasiak, Lee Smith, and John Shriver).

The timeline for updating the MLC Constitution:

May Create a working (not final) version of the MLC Constitution that reflects the consensus of the Congregation based on input from email, a Town Hall meeting, and a written survey as of May 15. 

June Working Group sends proposed changes to Pastor Chilton for review. (Prior to sending to MLC Council)

July After Pr Chilton approves, submit to MLC Council for approval. (60 Days before Congregation meeting #1)

MidSeptember. Hold Congregation Meeting #1 for “Approval.” (Notification 30 days before meeting)

October or at Regular November Meeting. Hold Congregation Meeting #2 for “Ratification.” (Notification 30 days before meeting)

December Send Approved/Ratified constitution for SES Council approval

January Changes effective upon SES Council approval. This is about the time we will call a new pastor who will operate under the new constitution from the beginning of his/her call.

Constitution Revision Subcommittee Meetings and Progress:
Scroll down to see latest updates.

April 5, 2022: It was decided that we would begin the process of merging the current MLC Constitution with the Model Constitution (ELCA 2019). We would follow the procedure similar to that used with Pastor Ruth. All required modifications (indicated with an asterisk, e.g. *C2.01) would be made since we have no choice with this text. These are required changes. Current text that does not violate the required changes will be retained. Where there are alternatives, they would be clearly indicated in the draft so that they can be considered by council and the congregation.
Pastor Delmer Chilton, Assistant to the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod, would be consulted on the process by Lee Smith. Mary Ann will work with Meredith Kilby (MLC’s Communication Director) to get a notice to the congregation for initial input before we get too far along in the process. Further input will occur later with one or more town hall meetings. The final draft with alternatives would be referred to council and the Southeastern Synod for approval. It would then be referred to the congregation for approval (first congregational meeting) and then again for ratification (second congregational meeting). There are required notification times and delays built into the process so this will take many months. These are defined on the Southeastern Synod website and in the Constitution.

A merged draft of the Constitution was created, with differences in text highlighted in color (blue showing the current Constitution text, and red the Model Constitution text, and black showing no difference).

April 10, 2022: Lee Smith and John Shriver went through the first 9 chapters of the merged constitution and made all required changes, retaining all bylaws and text that did not violate the Model Constitution. Alternatives are indicated in brackets.

April 19, 2022: Update

April 21, 2022: Update

April 25, 2022: The Constitution Revision Subcommittee met on April 25 and completed a draft of the constitution for review by the Congregation. This draft should be the focus for input and discussion at the Town Hall meeting on May 8. A survey will be distributed to help us achieve consensus on 4 key points. The relevant text is highlighted in yellow.

May 2, 2022 – Constitution Survey and Comment Page A copy of the survey distributed at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 1 is available to members at the link below. There is also a comment form where members can leave comments on the constitution provisions being considered.  This is a protected page which requires a password to access.  The password was sent to members only in the recent May 1 Congregation Meeting notice and e-notice.  All forms must be received  before May 16 2022. 

May 8, 2022:  A town-hall style meeting took place at 9:45 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. in the Parish Hall.  Congregation members spoke on the three major optiontial provisions i the April 25 Draft Constitution.  A recap and video of the Town Hall were sent to members in the Tuesday, April 12 MLC E-News. Members were encouraged to complete their Constitution Survey no later than May 15, 2022.  Additional reminders to complete the Survey were sent on May 12 MLC E-News, a Special E-News on May 13, and again on May 15 MLC E-News. 


Here are the results of the recent Constitution Survey.   81  Members responded.

Survey Results