WELCOME TO THE CONSTITUTIONS PAGE! The LCMS Ohio District Committee on Constitutional Matters has been given the responsibility of examining the constitutions and by-laws of District congregations. The Committee consists of Pastor Paul Hoffman, Chairman, and Thomas and Jean Moffitt. Usually, our Committee examines revised constitutions and by-laws, but once in a while we consider a new constitution from a mission congregation. Any questions, contact Rev. Paul Hoffman, .

Here are the four usual questions we receive and their answers:

1. What is the process for submitting a congregation’s constitution and / or by-laws?

The Committee recommends that congregations should submit any changes that they make to their constitutions or bylaws for the sake of order.   You don’t have to submit policy statements. Here is the process for submitting:

A. Congregations should send their new or amended constitutions to Mrs. Cheryl Ohradzansky, District Administrative Assistant, via the mail at P.O. Box 38277, Olmsted Falls, OH 44138 or you may e-mail your constitution to her at . Be sure to include the name of a contact person and his/her e-mail.

B. Cheryl will register the constitution and send it to the Committee.

C. The Committee will examine your constitution/bylaws and make their recommendations,   if necessary, for any changes. If the Committee approves your constitution, they will recommend that the Board of Directors ratify it. If your congregation must make changes, you must return amended your constitution to Rev. Hoffman at .   Then your constitution will be approved and recommended for ratification by the Board.  

D. Once the Board ratifies your constitution, the District Secretary will advise you of the Board’s approval.

E. Then you should send a clean copy of your approved constitution / by-laws to the   District office by mail P.O. Box 38277, Olmsted Falls, OH 44138 or email at .  Now it is the official constitution of your congregation.  

2. Are there some examples that we can use as we revise our constitutions?

Yes, the Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) provides a template that you can use when revising your constitution. They also provide a template for mission congregations to use. Here is the link to the CCM page.  From there you will find the Section that reads 'Resources" then go to "Helpful Documents" and you'll find the document, "Guidelines for the Constitution and Bylaws of a Lutheran Congregations."  

3. What about a statement about the dissolution of the congregation?   Is that necessary?  

Yes, one of our main responsibilities is to make sure that each congregational constitution includes a statement on dissolution, just in case. The Synod's Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) provides a very helpful template about this. Here is the link to the CCM page. From there you will find the Section that reads 'Resources" then go to "Helpful Documents" and you'll find the document, "Guidelines for the Constitution and Bylaws of a Lutheran Congregations." Refer to page 10, 10.0 Division.

Please note that congregation must name the District or a 501c organization; individuals cannot be named.

4. Our congregation wants to affirm the sanctity of marriage as opposed to same-gender marriage. Should we include this in our constitution?

According to the CCM, congregations do not have to include a statement about the sanctity of marriage, but they may establish a policy statement about this issue. Here is the LINK for congregations to use for help with their policy statement. Scroll down to "Statements". 

Any questions, contact Rev. Paul Hoffman, .