Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Bylaws to the Synod Assembly 2019
1 May 2019

Having been charged by Synod Council to review the bylaws of the synod and report to the 2019 Synod Assembly any recommendations, the following is set before the assembly for its consideration and action.

Submitted,
Jason Felici
Sally Bartling
Matthew Riegel

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #1

To amend B7.02, which reads,

B7.02. The secretary of the synod shall prepare in advance of any assembly the roster of the synod, delivering a copy thereof to the Committee on Registration and Attendance. The secretary shall list as voting members those persons whose credentials have been sent by the congregations. The official roster of registered delegates shall be closed at the end of the second business session.

by striking out the final sentence so that it shall read,

B7.02. The secretary of the synod shall prepare in advance of any assembly the roster of the synod, delivering a copy thereof to the Committee on Registration and Attendance. The secretary shall list as voting members those persons whose credentials have been sent by the congregations.

Rationale: A rationale for the concluding sentence did not present itself to the committee members. The term, “session,” appears to be incorrect, reflecting colloquial usage. It would seem that the technical term, “meeting,” is intended. When exactly the second meeting would be might change from assembly to assembly. Even so, no benefit for such a limitation is obvious. If a special meeting of the Synod Assembly were called or were the Synod Assembly to adjourn to a date in the future, this provision would preclude additional registrants. The provision also seems to conflict with B7.07, which relates to the seating of alternate voting members.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #2

To strike out B7.04, which reads,

B7.04. Every conference shall have the right to memorialize the assembly of this synod on any subject affecting the welfare of the church.

Rationale: None of our conferences, at this point, are constituted as deliberative assemblies. Our conferences would have the right to do so, as provided for in B12.03. Until a conference chooses to exercise the prerogative, none of the conferences have standing under parliamentary law. Elimination of the provision avoids potential confusion, and should a conference organize as a deliberative assembly, seeking standing, an appropriate bylaw could be created at that time.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #3

To amend B7.05, which reads,

B7.05. Every congregation shall have the right to petition the assembly of this synod on subjects affecting its own welfare and legitimate interests.

by striking out the word, “petition,” and inserting the word, “memorialize,” so that it shall read,

B7.05. Every congregation shall have the right to memorialize the assembly of this synod on subjects affecting its own welfare and legitimate interests.

Rationale: While “memorialize” is a more esoteric term, it is the one commonly used in the ELCA. It is to be preferred over the term, “petition,” which is open to misinterpretion.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #4

To strike out B7.09, which reads,

B7.09. Each voting member, or those persons accorded the privilege of seat and voice, when recognized by the chair, shall state his or her name, congregation or the institution or group he or she represents. Persons speaking from the floor shall use the floor microphones (if they are provided) and shall address and speak to the chair. Speeches by an individual voting member, or a person with the privilege of voice, shall be limited to five minutes on each assembly issue. Speakers may speak a second time on the same issue, but only after all others desiring to speak have been given opportunity to do so. Those speaking a second time shall be limited to three minutes of rebuttal.

Rationale: The parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, allows for the setting of speaker limits. The committee is of the opinion that each Synod Assembly should be free to set speaker limits as it sees fit and free to amend them while the assembly is in session. A bylaw militates against such freedom. The committee expects that this rule (or something similar to it) will be proposed as a special rule of order for each assembly.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #5

To amend B7.10, which reads,

B7.10. All motions, resolutions, amendments, and nominations shall be submitted in writing and on proper forms available from the secretary of synod or the assembly pages.

by adding, “This provision may be waived by the secretary,” so that it shall read,

B7.10. All motions, resolutions, amendments, and nominations shall be submitted in writing and on proper forms available from the secretary of synod or the assembly pages. This provision may be waived by the secretary.

Rationale: Some motions etc. are so simple that requiring submission in writing will only slow business. It is, nevertheless, critical that the secretary hear and record the motion. If the secretary is confident that the motion has been properly heard and recorded, the secretary should be free to waive the requirement. On the other hand, the secretary should be free to enforce it as well. Since this provision is entirely about what the secretary needs, the chair should not be able to waive it.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #6

To strike out B7.11, which reads,

B7.11. Except for items introduced by the Committees on Reference and Counsel or items previously tabled, items of business which are not on the agenda may be introduced on the last day of the assembly only by a two-thirds vote.

Rationale: This provision appears to be a hold-over from three-day assemblies. The committee is of the opinion that it is unnecessary if not unhelpful. Matters that are not germane to the pending question or report, per B7.16, must be submitted (prior to introduction on the floor) to Reference & Counsel. Reference & Counsel has the prerogative of recommending that a matter not be addressed by the assembly. Furthermore, Reference & Counsel is free to set its own deadline, and one should assume that Reference & Counsel will not convene late in the assembly (unless specifically ordered to do so by the assembly). If the matter is germane, the assembly has the right dispense with it as the assembly sees fit. This might mean that the assembly will hear it. The assembly might refer it to Synod Council if the assembly is of the opinion that it cannot reasonable consider it in the time afforded. Nothing, however, prevents the assembly from refusing to hear it through the objection to consideration of the question motion.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #7

To amend B7.14, which reads,

B7.14. The secretary shall post on the synod web site the bulletin of reports to all pastors and voting members-elect at least ten days before each regular Synod Assembly.

by striking out, “to all pastors and voting members-elect,” so that it shall read,

B7.14. The secretary shall post on the synod web site the bulletin of reports at least ten days before each regular Synod Assembly.

Rationale: The prepositional phrase that is proposed for striking is an artifact from the days when the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports was distributed through snail mail. One cannot post on the website to people; one simply posts on the website. It is the practice of the synod to send email notice of posting to all pre-registered synod assembly attendees. Notice is also sent via the Road Show and posted on Facebook. The web site posting, however, should be considered the official posting.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #8

To amend B9.05, which reads,

B9.05. A slate of nominees and their vita sheets will be shared in the pre-assembly web site based materials. These will be available at least ten days prior to the assembly.

by substitution so that it shall read,

B9.05. The report of the Nominating Committee, which shall include the names of the committee’s nominees with, at minimum, congregational membership and exposition, shall be published on the synod web site at least ten days prior to the assembly.

Rationale: The use of the term, “slate,” is problematic and to be avoided as, in some organizations, a “slate” means a list of nominees, one per position, and, in others, a preprinted ballot without nominations from floor (or even a combination of both). The term, “vita,” sheet has never been formally defined. The proposed wording makes it clear that we are talking about the report of the nominating committee, and, while giving minimal parameters, leaves it in the hands of Nominating Committee to construct its report as it thinks most appropriate for any given assembly.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #9

To add, “Nominators may provide copies of the completed nomination form (as defined by the nominating committee) to the secretary of the synod for distribution,” to B9.08, the bylaw currently reading,

B9.07. In all elections by the Synod Assembly, other than for the Bishop, additional nominations may be made from the floor.

so that it shall read,

B9.07. In all elections by the Synod Assembly, other than for the Bishop, additional nominations may be made from the floor. Nominators may provide copies of the completed nomination form (as defined by the nominating committee) to the secretary of the synod for distribution.

and to strike out B9.08, which reads,

B9.08 Members of the Synod Assembly who desire to make nominations from the floor shall have prepared beforehand and be ready to distribute copies of vita information sheets, similar to those provided earlier by the Nominating Committee for those nominees.

Rationale: In fact, we have not followed B9.08 since, at least, 1994. The proposed conflation and amendment of these two provisions seeks to provide greater flexibility (the nominator does not have to provide nominations forms for the assembly and the assembly is free to regard the failure to do so as it sees fit) while at the same time standardizing the form of any written information that is provided.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #10

To amend B10.01, which reads,

B10.01. The Synod Council shall consist of the four officers of the synod, four pastors, six lay members, and as many designated youth and young adult members as are needed to meet the requirements of †S.10.01 and ELCA Constitution 5.01(g).
(a) Four pastors shall be elected, one from each of the four conferences.
(b) Six lay members shall be elected, one from each of the four conferences and two members at large. As far as possible, 50% of the lay members shall be male and 50% shall be female.
© The youth members shall be elected at large. Each youth member shall not have reached the age of 18 at the time of election.
(d) The young adult members shall be elected at large. Each young adult member shall be between (and inclusive of) the ages of 18 and 30 at the time of election.
(e) When composition of the Synod Council, following any regular Synod Assembly, does not meet the requirements of †S.10.01, the Synod Council shall create and appoint such other seats as are necessary to comply.

1) by striking out “as many designated” and insert “one” in the main paragraph,
2) by inserting “member” after “youth” in the main paragraph,
3) by inserting “one” before “young” in the main paragraph,
4) by striking out “members” and adding “member” after “adult” in the main paragraph,
5) by striking out “as are needed to meet the requirements of †S10.01 and ELCA Constitution5.01(g), from the main paragraph,
6) by striking our “members” and adding “member” in subparagraph ©,
7) by striking out “each” and adding “the” in subparagraph ©,
8) by striking our “members” and adding “member” in subparagraph (d),
9) by striking out “each” and adding “the” in subparagraph (d), and
10) by striking out subparagraph (e), so that the bylaw shall read,

B10.01. The Synod Council shall consist of the four officers of the synod, four pastors, six lay members, and one youth member and one young adult.
(a) Four pastors shall be elected, one from each of the four conferences.
(b) Six lay members shall be elected, one from each of the four conferences and two members at large. As far as possible, 50% of the lay members shall be male and 50% shall be female.
© The youth member shall be elected at large. The youth member shall not have reached the age of 18 at the time of election.
(d) The young adult member shall be elected at large. The young adult member shall be between (and inclusive of) the ages of 18 and 30 at the time of election.

and to amend B10.02, which reads,

B10.02. Terms of office:
(a) Four pastors and six lay members shall be elected for a three-year term, and shall not serve for more than two consecutive terms.
(b) Each youth member shall be elected to a one-year term.

1) by striking out “and” in subparagraph (a),
2) by inserting “and the young adult member” after “members” in subparagraph (a), and
3) by striking out “each” and adding “the” in subparagraph (b),

so that it shall read,

B10.02. Terms of office:
(a) Four pastors, six lay members, and the young adult member shall be elected for a three-year term and shall not serve for more than two consecutive terms.
(b) The youth member shall be elected to a one-year term.

Rationale: This rather complex compound motion attempts to meet the requirements of both †S.10.01 and ELCA Constitution 5.01(g) without increasing the size of Synod Council. It was noted by the committee that B10.01(e) is of dubious constitutionality in light of †S.10.01. If adopted, these changes will mean that there will be one young adult seat on Synod Council and one youth seat on Synod Council. In light of this change, verbiage requires cleaning.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #11

To strike out B10.08, which reads,

B10.08. From within its membership, and also including other members of the synod as it desires, the Synod Council shall appoint a Property Committee.

Rationale: The synod doesn’t need a standing committee for property. Synod Council can create an ad hoc committees to deal with specific issues as they arise.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation #12

To amend B12.01, which reads,

B12.01. There shall be four conferences designated as follows:

A. Monongahela Valley – Mountain Conference (17 congregations)

1. Bittinger MD, Emmanuel
2. Jennings MD, Zion
3. Swanton MD, St. John’s (Meadow Mountain)
4. Clarksburg WV, St. Mark
5. Davis WV, St. John
6. Elkins WV, Holy Trinity
7. Fairmont WV, Grace
8. Grafton WV, Church of the Covenant
9. McHenry MD, Shepherd of the Hills
10. Morgantown WV, St. Paul
11. New Milton WV, St. Johannes
12. Oakland MD, St. Mark’s

Accident Parish (the following three congregations)

13. Accident MD, St. Paul’s
14. Accident MD, St. John’s (Cove)
15. Friendsville MD, Grace

Aurora-Red House Parish (the following two congregations)

16. Aurora WV, St. Paul
17. Red House MD, St. John’s

B. Ohio – Kanawha Valley Conference (12 congregations)

1. Beckley WV, St. Luke
2. Charleston WV, St. Paul
3. Huntington WV, Christ the King
4. Huntington WV, St. Paul
5. Hurricane, WV, Cross of Grace
6. Letart WV, St Mark (Upper Flats)
7. New Haven WV, St. Paul
8. Point Pleasant WV, St. Peter
9. Ravenswood WV, Our Saviour
10. Parkersburg WV, First
11. Vienna WV, Christ

C. Potomac Conference (22 Congregations)

1. Martinsburg WV, St. John
2. Martinsburg WV, Trinity
3. Charles Town WV, St Thomas
4. Harpers Ferry WV, St John
5. Sharpsburg MD, Holy Trinity Memorial Evangelical
6. Bakersville MD, Salem Evangelical
7. Petersburg WV, Grace
8. Baker WV, Zion
9. Moorefield WV, Mt. Olive (Peru)

Capon-North River Parish (the following four congregations)

10. Gore VA, Fairview
11. Rio WV, Ebenezer
12. Wardensville WV, St. Peter
13. Yellow Spring WV, Hebron

Mountain Lutheran Parish (the following five congregations)

14. Franklin WV, Faith
15. Minnehaha Springs WV, New Hope
16. Moyers WV, St. John
17. Upper Tract WV, Mt. Hope
18. Brandywine WV, Calvary

Keyser-Westernport Shared Ministry (the following two congregations)

19. Keyser WV, Trinity
20. Westernport MD, Mt. Calvary

Shepherdstown Lutheran Parish (the following two congregations)

21. Shepherdstown WV, St. Peter
22. Uvilla WV, St. James

D. Upper Ohio Valley Conference (12 Congregations – 10 Pastorates)

1. Wheeling WV, First English
2. Wheeling WV, Christ (Mozart)
3. Wheeling WV, Grace
4. Wheeling WV, St. James
5. Wheeling WV, St. Mark (Elm Grove)
6. Weirton WV, Trinity

St. Matthew-Trinity Shared Ministry (the following two congregations)

7. Wheeling WV, St. Matthew (Benwood)
8. Wheeling WV, Trinity

Moundsville – New Martinsville Shared Ministry (the following two congregations)

9. Moundsville WV, Messiah
10. New Martinsville WV, Good Shepherd

1) by striking out all references to multiple-point parishes, co-ops, and shared ministries, and
2) by striking out all parenthetical information accompanying the names of conferences,
3) by striking out “Bakersville MD, Salem Evangelical,” and
4) by renumbering, so that it shall read,

B12.01. There shall be four conferences designated as follows:
(a). Monongahela Valley – Mountain Conference
1. Bittinger MD, Emmanuel
2. Jennings MD, Zion
3. Swanton MD, St. John’s (Meadow Mountain)
4. Clarksburg WV, St. Mark
5. Davis WV, St. John
6. Elkins WV, Holy Trinity
7. Fairmont WV, Grace
8. Grafton WV, Church of the Covenant
9. McHenry MD, Shepherd of the Hills
10. Morgantown WV, St. Paul
11. New Milton WV, St. Johannes
12. Oakland MD, St. Mark’s
13. Accident MD, St. Paul’s
14. Accident MD, St. John’s (Cove)
15. Friendsville MD, Grace
16. Aurora WV, St. Paul
17. Red House MD, St. John’s
(b). Ohio – Kanawha Valley Conference
1. Beckley WV, St. Luke
2. Charleston WV, St. Paul
3. Huntington WV, Christ the King
4. Huntington WV, St. Paul
5. Hurricane, WV, Cross of Grace
6. Letart WV, St Mark (Upper Flats)
7. New Haven WV, St. Paul
8. Point Pleasant WV, St. Peter
9. Ravenswood WV, Our Saviour
10. Parkersburg WV, First
11. Vienna WV, Christ
©. Potomac Conference
1. Martinsburg WV, St. John
2. Martinsburg WV, Trinity
3. Charles Town WV, St Thomas
4. Harpers Ferry WV, St John
5. Sharpsburg MD, Holy Trinity Memorial Evangelical
6. Petersburg WV, Grace
7. Baker WV, Zion
8. Moorefield WV, Mt. Olive (Peru)
9. Gore VA, Fairview
10. Rio WV, Ebenezer
11. Wardensville WV, St. Peter
12. Yellow Spring WV, Hebron
13. Franklin WV, Faith
14. Minnehaha Springs WV, New Hope
15. Moyers WV, St. John
16. Upper Tract WV, Mt. Hope
17. Brandywine WV, Calvary
18. Keyser WV, Trinity
19. Westernport MD, Mt. Calvary
20. Shepherdstown WV, St. Peter
21. Uvilla WV, St. James
(d). Upper Ohio Valley Conference
1. Wheeling WV, First English
2. Wheeling WV, Christ (Mozart)
3. Wheeling WV, Grace (Bethlehem)
4. Wheeling WV, St. James
5. Wheeling WV, St. Mark (Elm Grove)
6. Weirton WV, Trinity
7. Wheeling WV, St. Matthew (Benwood)
8. Wheeling WV, Trinity
9. Moundsville WV, Messiah
10. New Martinsville WV, Good Shepherd

Rationale: First, Salem Ev. Lutheran Church, Bakersville, MD, is no longer a congregation of the synod. Second, the Synod Assembly has no authority over multiple-point parish, co-op, shared ministry, etc. arrangements. Listing them in the bylaws misrepresents the authority of the Synod Assembly. Third, this section has contained extraneous information that is simply not needed, beyond the Synod Assembly’s authority, or, in some cases, changes too rapidly to be appropriate for a bylaw.

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